After eight years of removing unwanted software on Windows, Google claims the app has served its purpose.
Google is retiring the Chrome Cleanup Tool, an application for Chrome users on Windows that detects and removes suspicious or unwanted software. The tool will be removed from user systems starting with the release of Chrome 111, at which point users will be unable to scan their device using Chrome Cleanup Tool through the web browser’s Safety Check feature or via the “Reset settings and cleanup” option in chrome://settings on Windows. Google is also removing a Chrome feature that intermittently scans Windows machines for suspicious activity.
First introduced around 2015 as a standalone app named Google’s Software Removal tool, the feature was later renamed and integrated directly into the Chrome for Windows browser (with no equivalent tool for macOS systems). Google claims the Chrome Cleanup Tool has performed over 80 million cleanups since its release, recovering systems impacted by unexpected settings changes and removing extensions that violate Google’s Unwanted Software Policy.
While useful for everyday system maintenance, the Chrome Cleanup Tool was never intended to be a comprehensive antivirus solution. These days, Chrome has better alternative services for protecting users and blocking suspicious files, such as Google Safe Browsing and Chrome’s built-in virus protection for Windows. And as new phishing and malware trends continue to emerge, Google says it’s shifted its focus to proactively improving authentication workflows and virus detection technology to protect Chrome users.
Google claims that user complaints regarding unwanted software have fallen over the years, reporting that just 0.06 percent of Chrome Cleanup Tool scans run in the last month actually detected known software concerns. In the face of decreasing user reports and the availability of more capable antivirus solutions, Google claims the Chrome Cleanup Tool is effectively obsolete. It’s unlikely that Chrome users will be impacted by the removal of the now-outdated tool as the browser still provides security features like automatic Safe Browsing and enhanced system protection.