Unwanted software, which consists of adware, browser hijackers, fake system optimizers, & tracking software, continue to be a major problem for computer user’s of all types. Even worse, many of these programs have crossed the line from being just a nuisance to now performing click fraud, credential theft, or installing miners.

What many people do not know is that Google Chrome includes a tool created by ESET called the “software_reporter_tool.exe” that periodically scans a computer for unwanted software, and if detected, prompts the user to remove it. The unwanted software that is scanned for are programs that inject ads, install unwanted extensions, performs browser hijacking, and other unwanted browser modifications.

While this particular tool is not geared towards all malware, but rather browser affecting malware, it does add extra security to the computer. At the same time, there has been concern regarding the periodic scans by this tool because it executes without the user’s knowledge, can use up a lot of CPU, and performs potential tracking of installed software and other information from the computer. To change what data is sent to Google, you can follow the instructions here.

If you find that your installation of the Chrome Browser is starting to act strange, slow, or you are seeing ads where they should not normally be, then you can also perform an on-demand manual scan using the Chrome Cleanup Tool rather than waiting for it to periodically run.

Performing a manual scan with chrome://settings/cleanup

To perform a manual scan using the Chrome Cleanup Tool, open the Chrome browser, type…