Chrome.exe virus or not - learn the difference

Chrome.exe process can either be legitimate or malicious, learn the difference

Chrome.exe is usually not a virus and is a legitimate process of Google Chrome browser, but sometimes computer virus creators try to trick people with legitimate file names and use them for their virus hiding. It is very important to know the differences between malicious and legitimate files. In case you see a suspicious process running in your CPU and with usage, try to identify whether its not a hidden virus. 

Windows executable file Chrome.exe is a computer process that is supposed to be run by Google Chrome. Usually, it appears because of the “Continuously running background apps when Google Chrome is closed” setting which can be found under “System”. However, the same-looking process has been misused by the developers of adware[1], Trojan horse, and similar malware makers. Recently, it was linked to the Poweliks virus used to misuse CPU to cause numerous pop-up ads and similar content.[2]

The consequences of having Chrome.exe *32 multiple processes that exploit up to 100% of computing power can lead to permanent computer damage. In other terms, you can encounter significant slowdowns, freezes, poor latency at first. However, as time passes your system will become unusable.

Name Chrome.exe/Chrome.exe *32
Type Legitimate executable used by Chrome. However, its name has also been misused by Trojan.Poweliks
Main symptoms High CPU usage, numerous ads appearing on the system, redirects to unknown sites
Main danger Being redirected to malicious websites, the loss of personal data, inability to browse without ads
Way to ensure that the executable is legitimate Check the file's location. It should be the following:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application 
Removal If you have any suspicions that the file is malicious, run a full system scan with anti-virus to see what it finds

Additionally, Chrome.exe 32 bit process generates annoying advertisements. They might appear on your frequently visited pages as banners, pop-ups, and in texts. Despite the fact that the displayed ads look genuine, they are designed to trick people into clicking on them and increasing pay-per-click revenue for the developers.

Also, have in mind that such ads usually promote useless and expensive system optimization tools, software, or other products. However, the worst thing is that they can lead you to malware-laden websites and expose your computer's vulnerabilities. Thus, having a bogus Chrome.exe process running in your task manager can lead you to high-risk computer infections.

Ways to find the malicious Chrome.exe virus file on the system

As mentioned above, there are two versions of this process — a regular and a malicious one. Experts tend to call the adware as *32 task manager virus since it can be easily recognized in system monitor. The legitimate executable is only present when the browser is opened, while Chrome.exe virus runs at the start-up.

In case you have still doubts and want to check this exe 32 in task manager, right-click on it and open file location. Remember, the original Chrome.exe process is located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application directory only. If you can find it in random folders, your computer might be infected with Poweliks trojan.

We do not advise you to remove Chrome.exe virus by yourself. It might be complicated to find all its components and protect your system in the right manner. Instead, run a full system scan with a malware removal tool to make sure that this process is actually malicious.

Chrome.exe *32 virus removal can be completed with the help of FortectIntego or other robust security software. Also, note that this is a safer option since the antivirus will get rid of adware components as well. Thus, your computer will be cleaned from potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) which include adware, and will stay protected in the future.

The main distribution method – freeware

A vast of users believe that the potentially unwanted program (PUP) is infused on their systems remotely. However, it is far from reality — they are delivered together with free applications users download online. This distribution technique is called bundling which allows the developers to secretly install PUPs as additional components.

According to[3] malware experts, you can easily avoid adware infections by following this guide:

  1. Pick only Advanced/Custom settings when installing free software;
  2. Do not skip steps;
  3. If you see any pre-selected marks, immediately un-tick them;
  4. Always use robust security software and update it regularly.

Explaining Chrome.exe virus removal

We want to warn our readers that Chrome.exe *32 virus removal is for experienced users only. If you do not have specific IT skills, please get a professional antivirus software and get rid of the adware automatically. This is the safest option to avoid any damages to your system.

You can remove Chrome.exe virus with FortectIntego or Malwarebytes. They are highly recommended by our IT professionals since regular computer users should not face any issues while using these security tools. However, you might use another antivirus if it is expert-tested and robust enough.

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Fortect Happiness
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Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with macOS
What to do if failed?
If you failed to fix virus damage using Fortect Intego, submit a question to our support team and provide as much details as possible.
Fortect Intego has a free limited scanner. Fortect Intego offers more through scan when you purchase its full version. When free scanner detects issues, you can fix them using free manual repairs or you can decide to purchase the full version in order to fix them automatically.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Fortect, try running SpyHunter 5.
Alternative Software
Different software has a different purpose. If you didn’t succeed in fixing corrupted files with Intego, try running Combo Cleaner.
About the author
Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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