Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

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JasonD
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Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#1 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-17 05:41

I've used FileZilla for years, and installed it on a new laptop too quickly, so I quickly skipped by a screen (a wall of text) that was telling me it would install Chromium... shocked as the screen disappeared, I tried to stop it, but it was already done.

I uninstalled FileZilla immediately, but this doesn't uninstall the additional software.
I use Add & Remove to uninstall Chromium directly, and it just refuses... a terrible breech of my trust.

Q. How do I uninstall this software?
A. I make a great effort to answer this myself below. Any help would be appreciated.

(And please don't respond with "FileZilla asks for consent". It does not. I did not request this. I did not consent to this. It was an accident that is allowed and encouraged by the UI design of the installer. I do not now or have ever wanted such garbage software installed on my PC.)
Last edited by JasonD on 2020-03-17 08:39, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Chromium installed without consent. Cannot uninstall. Win10.

#2 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-17 06:03

To help other uninstall software that refuses to uninstall:

1. You can find out where it is installed. Right click the shortcut, and click on "Open file location".
E.g.
C:\Users\<YOUR_NAME>\AppData\Local\chromium

2.Ctrl+Alt+Del - Task Manager - Startup tab:
Disable all of the Chromium listings (2 for me).
This will not remove them! So you'll have to come back to this.

3.Ctrl+Alt+Del - Task Manager - Procssess tab:
"end task" for all of the background processes running from Chromium (5 of them for me)
They may disappear automatically

4. Attempt to delete the folder above where the app is installed.
If you cannot, download and install LockHunter ( https://lockhunter.com/ ) and give it that folder, and you'll see all of the offending programs that are still accessing it.

5. Delete it from your start menu, listed here:
C:\Users\<YOUR_NAME>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

6. Remove it from quick launch:
C:\Users\<YOUR_NAME>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

7. Open file/windows explorer, go to "This PC", search for "Chromium"
Delete it from everywhere it finds it.

8. Now back to Task Manager - Startup
You'll have TWO Chrome (Chromium) sitting there disabled, and they won't disappear... as a nice reminder for the time you have wasted.

Q. Anyone have a good way to remove Task Manager Startup items?
A. see below post.

9. Add & Remove programs
If you search for Chromium, it'll still be there, with its uninst.exe program that refuses to run.

Q. Anyone have a good way to remove Add & Remove program listings permanently?
A. see below post.

10. When you open web documents (HTML, etc)
You'll notice a new option -- that software you did not consent to installing -- Chromium.

Q. Does anyone know how to remove references to removed software from the context menus/options?
A. see below post.

I believe I have removed this entirely from my system.
If i find out later that I have not, I will return and explain what happened, and how to remove.

...

The FileZilla team should thoroughly apologize for the utter lack of respect it is showing for its users, by allowing this trash software -- which is basically hiding malware, running in the background consuming tons of CPU -- to be installed on their users' machines, without their request or consent.
Last edited by JasonD on 2020-03-17 07:06, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Chromium installed without consent. Cannot uninstall. Win10.

#3 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-17 06:13

So, after more time investigating, it appears that Chromium installed its uninstall program to this location:

C:\Users\<YOURNAME>\AppData\Local\{0271342D-26D9-5895-4B41-7D7D6F2981E5}

With a helpful:

C:\Users\<YOURNAME>\AppData\Local\{0271342D-26D9-5895-4B41-7D7D6F2981E5}\HowToRemove

The document there mentions:

1. Click on Control panel
2. Click on Uninstall a program
3. Right click on Chromium and choose uninstall

This old Control Panel still works... and it shows Chromium in the list. But this is a different GUI than the updated Win10 GUI, so it's the same thing underneath. It tries to run uninst.exe and fails.

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Re: Chromium installed without consent. Cannot uninstall. Win10.

#4 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-17 06:37

So if you delete the uninst.exe folder, and the try to run uninstall from the GUI, it will intelligently realize it's already gone, and ask you to remove it from the list.

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Re: Chromium installed without consent. Cannot uninstall. Win10.

#5 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-17 06:41

To remove from the Task Manager Startup tab:

Press Windows+R
Type:
regedit
To launch the Registry editor.

Navigate to:
Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run

You'll see the two launchers:

1.
Chromium
"c:\users\<YOURNAME>\appdata\local\chromium\application\chrome.exe" --auto-launch-at-startup --profile-directory="Default" --restore-last-session

2.
GoogleChromeAutoLaunch_C0C2D1814CAB259E66561A1591306AE9
(Unbelievable -- this trash software is pretending to be Google Chrome auto launcher!)
"C:\Users\<YOURNAME>\AppData\Local\chromium\Application\chrome.exe" --no-startup-window /prefetch:5

Delete both of these suckers.

Now go to:
Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartupApproved\Run

And delete them both from there as well.
Last edited by JasonD on 2020-03-17 06:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Chromium installed without consent. Cannot uninstall. Win10.

#6 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-17 06:50

To remove this garbage, malware-infested, uninstall-lacking, Chromium from the options from "Open with..." do the following:

Launch Registry Editor
(Windows+R, type: regedit and press ENTER)

Go to:
Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts

Edit -> Find (or Ctrl+F)
type: chromium
press ENTER

Low and behold... there it sits under .html -- delete Chromium, not chrome.exe, which is Google Chrome
Continue searching with F3 and delete the rest.

You should then go to the root folder in regedit, and continue the search.
Pretty much delete everything, folders and keys, with chromium in it.
(This sucker even made its way into the firewall settings.)

As in Death Note... Delete, DELETE, DELETE!!!

Then reboot.

This successfully removes it from:
1. the windows explorer context menu for "Open With..."
2. and subsequent pop-up for "Choose another app".

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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#7 Post by botg » 2020-03-17 10:17

Any optional third-party offer is supposed to be easily uninstallable, in parts because of accidental installations. Chromium should be very easy to remove, I don't know why it has failed on your system.

Regarding the branding, It is normal for Chromium using chrome instead of chromium for filenames and other identifiers.

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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#8 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-17 17:05

botg, thanks for your reply.

I would highly suggest the FileZilla team stops normal operations immediately, to test this on a VM. Trust takes 10 years to build, and 10 seconds to lose. Watch what Chromium does, how it runs (why all the processes and CPU usage?), and then try to uninstall. If this remains an "unknown" to your team, and you have been tricked, it is now up to you to make this "known".

There is nothing wrong with my system; I can find dozens of others seeing the same issues. (I have a new Alienware laptop that has almost nothing installed, except loads of Alienware that I've already uninstalled).

I was using Chrome throughout the Chromium-uninstall process. I worried I may uninstall parts of Chrome. But, I deleted everything with the word "Chromium" in it -- I'd reinstall Chrome if needed. (If anyone has Chrome and not Chromium installed, please do a regedit search for "chromium" and let us know.) Aftermath: Chrome remains fine... all context menus, shortcuts, pins, quick launch bar, several reboots, etc... continue to work. This suggests the removal of the Chromium bits was only for Chromium, though I cannot be 100% certain.

...

Keep in mind this took 2 hours of my life to deal with because I didn't click the correct button -- because I moved fast, because I've used FileZilla for years and trusted the team...

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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#9 Post by botg » 2020-03-19 08:17

Thanks again for heads up, we had already asked our advertising technology partner to remove it immediately following your report.

In the last 3+ years this is the first time ever we heard of a similar issue. Our partner is abiding to the full the Clean Software Alliance guidelines (https://cleansoftware.net/services/) - that explicitly mention requirements for easy and complete uninstallation.

Following a detailed our advertising partner replied that there was a bug in the uninstaller when called with different elevation level than the installer, where it fails to completely remove the application and instead leaves it in an invalid state. They are in the process of preparing a batch to remove any leftovers, which we'll post here once it's available.

We're really sorry for the inconvenience this might have caused to you or others, and we apologize for that.

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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#10 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-23 05:05

I appreciate you handling this so appropriately.
This type of effort says a lot.

All the best.

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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#11 Post by boco » 2020-03-23 05:21

I cannot stress enough that using bundled installers is NOT mandatory. Using the advanced download page will provide you with non-bundled packages, together with SHA512 checksums for verifying the downloaded packages. Non-bundled packages are static, bundled ones can vary each download.
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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#12 Post by JasonD » 2020-03-23 05:39

> I cannot stress enough that using bundled installers is NOT mandatory.

Thank you for letting me. I had no idea until just now. Please understand that no one is going to read "This installer may include bundled offers. Check below for more options." on a screen filled with text, that contains a single, large, green "download" button. Everyone is going to be installing with the bundle software. The installer should not trick or coerce, in any way, the user to install additional software. Let me be clear: As the end user, I ended up being a test subject for bundled software that had not yet been tested... that's a little scary.

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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#13 Post by botg » 2020-03-23 07:39

The uninstallation script is here for users affected by this bug.
Attachments
ChromiumUninstallerV1.1.bat
(2.05 KiB) Downloaded 9 times

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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#14 Post by angry-user » 2020-04-10 16:17

Long time user. First time poster.

I have purchased FileZilla for use in our office. I don't use it myself very often at all. It is for our banking staff use.

However, I am currently in the process of setting up an SFTP process for our banking staff (who do use FileZilla). I am in the same boat as the OP. I did not see the statement that "This installer may include bundled offers".

Neither I nor my office will use or purchase any further copies of FileZilla.

This type of use is so 90's and was typical of embedding/bundling virus. As far as I am concerned, the app that installed is a virus. I didn't ask for it, it changed my default search engine in all of my browsers, and was a persistent app. It was easy to uninstall, go to each of my browsers and change my default search engine back, but that just added more work for me and my day.

I realize the people who develop and run this application and site don't really care, or you would not have done it in the first place.

I will be posting this experience on other forums that I frequent.

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Re: Tricked into installing Chromium. Won't uninstall. Here's How-To Uninstall (Win10)

#15 Post by boco » 2020-04-10 16:43

If you purchased FileZilla, why are you using the free version? The Pro version does not have anything bundled, for the free version, non-bundled installers are available.
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