Today, my laptop became incredibly noisy. I don’t visit unsafe websites. I run several anti-malware products simultaneously. I only install portable software. And I even keep the inside of my laptop clean. So this was a big surprise to me.
First of all, I checked the internal temperatures of the laptop with Speccy.
As it turned out both the CPU (central processing unit) and the motherboard were seriously overheating:
The temperatures were even higher when I started Speccy up — above 70 °C (158 °F) for the CPU and 85 °C (185 °F) for the motherboard. But the temperatures dropped a bit before I was able to make a screenshot.
At first I thought that the thermal paste layer between the CPU and its cooler needed replacing.
But then I thought about it and it didn’t make much sense. Should the thermal paste start to get too old and less conductive, it would come about as a gradual process rather than an abrupt one. However, the noise and overheating started only today.
So, I started to investigate.
First Stop — Windows Update
Windows sometimes puts out important updates that are really large and take a long time to install.
Thus, when trying to identify a CPU or memory hog, Windows Update is a good place to start.
I went to
Second Stop — Task Scheduler
Sometimes software from Adobe or Google adds updating tasks to Windows’ Task Scheduler.
My thinking was that a large update could be doing the mess.
I went to
There was an update from Adobe there but it wasn’t running. I deleted it anyway, even though that wasn’t the culprit.
Third Stop — Windows Task Manager
Next, I opened up the
In its window, I selected the
Something was using up 12% of the CPU’s resources. That’s a lot.
So I clicked on the
And there it was. A process called
Chrome Cleanup Tool.
I wasn’t sure whether this was a real thing, so I googled it:
It is a real product from Google and can be downloaded at the following address — https://www.google.com/chrome/cleanup-tool/.
Fourth Stop — WinPatrol
The main feature of WinPatrol is that it monitors all internet connections made by all programs. Unknown programs trying to establish an online connection must be verified by the computer’s administrator.
WinPatrol has also many other features but I will rather list them all in a post dedicated specifically to this excellent program.
I went to WinPatrol’s
There, I right-clicked on the
SOFTWARE_REPORTER_TOOL.EXE line and selected
Fifth Stop — Check the Drive
This opened up the location of the Chrome Cleanup Tool in Windows Explorer.
The Chrome Cleanup Tool is part of Google Chrome.
Since I use the portable version of Google Chrome, the location of the software was
Simply killing the process did nothing meaningful, because as soon as I launched Google Chrome again, the problem reappeared.
The problem seems to be that the Chrome Cleanup Tool doesn’t shut down after I exit Google Chrome. Even though at
After a few hours it gets to the point where the CPU and motherboard start to seriously overheat.
The larger issue is that Google simply installs software on my computer without my consent or even without me knowing about it. Software that could potentially damage vital parts of my computer.
But it seems to be the trend these days:
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C:\Portable\Google Chrome\Data\profile\SwReporter\4.30.1 folder contained a file called
The only line in the file was this:
[0923/211445:INFO:scoped_logging.cc(67)] Log file: %localappdata%\Google\Chrome Cleanup Tool\chrome_cleanup_tool.log
And the output from the above-mentioned
chrome_cleanup_tool.log file was as follows:
Starting logs for version: 4.30.1
GoogleCrashHandler could not be reached.
Crash reporting is not available.
I thought that simply removing the above two folders containing everything related to the Software Reporter Tool would be enough.
So I promptly removed the following folders:
However, as soon as I restarted Google Chrome, it quickly replaced the missing items with another copy of the Software Reporter Tool. And my laptop was noisy again.
That was when I decided to take another route.
I opened up Notepad++ and created a plain-text file of the exact same length as was
After saving the file as a
This seems to have done the trick. And just like that all was back to normal.
The CPU usage dropped back to a healthy 0%.
My laptop wasn’t overheating anymore. Actually, the temperatures dropped quite dramatically — from 62 °C (143.6 °F) to 46 °C (114.8 °F) for the CPU and from 74 °C (165.2 °F) to 44 °C (111.2 °F) for the motherboard.
That’s nearly a 70% difference in temperatures!
The ventilation fan’s noise also stopped immediately.
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