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Ask HTG: Where Did “Google+ Auto Backup” Come From and How Do I Get Rid of It?

It’s one thing to install an application you want, it’s another thing when an application not only ends up on your computer but continually pops up and irritates you. Read on as we help a fellow reader get to the bottom of his popup mystery and banish it in the process.

Dear How-To Geek,

I have a really annoying situation on my hands. Last month I rebooted my computer and upon reboot this box popped up asking me if I wanted to configure Google+ Auto Backup. My only options were to switch accounts or get started configuring it, so I closed it… only to have it pop right back up the next day when I started my computer. After that I noticed that the window popped up every single time I plugged in my phone or any other removable media.

I can’t figure out where the app came from as I definitely didn’t install it. I don’t like Google+, and I certainly don’t want to upload my photos to Google (although I do really like their photo organizer, Picasa).

Worse yet, I uninstalled the program using the “Uninstall or change a program” section in the Windows Control Panel and a few weeks later the app was back at it, annoying me with popups. This seems like such curious behavior for a Google application and something I’d expect from a scuzzy malware company. What gives? How do I get rid of this thing?

Sincerely,

Popup Annoyed

Applications that persist despite our best efforts to banish them certainly are annoying and even more so when they’re from a company we’d expect to be better about respecting our wishes. In your case your problem arises directly from Google’s aggressive push to get people using Google+ in all forms (including the storage function for backing up and sharing photos).

The clue in your email that tips us off to the source of your problem is your fondness for Picasa. Google now includes the Google+ Auto Backup application in both the Picasa download and Picasa updates. This, as you discovered, means that even though you uninstalled the actual backup app the next time Picasa updated it reinstalled it. We’re in agreement with you (and just about everyone else) that this persistent installation process that fly’s under the guise of another application’s installation process is rather bad form.

The only way to prevent this is to uninstall the application one more time and then disable the automatic update feature in Picasa. To do so run Picasa and navigate to Tools -> Options.

In the options menu select the “General” tab and at the bottom switch the “Automatic updates” option to “Ask before downloading updates” or “Don’t check for updates.” The former option is best if do want updates but you want a reminder to uninstall the piggybacking Google+ Auto Backup app; the latter is best if you just want to leave Picasa the way it is and not deal with the backup app any longer.

Have a pressing tech question? Shoot us an email and we’ll do our best to

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/19/14