Blocking Opera Browser's auto-update

  • Hi @all

    As I don't like the Chrome PDF viewer coming with Opera, I decided to install Sumatra PDF viewer (http://www.sumatrapdfreader.org/. The plugin-part of Sumatra (2.5.2) is no longer developed, but it cooperates with all new versions (recent: 3.1.1).
    Recently my Opera 35 was auto-updated to version 36, and the Sumatra PDF was broken. So I decided to return to 35. But it reminds me of getting rid of a computer virus, as the auto-updater brings back immediately the recent version 36. It might be of interest for you how I managed to get rid of that kind of „malware“.

    • First of all, get a proper copy of version 35. I found it on the ftp server of Opera (https://ftp.opera.com/pub/opera/desktop/35.0.2066.92/). Save it on a local accessible drive.
    • Then remove the 36... folder of Opera in the Program Files folder.
    • Now disable the network adapter.
    • Install Opera 35 from the copy stored locally
    • Opera 35 will start. Close it.
    • Using the Task Manager, shoot the stalled Opera auto-update process.
    • Remove the auto-updater.exe from the Opera 35... folder.
    • Remove the Update Scheduler from the Registry (I am using SysInternals' autoruns.exe
      (https://download.sysinternals.com/files/Autoruns.zip) for this)
    • Re-activate the network adapter
    • Reboot the system and check if everything is fine.
      That's all - you will be able to keep your version 35 forever.
  • ...
    That's all - you will be able to keep your version 35 forever.

    as well as all the security vulnerabilities that currently exist in the underlying chromium engine version and Opera's version-35 browser layers. I state they 'currently exist' because all software has vulnerabilities, whether they've been discovered yet or not. Updating is how the future security patches are delivered, among other things, after the flaws have been discovered and become public record for more general exploitation. A knowledgeable user may realize the risks with blocking updates and compensate for that, but not everyone else necessarily does, so I'm just sayin' --

  • A knowledgeable user may realize the risks with blocking updates and compensate for that, but not everyone else necessarily does, so I'm just sayin' --

    I see your point. OTOH there is a risk of inducing new vulnerabilities with the new versions. Anyway, I'll keep an eye on the Opera development, by installing the new versions on a virtual system or on a scrap machine. As soon as the known flaws are taken care of, there is nothing preventing me from using the recent version.

    I resent being forced to use a flawed version just by auto-update.

  • Personally, I also don't like or use auto-updating for nearly all the software on my system, though I make the single exception for signature auto-updating of my anti-malware even though that carries its own set of risks. I prefer to be in control of which program updates are made to my system and when - and 'when' varies with my usage pattern from day to day, so it isn't something lending itself to scheduled or software-initiated updates. Moreover, I strongly prefer to hold off OS or program updates until the early-adopters have been given ample chance to evaluate and report the side effects, much like the coal-miners' canary-in-the-cage. In that way, I've avoided countless updating catastrophes over the years.

    That all being said, I also make extensive and continual effort to keep aware of update releases for all my primary software, so that at least the security patches are put in place fairly soon. But that takes measurable time, effort, and self-discipline. Many users, once they block or shut off auto-updating, totally forget to check for updates thereafter and only find their software is woefully out of date in terms of security after disaster has struck. Hence my cautionary words: update-blocking is best done only by knowledgeable users who take the necessary extra pains to compensate for that action; it's not the best choice for the casual or 'un-engaged' user.

  • Personally, I also don't like or use auto-updating for nearly all the software on my system, though I make the single exception for signature auto-updating of my anti-malware even though that carries its own set of risks.
    ...
    Hence my cautionary words: update-blocking is best done only by knowledgeable users who take the necessary extra pains to compensate for that action; it's not the best choice for the casual or 'un-engaged' user.

    Fully agree with you. Same here. In my case after being in the IT business for 45 years, I think I'm engaged enough.

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