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  • I'm comparatively new to opera, installed the offline version a couple of weeks ago (Windows 7), but several days ago I noticed that all my startup programs didn't start. It appeard that all my entries in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run were gone (except for Opera Browser Assistant). I have a very strong suspicion, that the auto-updater not appended/update the Run registry entry, but wiped it completely. I may be wrong, but I compared daily backups of the registry and harddrive and could not recall any other install activity on my side. I hope that it is already noticed and will be fixed.

  • Although I don't have Opera on my computers now I would like to reinstal it on at least a few of them, but can't until I get an answer to what the "Opera Browser assistant" actually is. I could try a new (to me) browser but that may be adding petrol to the fire (unknown territory). I can remember Opera had a feature called The "Amazon Assistant" that would ask to be installed on what seemed like most occasions Opera was booted up. I always declined. Searching Google for the OBA shows it as being installed when third party applications are used to instal it, but this is not the case in these latest instances. I am especially careful about security on my Windows 7 machines, so like to know what is being installed. Will we ever know the answer ?

  • @kingstio said in Opera Browser Assistant?:

    It appeard that all my entries in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run were gone (except for Opera Browser Assistant). I have a very strong suspicion, that the auto-updater not appended/update the Run registry entry, but wiped it completely.

    Same happened to me, when i reinstalled Opera!
    I'm not sure, if it was done by uninstall or by reinstall.
    But afterwards the whole key ("HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run") with some other needed(!) startups was gone!
    What luck i backuped it just before, to document the Opera-entry.

  • @kingstio You could uninstall Opera (delete that entry if it's still there), add at least one entry for something else in the key and reinstall Opera to see if Opera truly is wiping out the whole key. If it doesn't do it, you can then try again by installing an older build of Opera from https://ftp.opera.com/pub/opera/desktop/ and letting it update to see if it happens during just a update.

  • @mike88 The answer has been already given.

  • To the moderator, I am trying to be serious here. You say "The answer has been already given." presumably in response to my question about the "Opera Browsing Assistant" .However I cannot see any definitive answer anywhere ,where is it ?

  • To the moderator. The post says assistant gets installed if Opera is bundled with another program and according to the majority of these posts, it is not the case ! I will probably try and instal it tomorrow from the given link but I have the thought the OBA will still appear if not on instal then when the program updates.

  • @mike88 Yes, for some reason the assistant is being installed during updates. However it doesn't change what the assistant is.

  • Let's try to put together the topics on this subject.

  • @mike88
    I agree with mike88 Mar 6, 2020. That Assistant install was caught by my
    Security Task Manager. I spent considerable time on this issue.
    Just a bit of history I can still find: Opera 10.10 Build 1893 20091120
    I've got a laundry list of problems I reported that are not fixed.

    TOP NASTY: My ISP is now Spectrum.net -- a very bad company, not my choice.
    Only can get my voice mail on Opera Beta 64.0.3417.19.
    Every subsequent Opera release gets "Internal Server Error"
    I am now using the Brave browser to get my voice messages.
    Also works with Google Chrome (which I hate) and Firefox.)

    BioBrief: I wrote my first program in 1960 - GoTran Fortran.
    I worked at IBM in 1965 on OS/370 machine and assembler language.
    I wrote Air Traffic Control Software on contract to the FAA in 1967.
    My last real job was year 2000 for a very large stock brokerage.
    I was dancing on the top of the World Trade Center in June, 2001.
    Now I live in Hawai'i -- See http://MauiCat.com/
    Thanks for listening to a professional curmudgeon.

  • The following link provides step-by-step instructions (two ways of removing): https://geekermag.com/remove-opera-browser-assistant/

    I'm with @mike88 and others here Opera was not installed or bundled with other software, it was installed directly from download link on the opera.com home screen, first install (Opera Installer: 67.0.3575.137) on a recent fresh OS installation (Win 10 x64), 2 days ago. It also seems to have made itself the default browser, I may have missed it but don't recall having opted in for that.

  • Hi, I recently noticed in the Windows task manager, that there is an Opera process running on startup called "Opera Browser Assistant". I would like to know what exactly is its function and if it can be uninstalled if it is not really necessary.

  • So, what we know so far is that Opera assistant gets installed with Opera, and not necessarily with a bundled setup as mentioned above, in my case at least it's from the offline installer of version 67.xx which I downloaded 5 days ago from opera.com after installing fresh windows.

    It adds a startup entry.
    A Registry entry for the startup HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\StartupApproved\Run32.
    It ads a folder named assistant in the install directory.
    It adds a schedule in Task Scheduler, which is probably for updating it self, if I judge from the arguments of the entry.

    So, what does it do apart from updating itself? What is it's functionality? As it seems, it's not necessary for Opera to function correctly.

  • @skoy21 said in Opera Browser Assistant?:

    So, what does it do apart from updating itself? What is it's functionality? As it seems, it's not necessary for Opera to function correctly.

    For sure it is not necessary. What it does - I have seen putting it some big red O into system tray (most likely you could open Opera using that icon) and I have seen it display very ad-like promotion inside (or on top of) Opera window - at first I thought this is some unkillable ad, then I opened task manager and saw opera assistant there and killed it (and all its traces) immediately.

    Of course Opera could (and should) explain, what kind of unwanted software it installs. I have not seen any official explanation and thereby consider it pure malware 😞

  • @skoy21 said in Opera Browser Assistant?:

    So, what does it do apart from updating itself? What is it's functionality?

    See https://www.opera.com/privacy.

    Browser Assistant. Your copy of Opera for computers may include a component that displays desktop notifications promoting the browser’s features. It checks if any notifications are pending on a scheduled basis and may anonymously report occurrence of certain system events (namely low battery, low hard disk space, new Wi-Fi network connected, another browser installed). This information is not collected by us and no personal information is sent.

  • @burnout426

    Thank you very much!

    Well, even as explained by Opera, it looks and behaves like malware anyway 😞

  • Just to help out, here what Opera says about Assistant, copied from https://www.opera.com/privacy that @burnout426 posted above.

    Browser Assistant. Your copy of Opera for computers may include a component that displays desktop notifications promoting the browser’s features. It checks if any notifications are pending on a scheduled basis and may anonymously report occurrence of certain system events (namely low battery, low hard disk space, new Wi-Fi network connected, another browser installed). This information is not collected by us and no personal information is sent.

    So, yes, it seems to be privacy violation. I always choose to NOT send any data and statistics during Opera installation, but it seems Opera Assistant does not respect this option anyway...
    As they say, it reports some system events but information is not collected by Opera? Then who collects this information that Assistant reports?

  • I wonder if doing something like https://www.technipages.com/prevent-users-from-running-certain-programs to prevent browser_assistant.exe from running would help. If that doesn't work as-is, you might be able to apply the setting for the System user instead of the current user. See https://support.esri.com/en/technical-article/000010572 to see how to figure out what id in HKEY_USERS is the system user.

    Although, it's probably just easier to write a script or batch file to remove the browser assistant and updater schedule task for it that you run each time Opera updates.

  • I am amazed it took so long for us to know what the purpose of Opera Browser Assistant is and that nobody from the company actually stepped in to explain what it does. Although since it seems to be related to tracking, surreptitiously installed and there's no switch for it in the browser settings I'm not surprised.

    I wonder, what is wrong with giving users a choice and being transparent? I take it they'd want to have more market share, but I bet disregarding users does the opposite. And not only this business of the Browser Assistant, the constant pushing of Opera GX and icons in the sidebar (even though you have chosen not to be shown those messages again) or the removal of privacy oriented features (e.g. Do Not Track) doesn't help either.

    Aaaaanyway, I digress, I came to find out what the thing was and now that I know more or less what it's about I decided to block it. I'd rather have a native option to opt-out of the assistant, but there are several options when you want to prevent program executions without 3rd party software:

    • What @burnout426 said, either via GPOs for those using Windows Pro+ or through that registry key; but that way the blockage applies to programs started from Explorer, I don't know if it'd work for the assistant.
    • Blocking access to the path where the program is through the permission settings, you could remove the writing or execution permission from "C:\Program Files\Opera\assistant" or the executables that are in there; but if the browser or the installer relies on having access to those locations in this case may through errors.
    • Use AppLocker or Windows Defender Application Control to define rules to block it, but that's not for everyone.

    I will be circumventing its execution more or less (because anything running as admin could deter it) instead of blocking it making use of a mechanism Windows has to debug applications. Knowing the program names all that needs to be done is create a registry entry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options and set a Debugger value pointing somewhere else.

    Since we want to block the assistant it should look like this (I'm also adding one for assistant_installer.exe for good measure):

    Debugger.png

    After that it wouldn't matter if the assistant were set to execute on boot, whatever program you put in there would be executed instead. There are a couple of caveats:

    • The Opera installer, if run with admin privileges, could check that key and delete it...
    • And if it does, depending on what you choose to run instead, you may not know realize the assistant is running again.
    • It blocks any program with that name regardless of where it is, so if you had another program with the same name it would also be blocked.
    • Just like with the option to block access via permissions, if the installer or the browser itself expects the assistant to do something it may throw errors.

    I'm uploading a registry file for easy use, along with some instructions and the program I'll be running instead (along with its source). It's a dummy program, it does nothing except returning the value 0 to whomever executed it because it's the usual return value for when things go according to plan, just in case.

    Here it is: Dummy exe for Opera Assistant

    HTH.