Chrome Security Software Bug Fixed

John Lister's picture

Chrome and Edge are to get a fix for a problem with saving bookmarks and other files. The glitch is the result of an incompatibility with some anti-virus software.

The problem involved security tools which were set to scan files on a computer in real-time. Often this involves "freezing" a file immediately as it's written to disk so the security software can check for threats and neutralize them before they have an effect.

Unfortunately the way this works means it didn't always go smoothly with Chrome, resulting in the browser "freezing", then simply giving up on saving the file. This caused problems both with saving files from the web and with updating bookmark files when the user added a new page.

Specifically, the glitch affected ImportantFileWriter, a component of Chromium. That's the open source software which Google Chrome is based on.

The Incredibly Annoying Race

It created what's known in computing as a race condition. That's where the computer needs to do two important things at the same time (in this case, creating/saving a file and checking it for virus risks), but the way the processor operates means it has to do them in sequence. In this scenario, which way the processor does the two tasks affects whether they both work as scheduled.

This was a particularly unfortunate problem as it left users having to decide whether to avoid downloading files and adding bookmarks, or switching off anti-virus software, neither of which is particularly practical.

Browser Refines Own Fix

While it took a few weeks to create and implement the fix, it's a simple enough process in concept. The browser will now automatically retry the file creation and saving several times until it works, which will likely be after the antivirus software has confirmed there's nothing amiss. (Source:

The code change means the browser will keep note of how many times it takes to attempt the file save and learn patterns over time. The idea is for the browser to come up with its own maximum which will be balance of having a good chance of successfully saving the file but avoiding the risk of ending up in an infinite loop of failed attempts. (Source:

The change affects any Chromium-based browser running on Windows systems. That means updates will roll out to Google Chrome and the current edition of Microsoft Edge in the coming weeks.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you experienced this glitch? Do you find your browser and security software play nicely together? Have you ever disabled or uninstalled security software because of glitches?

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (4 votes)