A week ago, Google Chrome “stable” version rolled out to Windows and Mac, but for some on Windows, this release was anything but “stable.” A change in Google Chrome 78 caused some antivirus applications to crash Chrome on Windows 10 with an “Aw, Snap!””
With Chrome 78, Google introduced a specific Windows 10 feature called “renderer code integrity,” designed to prevent unsigned code from taking control of page rendering processes in Chrome. In general, this was designed to prevent most viruses from changing the way pages of Chrome are loaded.
Instead, many Windows 10 users faced “Aw Snap” crashes on each page once Chrome 78 rolled out. After some careful sleuthing by the Chromium team, spotted by Techdows, it was found that ironically, among other things, antivirus programs were injecting their own unsigned code into Chrome. To the extent that “Aw Snap” crashes caused at least these four apps were confirmed:
- Symantec Endpoint Protection
- PC Matic
- Print Audit
- Palo Alto Traps
Each of these programs tries to inject itself into Google Chrome in order to keep an eye on internet traffic (or printing) directly, usually in order to prevent users from browsing malicious websites. Usually this is done by injecting a DLL file into each “chrome.exe” process.
However, all Google Chrome does is done in a “chrome.exe” process, from tabs and extensions to the renderer. These apps end up attached to things they don’t have to be by indiscriminately latching on to every Chrome process.
Fortunately, there are a lot of different solutions on Windows 10 to fix these “Aw Snap” crashes, depending on which app causes you the problem.
Update your Symantec Endpoint Protection
The problem with Symantec Endpoint Protection causing Aw Snap crashes was discovered months before Chrome 78 reached stable, and in preparation for this, Symantec rolled out an update. Most, however, have not updated to Symantec Endpoint Protection version 14.2 yet.
Some have noted that after the 14.2 update, Symantec Endpoint Protection may still interfere with Chrome 78, in which case it should reinstall the trick.
Disable the renderer code integrity
Disable renderer code integrIf you are using one of the other affected apps, or if you still see “Aw Snap” crashing after updating Symantec, you can manually disable the integrity features of Chrome 78’s renderer code to get back up and running quickly. To do this, right-click your Google Chrome shortcut and select “Properties.” In the “Target” box, add a space after the final quotation mark, then add disable-features=RendererCodeIntegrity.
The text in your “Target” box will look similar to the following: ity when done.
You can also disable the integrity of the renderer code via a policy setting if you are managing Chrome for enterprise devices.
Remember to undo these changes once you have updated the affected software to be compatible with the integrity of Chrome’s renderer code.
Wait for it
Google is rolling out an update to temporarily disable the feature due to the discovery of more software causing “Aw Snap” crashes related to the renderer code integrity of Chrome 78. Hopefully, the rollout should not take more than a few days, but you should be able to browse without crashes once the update arrives.
Make sure you keep the other software of your computer updated, as Google has stressed that the integrity of the renderer code is only temporarily disabled while working with other software companies to fix any problems. Thankfully, Google said they’re going to give us all a heads-up before making the validity of the renderer code again.