How to Make Chrome Not a Resource Hog

By Naomi Bolton

Sluggish system performance is not only frustrating but it can lead to a loss of productivity. If Chrome is your browser of choice and you are experiencing slowdown, the problem could be related to the lack of adequate random access memory. Multiple tabs and plugins are convenient, but are not worth it if they lead to system instability due to lack of memory. You can add more RAM to your computer to help alleviate this problem, but optimizing the way you use Chrome is a more cost-effective solution.

Use Fewer Tabs

For security and stability purposes, Google Chrome handles each new tab you open as a separate process. This means that if a Web page contains content that can potentially crash your browser, only the specific tab in which it was opened will be influenced. Running tabs as separate processes uses up much more resources, which can result in poor performance if you have multiple tabs open. To avoid this issue, use only the tabs that are absolutely necessary and close down any tabs that you are not actively using. This will free up more memory and ensure that resources are not tied up in tabs that are not being used.

Use Fewer Nonessential Browser Extensions

Google Chrome has a selection of free plugins, called extensions, that can enhance the functionality of your browser. These extensions can do anything from providing you with up-to-date weather reports at a glance to reminders and spell checkers. While these extensions are very useful, they can also take up a lot of resources. Check the "Extensions" section of your Google Chrome "Tools" menu and disable or remove any extensions that you are not actively using. You might have extensions installed that you no longer require but which are still running in the background, thus slowing down your system.

Use Memory-Saving Extensions

Using fewer browser extensions can free up more resources, but there are also some extensions that, when installed, can reduce Chrome memory usage. Extensions such as OneTab can streamline tab usage and free up memory while still allowing you access to all your tabs. Other extensions such as TabMemFree allow you to suspend your inactive tabs after a set amount of time. This has the benefit of lowering your RAM and CPU usage by Chrome without having to close the tabs manually. The Great Suspender has the additional benefit of allowing you to whitelist certain tabs to ensure that they will never be suspended.

Use the Purge Memory Feature

Since Google Chrome uses multi-process architecture, it also has its own task manager just like Windows. To access the task manager, press "Shift-Esc." The task manager has a "Purge memory" feature that allows you to free up additional memory, but it is not enabled by default. To gain access to this button, right-click your Google Chrome shortcut and select "Properties." Add "--purge-memory-button" (without the quotation marks) to the "Target" path and restart your browser. This enables the "Purge Memory" button, which you can click if you find that Chrome is starting to become sluggish.