Google Chrome memory usage / memory leak issue?

I love using Google Chrome to browse the Internet and one of the main reasons it always happens is because it's super fast! I have never liked Firefox's bulge with all the add-ons and Internet Explorer is simply slow.

Microsoft Edge is a bit faster than IE, but I use so many other Google services that Chrome keeps pulling me. Firefox's new Quantum browser is even faster than Chrome and I really thought about the transition.

When I first started using Chrome, I was fascinated with the simple clean interface and incredible browsing speed. However, after a few months of using Chrome a lot on my PC very quickly, I noticed the tabs would be empty for a few seconds before loading the webpage and other general slowness.

Chrome task manager

After a bit of picking, I decided to go through the task manager and see which process was running for Chrome. This is what I found:

Cow god! It's a gigantic process with 35 Google Chrome processes! That's a lot of processes plus more than 5 GB of memory usage. What are all those Chrome processes? Granted, I opened 16 tabs when taking screenshots above, but all web pages were static without video playing or animation. So why 35 processes and GB of memory?

You can find out what's behind each process in Chrome by right-clicking on the title bar (not on the tab) and selecting Workflow management.


Here you will see each process (called Tasks) running in Google Chrome. I was quickly surprised by what I saw.

A browser is a process, each tab is a separate process, and then there are web application processes, GPUs, and for every extension and plug-in that I have enabled! Eeek! From what I read online from Google, they separate things into different processes as it helps the browser to be more stable. For example, if the Flash plugin goes down, won won will remove all of your tabs or the entire browser.

Using Google Chrome for too long, I realized that this is true. There have been many times when a tab died and I could just close the tab and continue using my other tabs normally or Shockwave would hang and I killed that one tab and everything else worked fine.

So my next thought is if there are all separate processes using additional memory as opposed to the previous way. From what I've gathered online, it seems that even with fewer processes, plugins and extensions will still use up memory, maybe just a little. There is a small cost to create a new process, but it is secondary.

You may also notice some items listed as subframe: At first I thought it was the right thing to do when opening a tab for Gmail, but learning it was something completely different. Basically, Google put some processes into its own process to isolate them appropriately. So there are a number of sites within these subframes instead of having their own tab processes listed.

So what can you do to reduce the amount of Chrome memory you use? For me, I noticed a big difference when I turned off the flash for all websites instead of leaving it on Ask me first Setting. To turn off the flash completely, go to Setting, then click Advanced at the bottom and then click Content settings Below Privacy and security. Click on Flash and then make sure it says Block websites from running Flash.

That saves me more than 1 GB in memory usage. I don't know, but some websites are using Flash. Even when Flash is off, web pages still work fine, so I turned off Flash. Another way to reduce memory is to delete some extensions, especially if you are not using them. Alternatively, you can simply disable the extension if you need it occasionally and don't want to completely delete it.

Disabling the extension will prevent memory from being used up. Finally, you may notice one GPU process in Chrome, should be enabled by default. If your hardware supports it, Chrome will offload some tasks to your GPU, which is faster and more efficient than your CPU. This is called Hardware acceleration. If you want, you can disable it by going to Settings and then scrolling all the way down to System.

If you turn off hardware acceleration, your experience in Chrome will be a bit slower, so keep that in mind.

So if you feel Chrome is taking up too much RAM, check Task Manager and try turning off the extension that is using too much memory. For me, I already have an extension that I like, but has been updated since 2013, which is why it can use a lot of memory. If you do not need a resource extension, disable it and you will have a better browsing experience. Also, turn off Flash unless you really need it. Enjoy!


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