Google Chrome Memory Usage / Memory Leak Problem?

I love using Google Chrome to browse the Internet and one of the main reasons has always been because it’s super fast! I’ve never liked Firefox’s clunky 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 back. Firefox’s new Quantum browser is even faster than Chrome, and I’ve really thought about switching.

When I first started using Chrome, I was delighted with its clean simple interface and amazing browsing speed. However, after a few months of heavy use of Chrome on my high-speed PC, I noticed that tabs would go blank for a few seconds before web pages loaded and other general slowdowns.

Chrome’s Task Manager

After doing a bit of digging around, I decided to take a look at the task manager and see what processes were running for Chrome. Here’s what I found:

Oh my God! That’s 35 huge Google Chrome processes! That’s a lot of processes plus more than 5 GB of memory usage. What are all those Chrome processes? It is true that I had 16 tabs open when I took the screenshot above, but all the web pages are static with no playing video or animation. So why 35 processes and GBs of memory?

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


Here you will see each process (called Task) running in Google Chrome. I was quickly amazed at what I saw.

The browser is a process, each tab is its own process and then there are web application processes, GPU and for each extension and plug-in I have enabled! Eeeks! From what I read online from Google, they separate everything into different processes because it makes the browser more stable. For example, if the Flash plugin fails, it won’t take down all of your tabs or the entire browser.

Using Google Chrome for so long, I realized that this is very 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 all separate processes use the extra memory as opposed to the previous way. From what I gathered online, it seems that even with fewer processes, plugins and extensions will still use up memory, maybe just a little less. There’s a bit of overhead to creating a new process, but it’s minimal.

You may also notice some items listed as Un-main frame: At first I thought this was something to do with an open tab for Gmail, but learned that it was something completely different. Essentially, Google puts several processes in its own to separate them logically. So there are several sites that fall within these subshells instead of listing their own tab process.

So is there anything you can do to reduce the amount of memory Chrome uses? For me, I noticed a big difference when I turned off flash for all sites instead of leaving it on Ask me first Setting. To turn off the flash completely, go to Settingthen click Advanced at the bottom and then click Content settings Below Privacy and Security. Click Speed and then make sure it says Block sites that run Flash.

That saved me over 1 GB of memory usage. I don’t know, but some sites are using Flash. Even with Flash disabled, websites worked fine, so I kept turning Flash off. Another way to reduce memory is to remove 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 remove it completely.

Disabling the extension will prevent it from using up all the memory. Finally, you may notice a GPU Process in Chrome, will be enabled by default. If your hardware supports it, Chrome will download some tasks to your GPU, which is faster and more efficient than your CPU. This is called Hardware acceleration. If you want, you can turn it off by going to Settings, then scrolling to the bottom to System.

If you disable hardware acceleration, your experience in Chrome will be slightly slower, so keep that in mind.

So if you feel that Chrome is taking up too much RAM, check in Task Manager and try disabling the extension that is using too much memory. For me, I’ve got an extension that I like, but hasn’t updated since 2013, that’s why it can use so much memory. If you don’t need the resource extension, turn it off and you’ll have a better browsing experience. Also, disable Flash unless you absolutely need it. Interesting!

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