While Mozilla Firefox has consistently been the top browser for years now, Google Chrome is the close second when it comes to usage. It’s even safe to say that Chrome may eventually take the top spot in the near future if usage trends continue. Needless to say, Google Chrome can be found in almost every computer in the world. Chrome is a sleek, secure browser but it has one serious flaw — it tends to consume a lot of RAM. while it’s still relatively faster compared to other browsers, a lot of users have complained that it uses way too much memory most of the time.
While the main reason why Chrome may appear to drain your computer’s RAM is usually a user’s laziness to simply close unused tabs, the browser itself seem to easily accumulate lots of unnecessary baggages to slow a computer down to a crawl.
The way Google Chrome was designed is mainly to blame. This however is not entirely bad. In order to isolate issues more easily, each tab, plugin, or extension is assigned its own process. This prevents the entire browser from crashing if one extension or tab becomes problematic. While it’s a pretty simple and effective design, it also is a RAM-demanding architecture since Chrome has to duplicate some tasks for every tab.
Another Chrome feature called prerendering, while making web pages to load faster, can use a lot of memory as well. Aside from that, other extensions or web sites may not handle memory properly causing slow performance (also known as “memory leaking”). If memory leaks are not “cleaned up” properly, Chrome can appear to hog RAM as long as it remains open.
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How to check why Google Chrome is slowing down your PC
Google engineers anticipates their product to be a cause of possible slow down issues so they include a useful tool within the browser itself called Chrome Task Manager. Chrome Task Manager, just like a Windows Task Manager, provides a breakdown of items that show how much CPU and RAM are currently in use. It’s use come from the fact that it’s now easier for a user to surgically close the problematic item such as an extension or tab, instead of closing the entire browse altogether.
Opening the Chrome Task Manager is easy. Here’s how:
- In your Google Chrome browser, click on the Settings icon (three-dot icon at the upper right-hand side).
- Click More Tools.
- Click on Task Manager.
Once you’ve opened up Chrome Task Manager, you’ll then be presented with a Window that shows five tabs:
- Process ID
What you need to do in this case is to watch out for anything that appears to hog the most resources. Simply click the top of the Memory column (or any other column) to sort the items by highest RAM usage. For example, if you notice that an extension is on top of the list in terms of RAM usage, keep an eye on it. If you are not familiar with said extension, or if it’s not that necessary, simply disable or uninstall it from the system. The same is true for any tab or web site. Some extensions may not use that much RAM but instead drain the computer’s computing power (CPU).
Chrome using tons of RAM is good
While it may not be obvious following our brief discussion above, a Google Chrome browser was really designed to eat up a lot of Random Access Memory (RAM). And again, that’s not bad at all. Windows is designed to automatically manage RAM without user intervention so your computer should be good. RAM is meant to be used. You are better off when RAM is used than not. The more your computer stored stuff in temporary memory (RAM), the faster it loads stuff up the next time you use a program later. Remember, free RAM is useless RAM.
It is in this line of reasoning that Google Chrome was designed. It’s supposed to use up a lot of RAM, which isn’t a bad thing. However, it can get ugly the moment your computer constantly runs out of RAM. If Chrome Task Manager constantly runs out of RAM, which means that the Memory tab shows it’s 100%, that’s not a good sign at all. Windows is supposed to manage RAM by tossing least used program to make more available RAM before everything is used up to 100%. If that doesn’t not happen, slow down can occur due to lack of RAM. This is the problem you need to watch out for. If your computer becomes way too slow after opening up Chrome, open up Chrome Task Manager and purge tabs, extensions, or services that use a lot RAM.
What to do if your Windows PC constantly runs out of RAM
If you noticed that Google Chrome eats up a huge chunk of RAM most of the time, there are two things that you can do. You can either:
- check Google Chrome RAM usage by closing out tabs, disabling extensions, or disabling services, or
- upgrade your PC by adding more RAM module
Upgrading your computer physically by adding more RAM is a practical choice for desktops. However, if you’re having a problem with laptops, adding in more RAM modules can be a challenge, if not borderline impossible. Some laptop RAMs are sometimes not upgradeable so the first option, to check Chrome, will be the only choice for you.
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