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You have invested yourself into Chrome and might even call yourself a power user How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 1 - Master The Keyboard How To Become A Chrome Power User, Part 1 - Master The Keyboard Google Chrome for some time has been the browser of choice for many and although the majority of our web browsers can do some pretty impressive things, Chrome has continued to snatch up power users,... Read More . But Chrome is at an excruciating level of slowness, completely disrupting your workflow and pushing you far past the point of just frustration.

There are a lot of things you can do to speed Chrome up What Can You Do To Speed Up Your Browser? What Can You Do To Speed Up Your Browser? If you’re like me and you spend a huge portion of your day browsing the web then you understand how frustrating it is to have a slow, bloated browser that seems to be on its... Read More … and you’ve tried all of them, with no avail. Now you’re contemplating ditching Chrome and switching to Internet Explorer or Firefox. I can relate. In fact, this was my exact situation. Some solutions did help improve Chrome a little, but there was only one thing that fixed the problem.

Aside from general sluggishness, which can be attributed to a lot of things, the primary issue I was having was an agonizingly slow and laggy address bar, also known as the Omnibox 11 Quick Tricks To Become A Chrome Omnibox Power User 11 Quick Tricks To Become A Chrome Omnibox Power User Do you want to become an Omnibox power user and save plenty of time and keystrokes? All you need are a few good extensions and a little knowledge of how to tweak the search settings.... Read More . It was so bad that I could type out the entire search or URL and then sit back and wait for what seemed like an eternity for the text to appear. Several threads in the Google Product Forums discussed this exact issue, but many of the recommended “fixes” didn’t solve this problem for the majority of users.

Some of these included clearing browser data (cache, history, cookies, etc.), removing or disabling extensions, disabling plugins, closing and reopening Chrome, turning off hardware acceleration, restarting the PC, reinstalling Chrome.

Before You Start

0.1 Chrome settings

Be sure to take a backup of your settings before you attempt any of the following instructions. For instance, you could sync your Chrome settings, upload your bookmarks to Xmarks, and use a tool like LastPass for your passwords.

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0.2 Chrome browser settings - connect to google account

It’s crucial you backup your Chrome profile, otherwise all personalized settings will be lost. You can do this by going to the top “three-line” Chrome Customizations button and clicking “Settings”.

0.3 - Chrome browser settings - advanced sync settings

At the top of the Settings page will be the option to sync your Chrome browser with your Google account. Sign in, then click the “Advanced sync settings” button to toggle what you do and don’t want to sync.

If you were hoping to do this manually, I’m sorry, but those files which you’d be copying are what you’ll be deleting, thus you need to ensure all is backed up to your Google account.

The Fix

By the time I discovered this solution, I was so worn out and frustrated that I would have tried anything (not a good state of mind to be in when troubleshooting), but thankfully this worked out and the results were instant.

With Chrome closed, open up your file browser (e.g. Windows Explorer) and input the following:

Windows:

%localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default

Mac:

~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/

1 History Provider Cache Chrome folder

Deleting any other history, temporary or cache files doesn’t work, but manually deleting what is called the History Provider Cache file does. Once you’ve opened this folder, select all and tap the Delete key. Reopen Chrome and you should see the problem immediately rectified.

More Tips for Boosting Chrome’s Performance

If you’re battling general sluggishness, there are a few other recommended tips for increasing the speed and performance of Chrome.

Compatibility Mode

Right-click on the Chrome icon on your Desktop, click Properties and go to the Compatibility tab. Check “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and select your operating system from the dropdown menu.

2 Compatibility Mode - Chrome

Alternatively, if this is already checked and you’ve tried other options, you can try unchecking it – sometimes troubleshooting renders interesting results.

Disable Unnecessary Settings

This is optional, but if you want to reduce Chrome’s resource usage and increase its performance, you can disable/uncheck the following settings by typing in chrome://settings in the address bar.

Under “Search”:

3.1 search settings

  • Enable “Ok Google” to start a voice search

Under “Show advanced settings” > “Privacy”:

3.2 privacy settings

  • Use a web service to help resolve navigation errors
  • Use a prediction service to help complete searches and URLs typed in the address bar or the app launcher search box
  • Automatically report details of possible security incidents to Google
  • Use a web service to help resolve spelling errors
  • Automatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google
  • Send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic

Under “System”:

3.3 system settings

There have been many cases reported where turning off hardware acceleration has helped solved problems such as a lagging mouse cursor or Omnibox. This is also under “Show advanced settings”.

  • Use hardware acceleration when available

Manage Your Extensions Better

4.1 extensions

We all know extensions can weigh down on the overall performance of a browser. Some extensions are more demanding of system resources than others. Go through your installed extensions and apps (chrome://extensions), and see if you have any installed that you really aren’t using or don’t need for your workflow 3 Smart Chrome Extensions to Speed Up Your Workflow 3 Smart Chrome Extensions to Speed Up Your Workflow Chrome's minimalist and user-friendly interface is a big reason for its popularity, along with the excellent extensions available in the Web store. Here are three that will make browsing easier for you. Read More .

What about managing extensions 3 Chrome Extensions To Manage Your Chrome Extensions 3 Chrome Extensions To Manage Your Chrome Extensions Google Chrome has many extensions that work for you. But just like any collection of workers, when the force gets large enough, you need to get managers to make sure everything is running smoothly. Read More you do need? You may only occasionally use an extension, but disabling and enabling it can be a hassle. An extension called SimpleExtManager allows you to toggle apps and extensions on and off with a single click.

4.2 simpleextmanager

Disable Unnecessary Plugins

You can’t completely uninstall Chrome plugins (chrome://plugins), which is a good thing. You can disable any plugins you deem unnecessary. If you do happen to disable a plugin that you find you do need, such as Adobe Flash Player, just go back and enable it.

5.1 chrome plugins

How do you know if you need a plugin or not? Click the “Details” box to expand plugin information and read the description. Don’t hesitate to “Google” a plugin you’re unsure about too.

5.2 plugin details

Reach Under The Hood

What’s referred to as “Chrome Experiments” can be accessed by typing chrome://flags in the address bar. We’ve previously elaborated on customizing these special settings Using Google Chrome? Here's How to Reach Under The Hood & Customize Special Settings Using Google Chrome? Here's How to Reach Under The Hood & Customize Special Settings Chrome is one of my favorite Google products. Google got a few core, basic principles right in its design, and instead of becoming bloated over time like most software, Chrome remained svelte, secure, and very,... Read More .

6 chrome - flags

Clearing Your Browser History

Clearing your browser history can be good and bad. Note that these local files help keep Chrome running quickly so that it doesn’t have to constantly recreate them. However, after a while they can build up and cause adverse effects. So if you are regularly deleting them or have Chrome set to automatically delete these files on closing, stop and disable that.

7 browser history

But if you have never deleted these files and Chrome is still slow after trying other solutions, then go ahead and clear all of these files. Just do this sparingly in the future.

Run the Software Removal tool

8.1 software removal webpage

Recently Google released a software removal tool (which is still in beta) to scan and remove software that may be causing problems such as crashing Chrome, unusual startup pages and toolbars and unexpected ads you can’t get rid of.

8.2 chrome software removal tool

This tool is currently Windows-only and requires admin privileges. More information on this tool here.

A Completely Different Browsing Experience

For me, what almost caused me to give up on Chrome was its speed. I just couldn’t understand how even after a complete uninstall and cleaning out all associated files 4 Steps To Completely Remove Troublesome Or Bad Software [Windows] 4 Steps To Completely Remove Troublesome Or Bad Software [Windows] We’ve all had that one program that no matter what we’ve tried, it wouldn’t go away. Or perhaps you didn’t even know what to try and thought you were simply stuck with this annoying program... Read More , it was still slow. But clearly the folder referenced to in the beginning was never cleared or removed, and the new install of Chrome was still accessing it.

Once I found the solution was deleting all its contents, my Chrome user experience instantly turned around.

Have you had an issue with Chrome that almost made you scrap it altogether? What was it and how did you resolve it? Share your experience in the comments.

UPDATE: I made a mistake when writing this article. Because I already had my Chrome browser synced to my Google account, it didn’t even occur to me to mention that syncing your browser to your account was a step. I’m truly sorry for any headaches this caused when you followed the instructions and realized you deleted all your Chrome preferences. That is huge, I know. Thank you, everyone, for the feedback in the comment section that brought this issue to light.

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