How to Control Google Chrome’s Memory Usage and Free Up RAM
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Chrome has a bad reputation for hogging memory. Even Google has shared tips on how to reduce Chrome memory use. But with just a little bit of effort, there’s a lot you can do to keep Chrome RAM usage at a minimum.

Find Out How Much RAM Chrome Is Using

There are two easy ways you can figure out how much RAM Chrome is using. You can find out Chrome’s overall use in the Windows Task Manager 10 Windows Task Manager Tricks You Didn't Know 10 Windows Task Manager Tricks You Didn't Know If the only time you open the Task Manager is when an application is frozen and needs to be killed, you're overlooking some of its more powerful features. Read More .

If you want to drill down further and understand exactly how much RAM each site, extension, or plugin is using, you can opt instead for Chrome’s own Task Manager.

chrome task manager

You can then use the Chrome Task Manager to instantly kill RAM-hogging sites.

With the help of a few extensions and settings, you can also ensure that Chrome uses less memory without having to open up the task manager and kill sites.

Temporarily Close Tabs

The best place to start is with your tabs. You can either depend on a variety of extensions to suspend idle tabs and stop them from using up your RAM, or you can enable Chrome’s native tab discarding This is How Google is Fixing Chrome's Memory Problems and Discarding Tabs This is How Google is Fixing Chrome's Memory Problems and Discarding Tabs Google Chrome is just so slow and annoying. Right? Google is now rolling out major changes to the browser that fix memory problems and actively discards unused tabs. Read More .

Selectively Suspend Tabs

With Chrome extension TooManyTabs, you can choose exactly which tabs to temporarily close. Use the extension to close the tabs and reopen them in the exact same place so you can easily pick up where you left off. Not only is this handy for limiting how much RAM Chrome uses, it also makes it easier to stay focused with fewer tabs open.

After you install TooManyTabs, click on the extension button to pull up a list of all your open tabs. To suspend a tab, click the small yellow arrow next to the tab in question. To restore it, just click on the yellow tab in the Suspended Tabs list and it will be re-opened.

too many tabs chrome

If you have two Chrome windows open, each with multiple tabs, clicking the TooManyTabs button will only give you access to the tabs in the window you are looking at.

Suspend All Tabs

With The Great Suspender you can suspend all but one tab. Go to the tab you want to keep working on, click the Great Suspender button and select Suspend other tabs. Note that the extension can be a little finicky, and you might have to click the button twice to actually get all tabs suspended.

The Great Suspender gives you quite extensive control over how tabs are suspended. You can select certain sites to never be suspended, so if you always need your email inbox open in a browser, The Great Suspender is a good option. To reload a suspended tab, just click anywhere in the window.

great suspender chrome

If you want to suspend every single tab, OneTab is a better option. The extension collapses every single tab you have open without exceptions. It moves all the tabs into one list. You can then restore all tabs with one click, restore selective tabs, or close them all permanently.

one tab chrome

Let Chrome Choose for You

If you’d rather leave the task up to Chrome and not have to manually select the tabs to close, TabMemFree will suspend inactive tabs. The extension has some options to choose from. You can determine how long before it suspends inactive tabs, with a minimum of 15 minutes. And you can instruct it to ignored pinned tabs.

Tab Wrangler is another extension to consider that automatically suspends inactive tabs if you’re looking for a little more control. Like TabMemFree, you can determine the length of time before a tab is considered inactive and set it to ignore pinned tabs, but you have the added option to lock additional tabs and to sync your tab settings between different computers.

tab wrangler chrome

Strip Websites

Certain websites can really slow your computer down. Rather than let these sites get the best of your browser and computer, you can actually strip out a lot of the RAM-hogging content that slows you down.

Text Mode

Chrome extension Text Mode, as the name would indicate, loads all web pages in text only. Any images, videos, and flash elements are discarded. This does mean that it will get rid of ads and some embedded content. To activate Text Mode on any site, just click the button in your browser and you’re done.

A gray box will appear anywhere an image once was. Text Mode also gets rid of any color on the screen, so it actually is quite easy on the eyes. If you continue to browse other sites in the same tab where Text Mode is activated, it will continue to strip images and extras out of those sites. The extension does not remove YouTube embeds.

text mode chrome

Read Mode

If you prefer to continue to view images, but still want to strip out Flash and ads, you can opt for Read Mode. When you open up a page that you want to strip down to read mode, just click the button in your browser.

Get Rid of Unwanted Extras

Some add-ons and extras available for Chrome just add to the memory usage. Take a look at your plugins and extensions, and get rid of anything that you deem unnecessary.

We may be recommending a few extensions that can help keep curb Chrome’s memory usage, but keep in mind that too many extensions can slow your computer down, hence cleaning up your Chrome extensions How to Clean Up Your Browser Extensions (The Easy Way) How to Clean Up Your Browser Extensions (The Easy Way) If you regularly check out cool extensions, then it is probably time to clean up those add-ons that you no longer want, like, or need. Here's how to do it easily. Read More is a good idea. Paste chrome://extensions in your address bar and go through your extensions and get rid of anything that you don’t find yourself using on a regular basis.

A good way to see if you actually need these extensions is to disable them rather than remove them. A month later, go back to your extension list and if you haven’t felt the need to turn any of these extensions back on, you can go ahead and delete them through Chrome’s extension manager.

You can also clean up your plugins by pasting chrome://plugins in your address bar, and also try to avoid using Chrome themes.

Customize Chrome’s Settings

Chrome contains a few hidden settings 10 Hidden Google Chrome Pages and What You Can Do With Them 10 Hidden Google Chrome Pages and What You Can Do With Them Chrome holds more secrets than you might expect. Presently, you can access more than 60 hidden Chrome URLs and 15 debugging tools. We'll show you the 10 most important ones every power user should know. Read More that you can customize.

Paste chrome://settings/ in your address bar or access Settings by clicking the menu button (three stacked dots). Scroll down to the end of the page and click Advanced Settings. Go to Privacy > Content Settings > Unsandboxed Plugin Settings and make sure that Ask when a site wants to use a plugin to access your computer is selected. This should be the default as it’s the recommended Chrome setting.

Next, paste chrome://plugins/ in your address bar to pull up additional plugin settings. For all plugins, make sure that Always allowed to run is not checked.

You can also go to chrome://flags/ to access the browser’s experimental features. Several settings here can speed up Chrome, but they do come with a warning that they bite, so anything you do in these settings is at your own risk. You will have to restart your browser for any of these changes to take effect.

Check out this list of Chrome flags you should change to speed up Chrome.

Chrome Optimized

In addition to the extensions and tweaks outlined above, your habits can also contribute to a better Chrome experience. Always keep Chrome updated and periodically clear your cache Don't Give Up on Chrome Until You've Done This First Don't Give Up on Chrome Until You've Done This First If you're contemplating ditching Chrome and switching to Internet Explorer or Firefox, I can relate. Some solutions did help improve Chrome a little, but there was only one thing that fixed the problem. Read More . There may be other culprits to blame for your lack of RAM, so once you’re done with Chrome, take a look at these ways to clear memory and increase RAM on your Windows computer.

If after trying all of these tips and tricks you find that Chrome just still isn’t cutting it, despite all its great features, don’t forget there are plenty of alternative browsers worth trying Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox Which Browser Is Best? Edge vs. Chrome vs. Opera vs. Firefox The browser you're using right now may not be the best one for you. The browser arena changes so frequently that your conclusions from comparisons made last year may be completely wrong this year. Read More . We’ve covered how to fix Chrome crashes Google Chrome Isn't Responding or Keeps Crashing or Freezing? Google Chrome Isn't Responding or Keeps Crashing or Freezing? Is Google Chrome not responding for you? We'll walk you through troubleshooting Chrome crashes and freezes to fix your browser. Read More too.

Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping Chrome memory usage at a minimum? Let us know in the comments.

Explore more about: Browser Extensions, Computer Memory, Google Chrome, Tab Management.

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  1. Eric
    January 9, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    This is an awful lot of work that literally nobody should ever have to do. Keeping Chrome from exhausting resources should not be an exercise in futility.

  2. Nixed
    November 30, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    FYI, reading this article made my Chrome's CPU's usage jump between 14% and 26%. Ironic, No?

  3. pro
    September 22, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    I am not convinced brrowsers should use that much RAM . In 2010 the web was not that far behind, still I managed to have 20+ tabs open + pdfs, + word and powerpoint sheets for a "grand total " of 2 gigabytes. Me thinks someone is not doing their job properly.Having that many "windows" open did not reduce speed at least noticeably or making it slower than it is today. I and I didn't have to "suspend" or "close" any tabs. We should try to be more serious against the arguments of browser developers and not always giving them a free pass.

    P.S. If speed is the concern then all this "preloading" should be optional instead of shoving it up our throats. Another thing. Having that many "windows" open did not reduce speed at least noticeably or making it slower than it is today.

  4. KevinC
    May 8, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Chrome needs an extension to automatically clear the cache and RAM on a schedule. I am running Slimjet and when I first started it used minimal resources. A I used it it started consuming more and more RAM. Now I have to clear the RAM every few minutes or it freezes.

  5. Zarros
    November 22, 2017 at 1:49 am

    These aren't going to help anyone 100%. A fresh OS install with fresh Chrome with no addons except Adobe Flash and still getting memory leaks. A website that only contains a 250 Mb video I'm watching can take up to 4 Gb of RAM if I leave it open long enough, there is a serious issue with Chrome's memory.

    I believe the issue lies with Flash or Chrome, because it usually happens on websites that are using flash. If you leave the window open long enough it will continue to eat up memory even though there is nothing happening, and eventually freeze. There is 0% chance this is an issue with my system as it is a fresh install, fresh chrome, and it's happened across multiple computers on different networks.

  6. Dionora C Ferrantino
    April 14, 2017 at 8:45 am

    The two extensions that I could never live without are OneTab & Print Friendly. They simplify & de-frustrate (not a word?) :) I am grateful to you for sharing all of this information. I even right clicked all the "read more" links & "sent this web link to OneTab"

  7. Barry Merchant
    April 12, 2017 at 1:36 am

    I had multiple problems with Chrome. It was slow and chewed up my 16 GB of RAM. It also wouldn't properly render some of my programs. All this and it steals your information too! I solved the problem by going back to Firefox. Problem solved.

  8. Wesley
    April 12, 2017 at 12:47 am

    There is no "tabmemfree" extension.

  9. Jon Heil
    April 11, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Dang, I thought there would be some real tweaks in it to go in the settings and allow it to use more system memory or something, the other tab and addons, I dont have much of. I do open up about 150+ tabs at a time for sweepstakes and was hoping it would be a fix for this, but guess nothing much. Guess its good for rookies who love using all those silly add-ons or clicking on stuff that you get all the junk added.

  10. Dave
    April 11, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    OR....Google could program it to be less of a resource hog.

  11. Tomi Häsä
    April 11, 2017 at 10:45 am

    There is no "plugins settings" as mentioned above in Google Chrome 57 for OS X 10.11.

  12. Magnolia
    April 8, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Just use another browser -_-

    • superkitebr
      April 8, 2017 at 8:02 am

      I use Slimjet, and I only open Chrome when I absolutely have to. On some 6 tabs tests, Slimjet used around 523mb, whereas Chrome (with only 2 extensions loaded> an Adblocker and a Download manager as to be comparable to Slimjet) was over 912mb)

      Slimjet's download manager is also really very simple and fast. I'd love to find it as a standalone extension to use with some other browsers.