Category Archives: Browsers

Four Steps You Can Follow If Chrome Is Slow To Load On Your Computer

Chrome is an excellent browser, arguably better than any other browser, but there’s no denying that it’s a massive memory hog. No matter how much RAM you have, His Chromeness will spread his enormous footprint and consume as much available RAM as possible. This problem has only gotten worse over time, and if you have 4GB or less RAM on your computer, it’s almost impossible to make Chrome run smoothly.

chrome logo

Unless, you follow these steps. 🙂

Disable/uninstall unnecessary extensions, apps, and plugins

This one is a no-brainer. Go through the list of extensions (chrome://extensions) that you have installed, and uninstall or disable the ones you can live without. Every active Chrome extension and app runs in its own process and consumes memory, hence getting rid of a bunch can make Chrome noticeably leaner.

Disable Extensions

Similarly, go through the plugins (chrome://plugins) list, and disable the bloated ones like Java, Silverlight, VLC, QuickTime, etc. Google will remove support for such plugins from Chrome by the end of this year.

Automatically suspend idle tabs

One big reason for Chrome’s big appetite is its multi-process structure. Basically, Chrome spins off a new process for every tab, extension, and app that you open or install. This helps a lot in making the browser stable (a rogue website or extension won’t take down the entire browser), but it comes at the cost of heavy memory consumption.

the great suspender

You can solve this issue by installing The Great Suspender, a Chrome extension that will automatically hibernate tabs that have been inactive for a certain period (default is 15 minutes). Doing this will release the memory that was used by that tab. You can easily restore the tab’s content by clicking anywhere inside its window.

Let Chrome run in the background

This step won’t help with memory issues, but will help Chrome launch faster and respond better, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Click the menu button (triple line button to the right of the address bar), go to Settings, scroll to the bottom and click on “Show advanced settings…“.  Again scroll to the bottom where you will find an option to let Chrome apps run in the background. Enable it if it isn’t already.

chrome background

Now all you have to do is install an app that can run in the background. There is no dearth of such apps in the Chrome web store.

Run Chrome in Metro Mode (Windows 8 and 8.1)

This step is just for Windows 8 and 8.1 users. The Metro (or Modern, or Windows 8) apps, which are exclusive to these versions of Windows, are allowed to run only in single processes. And the good news is, Chrome can be run as a Metro app, thereby restricting it to just a single process and somewhat cutting down its memory consumption.

Chrome has to be the default browser on your PC for it to run in Metro mode. Open Chrome and select “Relaunch Chrome in Windows 8 mode” from the menu button. If Chrome isn’t your default browser, it will ask you to make it the default at this point.

chrome windows 8 metro

Chrome looks and works exactly the same in Metro mode, but should you wish to go back to desktop mode, you can do so by clicking on “Relaunch Chrome in desktop mode“. 

We all wish Google would work on making Chrome lean and fast like the good old days, but until that happens, the above steps will help you use your favorite browser in peace.

If you have other Chrome fixers in mind, share with us in the comments below!

Improve Chrome’s Startup Time By Installing A Background App

Chrome handles most browsing tasks like a champ, but the browser itself can slow down for various reasons. If you’re a Chrome “power user”, you might have noticed that its startup time takes a hit once you have a dozen or so extensions and apps installed.1

chrome background app

Chrome spins off every single app, extension, and tab as a separate process, resulting in a dozen or more processes to launch simultaneously when you start the browser. With every new extension or app, the number of “default” chrome processes increases and so does the startup time.

Thankfully, this problem can be solved by making use of “background apps”, which are unique to Chrome. As you probably guessed from the name, a background Chrome app will keep running in the background, even after you close all the Chrome windows. The obvious benefit of a background app is that it feels more native on your desktop compared to a regular web app. But there’s an added benefit as well – a background Chrome app will keep some of the chrome processes running all the time. So the next time you start Chrome, only a few extra chrome processes will need to be created, resulting in a faster startup. If you miss the good old days when Chrome used to start as fast as Notepad, simply installing a background app will take you back to those days. There are literally no other steps required.

For whatever reason, there aren’t many background apps available in the Chrome Web Store – you can find the few that are available with a simple search. The most popular of the background apps is one which you probably already know about – Google’s Offline Gmail app. If you’re using it, you really didn’t need to read this post. Please stop being furious and enjoy some kitty goodness. 🙂

[1] People using SSDs are unlikely to have this problem, as SSDs are much faster than regular hard disk drives.

Bring the “Reload Image” feature of Firefox and Opera to Chrome

Online images often fail to load when you’re on a slow or flaky connection. Whenever this happens, most browsers (except Firefox, which shows the image title) replace the original image with a broken image icon.

The most obvious way to combat this problem is to reload the webpage, and hope that the image loads that time. Naturally, this solution sucks.

Firefox and Opera handle this issue better with a simple context menu entry. When you encounter a broken image on either of these browsers, simply right-click over it and select the “Reload Image” option. The image will appear magically, without you having to load the entire page again.

Chrome doesn’t have this nifty feature, but what it does have is a plethora of extremely useful extensions that bring almost every missing feature to the awesome browser. To get the above feature in Chrome, you have to install an extension named, why yes, Reload Image! Install this extension now, and the broken images won’t annoy you half as much as before.


Bring Chrome-style Popup Status Bars To Safari And Opera

The status bar of a browser is a quick way to view the destination URL of any hyperlink, but it has little use beyond that. Hence, having it turned on all the time and occupy some vertical screen space isn’t really a good idea.

Chrome was the first browser to introduce an “intelligent” status bar – one that pops up only when it needs to show some browser action. Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9 have since followed suit, but Opera and Safari are still stuck with the old style always-on-or-always-off status bars.

popup status bar

Thankfully, both Opera and Safari support extensions, and there’s a different extension available for each browser that introduces the Chrome-style status bar to it.

Safari 5+ users can get the Ultimate Status Bar extension from the Extensions Gallery (you’ll have to search for it, because stupid Apple doesn’t provide a separate page for each extension).

Opera 11+ users should get the Popup Statusbar extension instead.

I have only tested the Safari extension of the two, and it works as advertised. The Opera extension does have a very high rating, so it must be working perfectly well too.

Do note that neither of these extensions won’t automatically remove the old-style status bars, so you will have to do that yourself. Use the Ctrl+/ (Command+/ on OS X) combination in Safari to hide the status bar. In Opera, hit the Menu button on the top left, go to Toolbars, and uncheck the “Status bar” option. Opera’s status bar does have some buttons for Unite, Link, Turbo, and some page viewing options – if you use any of those buttons, better not install the mentioned extension or disable the status bar.