Butchering The Google Chrome CPU Hog

This one is going in the tech category and isn’t necessarily focused specifically on social media. But since so many of manage our social media channels via a browser, like Chrome, I’m going to post a solve that might help others out there who are frustrated with their slow PC. Recently, one of my computers has been behaving badly. The fan run constantly, the CPU cycles are running high, and the performance is just…well…horrible.

I spent a considerable amount of time looking for spyware to see if some malicious little software spy had been installed, but came up empty. BTW, if your PC is running slow and you haven’t run a spyware check recently, now would be a good time to do it. Here are links to a couple of tools that offer free trials that will get you going:

MalwareBytes

AdAware

Since I didn’t find any offending malware installed, my next step was to clean my registry in case there were old registry keys that were mispointed or just out of date that would be hurting the performance.  Again, I turned to a free tool. Took 30 minutes, cleaned up quite a few old registry keys, but no luck in calming down my CPU.

CCleaner

The final step I took was to defragment my hard drive. Just to make sure that disk fragmentation wasn’t slowing the computer down. I followed my own advice and used Defragler to clean up my hard drive space. Unfortunately, it didn’t really help speed up my computer, so I had to continue the search.

Since the easy stuff was done, but my CPU was still cycling high, I turned to the Windows Task Manager to see what might be causing the issue. You can open the Task Manager by choosing Ctrl + Shift + Esc. You can see how your CPU(s) are performing by selecting the Performance tab. As you can see from the image below, my CPU cycles are really high…that’s what I’m trying to figure out.

Windows Task Manager Shows That My PC CPU Is Running Hot

The best way to see what is using all those CPU cycles is to switch to the Processes tab and then order the CPU column from highest to lowest by clicking the column header twice. When I did that, I saw something very, very interesting.

Chrome. Multiple instance of Chrome. All consuming a ton of resources.

Wow! Chrome Is Using All My CPU Cycles, Causing My Processor To Work Overtime

Seriously, Chrome? You are running 13 different process that are consuming a TON of resources on my machine? After thinking about this for a couple of minute and Googling for a couple minutes more, I realized that each of the tabs I have open in Chrome are being treated as a separate process, and are consuming their own allocated resources.

There is one word for that…ridiculous.

Yes, I had 11 tabs open in Chrome and that was probably a little on the high side, but for there to be 13 different memory hogs and CPU hogs slowing down my computer…that’s just bad architecture. In fact, take a look at the image above and notice that Firefox is running. I opened the same 11 tabs in Firefox and it’s running a single process using significantly fewer resources than Chrome.

I could ditch Chrome altogether, but I actually like the integration with my phone (a Samsung Galaxy), so I wanted to find a way to keep Chrome, but have it run more efficiently. Ironically, this led me back to Chrome to run some Google searches like:

  • Why is Chrome so slow?
  • Why are there multiple instances of Chrome running in the Windows Task Manager?
  • Are there ways to speed up Chrome on Windows?
  • Tips for speeding up Chrome
  • Tips for reducing Chrome’s usage of Windows resources.

The answer {drumroll please} is an extension in the Chrome Store called “The Great Suspender”.

You see, whether you are using those tabs in Chrome, they are still consuming resources. Chrome doesn’t know that when I’m not looking at a tab, I want it to go to sleep and stop consuming resources. So The Great Suspender does just that. It allows you to put a tab (or all the tabs) to sleep so they don’t bog down your computer while you are working on other things.

To install this great extension, just go here:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/the-great-suspender/klbibkeccnjlkjkiokjodocebajanakg?hl=en

and choose “Add to Chrome”. The extension will install and you’ll see a new toolbar icon that gives you the ability to control your tabs.

The Great Suspender Chrome Extension Puts Your Browser Tabs To Sleep While You're Not Using Them

By choosing “Suspend this tab” you can put the currently active tab to sleep or by selecting “Suspend all tabs”, you can stop Chrome from using all but a bare minimum of your CPU cycles so you can work on a Powerpoint deck, play a game, or work on a cool new infographic in Photoshop. Then, when you want to browse again, either activate the tab you want to use or activate all your tabs.

Want to see the proof? When I suspended all 11 tabs mentioned above, the additional Chrome processes disappeared and look how many cycles it’s using now.

The Great Suspender Chrome Extension Stopped Chrome From Using All My Processor Cycles

Not too shabby. Basically, Chrome CPU cycles were reduced to nothing.

So there you have it. Hopefully, that little tip will help someone else out there who is having issues with Chrome chewing up all their CPU cycles. Sure…you could buy more memory or a faster computer, but why not just nip Chrome in the bud?

Have experience with this or other tips that could help reduce the overhead of running Chrome as your browser? Share them in a comment!

Cheers!

–Sean

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