How to reduce Google Chrome memory usage

How-To

Browsers are programs that requires virtually the same care that Operating Systems, that is why there are a multitude of extensions or plug-ins that expands the browser's functions, like: plugins that allows the browser to make a better usage of the memory, plugins that help us to organize the tabs in a better way, plugins that turn on or off certain options, etc. In such a way that we will get the maximum benefit out of our browser.

In recent years, the program Google Chrome has been become the most widely used browser by users on the Internet. This is due to the large number of features and characteristics that help us to browser more easily.

A situation very common, is the one that we open countless tabs in the browser: Youtube, Facebook, twitter, Gmail, Vine, Google+, etc. One page leads to another, and so on, until we have opened a few tens of tabs, reaching in some cases the hundred of tabs opened. That implies that the browser will consume too much memory.

To avoid that, there are two extensions that will reduce the browser's memory usage, and in addition, one of them will help us to better organize the tabs and windows of Google Chrome.

Note: this tutorial is also applicable to the browser Chromium.

The first thing we should keep in mind is the way in which we use the web browser. There are two possibilities:

  1. When we launch the browser, it only opens a window with a web page (usually a search engine)

  2. When we launch the browser, it opens all the pages that we left opened in the last session. (To enable this choice we must check“Settings-> start->to Continue where you left off”)

If you are one of those users who use the browser like described in number 1, this tutorial will serve you to have better performance in Chrome and to be able to open multiple tabs.If you are one of those users that uses the browser like described in number 2, you will learn to organize all the tabs and to reduce to the maximum the browser's memory usage. Thanks to that, Google Chrome will not make use of a lot of memory, and we'll be able to open a large amount of tabs in a controlled and organized way.

Let's start by downloading and installing FooTab extension, that allows to lazy load the tabs opened in last session, loading only one tab in memory. This way if in the last session we had open 100 tabs and we launch Chrome, only one tab will be loaded in memory. The other 99 tabs will be inactive until we click on them.

The tabs that are not loaded in memory will be accessible from the top of the browser. The only difference is that the content of these tabs will not be loaded, so when clicking on them the content will be loaded.In this way we have all our tabs accessible and visible (we'll see the icon and the title), and will not consume extra memory.

We must keep in mind that FooTab is an extension that cannot be installed from the Chrome Web Store (CWS), and Windows users must perform a few additional steps to be able to install this extension. Here you can see how to install external extensions in Google Chrome.

The use of the extension is very simple, once installed, there is no need to configure anything, because the extension is loaded automatically when Chrome is launched.

If we open many windows and tabs in Chrome, it is quite sure that the computer's memory will colapse, and the PC will slow down. When that happens, we must close the browser and re-open it. We will see that the memory used by the browser once restarted, is much less. This is because when Google Chrome is closed, it frees up all the memory it was using, and when we launch it, FooTab will block all tabs except one.

Here we can see how varies the memory usage once we close the browser and relaunch it with FooTab enabled.

This image shows that almost 14 Gb of memory is being used (by all the processes)

The next image shows the memory usage after closing Chromium browser. Now there is only little more than 4Gb used, so the browser was making use of almost 10Gb of memory.

The next image shows the memory used by the computer after re-launching Chromium browser with FooTab extension enabled. It can be seen that now the memory used are little more than 6Gb. So we've gone from using 14Gb of memory to 6Gb. FooTab has allowed us to have all the browser's tabs available and saving virtually 8Gb of memory RAM.

For those users who open multiple Chrome windows, it's good to know how to close the browser so the next time you open it, it loads all the windows that we were using. To achieve this, we must click on “Menu->Exit”, or by pressing the keys combination “Shift+Ctrl+Q”. If we have 3 windows opened, with 15 tabs in each window, and we close Chrome in this way, the next time we open the browser, it will load the 3 windows and 45 tabs.

Here is a detailed description of the extension FooTab, and its download link.

If we usually open a multitude of tabs and windows, in addition to using FooTab to avoid the unnecessary load of tabs, we also need to use the following extension, that in addition to free memory, helps us to clear the browser interface, saving the tabs in Projects for later use.

Let's start by downloading and installing Project Tab Manager extension.

Download Project Manager Tab from Chrome Web Store.

This extension allows to organize and group in an easy way browser's tabs.We will create Projects where we will save all the tabs related to that project. For example, we can create a Project with 17 tabs related to an investigation that we are conducting; we can create another Project with 5 windows related to a problem that has arisen in the PC; and in this way, we can create as many projects as we want.

Once the extension is installed, we'll see a folder icon in the top right of the navigation bar. That icon give us access to the functions of the extension.

The projects are saved in a list which is accessible from the main icon. Clicking on any of the projects, it will open a new browser window, which contains all the tabs that were saved in that Project.We can close the project and then resume it at any time. In this way, we avoid having the window open and, therefore, consuming memory.

The best way to create a Project is to open a new window of the browser, and load all the web pages related to that project. After that we click on icon of the extension and enter the project name in “New Project Name” text box. Click on the button “+”, and we will see how a gold star is added on the right side of each of the tabs shown in the list.

If we want to delete a tab of the Project, we just have to click on the gold star at the right-hand side, and the tab will no longer open when we load the project.

If we want to add a new tab to the Project, we just need to add the web to our bookmarks, and save it in the folder “Other Bookmarks->Project Tab Manager->Located”.

Organize our windows and tabs in Projects is very useful, since we will be able to save multiple tabs that are related, without need to create a folder in the Bookmarks and add tabs one by one.

in Addition, when we open a Project, it only loads one tab.. So if the Project consists of 55 tabs, only one tabe will be loaded in memory, saving the memory of the 54 remaining tabs.

Here is a detailed description of Project Tab Manager.

Making a combined use of these two simple extensions, we will avoid the need to close tabs that take up memory, or restart the computer in case the browser is saturated and freeze up.If we used to use Project Tab Manager, we can handle hundreds of tabs at once without any kind of disorder or problem.

Software Index mentioned in this tutorial:

If you have any questions, or know of any other extension to improve the management Chrome memory, do not hesitate to leave us a comment.

by Rubén Hernández

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