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How to Fix a Memory Leak in Google Chrome

Article discusses about memory leakage, how it happens, and why Google Chrome has it. Most especially, tells you how to fix memory leak in Chrome.

Google is fuzzing about their newest web browser, Chrome. Arguably, Chrome is the fastest web browser out in the market yet. Advertisers exaggerate that Chrome beats even Mozilla Firefox in terms of security, and possibly, Opera, in terms of speed.

Unfortunately, what they say are only half truths.

It is true that Google Chrome is a fast web browser. Chrome relies on the use of cache so that data doesn't need to be requested back and forth, in case it was already available locally.

The untold part is that Chrome is only fast if your machine is fast. Google Chrome consumes gluttons of memory to complete the process. Certainly it does make the web browser faster upon first glance. However eventually, perhaps after a few minutes, the browser will suffer an extreme slowdown until it freezes; until your machine freezes too.

What is memory leakage?

The problem with Google Chrome is called memory leakage. Computer memory is like a waiting room, where people come and go, get called, and are able to respond fast when they are needed. When they are no longer needed, or they have finished their tasks, they get out of the room.

The same analogy works for computer memory. Temporary data that are currently being used—say, by a desktop application—stays on the computer memory. Because the technology used to create a memory module (hardware) is better than the technology used to build hard drives (hardware), data transfer in RAM is faster.

In a nutshell, physical memory, or simply memory, is faster than the hard drive, making it a more efficient waiting room for temporary data.

Why is there memory leak in Google Chrome?

The problem starts when the waiting room (computer memory) gets crowded. How is that possible?

Some applications (Google Chrome in this scenario) do not release allocated memory after they are done with it. Sounds like greedy, right? This happens for a variety of reasons, like a bug for one. Sometimes memory leakage is there on purpose. Sometimes its just inevitable.

That, in a matter of speaking, is the long and confusing explanation of memory leakage.

And Google Chrome has serious issues with memory leakage.

How to fix memory leak in Chrome?

Unless you own Google and can use brute force to make them rewrite the entire Chrome web browser from the ground up, there is no permanent fix for Chrome's severe memory leaks.

However, you still have some options (or fixes):

  • Restart Google Chrome every so often. By closing Google Chrome, you are finally releasing computer memory that is held against its will. Then you can open Google Chrome again, and repeat this process painstakingly.
  • Clear your browsing history, including the cache, at least every five minutes. Somehow, it works the same way to free unused memory in Google Chrome.
  • Find Add-ons. The good thing about Google Chrome is its wide range of extensions that you can use to optimize your browsing experience. There's an array of add-ons for automating the above two Chrome fixes. Take your pick.
  • Turn off flash. Some flash animations can be turned off on certain websites. There are also add-ons for doing this, which you can find if you browse Google Chrome extensions.
  • Upgrade your PC. If all mentioned above aren't enough, you will have to upgrade your physical memory (computer memory). Still remember, upgrading on memory does not guarantee a permanent solution. You still have to do the given memory leak fixes as often as possible.

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Comments (4)

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i have terrible experiences wityh this browser, just like you say, when started up the browser is fast.. i however left it running once for two days with one tab open on a youtube page.. when i came back the computer was extremely slow and memmoy usage for chrome was 2.2GB.. incredible!! i have now left the realms of chrome until they decode to fix this.. its basically unusable for people doing research with many tabs open. pity ...it is a nice browser.

The problem isn't with Chrome, though it does run heavy.  The problem is with Flash which a large number of sites use.  This leak happens with all browsers when running heavy flash based sites such as Facebook games & music apps like Spotify.  The real solution is for everyone to let Adobe know that they have a problem and will lose support unless they fix it.  I personally won't develop sites with flash anymore because of Adobe's lack of in-the-wild support.  Besides, CSS3 is much lighter than Flash or Java, and runs smoother on every browser & older machines without oodles of memory.

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