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Browser Slow? How to Make Google Chrome Fast Again

Have you noticed your usually speedy Google Chrome browser slowing down, or even crashing on you? Unnecessary plugins, extensions, and even browsing data can slow your browser down to a crawl, or make it crash. Here’s how to fix it.

In this article, we’ll show you how to disable plugins and extensions and clear browsing data to speed up Chrome and prevent it from crashing on you.

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Image by cindy47452

Disable Plugins

By default, when you install Google Chrome, many unnecessary plugins are installed and enabled. Plugins help Chrome process special types of content, such as Flash, Java, Silverlight, or Windows Media files, but most of them aren’t even important to your daily browsing. Plugins can slow down the performance of Chrome, but you can disable plugins you are not using. To do this, type “about:plugins” (without the quotes) in the address bar of Chrome and press Enter.

NOTE: You can safely disable every single plugin, but you may want to keep Flash enabled, as a lot of sites use Flash to display menus, show videos, etc. Also, if you watch Netflix in Chrome, you need to keep the Silverlight plugin enabled. You can always enable a plugin again if you need to.

01_entering_about_plugins_in_address_bar

A list of installed plugins displays on the current tab. Scroll through the list and click the Disable link for each plugin you feel you don’t need.

NOTE: Plugins cannot be deleted or uninstalled, only disabled. An exception would be a plugin that was installed as part of an extension and you uninstall the extension. Then, the plugin is automatically removed.

02_disabling_a_plugin

Disabled plugins turn gray in the list, and the Disable link for each disabled plugin becomes an Enable link, allowing you to enable the plugin again, if desired.

03_enabling_a_plugin

Disable Extensions

Extensions are small programs available in the Chrome Web Store that add extra features and functionality to Chrome. They can be very useful, but if you end up with a lot of extensions installed, the browser’s speed may be negatively affected. You can easily disable extensions without uninstalling them to gain some speed. Some extensions install a button on Chrome’s address bar, and those can be quickly disabled by right-clicking on them and choosing Uninstall from the menu.

04_extensions_on_toolbar

You can also install apps in Chrome, that are accessible on the New Tab page. These can also be disabled.

05_games_on_new_tab_page

To access your list of installed extensions and apps, click the wrench icon on the toolbar and select Tools -> Extensions from the drop-down menu. You can uninstall extensions with buttons without accessing this list, but you might be surprised that some extensions are in the list that don’t have a button.

06_opening_extensions_list

To disable an extension, click the Enabled check box to the right of the extension’s title in the list so there is no check mark in the box.

07_disabling_an_extension

The Enabled check box becomes an Enable check box, allowing you to re-enable the extension at any time.

NOTE: You can also easily remove any extensions or apps you don’t want anymore by clicking the trash can icon to the right of the Enabled check box.

08_remove_from_chrome_link

Notice that there are a lot less extensions on our toolbar now.

09_less_extensions_on_toolbar

Clear Browsing Data

As you browse the web, Chrome’s history database collects URLs and cached texts for websites you’ve visited, your download history, cookies, and other website and plugin data. While the point of the history and cache database are to speed up your computer by caching things locally instead of having to download every time, sometimes the history database can become very large and may slow down Chrome.

NOTE: You shouldn’t clear your history regularly for speed purposes, as that defeats the purpose of a local cache. You can certainly clear it for privacy reasons though.

There are several ways to clear your browsing history, including clearing your entire history and clearing the history for specific sites.

Clear Your Entire Browsing History

To clear your entire browsing history, click the wrench icon on the toolbar and select Tools -> Clear browsing data from the drop-down menu.

NOTE: Clearing your entire browsing history prevents matches from displaying when you start typing URLs in the address bar.

10_selecting_clear_browsing_data

In the Clear browsing data dialog, select the items you want to clear and select a time range from the drop-down list. Click Clear browsing data to clear the selected data.

11_clear_browsing_data_dialog

When the Clear browsing data dialog closes, the Settings tab opens. To close it, click the red X button on the tab.

12_closing_settings_dialog

Clear Specific Items from Your Browsing History

If you want to delete the history for only specific webpages, click the wrench icon on the toolbar and select History from the drop-down menu.

13_selecting_history

Move your mouse over a webpage you want to remove from the history list and select the check box that displays. Once you have selected all the webpages you want to remove, click Remove selected items.

14_removing_selected_items

A confirmation dialog box displays. Click OK if you are sure you want to remove the webpages from the history list.

15_delete_history_confirmation

To close the History tab, click the red X button on the tab.

16_closing_history_tab

Clear Your Browsing History from the New Tab Page

The New Tab page displays thumbnails for the websites you visit most. You can clear your browsing history by removing these thumbnails from the New Tab page.

To remove a webpage from the New Tab page, move your mouse over the thumbnail for the site and click the X that displays in the upper, right corner of the thumbnail.

NOTE: You can reset the New Tab page to blank thumbnails by clearing your entire browsing history, as mentioned earlier.

17_removing_site_from_new_tab_page

You can also remove a thumbnail from the New Tab page, by dragging it to the Remove from Chrome trash can, which only displays once you start dragging a thumbnail.

18_dragging_site_to_remove_from_chrome

Clear Your Browsing History Automatically when Chrome Exits

Earlier in this article, we recommended disabling extensions you don’t use to speed up Chrome. However, there is one extension that might be useful. The Click&Clean extension allows you to clear browsing data automatically when you close Chrome.

To install Click&Clean, click the link above and then click the Add to Chrome button on the webpage for the extension.

19_adding_click_and_clean_to_chrome

A confirmation dialog box displays to make sure you want to install the extension. It also tells you what the extension can access. Click Add to continue with the installation.

20_add_click_and_clean_confirmation

Once Click&Clean has been installed, a notification displays, pointing to the new button on the Chrome toolbar.

21_click_and_clean_added

When you click the Click&Clean button, the Main menu displays. There are many tools available in this extension for maintaining Chrome and your computer. The gray buttons in the middle of the menu provide access to more tools.

To configure Click&Clean to clear browsing data when Chrome exits, click the Options button on the Main menu.

23_click_and_clean_main_menu

To select which types of browsing data to clear when you close Chrome, click the Clear Private Data when Browser Closes tab on the left. Click the plus sign to the left of Chrome in the list on the right. Check the items you want automatically cleared when you close Chrome.

For more information about the options available in Click&Clean, see the Help webpage.

24_setting_click_and_clean_options

Happy speedy browsing!

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Lori Kaufman is a freelance technical writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 07/24/12

Comments (47)

  1. mooseotto

    useful article. this website is valuable to people with some knowledge of computers.

  2. Mohit

    Kindly tell about Firefox and IE also

  3. john

    thats why you should use chrome instead of firefox or IE

  4. Raging Rod

    It’s easy in firefox.

    Clean all your cookies with ccleaner and click reset button from troublshooting menu.

    You’ve got fresh firefox. Install add-ons that you use. That way you get rid of some not useful extension too

  5. Disgruntled of Kelburn

    It’s bad enough that the Geek doesn’t have enough geekiness to get his website to recognise tablets, but, to add insult to injury, he puts the bloody “Switch to regular theme” option at the bottom of the bloody page!

  6. Patricia

    Google Chrome is the browser I use. Why will it not let Flash update? Flash crashes every time it updates.

  7. Tangmeister

    “Come in useful”? I sure hope the Stable channel doesn’t have that grammar…

  8. Ralph

    hmmmm … “can’t uninstall … can only disable” … ?
    really? wtf? oh wait … “uninstall Chrome” … okay – they’re uninstalled now …
    stupid waste browser …
    FF is going downhill.
    Chrome is becoming so locked into it’s “own thing” (EG: Google building “apps” that can only be used within Chrome) … reminds me of IE6 and Microsoft in IT’S hayday. I didn’t like that then. I don’t like it now.
    Safari? MAC? Sorry … never jumped on that bandwagon and I don’t go for my products because they LOOK cool. I like my products to be flexible and allow me to do what I want to do – not what some pompous, megalomaniac deems I should be able to do (or thinks that he knows what I want to do). And, frankly, Safari ON Windows sucks.

    And while it does have some downsides too, I use Opera and, for work, IE (unfortunately).

  9. macobsidian

    I wish Chrome had the same functionality as Firefox when closing the browser and all data is cleared. Better than installing an extension to do the same thing.

  10. Kirk

    Kind of a silly article. Any browser has its own clean-up utilities. If it is that big a deal to have your browser wipe itself clean every day, just download ccleaner and have it run every time you boot up or manually run it every time you close the browser (you probably have mental instability though). How bad can your browser be daily and WTF are you downloading and visiting daily to hose it so bad!? Be careful disabling ANY plug-ins too as suddenly you’ll find Flash, Java, Silverlight, and Quicktime no longer running on EVERY website known to man out there and wonder….”hmmmm, why is this site not loading or showing me a video of a parkouring pitbull jumping from roof to roof after some tool-bag Batman fanboy”.

    Chrome is by far the fastest out there, just read any tech article worth its weight. IE is always bloated and just sucks because it is Microsoft and FF is so hit and miss the past few years from crashing to totally copying Chrome’s look (see IE9 too), I haven’t looked back since v3/4. You don’t need to update Adobe Flash in Chrome as it is built in and does it automatically unless you monkey around and disable things. Opera is nice but there is too much going on there and isn’t near as quick. F’ safari and anything crApple…they are con-artists and make a living on shiny white things that are no more stable, fast, and durable than anything else you buy out there. By all means though, overpay and pretend you matter in society.

  11. vincent

    good one dude. I like it

    send more like this.

  12. Anon

    What? No love for Seamonkey, K-Meleon, Deepnet, Rockmelt, Maxthon, or Opera?!

    I might understand why some people don’t like Safari, but what about Konqueror, Midori, or even just plain old Chromium (I wonder how many people even know the difference)?

  13. Sudo Bash

    Crome, Firefox, Safari, IE, and Opera? Who needs them. Just use lynx! It will speed up you page rendering many times over.

    Personally I just use Firefox because it is suits my needs. I was going to try Chrome, but on Linux it requires that I set the SUID bit on its sandbox executable. This means that Chrome has root privileges on my Linux box and can do anything it wants. I don’t trust Google to do anything it wants on my computer. I know what reason Google has for requiring SUID, but I am just going to stick with FF for now.

  14. Birry

    If you don’t want history just use incognito. You can also always use incognito with a tweak.

  15. Jimbo

    I had hoped this article would be the panecea to cure my many frustrations with Chrome (which more accurately should be called “the Tinman”). Instead, the article only confirmed my suspicion that Chrome is much like the basic American manufactured car; It’s cheaply made, performs poorly, needs several add-ons to try to improve performannce but the add-ons only add weight and impede performance so that ultimately you still have a dog.

  16. SatoMew

    Google Chrome has really become a plague when people only write articles (even obvious ones such as this one) frequently about it. And why do you tell people to type in “about:{something}” when the internal pages in Chromium and Google Chrome are “chrome://{something}”, which is even proved by the screenshots you took. :/

  17. pbug56

    Nice info, but I’m giving up on Chrome. When I first got Chrome, it used to BSOD the Win XP Pro system I had it on – at least once a day, even if I didn’t open Chrome. The BSOD’s went away once Chrome did.

    Finally tried it again, sick and tired of Firefox and it’s constant hanging and its bloat, same thing with IE. But Chrome – every time I upload or download a file, CRASHES! That makes it rather useless in my book. I’m currently not working, and every time I upload a resume while applying for a job – …

    Chrome has some serious problems that Google really needs to fix ASAP, but they don’t seem the slightest bit interested in doing so. Too bad!

  18. Erwin

    “click and clean” is not available for Linux/ Chromium.
    I use Chrome on Win. XP, Win 7 and chromium on Ubuntu, never had any problems on the other hand I had some serious crashes with firefox after an update and Opera went soo slow that I had to remove it from XP.

  19. Bernice

    @SatoMew You are a dumbass. I just opened my plugin page and it is about:plugins So educate yourself before running your mouth and looking even more foolish then you should.

  20. Beverly Kurtin

    Chrome is a big disappointment lately. The WORST part is that Google maps WILL NOT WORK ON CHROME ANYMORE!

    Firefox I tried but had to finally bite the bullet and go back to IE. I hate their default search site and won’t even dream of using it. BTW, ask.com is a gigantic vacuum cleaner. They make you dance from page to page to page to page ad nauseam. I’ll NEVER use them again. Chrome has been relegated to a tertiary position in this gal’s life.

  21. SatoMew

    @Bernice, look at the URL of that internal page. It’s chrome://plugins, not about:plugins. And your argument becomes invalid when you start going ad hominem at others.

  22. Bill Woo

    This article could have been much more valuable if it explained what some of the “undocument in tersm of what they actually do” Plug-Ins, from Google: like “Native Client” actually do:

    “Native Client (Disabled)
    Name: Native Client
    Location: \Google\Chrome\Application\20.0.1132.57\ppGoogleNaClPluginChrome.dll
    Type: PPAPI (in-process)
    MIME types:
    MIME type Description File extensions
    application/x-nacl Native Client Executable”

    For all I know this could be something essential to Chrome running properly.

    thanks Bill

  23. Jimbo

    Children, BEHAVE!

  24. Anon

    @ Beverly Kurtin

    You can change your search engine within any browser. I quit using Google and have never even tried using Bing. They’ve both made me so angry with their “policies” and tactics that I have now moved on to DuckDuckGo (http://www.duckduckgo.com) for all of my searching.

    I also don’t use GMail, Picassa or any other Google product when given a choice. And I especially don’t use Chrome. I only wish I could say that about Android since about the only other choice there is even worse! Nevertheless, you and anyone else might want to do the same and avoid all possible Google products at least until they prove they can be trusted. Same goes for Microsoft, Apple and possibly even Ubuntu!

    You can also imagine the jaw dropping awe I have at the sheer idiots who use Google Cloud products – or anyone’s cloud products. Online storage is different so long as the data is encrypted. But word processing or other stuff like that?! It’s like asking a person to put their head in a guillotine for some kind of convenience and being told the blade will never drop. I hope no one here is that stupid. (Something tells me there may be a few though.)

  25. Joseph B

    For those of you WHINNING about Chrome crashing and BSOD… blah… blah…blah… have any of you ever tried cleaning our your OWN PC Temp Directory???….. something on your PC is causing the crashes… A decent OS (W7)…. and a box that isn’t build out of 2nd and 3rd rate parts…Chrome is without QUESTION the best browser you can have.

  26. Hesham

    I enjoyed this article.
    Thank you kindly

  27. Flornes

    This may sound like a unsual question… but I just have to ask…
    How can I get the old blue google chrome layout back? (like in this article)
    I love the older design, Can’t say I like the new Aero windows 7 theme in google chrome.

    I’ve tried downloading themes, but none of them is like the original blue.
    I know I can get the old blue design by switching to Windows 7 Basic but that’s not an option because then the entire OS will look crap while chrome looks good.

    Any help is much appretiated1

    (Windows 7 64 bit computer)

  28. JAy

    Speedyfox a portable program dramatically speeds up firefox start up times as it does something like defrag the smq i think whatever and it also can apply it to chrome and skype :)

  29. spike

    @Kirk: Chrome loads a little faster than the others, until theoretically, IE10 (I haven’t tried IE10 myself). But IE9 is hardly slower loading than Chrome, and after loaded, IE9 and FF both beat Chrome on nearly every count when it comes to rendering speeds, etc. (all using graphics acceleration on the same machine, one running at a time)

    @SatoMew: If you type in “about:plugins” in Chrome, it redirects to “chrome://plugins”, so it is perfectly accurate to tell users to type this in. Actually, it’s better to tell them this way, as it’s shorter, and works in more browsers.

    @pbug56: Sounds like your system has problems besides Chrome if all the browsers are hanging. Also, what serious problems with Chrome are you alluding to? I didn’t know of any that serious that are being ignored.

    @Beverly Kurtin: Google Maps works better in Chrome than in any other browser for me… what on earth did you change to make it not work at all?? Definitely isn’t Chrome’s fault.

  30. Michael

    Make your Chrome faster, switch to Firefox!

  31. al

    I clear my browsing history regularly anyway :P

  32. kh.shahid zafar

    I have found this article very helpful.Please email such important material regularly.Thanks.

  33. Philip Brown

    Thanks again how to geek!
    You Da’Bomb!
    You all did remember to cut and paste those places
    where they say type something in . This is an ongoing learning process for all of us.Let it flow.

  34. Pgt

    First two points are a waste of space. Just go incognito (which disables extensions and plugins) and see the speed. if it works manually disable all plugins/extensions and enable one at a time to catch the culprit.
    One cannot just disable a subset of plugins and hope chrome will be faster.

  35. 4xtra

    Try Chromium
    It is BETTER than Chrome
    Also in the settings you can have the cache and history all deleted when you close the browser
    Privacy
    Content settings
    Clear cookies until I close browser

  36. Polukus

    @SatoMew
    AND
    @Bernice
    LOOK GUYS
    When you type about:(Something here) it TURNS INTO Chrome://(Same Something Here)
    so you guys quit your FREAKING crying, :D

    BUT ON ANOTHER POINT
    I have tried Safari, FireFox, Opera, Chrome, and IE (Plus a MULTITUDE of browsers for the iPad) and I must say that in the end Chrome and Opera win definitely.

    - Internet Explorer: I haven’t touched that laggy, crashing, buggy piece of crap in years, and its still the same now.
    - Safari: this was my favorite browser for like 3 years, but its just gotten terrible…Enough said.
    - Firefox: Firefox is not bad, it just has problems with Java and Flash.
    - Opera: Why I picked this as one of the winners is because I am in Cyber School, and all the other browsers, even with cookies on and stuff, still kicked me out after I logged in, Opera didn’t do this, also, Opera has the Turbo Mode which I like
    Chrome: This just is a great program, but the one thing wrong: IT DOESN’T ASK IF YOU ARE SURE YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD SOMETHING! Which annoys the hell out of me….But that is it…..Flash, and Java work well, etc….oh and it is the FASTEST browser.

    So, if you did read this, awesome, but if not, ehh, im just writing this because I am bored. So, I know you will probably have just scrolled down because this looks long, trust me, I do it ALL the time hahahaha.
    Well, thanks for probably reading,
    The one and only,
    Polukus

  37. spike

    @Polukus: You know that IE hasn’t changed, but you haven’t touched it? Also, FYI, you can tell Chrome to ask where to save a file before downloads (in it’s advanced settings). It’s off by default. Yes, I know that’s not quite the same thing as what you are referring to, but honestly, less clicks is faster, after all, and Chrome is designed for speed.

  38. danny3xd

    Thanks Geek folk! Kinda amazed how much faster my little netbook/Chrome is working.

    I appreciate your time and efforts. Was getting really annoying but all happy again.

  39. JoeM

    ABOUT:PLUGINS is correct mister know-it-all.

  40. NumberSix6

    What are you talking about guys? Chrome is the best, great functionalyty and i can run extensions and addons/plugins on them and is working great, never chrashed and never have problems. I don’t know but you migh want to check your computers. See the charts that tells you a lot.

    Google is making a lot for Chrome and i love that all is sync and connected accouints between google services, great, even your hotmail can be checked in your gmail account or download your attachments from gmail to Google drive, i just recently installed on my Chrome the “awesome new tab page [ANTP] is gorgeous and wroks really good.

  41. Evan Teitelman

    @Bernice He’s just pointing out that Chrome/Chromium doesn’t use the same about URI scheme that most browsers use. About URIs are translated to a Chromium-specific URI scheme, so about:plugins will take you to chrome://plugins/.

    Here, read this (especially near the bottom of the permalinked section): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/About_URI_scheme#Google_Chrome-specific_about:_URIs

  42. Evan Teitelman

    Although, it is also worth noting that it doesn’t really matter whether you type “about:x” or “chrome://x”. They both take you to the same place.

  43. patricia

    if i disable my plug ins, in facebook or slingo or any where else my games i usually play will not play, so how can i diasble any of my plugins?help

  44. SLeePYG

    Typing in “about:plugins” goes to “chrome://plugins/” anyway, so you can use either one.

  45. Mamazon

    Hm… “…click the Disable link for each plugin you feel you don’t need…” – can I rely on my “feelings” here? I’m hardly a wiz and I feel that this type of maintenance should be built in the programme, shouldn’t it? Why to enable so much to slow everything down to start with??? My Chrome is VERY SLOW, painful!!!

  46. Mamma Mia

    There is a great free tool for this (Iron Cleaner). You can do all that in just one click!
    More info on:
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/ironcleaner/

  47. Ethan

    Alright, I just tried this and it still takes long to load things. I’ve also uninstalled and reinstalled chrome but to no avail. What’s wrong?

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