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Monitor and Control Memory Usage in Google Chrome

Do you want to know just how much memory Google Chrome and any installed extensions are using at a given moment? With just a few clicks you can see just what is going on under the hood of your browser.

How Much Memory are the Extensions Using?

Here is our test browser with a new tab and the Extensions Page open, five enabled extensions, and one disabled at the moment.

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You can access Chrome’s Task Manager using the Page Menu, going to Developer, and selecting Task manager…

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Or by right clicking on the Tab Bar and selecting Task manager. There is also a keyboard shortcut (Shift + Esc) available for the “keyboard ninjas”.

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Sitting idle as shown above here are the stats for our test browser. All of the extensions are sitting there eating memory even though some of them are not available/active for use on our new tab and Extensions Page. Not so good…

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If the default layout is not to your liking then you can easily modify the information that is available by right clicking and adding/removing extra columns as desired.

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For our example we added Shared Memory & Private Memory.

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Using the about:memory Page to View Memory Usage

Want even more detail? Type about:memory into the Address Bar and press Enter.

Note: You can also access this page by clicking on the Stats for nerds Link in the lower left corner of the Task Manager Window.

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Focusing on the four distinct areas you can see the exact version of Chrome that is currently installed on your system…

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View the Memory & Virtual Memory statistics for Chrome…

Note: If you have other browsers running at the same time you can view statistics for them here too.

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See a list of the Processes currently running…

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And the Memory & Virtual Memory statistics for those processes.

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The Difference with the Extensions Disabled

Just for fun we decided to disable all of the extension in our test browser…

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The Task Manager Window is looking rather empty now but the memory consumption has definitely seen an improvement.

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Comparing Memory Usage for Two Extensions with Similar Functions

For our next step we decided to compare the memory usage for two extensions with similar functionality. This can be helpful if you are wanting to keep memory consumption trimmed down as much as possible when deciding between similar extensions.

First up was Speed Dial (see our review here).

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The stats for Speed Dial…quite a change from what was shown above (~3,000 – 6,000 K).

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Next up was Incredible StartPage (see our review here).

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Surprisingly both were nearly identical in the amount of memory being used.

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Purging Memory

Perhaps you like the idea of being able to “purge” some of that excess memory consumption. With a simple command switch modification to Chrome’s shortcut(s) you can add a Purge Memory Button to the Task Manager Window as shown below. Notice the amount of memory being consumed at the moment…

Note: The tutorial for adding the command switch can be found here.

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One quick click and there is a noticeable drop in memory consumption.

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Conclusion

We hope that our examples here will prove useful to you in managing the memory consumption in your own Google Chrome installation. If you have a computer with limited resources every little bit definitely helps out.

Akemi Iwaya (Asian Angel) is our very own Firefox Fangirl who enjoys working with multiple browsers and loves 'old school' role-playing games. Visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 05/13/10

Comments (2)

  1. Sam Jones

    holy crap i didnt realise how good this site was some really good articles man!

  2. Luke

    Thanks this helped me alot! google chrome was using stupid amounts of memory but i still cannot figure out why shockwave flash crashes so often when i have multiple videos open on youtube.

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