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Stupid Geek Tricks: Compare Your Browser’s Memory Usage with Google Chrome

Ever tried to figure out exactly how much memory Google Chrome or Internet Explorer is using? Since they each show up a bunch of times in Task Manager, it’s not so easy! Here’s the quick and easy way to compare them.

Both Chrome and IE use multiple processes to isolate tabs from each other, to make sure that one tab doesn’t kill the whole browser. Firefox, on the other hand, just uses a single process for everything.

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Rather than pulling out a calculator and adding them all up, you can just open up Google Chrome, and type in about:memory into the location bar to see a full list of each browser’s memory usage.

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On my test system with 6 GB of system RAM, I’m running the Development channel version of Chrome, and I’ve got about 40 different tabs open, which is why the memory usage is so high. Firefox has 8 tabs open, and IE is enjoying being opened for the first time in forever.

Want to help cut down on memory usage and keep your Chrome browser running fast? Disable all unnecessary extensions, and then make sure you disable any plug-ins that you don’t need either.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/27/10

Comments (10)

  1. TatoSgr

    jajaja xD.. My IE doesn’t hace that privilegie >:P.. I always delete it from the Program Files folder :P.. I use XP u.u

  2. Dantv

    Major problem with Chrome…Google tracks everything you do on the internet with Chrome so that they can SPAM us with ads ads ads. I won’t use Chrome ever.

  3. Alec S.

    @Dantv, first of all, that’s not how Chrome works. The only “tracking” that is done is optional and you can opt out (or rather not opt in since it is off be default) right at the installation (it’s not hidden).

    Second, if even that’s not good enough for you, then don’t use it. So what? You can still use Chromium, ChromePlue, SRWare Iron, or Comodo Dragon.

  4. DaveyNC

    Heh. Occasionally, I open IE to view something (I don’t like the IE Tab extension). Last week, after I couldn’t get a site open properly with Chrome, I used IE to view it. The instant I got the page opened, I got hit by one of those “You Have a Virus” spoofs. Never got a peep from Chrome.

  5. bill

    @ DaveyNC: You never “got a peep” from Chrome because it couldn’t open the page for the infected site. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky….

  6. WOFall

    *cough* shift-escape *cough*

  7. Tyler

    I didn’t think that using memory was necessarily a bad thing. Maybe I am wrong?

  8. Jimbo

    Limit Firefox’s RAM usage. If Firefox takes up too much memory on your computer, you can limit the amount of RAM it is allowed to us. Go to about:config, filter “browser.cache” and select “browser.cache.disk.capacity”. It’s set to 50000, but you can lower it, depending on how much memory you have. Try 15000 if you have between 512MB and 1GB ram.

    Reduce RAM usage further for when Firefox is minimized. This setting will move Firefox to your hard drive when you minimize it, taking up much less memory. And there is no noticeable difference in speed when you restore Firefox, so it’s definitely worth a go. Again, go to about:config, right-click anywhere and select New-> Boolean. Name it “config.trim_on_minimize” and set it to TRUE. You have to restart Firefox for these settings to take effect.

  9. trent

    tried chrome until i found out that every plugin uses a separate process. switched to Opera 11 and haven’t looked back

  10. Moe Badderman

    It’s all “about:memory” (in your address bar)

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