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Google Chrome GPU Acceleration Crashing On You? Here’s the Fix

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If you’re running Google Dev channel version of Chrome, you might have noticed that the latest update really broke—the problem is the GPU accelerated canvas option, but you can’t get in there to change it since it keeps crashing. Here’s how to fix it.

This problem isn’t affecting everybody, but hopefully there’s enough other people having the same problem that it’ll help somebody. And it’ll probably help out in the future if any other bugs crop up.

It’s also worth noting that running development versions of any application is a bad idea if you want stability—some of us prefer all the extra features that come out almost daily, so we choose to risk it. That’s the price we pay for being geeks.


Solution 1:  Uninstall Dev Channel, Install Beta Instead

Yeah, this solution is pretty obvious, but it’s also the best one. Any time the Dev channel is acting too unstable, you should simply uninstall it, and then head over to the channel releases page and install the Beta version instead.

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Or you could always install the stable release if you really wanted to.

Solution 2: Disable GPU via Command Line Argument

As suggested by Ben in the comments, there’s a simple method you can do, which makes more sense: just use a command line argument to disable GPU acceleration temporarily. Simply tack this on to the end of the command, either through the command prompt, or in the shortcut.

--disable-accelerated-compositing

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You’d want to head into about:flags, remove the experiment, and then you won’t need the command line anymore.

Solution 3: Replace Chrome Dev with an Older Build Version

Head into the following folder by pasting this into an open Explorer window—of course, if you’ve installed Chrome elsewhere, you’ll need to head there instead.

%localappdata%\Google\Chrome\Application

Once you’re there, you should see two folders with numeric names, like this:

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Rename the newer one with something else (or move it out of the directory), and then rename the older one to match the version number of the newer one.

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Open up chrome, head to about:flags and then turn off GPU Accelerated Canvas.

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Close Chrome, then head back into the folder, rename them back to normal, and Chrome should be working fine again.

Solution 4: Delete Your Preferences File

You can head to the following folder to delete your preferences file, which contains all the settings, including the option to have GPU acceleration enabled or disabled.

%localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\

Once you’re there, find the Preferences file, and kill it.

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Update: alternatively, as tahlyn points out in the comments, you can open up the Preferences file in Notepad and remove this bit of text:

“gpu-canvas-2d”

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If you were using Google Sync, you’ll need to enter those details again, along with any other settings.

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 12/2/10

Comments (14)

  1. Urk

    Strange, but it did not help. Dev channel still crashing.

  2. John

    Solution 4 open Preferences file with a text editor and delete line for “enabled_labs_experiments”

  3. thgndrd

    –disable-extensions
    saved my but in linux and in windows
    in windows you have to go to the application directory
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\chromium\application\
    open a terminal there (or change dir to the folder)
    and type “chrome.exe –disable-extensions

  4. tahlyn

    like John said, you don’t need to delete the entire preferences file. However, you don’t need to remove the entire “enabled_labs_experiments” line either. Just remove the “gpu-canvas-2d” part (including the quotes and the preceding comma). Chrome 9.0.597.0 dev starting working after I made this update to the preferences file in %localappdata%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\.

  5. Ben

    The ” –disable-accelerated-compositing” flag at the end of the target also works wonders.
    Add it, start Chrome, turn off GPU acceleration, and remove the flag. Could be a little easy to do for some folks.

  6. The Geek

    Guys, you are all awesome. I’ve updated the article with your feedback (and Ben’s obviously superior method).

  7. Brian Carr

    well i found that using the choice of enable the aero tabs in windows 7 using –enable-aero-peek-tabs after the exe the browser refuses to start in the latest dev and canary build so is this goodbye to the aero peek function in chrome?

  8. Brian Carr

    this is how we used to get the aero tabs working

    1. Locate your Chrome or Chromium shortcut. There should be one on your desktop and one in your start menu – either one will work.

    2. Right Click the shortcut and choose properties.

    3. Find the target box (it will be highlighted when the properties screen appears).

    4. Left click at the end of the line (after chrome.exe).
    Press space.

    5. Add your command line switch. –enable-aero-peek-tabs The result looks like this:

    C:\Users\bry\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe –enable-aero-peek-tabs
    Instead of bry, it will be your username of course.

  9. Rob Pence

    The –disable-accelerated-compositing flag worked

  10. Ben

    Thanks for the add, and glad to here that Rob.

  11. trm96

    I soooooo love the first “solution”. lol

  12. Andrew Ensley

    I started having this problem on three different computers. I went back to the stable channel to fix it :-/ But then I installed Chrome Canary as well to still enjoy my bleeding edge features :-D

  13. kc sanches

    if this will stop chroom from crashing il fo it

    i really want to finish ring huting but chroom wont stop plz help T^T

  14. sun shine

    –disable-accelerated-compositing command line argument does not work anymore.
    Any other suggestion?

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