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.

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

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”.

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…


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.

For our example we added Shared Memory & Private Memory.

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.

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

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.

See a list of the Processes currently running…


And the Memory & Virtual Memory statistics for those processes.

The Difference with the Extensions Disabled

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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.

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


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
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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