Tech Tip: Taming Runaway Tabs in Chrome


    If you’ve used Windows for more than a few months, you’ve undoubtedly used Windows Task Manager to kill or view processes in Windows. You have hit Ctrl-Alt-Del, and clicked on task manager (or you’ve gone directly to it with Ctrl-Shift-Esc, or right-clicked on the taskbar to get to it) and you’ve killed some rogue process or program in there.

    If you open up task manager with Chrome open, you’ll likely see a lot of chrome.exe processes open. Chrome (like many programs) is designed to split individual web browser tabs into separate processes so the actions of one can’t kill another. So, in theory, you could kill the chrome.exe process for a particular web site that is bogging down your computer.

    However, it’s not that simple. Yes, you can kill the process that is bogging down your computer, but wouldn’t it be nice to know which web site was the culprit in the first place? Enter Chrome’s Task Manager.

    Like Windows Task Manager, the Chrome Task Manager is built to show you the current CPU and memory usage (along with other stats) of your various browser tabs. This will allow you to see what web page (or sometimes even a single part of a web page) is sucking up all your RAM or processor power and kill it.

    So how do you open up the Task Manager in Chrome? There are two ways to do it:

    • Hit “Shift-Esc” inside the brower.
    • Go to three-dot menu, select “More Tools” and then “Task Manager.”
      How to Open Chrome Task Manager

    Once you see the pop-up, you can click on various columns to sort by CPU, memory usage, etc…

    Chrome Task Manager

    Obviously, just like Windows Task Manager, be careful what tasks you end in here. While it’s not likely to crash your system (or you have much larger issues), it will kill off any sort of work you may be working on. More and more, many apps are moving to the cloud and are accessible via Web browser, so you will want to make sure you use this as a last-resort or as a research tool before you start killing browser tabs that may be in-use.

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