How to Fix It When Chrome Keeps Freezing

What to do when Chrome keeps crashing

Google Chrome is a fast, easy-to-use, popular web browser with a vast library of available apps and extensions. While Chrome is reliable, it's not immune to crashing and freezing. Here's a look at why Chrome might be misbehaving and what you can do to fix it and get back to surfing the web.

These troubleshooting steps apply to Chrome on Windows and macOS systems.

Frustrated young businesswoman at outdoor cafe upset that Chrome is freezing
Westend61 / Getty Images

Causes of Chrome Freezing

There are several reasons why your Chrome browser may be slowing down to a crawl, crashing, or freezing, and sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint the error. It's possible Chrome has too many open tabs and the browser is using too many system resources. Third-party apps and extensions can also interfere with Chrome's operation, utilizing too much memory and causing the browser to crash. Virus and malware infections also can wreak havoc on Chrome.

Fortunately, a number of simple troubleshooting steps can pinpoint the cause of the problem and get Chrome back up and running.

How to Fix Chrome When It Freezes or Crashes

Chrome can freeze, slow down, or crash on multiple operating systems, including Windows and macOS, but the same troubleshooting steps have a good chance of resolving the problem no matter what platform you're using.

  1. Close Chrome tabs. If you have a lot of tabs open, your computer may have run out of memory, leaving it unable to load a new Chrome window along with Chrome's apps and extension. Close out of every browser tab except the one giving you the error message, and then try reloading.

    Instead of manually closing all unused tabs, Chrome has a helpful browser extension called The Great Suspender that suspends activity in all tabs that aren't being used at the moment, waking them up when you click on one.

  2. Restart Chrome. This simple troubleshooting step often solves the problem. Close all Chrome tabs and windows, wait a few minutes, and then reopen Chrome.

    If Chrome is completely frozen and you're unable to close one or more of its open windows, you may need to forcefully quit the application in macOS or Windows.

  3. Quit any other running apps or programs. If other applications are frozen, force-quit them. This will help free system resources. After closing out of any running program, try Chrome again.

  4. Reboot your computer. This easy troubleshooting step solves myriad computer issues.

  5. Disable Chrome apps and extensions. If the simple troubleshooting steps above didn't work, it's time to dig a little deeper. An app or extension may be causing the problem, but figuring the culprit isn't always easy. Disable extensions and add-ons one by one to narrow things down. If Chrome's behavior begins to improve after you disable a specific app or extension, you've likely found the problem.

    Alternatively, disable all apps and extensions as a starting point. If Chrome loads normally, add extensions back in one by one.

  6. Check for viruses and other malware. Sometimes Chrome may freeze or crash because of malware or a virus picked up while browsing the web. Scan your Mac or PC to find and remove any infections.

  7. Reset Chrome to its default state. This restores the original search engine, homepage, content settings, cookies, and more, disabling extensions and themes. This can be especially helpful if your homepage, search engine, or other settings have been hijacked by malware.

    Bookmarks and saved passwords will remain in place, and data and settings stored in your Google Account via Chrome Sync can easily be restored.

    Before resetting Chrome, back up any important data and settings.

  8. Uninstall and reinstall Chrome. As a last resort, uninstall and reinstall your Chrome browser on a PC or Mac to get a fresh start. Note that you'll need to reinstall your apps or extensions.

    If you uninstall Chrome, you'll lose any browsing data, including your history and bookmarks, that isn't stored on Google's servers via Chrome Sync.

  9. Disable hardware acceleration. Hardware acceleration in Google Chrome utilizes your computer's GPU (video card) for graphics-heavy tasks, including in-browser video playback. It utilizes your hardware to its fullest extent for a more robust, smoother browsing experience. This feature might cause conflicts, however, resulting in Chrome freezing or crashing. Try disabling it to see if this solves the problem.

  10. Visit Google's Chrome Help page. Visit Google's Chrome Help Center if you need more information or ideas, or to post a question to the community.