How to Fix It When Chrome Keeps Freezing

What to do when Chrome keeps crashing

Google Chrome is a fast, easy-to-use, and 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 businessperson at outdoor cafe upset that Chrome is freezing
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Causes of Chrome Freezing

There are several reasons why the Chrome browser may slow down to a crawl, crash, or freeze, and sometimes, it can be hard to pinpoint the error. Here are some reasons why Chrome stops working:

  • Chrome has too many open tabs, and the browser is using too many system resources.
  • Third-party apps and extensions can interfere with Chrome's operation, utilizing too much memory and causing the browser to crash.
  • Virus and malware infections can wreak havoc on Chrome.

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. The same troubleshooting steps have a good chance of resolving the problem no matter what platform you use.

  1. Close Chrome tabs. If several tabs are open, the computer may have run out of memory, leaving it unable to load a new Chrome window along with the Chrome apps and extensions. Close every browser tab except the one giving you the error message, and reload the web pages in new tabs.

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

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

    If Chrome is completely frozen and you can't close one or more of its open windows, you may need to force-quit the program in Windows or macOS.

  3. Quit other running apps and programs. If other applications are frozen, force-quit those apps. This frees system resources. After closing out of any running program, try Chrome again.

  4. Reboot the computer. This easy troubleshooting step solves many 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 finding 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 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. Scan your computer for malware or viruses. 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 as well. This can be especially helpful if your homepage, search engine, or other settings have been hijacked by malware.

    Sync Chrome bookmarks, other data, and settings to your Google Account to easily restore after the reset.

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

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

    When you uninstall Chrome, you lose any browsing data, including your history and bookmarks, that aren't stored on Google's servers using Chrome Sync.

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

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

  • How do I make Google Chrome the default browser?

    To change the default browser in Windows 10, go to Start > Settings > Apps > Default apps > Web browser. Select Google Chrome. On macOS, go to Apple menu > System Preferences > General. Select Chrome from the Default Web Browser drop-down.

  • How do I update Google Chrome?

    To update Chrome in Windows, select More > Help > About Google Chrome > Relaunch. To update Chrome in macOS, go to Help > About Google Chrome.

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