How to Fix It When Chrome Keeps Freezing

What to do when Chrome keeps crashing

Frustrated young businesswoman using laptop at an outdoor cafe

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Google Chrome is the world's most popular browser for many reasons, including its speed, ease-of-use and vast library of available apps and extensions. Some of the same things that make Chrome the favorite of so many can also cause it to become unstable, freezing and even crashing while you're trying to surf the web.

If Google Chrome keeps freezing or crashing, it may not be easy to pinpoint the specific cause for this erratic behavior, but there are steps you can take to resolve the issues at hand and get back to browsing.

What Causes Chrome to Freeze

There are multiple reasons why your Chrome browser may be slowing down to a crawl or freezing, including the following.

  • Too many open tabs: If you tend to have a lot of tabs open simultaneously, you may notice your browser and eventually your entire computer slowing down and even freezing from time to time. Even if you aren't currently looking at a particular tab, it's still utilizing valuable CPU cycles and available memory, a resource drain that gets compounded with each open tab.
  • Troublesome web apps and extensions: Third-party web apps and extensions, also known as add-ons, enhance Chrome's functionality and can turn your browser into a virtual powerhouse. Unfortunately, some of them can also hog more than their fair share of your computer's CPU, memory and other resources, which could in turn cause Chrome to freeze or crash.
  • Viruses and other malware: Sometimes Chrome may freeze or crash because of the actions of a virus or other form of malware on your computer, some which can be triggered when visiting a malicious web page with the browser.

How to Stop Chrome From Freezing or Crashing

This frustrating behavior can present itself in the Chrome browser across multiple operating systems. In most cases it can be resolved through one of the following methods.

  1. When In Doubt, Reboot: Before we dive into more complex solutions for Chrome freezing or crashing, let's try the most simplest one to see if it helps. First, try restarting your browser completely by closing all open tabs and windows, waiting a couple of minutes, and reopening 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.

    If restarting your browser didn't resolve the issue, the next step is to try rebooting your computer completely and see if Chrome behaves better after the fact. 

    Restarting Chrome and rebooting your computer might be valid solutions if these crashes or freezes are a one-time occurrence. For chronic problems, however, you'll probably need to move on to the next section.

  2. Suspending Tabs While They're Not in Use: The good news is that you don't have to close a bunch of tabs to get relief, as there's a browser extension that suspends activity in all tabs that aren't being used at the moment, waking them up again as soon as you click on one. The Great Suspender is truly a godsend for anyone that relies on multiple tabs, and can be downloaded and installed in less than a minute.

  3. Disabling Chrome Apps and Extensions: Determining which particular add-on is the cuplrit isn't always easy, so we recommend disabling them one at a time to narrow things down. If Chrome's behavior begins to improve after a specific app or extension has been disabled, chances are that one is the problem.

    You can also choose to disable all apps and extensions as a starting point, just to see if it makes a positive difference, and then continue on with the one-by-one analysis.

  4. Check for Viruses and Other Malware: Sometimes Chrome may freeze or crash because of the actions of a virus or other form of malware on your computer, some which can be triggered when visiting a malicious webpage with the browser. In order to determine whether or not you're infected, you'll want to scan your Mac or PC for these unwanted programs by following our in-depth tutorials.

  5. Reset Chrome to Its Default State: Considered a break-glass solution, resetting Chrome to its default state will restore the original search engine, homepage, content settings, cookies and more, and will also disable any extensions and themes that you may have installed. 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, however, and any other data and settings stored in your Google Account via Chrome Sync can be easily restored after the fact.

    Before resetting Chrome, make sure you've backed up any important data and settings accordingly.

  6. Uninstall and Reinstall Chrome: As a last resort, you can always opt to uninstall and reinstall your Chrome browser to truly get a fresh start. 

    Before doing so, be aware that any apps and extensions you've installed will also be removed and will need to be manually reinstalled one by one.

    By uninstalling Chrome, any browsing data including your history, bookmarks, etc. that is not stored on Google's servers via Chrome Sync will be lost.

  7. Disable Hardware Acceleration: Hardware acceleration in Google Chrome utilizes your computer's GPU (video card) for graphics-heavy tasks including in-browser video playback, utilizing your hardware to its fullest extent for a more robust, smoother browsing experience. This feature can also cause conflicts and occasionally, albeit rarely, result in Chrome freezing or crashing. 

If none of the above methods solved your problem, including uninstalling and reinstalling the browser, then you may want to try disabling Chrome's hardware acceleration features.