How to Use the Google Chrome Task Manager

Manage memory usage and kill crashed websites with Task Manager

One of the most convenient "under-the-hood" features of Google Chrome is its multiprocess architecture, which allows tabs to run as separate processes. These processes are independent of the main thread, so a crashed or hung webpage doesn't result in the entire browser shutting down. Occasionally, Chrome lags or acts strangely or a webpage freezes, but you often don't know which tab is the culprit. This is where the Chrome Task Manager comes in handy.

Chrome Task Manager not only displays the CPU, memory, and network usage of each open tab and plug-in, it also allows you to kill individual processes with a click of the mouse, similar to the Windows Task Manager or macOS Activity Monitor.

How to Launch the Chrome Task Manager

Launching the Chrome Task Manager is easy. Follow these instructions to open the feature.

  1. Open your Chrome browser.

  2. Select the Chrome menu button in the upper-right corner of the browser window. The icon is indicated by three vertically aligned dots.

  3. When the drop-down menu appears, hover your mouse over the More tools option.

    Task Manager menu item in More Tools menu via the Chrome 3-vertical dot menu
  4. When the submenu appears, select the option labeled Task manager to open the task manager on the screen.

Alternate Methods of Opening Task Manager

There are other, faster ways to open the Chrome Task Manager. On a Mac computer, select Window from the top menu bar, then select Task Manager.

There are also keyboard shortcuts to open the task manager, depending on the device you are using:

  • Press Shift + Esc to open the Chrome Task Manager on a Windows computer.
  • Press Search + Esc open the Chrome Task Manager on a Chrome OS device (Chromebook).

How to Use the Task Manager

With Chrome's Task Manager open, you can see a list of every open tab, extension, and process. You can also view key statistics concerning how much of your computer's memory it is using, the CPU usage, and network activity. When your browsing activity slows down significantly, check the Task Manager to identify whether a website has crashed. To end any open process, select its name and then select End Process.

The screen also displays the memory footprint for each process. If you've added a lot of extensions to Chrome, you may have several running at once. Assess the extensions and—if you aren't using them—remove them to free up memory.

Expanding the Task Manager

To get more information about how Chrome is affecting your system performance in Windows, right-click an item in the Task Manager screen and select a category in the popup menu. In addition to the stats mentioned above, you can choose to view information regarding shared memory, private memory, image cache, script cache, CSS cache, SQLite memory and JavaScript memory.

Image cache item in right-click menu in Chrome task manager

Also in Windows, you can select the Stats for Nerds link at the bottom of the Task Manager to check all the stats in greater depth.