The ability to add extensions that provide a wide range of extra features in the browser is one of its best features. The Chrome Web Store has a large catalogue of extensions and some of them are superb. In fact, some are indispensable.
However, the problems that you are having with Chrome could possibly be caused by extensions.
Simply adding too many extensions is one serious problem that many people have and each extension uses memory and processing power. Some people have a dozen or more extensions and this is far too many.
They bloat the browser, which then becomes slow and irritating. It might even make it crash in extreme circumstances
Enter chrome://extensions into the address box to list all the installed extensions. Clear the Enabled tick box to disable an item, but better still, click the trash can if you can live without it.
Extensions are disabled by default in an incognito window and this is a good way to tell whether extensions are the cause of problems you have been having in Chrome.
Go to the menu button and select New incognito window or press Ctrl+Shift+N. Browse the web and if Chrome no longer crashes then the cause is almost certainly an extension.
This will not tell you which extension(s) are causing the problem though. To do that you could disable them all and enable them one by one, browsing the web until you find the problem.
Remove incompatible software
Some software can interfere with the way that Chrome works and this could be the source of problems like instability and crashes. Google provides a Chrome Cleanup tool that scans the system for incompatible software and removes any that it finds.
It does not say what software it looks for and I have never found any on my computer, so I can’t say a lot about it. It runs, it reports my PC as clean and then it goes on to reset Chrome’s settings. It gives it a thorough clear out, erasing temporary and cached data, cookies, content and more.
The Software removal tool will reset Chrome when it has finished, but you can also manually reset the browser without using the tool too. It resets all settings to their default, like the home page, search engine, extensions, settings you or malware may have changed and so on.
Go to the menu button and select Settings. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click Show advanced settings. Scroll right down to the bottom again and click Reset settings.
Uninstall and reinstall Chrome
If nothing has worked so far and the browser is still causing problems, you should uninstall it. Instead of simply going to Programs and Features in the Control Panel, it is better to use an uninstaller utility.
These run a program’s own uninstaller and then when it has finished, they scan the disk drive and the registry and remove all the left-overs that were not removed.
There are several uninstallers you could use, including Wise Program Uninstaller and IObit Uninstaller. After uninstalling Chrome completely, restart the computer and download and install a fresh copy of the browser.
Chrome stores things like bookmarks online, so you don't lose anything when the browser is removed and then installed again. It just syncs with your Google account and everything is put back.
Enable/disable smooth scrolling
When tall web pages that go off the bottom of the screen are scrolled, is it smooth or jerky? If you have problems with jerky scrolling then enabling smooth scrolling will help. Type chrome://flags into the address box and search for an item called Smooth Scrolling. Set it to Enabled.
Some people have found that smooth scrolling causes problems and the browser goes black or shows black boxes. Setting Smooth Scrolling in Chrome flags to Disabled cures the problem.
Disable hardware acceleration
Some types of web content, such as graphics editors, games, videos and animations require a lot of processing power. Chrome is able to use hardware acceleration to speed up the display.
Go to the Chrome menu, scroll down to the bottom and click Show advanced settings. Scroll down to the bottom again and there is a setting, Use hardware acceleration when available.
If it is turned on, turn it off. If it is off, turn it on. See if the opposite setting fixes whatever problem you are having.
Use incognito mode
If a website is not working or is crashing Chrome, try it in incognito mode. Open the menu and select New incognito window. If the site now is OK, the problem could be an extension that is interfering with the page, so try disabling them.
Clear the history
It could also be something in the cookies, caches and history. If the contents of the cache is corrupted and Chrome tries to use it, it can cause problems.
Open the menu and select History, History. Click Clear browsing data on the left. Ticking all the boxes and clearing everything from the beginning of time will put Chrome into a similar state to an incognito window, so the site should now work.
Bear in mind that you will lose cookies and passwords to all sites. This could be a problem if you have forgotten login details for sites. It won’t cause problems if you have passwords stored elsewhere, such as in a password manager.
Chrome starts with two or more tabs
If more than one tab opens when Chrome is started, read Stop Chrome opening two tabs when it is started.
It’s not Chrome’s fault
Sometimes the problem is not with Chrome and it is the website. Are there are problems displaying content? Does it not display correctly? Try another browser. Fire up Firefox, Internet Explorer or Edge and go to the same web page. Is it OK? It is probably the site if those browsers have problems too.
Stop irritating notifications
How many times have you visited a website and a pop-up window asks if it can show notifications. Are you tired of saying No? Turn off notifications so you won’t see these pop-ups.
Open the Chrome menu and go to Settings. Click Show advanced settings and in the Privacy section, click Content settings. Scroll down to Notifications and select Do not allow any site to show notifications.
Text too small on web pages
If you run the screen at its native resolution and that resolution is very high, the text on some web pages can be too small. It can happen on 4k monitors, or even at 1920 x 1080 HD resolution on a small laptop screen.
The solution is to set the zoom level.
Open the Chrome menu and go to Settings. Click Show advanced settings and in the Web content section click Page zoom and choose the best setting for your monitor.
This zoom setting becomes the default for every site. Font sizes vary from site to site, so some sites might need zooming, but others might not.
Hold down the Ctrl key and spin the mouse wheel to zoom in or out, or open the menu and use the zoom controls to set the level. It is remembered for each site, so each one can have a different zoom level.
Extensions sometimes have bugs in or security flaws. Chrome will automatically update extensions when new versions are released - eventually, sooner or later. However, if you are having problems or have heard of a security flaw, you can force an update right now instead of waiting days or weeks for Chrome to do it.
Open the Chrome menu and select More tools, Extensions. Tick the Developer mode box at the top and then click Update extensions now.
Solve memory problems
Some PCs, particularly old ones, have only 4GB of memory. This is barely enough to run Windows and have half a dozen tabs open in Chrome. It is very easy for the system to become short of memory and then it will start paging memory to disk, which can slow the computer to a crawl unless you have a super fast solid state disk (SSD).
There are several solutions and one simple one is to avoid opening so many tabs. To see how much memory tabs are using, open the Chrome menu and select More tools, Task Manager.
It shows a list of tabs and extensions, the memory, CPU and network usage.
Take a look at this - one tab is using 1.9GB of memory! I think there must be a fault on that web page because it kept increasing and a minute later it was over 2GB!
Closing the tab recovered all the memory and the PC’s fan stopped blowing like a hair dryer.
Notice GPU Process just above the highlighted tab. This is the hardware acceleration setting - Settings, Show advanced settings, Use hardware acceleration when available.
Turn off that setting and there is no GPU process, which means Chrome uses less memory. However, it might be a tad slower under some circumstances. Do you need speed or memory? You can’t have both.
Another thing that can help is to disable extensions you are not using. They don't need to be uninstalled and disabling them will free up the memory they use.
At the start of a browsing session, enable only the extensions you need and no more.
Use an alternative browser
It is unlikely that you will get this far and still have not repaired the browser, but as a last resort you could quit Chrome and use an alternative. Firefox and Edge are options, but if you like Chrome then a Chrome-based alternative browser might suit you.
Chrome-based browsers have the speed and features of the Chrome, but without actually using Chrome itself.
Opera is based on Chromium, as is Google Chrome, so it is like Chrome, but in a different skin. Some features are the same, but others are unique to Opera and it is an interesting variation of Google’s browser. As with Chrome, there are lots of great extensions for it and the performance is identical.
Comodo Dragon is also based on Chromium, but Comodo has add extra security and privacy added features to it. It makes browsing the web more safe.