Google Chrome “browser bloat” is examined and some ways to reduce RAM memory, CPU, and network bandwidth consumption cause by having many tabs open is suggested. The Great Suspender Chrome extension, which puts tabs to sleep is demonstrated and suggested as one possible approach.
Direct link to The Great Suspender
Welcome to the Grok Shop! In this video I wanted to talk a little about Gargantua. I mean, Google Chrome, and it’s insatiable appetite for your valuable computer and network resources. If you’re a regular viewer of my channel you’ll know I often recommend considering other browsers like Pale Moon just because a lot of them are more lightweight than Google Chrome. But in some cases you might find that you need Chrome because it might be the only browser that does everything that you want, need and love in a browser; and if so if you run a lot of tabs in your browser’s, if you leave a lot of tabs open in the background, you may eventually notice your computer slowing down.
So one possible solution is to sort of manually check out the websites and the associated processes in Chrome that are using up a lot of resources. So if you go to the details tab in task manager in Windows (and by the way you can add fields in here if you right click on the column heading and select columns. I like to have CPU time because you can see the cumulative time that’s been used by individual tasks and processes). So then you can sort by CPU time to see who the bad actors have been lately. Here you can see I’ve got several Chrome processes sitting at the top of the heap; not at the very top but sitting way up there using a lot of CPU. So we can combine the information in task manager with the task manager of Chrome (which if you hit shift escape will open that up) and you’ll see there is a process ID for the various tasks and we can link these two things together, but you can see the additional information like which website each process is associated with. So here at the top I have – looks like YouTube analytics – using a gig – a gigabyte(!) of memory which is just insane, and then you can see the process ID here is 3212 and using that information we can go back to the task manager and find that process – there it is – and so in this way we can link these two tools together to gain the information we need to figure out what the problem tabs are. So like here we can see I have Google Calendar using 577 megabytes of RAM and using that process ID I can find the same process here in task manager and of course I could kill this process – I could right-click it and end it – or I could go to that tab in Chrome and close the tab but of course you’ll just need to go right back there at some point.
So what’s the solution? Well one possible solution is you can delete cookies, cache and data for the problem sites and that’ll tend to help reduce the resource usage for a while but eventually, over time, you’ll find yourself right back in the same boat. A more sustainable, long term solution I’ve been using is to use the Chrome extension “The Great Suspender.”
So if you click on apps – the little rainbow Rubik’s Cube thing – there and then click on Web Store and then in “search the store” just type “great suspender.” I think you should see the great suspender at the top there. Just click “Add to Chrome”, confirm that, and when it’s done it should take you to the great suspender settings page. So this extension is actually really simple: all that does is put tabs to sleep that you’re not using. And by putting those tabs to sleep it’s gonna save you tons of resources. The most important setting’s right at the top and that’s how long it’ll wait before putting a tab to sleep after you stop using that tab. To me, the one hour default – that’s kind of long. I usually set mine to like 30 minutes. The rest of the settings here they’re really more preference – how you like to roll; like “never suspend pinned tabs” – I don’t use pinned tabs, so it doesn’t affect me. “Never suspend tabs that contain unsaved form inputs” – I would definitely leave that checked; I think that could be helpful if you don’t finish something up you need to get back to it. “Never suspend tabs that are playing audio” – yeah if you use audio in the background from a tab. “Never suspend active tabs in each window” – again it’s just your preference. If you happen to have a site that always needs to be on, or if you know some sites that are just really cool, lightweight, don’t use a lot of resources, like say – oh I don’t know – grokshop.tv – you can whitelist them by putting them in this field here. Once the tab’s suspended, by default – to get it unsuspended, you have to click on the page. If you don’t like that behavior, you can tick this box here; it’ll automatically be unsuspended when you go there so when a tab gets suspended all of the memory is not freed up, but if you tick this box it’ll free up more memory but then it’ll be slower to restart the tab. So you may have to experiment with this to see if it’s something you like. Next you have a theme choice which is always nice. Next for suspended tabs, instead of seeing a blank page that you click to unsuspend the tab, it’ll capture a screen cap of how the tab looked before it was suspended, but that looks like it uses a lot of CPU so I am not using that. Next “add the great suspender to the right-click context menu” – I really like this feature. So when you right-click you can see it in here and there’s all these immediate actions you can take like “suspend this tab”, “unsuspended this tab”, “whitelist this domain” or “whitelist this URL” and “put all tabs to sleep” and that type of thing. It’s a really cool feature to have; I like it a lot. A couple more features are the sync with your Google Chrome profile feature if you use that and then there’s also a feature to automatically suspend everything if the memory gets very low. so as you can see this extension has a lot of flexibility but for the most part the defaults are fine. So if you don’t want to mess with all the settings you can probably just accept the defaults and then go tweak it as desired if you find something you don’t like.
So now just for the sake of illustration I’m going to set the timer to 20 seconds and we’ll see what effect it has on the resources on this computer. So first of all, I’ll go ahead and set the task manager up so we can see the resources that get reclaimed as they’re reclaimed. I am speeding up the video just a touch here. So we can tell when it’s has been suspended because what it does is that it will fade the icon – the little fav icon and the text will sort of get washed out. And here we go – we can see it’s starting to suspend the tabs now. So now back in the task manager, we can see on the details tab that the resources, the CPU and the memory usage is starting to drop off, but if we go to the performance tab we can sort of visually see as the memory is being reclaimed and the CPU. Nice downward sloping chart there for the memory and of course we can see our available RAM climbing up as the memory use goes down. From the little thumbnails in the left column there we can also see the Ethernet usage is dropping off because a lot of tabs – even when you’re not doing something – they’re talking to api’s and using up your bandwidth. OK, last point I wanted to make – if you need to get back to your settings look for this little icon – the app extension icon – click it, go to settings and you’re all set. So there you go; it’s not the end-all be-all but you can clearly see – a very useful tool to have in your toolkit to fight the bloat, in this case – browser bloat. I would definitely recommend in this extension if you work like I do where you have a lot of tabs open, you’re multitasking, you’re working on one tab you need to go work on another and then you got to come back and work on that again. Just having one or two tabs open and closing them and reopening them it’s just not really a tractable way to work, right? So that’s it for this video guys. I hope you found it helpful. If you did, be sure to thumbs me up or give me a comment. Be sure to stay tuned for more videos on how to “Fight the Bloat”, because this is one of my favorite topics. That’s how it’s done. Thanks for watching.