Why Is Chrome Using So Much CPU?

It's not secret that Chrome is very resource-heavy. Here is a super simple guide to help you make Google Chrome use less CPU.

With AMD and Intel constantly competing since 2017, today’s CPUs are significantly more potent and efficient. Modern low-core count CPUs are excellent at handling basic tasks such as file browsing, web surfing, watching videos, etc.

However, despite these new processors, internet browsers such as Chrome may start using too much CPU power, causing interruptions or delays for other programs.

Why does Chrome use so much CPU? Is there a way this can be fixed?

Let’s take a closer look at all the reasons this might happen and their possible fixes.

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Reasons For High CPU Usage On Chrome

high CPU usage

There are multiple reasons why Chrome would use so much CPU. It could be due to malware, a virus, or malfunction, but it could also be normal behavior.

These are the most frequent reasons for increased processor usage:

  • Too many browser tabs open – The number one reason why any browser would use a large percentage of the processor is the number of tabs open. Having only a few tabs open shouldn’t affect the performance of your computer, but once you reach a dozen or so, CPU usage will quickly spike up. This can also cause high RAM usage.
  • Too many extensions – Another culprit that you can easily address is your extensions. We’ve seen a lot of examples where people simply have too many extensions installed on their Chrome browser. It is also possible to have installed demanding extensions which can use a lot of CPU power.
  • Watching videos in high resolution – It is no secret that many of us regularly watch videos and streams on YouTube or other platforms such as Twitch or Facebook. The more tabs with videos you have, the more CPU power Chrome will need. This is especially true if you are watching HD or 4K videos.
  • Browsing unoptimized websites – Google is constantly introducing new rules for their SEO to ensure that only reliable, trustworthy websites show up on their results. However, many of today’s websites are still quite poorly optimized, with too many ads, auto-play videos, and content that can cause high CPU usage.

Solutions For Chrome’s High CPU Usage

computer with Google Chrome logo on screen

With the most common reasons for high CPU usage explained above, let’s look at the possible solutions.

Close All Tabs Except One

The first fix you should try is also the easiest. Open Task Manager,sort by CPU usage”, and then close all tabs on your Chrome browser except one.

Make sure the tab you leave open is not a video or a website filled with animations. This should reduce your processor’s usage significantly.

Restart Browser

It is common for browsers, especially Chrome, to consume more CPU power and RAM than they really need after longer periods of use. If Task Manager is showing that you have high CPU usage on Chrome, restarting the browser might fix the problem.

Disable All Extensions

Google Chrome extensions

Previously we mentioned that extensions might be the cause of your issue, which is why we recommend disabling all extensions as a solution. To do that, click on the three dots at the top right of your Chrome window, expand “More tools”, and click on “Extensions”. On this page, you should be able to see all of your extensions. You can disable them one by one by pressing the small blue toggle buttons.

With all extensions disabled, restart your browser and continue using it as you usually would. Take a glance or two at Task Manager to ensure that the CPU usage is normal.

In case this fixes your issue, you must gradually turn on your extensions to identify the culprit responsible for the excessive CPU usage. Turn on an extension and keep using your browser. If everything works well, switch on another one. This way, you can eliminate one by one and, eventually, catch the real problem.

Remove All Extensions

If disabling all the extensions on Chrome hasn’t resolved the issue, you may need to remove all of them instead.

We propose that you memorize or capture a snapshot of your extension page before uninstalling to keep them for future reinstallation.

Return to the Extensions page and, this time, click on “Remove” instead of the toggle button. Click Remove again on the confirmation prompt.

One by one, remove all of the extensions and then test your browser. Is the CPU usage still high, or did it drop considerably? If it dropped, you must have removed the extension(s) that caused the issues. To find it, you will need to work through the same process of elimination that we described in the previous solution.

Disable Hardware Acceleration

Hardware acceleration is a method that helps the software assign workloads to both the GPU and the CPU. This helps the program (in this case, the browser) work smoothly while providing both components with much more breathing room.

However, for specific systems, hardware acceleration can have an adverse effect on performance instead of enhancing it. This is particularly true for computers with weaker GPUs. In such cases, it may be more advantageous to disable hardware acceleration.

Click on the three dots in the top-right, click Configuration, scroll down to the bottom, expand “Advanced”, find “Enable hardware acceleration if possible”, and disable it.

With hardware acceleration disabled, do some browsing on Chrome to see how it performs and whether it will hog too many resources.

Keep in mind that disabling hardware acceleration might have a negative impact on your browsing experience. For example, videos could lag, animations might stutter, etc. It depends on the website.

Clear Browsing Data

Google Chrome logo

If none of these fixes have worked for you, it’s time to try some more serious solutions.

Some of your browser’s cookies, history, cache, or other data could be hogging your computer’s resources, specifically your CPU’s resources. In that case, you should clear all of the browsing data.

No need to worry, you can keep all your saved passwords and other sign-in information without any effect on the browser’s performance.

Clearing browsing data can be done via Chrome’s settings. Head back there and look for “Clear browsing data“. If you can’t find it, you can use the search feature at the top-right of the window.

Once you’ve found it, select the “Advanced” tab and under “Time range“, select “All time“. This will remove all cookies and data from the installation of Chrome until now.

Choose these: Web page history, files downloaded previously, baked goods and additional data from websites, pictures and data saved for quick loading, website preferences, and information regarding applications that are hosted. Do not mark “Login credentials and other information used for logging in.”

With those options selected, hit “Clear Data“. With that done, close Chrome and launch it again. Start surfing, open a bunch of tabs, and check Task Manager to see how the browser performs.

If even this does not resolve your problem, it might be time to reinstall Chrome.

Reinstalling Chrome

With the other fixes tested and none of them being the right solution, let’s try reinstalling Chrome.

First, head over to the Chrome download website and download the setup. Then, open the Start Menu, search for “chrome”, right-click the icon, and select uninstall. This will open “Programs and Features”. Find the browser, click “Uninstall” again, and follow the uninstallation steps.

With Chrome now removed from your computer, go back to the setup file you previously downloaded and run it. It should take only a few minutes for it to be installed.

Once it is finished, operate Chrome and browse as you would typically. See if the CPU usage has stabilized.

Try Performance Boost Extensions

Disabling or removing all of the extensions might not have worked. What if there are extensions that might actually improve your browser’s performance, ultimately reducing CPU usage?

Chrome and most other browsers have many services running in the background, while many websites have lots of demanding content, including ads, animations, videos, and others.

Fortunately, certain add-ons can assist in evading some of that content for enhanced performance, so it might be a wise idea to try some of them.

A popular option is currently FasterChrome. This extension preloads websites before you even click on them. This means CPU usage usually spikes before you even open the website, but once you are browsing it, CPU usage drops.

Of course, this is not a magical extension that will instantly fix your issues. Even so, it is worth a try.

You can also attempt Web Boost. This add-on stops trackers and other unneeded stuff and also employs a distinct caching method that assists the browser access websites.

Entirely blocking ads could also help with high CPU usage, so make sure you have uBlock Origin installed.

Try A Different Browser

browsers

If no resolution works, it could be an indication that the initial problem is not with the browser but with your computer itself.

To ensure that Chrome is not the culprit, we recommend trying a different browser. It is probably best to try Mozilla Firefox as it is the most similar software to Chrome.

Download Firefox and install it. Once you are familiar with the browser, start opening multiple tabs, watch videos, etc. and see how well it performs. If there is no CPU throttling and high usage, it means that Chrome really is the issue.

In that case, it might be best to completely switch to Firefox or try the lighter version of Chrome called Chromium.

Other Possible Causes

high CPU usage problem

With so many solutions listed above, if none work, the issue might be with your computer. Here are some possible causes:

  • Malware, viruses, Trojans, etc. – High CPU usage is commonly related to malware, viruses, Trojans, and other types of intrusive software. The malware could be attached to your browser, or it may be deep within your operating system. To get rid of intrusive software, you will need to download antivirus software.
  • Operating system issues – It isn’t uncommon for Windows to get bugged, corrupted, or something similar. So, the issue might be with your operating system. A possible fix is to reinstall Windows but do this only as a last resort.
  • Weak processor – In the end, the problem might not be a mystery at all. It might be that you simply have an older/weaker processor. These days, processors with a core/thread count lower than 4 are largely bottlenecked. Chrome and other browsers are being optimized for higher core count processors, such as Intel’s 11th gen processors or AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series.

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Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is almost impossible. That's why Branko will be using his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements related to CPUs.