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 going at it since 2017, today’s CPUs are much more powerful and efficient. Today’s low-core count CPUs are great at handling simple tasks such as file browsing, surfing, watching videos, etc.

However, even with these new CPUs browsers such as Chrome can start using too much of the CPU causing every other program to stutter or lag.

So, why does Chrome use so much CPU? Is there a way this can be fixed?

Let’s have a look at all the reasons why and their 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 malware, a virus, or some malfunction, but it could also be normal behavior.

Here are the most logical explanations for high 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 won’t affect the performance of your computer, but once you reach a dozen tabs, CPU usage will quickly spike up. This can also cause high RAM usage.
  • Too many extensions – Another culprit that you can easily resolve 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 demanding extensions which can reserve a lot of CPU power.
  • Watching videos in high resolution – It is no secret that many of us are very regularly watching videos and streams on YouTube or some other platforms such as Twitch or Facebook. The more tabs with videos you have, the more CPU power Chrome will need. Especially if you are watching HD or 4K videos.
  • Browsing unoptimized websites – Google is constantly pushing 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 unoptimized 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 and obvious reasons for high CPU usage explained above, let’s have a look at the possible solutions.

Close All Tabs But One

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

Make sure the tab you leave is not a video or a website loaded with animations. This should drop your processor’s usage considerably.

Restart Browser

It’s known for browsers, especially Chrome to constrain more CPU power and RAM than they really need after longer periods of usage. So, if Task Manager is showing you high CPU usage on Chrome, restarting might fix the problem.

Disable All Extensions

Google Chrome extensions

 Previously we mentioned that extensions might be the culprit of your issues, that’s 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 then continue using it as you usually do and give a glance or two at Task Manager to ensure that the CPU usage is normalized.

If this was the solution for your problem, you will need to slowly enable back your extensions to find out exactly which one is causing the high CPU usage. Enable one extension, continue using your browser and if everything is working fine, enable another one. With this process of elimination, you’ll find the real trouble maker.

Remove All Extensions

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

Before you remove them, we recommend memorizing them or just take a screenshot of your extensions page so you can install them back.

Head back to the Extensions page and this time click on “Remove” instead of the toggle button. Click Remove on the confirmation prompt too.

One-by-one remove all of the extensions and then give your browser a test. Is the CPU usage still high or did it drop considerably? If it did drop, you’ve removed the extension(s) that caused issues. To find it, you’ll need to go through that same process of elimination as we mentioned in the previous solution.

Disable Hardware Acceleration

Hardware acceleration is a method to help the software offload workloads to both the GPU and the CPU. This helps the program (in this case the browser) work smooth while providing both components with a lot more breathing room.

However, on some systems, hardware acceleration hurts performance more than it helps. This is especially true for computers with weaker GPUs. So, in these situations, it might actually be better to disable hardware acceleration.

Click on the three dots on the top-right, click Settings, scroll down to the bottom, expand “Advanced” and look for “Use hardware acceleration when available” and disable it.

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

Keep in mind, disabling hardware acceleration may have an impact on your browsing experience. For example, videos might lag, animations might stutters, 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 may be hogging your computer’s resources, specifically your CPU’s resources. In that case, we’ll have to clear all of the browsing data.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to remove any of your saved passwords or other sign-in data as that probably doesn’t have any impact on the browser’s performance.

Clearing browsing data can be done through Chrome’s settings. Head back there and look for “Clear browsing data”. If you can’t find it, you can use the search feature on 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.

Now select these: Browsing history, download history, Cookies, and other side data, caches images and files, site settings, and hosted app data. Leave “Passwords and other sign-in data” unchecked.

With the right options select, hit “Clear Data”. With that done, close Chrome and run it again. Start surfing, open a bunch of tabs, and check Task Manager to see how the browser is performing.

If even this has not resolved your issue, it might be time to reinstall Chrome.

Reinstalling Chrome

With all fixes tested and none of them being the right solution, let’s get into reinstalling Chrome.

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

With Chrome now gone 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 install.

Once it is done, run the browser and start browsing as you would usually do, and see whether the CPU usage has stabilized.

Try Performance Boost Extensions

Disabling or removing all of the extensions didn’t work. But, what if there are extensions that might actually improve your browser’s performance, ultimately reducing CPU usage?

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

Fortunately, add-ons that can help skip some of that content for better performance already exist, so it might be a good idea to try some of them.

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

Of course, this isn’t a magical extension that is going to quickly fix your issues. But, it is worth a try.

Alternatively, try Web Boost. This extension blocks and, trackers, and other unnecessary content and also uses a different caching technique that helps the browser open websites.

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

Try A Different Browser

browsers

When no solution works, that is a sign that the original issue might not be with the browser, but the 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 to Chrome.

Download Firefox and install it. Once you get familiar with the browser, start opening up multiple tabs, watch videos, etc. and see how well it performs. If there is no CPU throttling and high usage, it means that Chrome is really 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 and none working, the issue might with your computer instead. Here are some possible causes:

  • Malware, viruses, Trojans, etc. – high CPU usages are very commonly connected to malware, viruses, Trojans, and other types of intrusive software. The malware could be attached to your browser, or it may be deep inside of your operating system. To get rid of said intrusive software, you’ll need to download antivirus software.
  • Operating system issues – It’s not uncommon for Windows to get bugged, corrupted, or anything similar. So, the issues might be with your operating system. The fix might be reinstalling Windows. But, only as a last resort.
  • Weak processor – In the end, it might not be a “real problem” at all. It might be that you just have an older/weaker processor. These days, processors with core/thread count lower than 4 are pretty bottlenecked. Chrome and other browsers are getting 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
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.