Force browser processes to close

If a tab, window, or extension is not working properly, you can use the task manager in either Chrome or Windows to force it to close. Chrome uses a "multiple processes architecture", which means its processes are designed to work independent of one another. So issues in one tab shouldn’t affect the performance of other tabs or the overall responsiveness of the browser.

In many ways, the task manager is like a hospital monitor: you can use it to track the performance of its internal processes. If the browser seems to be sluggish, open the task manager to find details about each active process and close the one that seems to be using up a lot of resources.

Using Chrome’s task manager

Follow these steps to open the task manager:

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Tools. If you're using a Chromebook, select More tools instead.
  3. Select Task manager.
  4. In the dialog that appears, select the process you want to close. You’ll find five types of processes listed:
    • Browser: This process manages all your open tabs and windows and monitors them for suspicious activity. Close this process if you want to force everything in the browser to end.
    • Renderers: Each of the tabs and apps listed represents a renderer process. Close a tab or app if it isn’t displaying properly.
    • Plug-ins: If a webpage uses a special process to display rich content on its page, the process, also known as a plug-in, will be listed. Common types of plug-ins include Flash, Quicktime, and Adobe Reader. Close a plug-in if you think it’s causing a page to perform slowly.
    • Extensions: Any extension that is running in the browser background will be listed.
    • GPU (Graphics Processing Unit): This process controls the way renderers display graphics.
  5. Click End process.

Chrome’s multiple processes architecture

You may notice that there are multiple Google Chrome entries in your Windows Task manager (chrome.exe) or Mac’s Activity Monitor because Chrome keeps tabs, extensions, web apps, and plug-ins processes independent from each other. You can see the detail of different processes using Chrome's Task Manager. That way, an issue with one process won’t negatively affect other processes or the responsiveness of the browser overall. We refer to this design as Chrome’s "multiple processes architecture".

For example, when you’re browsing a site, Chrome uses a renderer or a rendering engine to process the site’s code to display properly. As the renderers become more complex over time, it can occasionally cause the page to crash.

By separating different processes, Chrome provides the following benefits:

  • Responsiveness: when a tab crashes or encounter a problem that freezes the renderer, it won’t affect other tabs using different renderers or crash the entire browser.
  • Security: each renderer is run in a sandbox, which means it has almost no direct access to your disk, network, or display. All its requests needs to run through browser process. This will allow the browser process to monitor for any suspicious activity.
  • Performance: modern computers have multiple central processing units (CPU). Multiple process architecture takes advantage of using those CPUs. In addition, when you close the tab associated with the renderer, all its memory is returned to the system to allow other processes to use them.

Laura is a Google Chrome expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback about the page.

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