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I am having two problems with Google Chrome:

  • There are a ridiculous number of "chrome.exe" processes running. For example, right now I only have one tab open and there are ten chrome.exe processes.

  • Whenever I have a few Chrome tabs open, my disk starts thrashing like crazy.

This does not happen with Firefox.

What might be causing this and how can I fix it?

I'm running Win 7 Pro (64 bit). Google Chrome Version 31.0.1650.63 m. I have 4G RAM.

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There are a ridiculous number of "chrome.exe" processes running. For example, right now I only have one tab open and there are ten chrome.exe processes.

Chrome uses a multi-process model to increase security and stability. This means that it runs each tab, plugin, and extension in a separate process. It is not uncommon to have several instances of chrome.exe running.

You can determine exactly what they are hosting by pressing ⇧Shift+Esc to open the Chrome Task Manager.

If you still have several processes running even without any extensions or plugins, then you may have zombie processes from a previous session that crashed or didn’t close correctly. You can find out for sure by closing Chrome and seeing if any remain behind in the Windows Task Manager.

I have 4G RAM. Whenever I have a few Chrome tabs open, my disk starts thrashing like crazy. This does not happen with Firefox.

Chrome has a tendency to use a lot of memory. The multi-process model causes some additional memory overhead, but today’s web-pages just use a lot of memory with all the Flash, JavaScript, images, social-network plugins, ads, and so on.

Even with 4GB of RAM, it is easy to run out of physical memory while having to many high-density–content tabs open. When that happens, it resorts to using virtual memory and starts paging. When it does this, it has to transfer unused memory to the disk so that it can free up physical memory, which of course means a lot of disk activity.

how can I fix it?

There’s a few things you can do:

  • Get more RAM
  • Open fewer tabs (and keep an eye on the memory usage)
  • Get a faster hard-drive or replace it with an SSD
  • Uninstall any extensions and plugins that you don’t need
  • Disable any extensions and plugins that you don’t use all the time
  • Either turn off JavaScript and/or images globally and then set exceptions for some sites, or leave them on globally and turn them off for some sites
  • Set plugins to Click-to-Play so that they are not all automatically run

    Screenshot of Chrome plugins set to click-to-play

  • Or, you can upgrade to CoolNovo, which features the ability to change the process model from the default process-per-site-instance model to a process-per-tab or single-process model. (no affiliation) – gparyani Jan 7 '14 at 2:52
  • @gparyani, that’s what Chrome used to use, but they changed it to a per-tab model a while back. Even so, the multi-process overhead isn’t that much, maybe a couple of megabytes per process. – Synetech Jan 7 '14 at 2:54

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