I have over 20 tabs opened in Chrome and need to restart browser from time to time. This browser does not have option similar to Firefox's "Do not load tabs until selected" loading tabs only after selecting them. I have tried a few Chrome extensions but none do what I am looking for.
At the time of this writing, Chrome does not support this functionality natively. I've been using The Great Suspender, an extension that adds similar functionality to Chrome.
You can verify the memory and CPU savings you gain while using this extension by opening the Chrome Task Manager: Menu > More tools > Task manager
Since Chrome 54 (Oct 2016) this feature is supported in Chrome natively, so previous bloated extensions are not that needed. A GNU GPLv3 licensed extension Native Lazy Tabs extension works and it is very small: 33 KiB.
Citing extension description:
Automatically discards all tabs at startup, before they load, reducing memory footprint and unnecessary bandwidth usage.
Native Lazy Tabs is a light extension for users that don't want to load all tabs when Chrome is started. It's native because it uses the native tab discarding method from the Google API (introduced in version 54). Also, because of that, it doesn't have the shortcomings of older implementations that could cause bugs like the pages reloading itself even after suspended.
Moreover, this extension doesn't use any memory because there's no need for a background page: it loads and unloads itself after Chrome is started.
Without any extensions it's possible to prevent loading tabs by disconnecting the internet when you start Chrome. Chrome will eventually give up trying to load the pages, and one-by-one tabs will gray out. Reduces CPU and Memory.
After reconnecting to the internet, a page will load when you select the grayed-out tab.
- Disable Offline Auto-Reload Mode
- Enable Only Auto-Reload Visible Tabs
Below are the flags (
chrome://flags) I have changed in Chrome 69 64-bit (September 2018) to [indicated values] to speed up the startup experience with many open tabs and windows.
Note as of February 2020: none of those flags are present in Chrome 78, so answer left only for reference.
The memory consumption is still high (1.2 GB in my case) but Chrome starts instantly and doesn't seem to be busy reloading all of the tabs.
- Only Auto-Reload Visible Tabs [Enabled]
Pages that fail to load while the browser is offline will only be auto-reloaded if their tab is visible. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android
- Automatic tab discarding [Enabled]
If enabled, tabs get automatically discarded from memory when the system memory is low. Discarded tabs are still visible on the tab strip and get reloaded when clicked on. Info about discarded tabs can be found at chrome://discards. – Mac, Windows
- Infinite Session Restore [Enabled]
Reduces the number of tabs being loaded simultaneously during session restore, to improve responsiveness of the foreground tab. This requires #enable-page-almost-idle. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS
- Page Almost Idle [Enabled]
Make session restore use a definition of loading that waits for CPU and network quiescence. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS
- Proactive Tab Freeze and Discard [Enabled Freeze and Discard]
Enables proactive tab freezing and discarding. This requires #enable-page-almost-idle. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS
- Site Characteristics database [Enabled] (this one is probably not necessary)
Records usage of some features in a database while a tab is in background (title/favicon update, audio playback or usage of non-persistent notifications). – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS
There is also Tab Suspender that has been updated lastly as of 03. January 2015.
The extension FooTab gives this functionality: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/footab/anbodogikfbehidmmjdokehphginagbb
This answer mentions two options "Offline Auto-Reload Mode" and "Only Auto-Reload Visible Tabs" (browse chrome://flags) which in conjunction with going offline before browser start will effectively inhibit page loading on browser startup.
FooTab for Google Chrome
After about a week of use, this extension has saved me some precious cellular data, by suspending multiple tab load on start-up. Except for the favicons, it blocks the page until the tab/s are selected.
Download links and description here
Had this same problem with Chrome mobile, where all of the tabs would cycle whenever I opened Chrome. After setting tab throttling to forced Enable in chrome://flags ...it seems to have solved the issue.