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.

  • 1
    One workaround that I could think of is using Session Buddy. Obviously it doesn't give you specifically what you want, but it I think this gives you nearly the functionality you're after (saving and managing sessions, etc.).
    – happy_soil
    Sep 15, 2014 at 13:20
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    I am not after saving and managing because I already have Session Buddy. I am after function that won't let Chrome load all restored tabs at once but only active individual tab I click on.
    – Boris_yo
    Sep 15, 2014 at 18:28
  • 1
    If you are open to those Chromium-derived browsers, you can try Slimjet which offers an option to not load background tabs at startup. This link will give you more information: slimjet.com/blog/… . It does automatically pick up your chrome profile data if you sync it via your google account. Jan 27, 2016 at 19:43
  • 4
    goto chrome://flags --> then enable the flag "Only Auto-Reload Visible Tabs "
    – Loki
    Jul 6, 2017 at 9:42
  • @LokeshAgrawal It's only when browser is offline.
    – Boris_yo
    Jul 24, 2017 at 15:38

12 Answers 12


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 enter image description here > More tools > Task manager

  • 4
    FYI: Chrome appears to do this now. I'm here searching for how to disable it.
    – jp2code
    Dec 7, 2015 at 17:07
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    @jp2code I just tested the latest version of Chrome 47.0.2526.73 (64-bit) on OS X El Capitan and Windows 10, and I see no change in functionality and no new setting that would affect this. Unfortunately, tabs still load when Chrome starts up, before selecting them. I performed a clean install, and disabled all extensions prior to testing.
    – 2Toad
    Dec 7, 2015 at 18:08
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    Interesting. Hopefully, my browser will fix itself. I'm a big fan of middle clicking 2 or 3 links in a search result and reading the first one while the others continue to load.
    – jp2code
    Dec 7, 2015 at 21:36
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    @jp2code to disable it see superuser.com/q/1048029/39364 (oddly, for me, on a low resource box, it currently does not load tabs at start time by default, FWIW).
    – rogerdpack
    Mar 24, 2016 at 3:46
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    oooops... wasn't the right repo. I was talking of github.com/jman/lazy_tab that is another extension. I'll give a check to yours then :) Mar 21, 2019 at 12:21

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.

  • I can't say that's the case with 61.0.3163.100 (Official Build) (64-bit). It loads every tab when I start it up.
    – inspirednz
    Oct 7, 2017 at 1:51
  • inspirednz, information about native Chrome support was added to answer in edit by @soshial
    – d9k
    Oct 8, 2017 at 3:35
  • Not working for me in Iron 62.
    – CodeLurker
    Dec 8, 2017 at 8:08
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    Today the extension's name is "Lazy Tabs" and it works well in Chrome Version 63.0.3239.108 (64-bit)
    – Marecky
    Dec 17, 2017 at 15:36
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    A fork of Native Lazy Tabs (which is not in the store any more) is Sloth which is available here and on the Chrome Store.
    – hanjo
    Jan 29, 2018 at 9:12

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.

StefanQ points out you may also need to change these chrome://flags

  • Disable Offline Auto-Reload Mode
  • Enable Only Auto-Reload Visible Tabs

Chrome flags - Auto-Reload


As of version 44 (currently dev branch), after a restart Chrome only loads tabs when they are first selected. It doesn't even start a process for the tabs until they are loaded, so that means less memory/CPU usage for us.

  • 4
    Unfortunately, this does not seem to work anymore (currently on 44.0.2383.0 dev-m). Is there a configurable flag or bug/issue/thread associated with this feature? I'd like to follow along but can't seem to find the right incantation of search engine keywords.
    – Tomalak
    Apr 29, 2015 at 19:25
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    I couldn't find a configurable flag, but there are some related issues... code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=476521#c19 , code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=476619
    – cristis
    Apr 30, 2015 at 19:36
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    Nope. Still loads all tabs for me.
    – Tomalak
    May 21, 2015 at 4:57
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    Is there a way to disable this behavior? I seem to be the only person who dislikes this. Oct 24, 2015 at 22:30
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    I am running v 55.0.2883.95 (latest chrome for the time being) and that functionality is totally absent. Loads all tabs.
    – Innokenty
    Dec 15, 2016 at 9:27

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.

  1. 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


  2. 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


  3. 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


  4. Page Almost Idle [Enabled]

    Make session restore use a definition of loading that waits for CPU and network quiescence. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS


  5. 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


  6. 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.

  • Yes I see this comment in reviews: "Very good extension. Just so new users know, the Suspension DOES NOT make the Memory of the suspended tab becomes Zero. But the saving is great still."
    – Boris_yo
    Apr 19, 2015 at 11:10

Just wanted to share this here...

Inspired by Bob Stein original answered I found a better solution that meets my need perfectly and which was to open specific links in different tabs directly from the website but don't load (as some sites like youtube auto load videos that can increase cpu, gpu and ram load) those links until I go to the tab myself.

I've used this Work Offline extension. I used shortcut like here to enable this and now it works like a charm as I wanted, here's it on action. You can toggle between the mode with a simple shortcut and also it doesn't load existing offline tabs even you toggle between online and offline on else where.

Keep in mind that you have to press option+z twice if you want only one specific tab online. Also you could pin the extension so that you can see the mode changing colour.


  • Please post the essential bits of the answer here. Just relying on a link means that one day your answer would be meaningless when the link dies. Mar 31, 2023 at 5:32
  • @RohitGupta The essential bits you are asking to post would be meaningless too. For example the mentioned Chrome flags are no longer present and it seems that extensions are the only way to accomplish this. One day they will no longer work as well.
    – Boris_yo
    Apr 6, 2023 at 8:02

The only solution I've been able to find as of this writing is the extension "Auto Tab Discard" (by joue.quroi).

If you check/enable the followiing settings in Options, when you start Chrome, all tabs are loaded as "discarded" (and don't use any resources).

  • Discard all unloaded tabs on browser startup.
  • Discard all newly opened inactive tabs after they get loaded. [This may not be truly necessary, but I've found it seems to help.]

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.

  • Unfortunately as soon as you go online it will immediately try to load every single tab at once, often freezing all of Chrome for minutes - at least in Chrome 69.
    – peterflynn
    Oct 10, 2018 at 22:43
  • Indeed, this seems to me to be new behavior in a recent Chrome release. This may be fixed by disabling #offline-auto-reload-mode in chrome://flags/ (s.a. #enable-offline-auto-reload-visible-only).
    – StefanQ
    Oct 12, 2018 at 12:23

I'm using Load Background Tabs Lazily which loads only 2 tabs at a time until you close a loaded tab or select a background tab. Set via its Advanced option: "Limit the amount of tabs loaded by this extension to 2 tabs (2-500)."


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

  • 2
    Welcome to superuser. This is written a lot in the style of an advertisement and might be seen as such. It might help a little to phrase this differently, and maybe touch on what it does better than the alternatives. It was previously blocked from Chrome extension manager, is a little concerning as well
    – Journeyman Geek
    Feb 1, 2016 at 23:21

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