As a browser, Google Chrome holds a large market share. In addition to being a browser, it is also an important piece of software on our computers (as attested by the fact that Google built an entire operating system based on it for Chromebooks). So if Chrome stops responding, what do you do? Don’t panic, don’t call 911, just scroll down and read our list of fixes for this most common of problems.
Note: we’re assuming here that you’ve done the basic things like tested your Internet connection with other browsers and reset your router before coming here. If you haven’t, you should!
Sometimes something on a web page – an advert, video or bad piece of coding – can cause Chrome to seize up and the window to become unresponsive. In these situations you can’t even click the cross to close Chrome or Alt + F4 your way out of it.
The best way out of this is to press Ctrl + Shift + Escape and use Task Manager to kill the Chrome process (right-click Chrome in Task Manager, then “End task”). For future occasions, you might also want to make your Task Manager appear “Always on top” so that it doesn’t end up hidden behind the unresponsive Chrome window. To do this, in Task Manager click “Options,” then “Always on top” so there’s a tick next to it.
Disable Extensions One by One
Chrome extensions can be a fickle bunch, and one dodgy extension running in the background can send the whole browser out of whack. If Chrome is regularly becoming unresponsive for you, click the menu icon at the top right -> More tools -> Extensions, then disable one extension and keep using Chrome. If you still have the problem, re-enable that one, then disable another, and repeat this process until Chrome starts working properly. At that point you’ll know you’ve found your culprit and can remove it right away.
Want to check out some great Chrome extensions that you can trust? Check out our rundown of the best Chrome extensions.
Change Your Proxy Settings
A proxy server acts as an intermediary between your browser and the Internet, giving you more anonymity when you go online. Chrome uses Windows’ built-in proxy settings by default, but if these are giving you trouble, then you may want to switch off the option that automatically detects your proxy setting.
To do this, go to Settings in Chrome, scroll to the bottom and click “Advanced,” then scroll to the bottom again and click “Open proxy settings.” In the “Internet Properties” window click the Connections tab, “LAN settings,” then make sure every box is unticked. (You can always re-tick the “Automatically detect settings” box later.) Alternatively, if you have your own proxy address you’d like to run, tick the “Use a proxy server” box and enter it there.
If none of these things work, then the nuclear option is to reset Chrome. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you have to reinstall the whole thing because there’s a button in Chrome’s Settings menu that does this for you.
Open the Chrome menu, go to “Settings -> Advanced,” then scroll all the way to the bottom to “Reset.” Click it, then click “Reset” again to confirm.
One of these fixes should be enough to get rid of your Chrome-based woes. It’s also worth remembering that Chrome tends to be more resource-intensive than other browsers, so if you’re regularly experiencing unresponsiveness, it may be worth considering jumping over to Firefox or Chromium. Or, if you have an old PC and want a very lightweight browser, Pale Moon.