This article is more than 1 year old

Google Chrome on Windows 'completely unusable', gripe users

Recent versions of browser attract performance, stability complaints

Google's Chrome browser promises "speed, simplicity and security", but for a significant number of Windows users you can strike "speed" from that list.

A thread on Google’s Chrome forum titled: “Chrome has become completely unusable, in almost every imaginable way” has attracted over 375 posts since the problem was raised in early September. Most of the affected users appear to run Windows.

Here is a sample:

I have been using Chrome for years and years, and over the last month or so, Chrome has become unstable, unresponsive, slow, and makes my system crawl. I have NEVER had a single issue with it in the past, but it is almost unusable now. I have not changed or added any extensions in over a year, and just to be sure, I have disabled all extensions, and still have stability problems. I've deleted my appdata chrome folder and it doesn't resolve the issue … Guess I'm going to have to switch to Firefox for my daily driver... And just when I was getting used to a 64-bit Chrome build... What a bummer.

When a product is as widely used as Google’s web browser, even problems that only affect a small minority of users can have a substantial impact, and no doubt Chrome is running fine for most users, though it does tend to grab a large amount of memory even when behaving properly.

That said, the number of users reporting problems does seem to have increased as the scope and complexity of Chrome has evolved.

The main reported problems are slow performance, crashes, or the browser becoming unresponsive.

What is the cause? Suggestions vary, ranging from problems with extensions, to issues with Chrome’s use of GPU acceleration (making the video drivers a critical component), or problems caused by the NaCl (Native Client) component, which lets you run compiled C and C++ code in the browser.

Malware is another possibility, though that would not explain cases where Chrome runs badly when other browsers are unaffected.

It is well known that Google makes little use of Windows internally. In 2010 it was reported that Google was forbidding internal use of Windows. “We’re not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,” said an unnamed employee.

Such a policy would naturally exclude Windows development efforts, but it is also possible that Windows applications receive less attention than those which run on the machines that most Google employees use day to day. ®

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