How to take control of Chrome with its very own task manager

If you're looking for ways to better troubleshoot Google Chrome, look no further than the built-in task manager. Here's how to make use of this handy feature.

Image: Jack Wallen

Google Chrome is one of the most widely-used web browsers on the planet. There are good reasons for that; it's stable, lightning quick with the rendering of sites, well-supported, and offers a flexibility not found in the competition.

One feature that helps to make Chrome so flexible is its very own task manager. With this tool you can view and kill each individual process as well as check on their PID, CPU, memory, and network statistics (and more) for each. This particular tools makes it incredibly easy to take control of Chrome--to prevent wayward extensions, tabs, and processes. The feature is built into Chrome and in plain sight, so everyone can use it. Because every tab is considered its own process, you can locate a tab that has gone rogue and close it without having to completely kill the browser.

Let's walk through the process of starting the task manager and how to make use of it.

Starting the task manager

There are two ways to start the task manager: From the Chrome menu or with a keyboard shortcut. To start the tool from the menu, simply click on the Chrome menu and then click More Tools | Task manager. This will launch the task manager in its own window.

The second method of firing up the task manager is with a keyboard shortcut. In Linux and Windows, the shortcut is [Shift]+[Esc]. If you're using Chrome OS, the shortcut is [Search]+[Esc].

Using the task manager

As soon as you start up the task manager, you'll be greeted with a small window displaying all the necessary information (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

The Chrome task manager in action.

If you're looking for a particular rogue process, scroll through until you locate it. You can then select the process and click the End process button. Chances are, you'll find various processes running that you didn't start. For example, in my process listing, Google Play Music is running, taking up 26,644K of memory. I never started that, nor do I want it running in the background. With the help of the task manager, I can locate that process and kill it (followed up by troubleshooting why that process is starting in the first place).

You can also find out far more information than what is shown by default. If you right-click anywhere in the task manager window, a complete list of the available information will appear (Figure B). You can enable/disable each by clicking on one of the entries. Say, for instance, you want to know how much Image cache a process is using; right-click the task manager window and click on Image cache to enable that listing. Now you can see how much cache each process is using for images.

Figure B

Figure B

Other bits of information to be had with the Chrome task manager.

Key to quick troubleshooting

The Chrome task manager makes short shrift of troubleshooting Chrome. Not only can you get a quick glimpse of what resources a process is using, but you can also find out what processes are actually running and end those that are either out of control or unwanted. Make the Chrome task manager a regular part of your browser administration and you'll find Chrome to be far easier to keep in control.

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By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....