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Speed up your computer with this simple Google Chrome extension

Komando logo Komando 8/15/2022 Kim Komando, Komando.com
© Provided by Komando

Nobody likes to work on a slow computer, but finding the cause (or a fix) can be tricky. If Google's Chrome browser is your preferred way of getting around the internet, there is a good chance that it could be to blame.

The browser is notorious for requiring a large chunk of resources, and this is due to how it works. Chrome allocates RAM to each open tab. So if you have a handful of tabs open, it can adversely affect performance.

But there is a way to reduce the strain on your patience and computer. Read on for an extension that can speed up your browsing sessions.

Here's the backstory

Assigning a set amount of RAM to each open tab is Chrome's way of doing things. Other browsers require fewer resources as they allocate RAM to the browser program, not the tabs. That is why your browsing might slow down, but not your computer.

But Chrome is like a hungry hippo, munching away at the available memory and leaving very little for the rest of the components. So while you could switch to a different browser, that isn't always the most practical thing.

An independent developer seemingly also had enough of Chrome's appetite and did something about it. That is where Auto Tab Discard comes in. The free extension is designed so that Chrome suspends open tabs, diverting resources to the current tab.

In essence, the suspended tabs become dormant until you need to access them. But it does come with a caveat. The cached memory from unused tabs is deleted from your browser, so you must reload it. This can take a few seconds, so it's not faster than just switching.

What you can do about it

The ability to suspend open tabs isn't anything new, as other browsers, like Microsoft's Edge, do that natively. But the extension will be handy for those who prefer to work on Chrome.

Here's how you get the extension:

  • Navigate to the Auto Tab Discard page.
  • Click on the button that says Add to Chrome.
  • Once downloaded, the extension is ready to be used.
  • If it isn't activated by default, click on the puzzle piece in the top right corner next to your profile photo.
  • Installed extensions are displayed here. Click on Manage extensions.
  • Locate the Auto Tab Discard on the page and toggle the switch to the right to enable it.

Several options are available for the extension, like the ability to discard a pinned tab when media is playing or when your computer is charging. You can also add websites to a whitelist that will never be suspended.

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