Initially, I was having issues with Flash in Firefox, fixing that caused problems with my video drivers breaking. Partially fixing that caused problems with Chrome. Is there a way to fix all of these things?
I spend most of my day with both Chrome and Firefox open and running multiple tabs. For a very long time (about a year or so?) I was having increasing difficulties with Flash crashing in Firefox -- I would upgrade Firefox and upgrade Flash and none of it would help. Eventually, googling this issue suggested that if I upgraded my video drivers to the most current level, that would help. So I did.
It seemed to help, for a total of about 24 hours, and then Flash went back to not working in Firefox, same as always. Plus, it introduced a new problem, multiple times a day, my screen would go black, and then it would come back and there would be a Windows error message indicating "Display driver stopped responding and has recovered." Most of the suggestions I found for solving that problem suggested upgrading my video drivers, but upgrading my video drivers appears to be what caused the problem in the first place.
I found another solution that suggested that I "Increase the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) processing time by adjusting the Timeout Detection and Recovery registry value"
. I did this, and while it has significantly cut down (but not eliminated) the Display Driver Stopped Responding moments, now pages with Flash on them crash several times a day in Chrome, and more annoyingly, when I open something in a background tab, and then switch to that tab, Chrome continues to display the tab I just came from until I switch away and switch back again.
This is a middle-aged desktop, as you can probably guess by the fact that it runs Windows Vista Home Premium, Service Pack 1. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU E7300 at 2.66GHz and the display adaptor is Intel(R) G33/G31 Express Chipset. The system has 4GB of RAM. It's hooked up to a Samsung SyncMaster P2770 monitor, and although the monitor is moderately newish relative to everything else on this computer, it predates the start of the Flash problems by about 6 months or so.
I would prefer solutions that would involve things like changing registry values and updating drivers and other things that are free, but if adding more RAM or getting a separate graphics card and installing it in the computer would be very likely to help, I am not adverse to spending minor amounts of money on this.
If fixing it with hardware is likely to cost more than about $100, though, we'd probably be getting dangerously close to "just give up and buy a new computer" territory.