massive Chrome memory leak
November 18, 2009 5:27 AM   Subscribe

How to correct sudden massive Chrome memory leak?

More like a memory hemorrage.

A few days ago, my computer running Windows 64-bit Vista started having serious performance issues. I've tracked this down to the Chrome browser. As soon as I start up Chrome, memory usage starts to climb precipitously, and within 30 seconds approaches 95+% memory usage and the system grinds to a halt.

This occurs when running Chrome version I tried re-downloading and re-installing Chrome without success. I don't recall updating Chrome on the day this started happening, but I also can't guarantee that I didn't. I have not had any problems with Chrome previously. I have no problems when running Firefox or IE.
posted by drlith to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Is it reloading previous tabs?
posted by Obscure Reference at 5:31 AM on November 18, 2009

I think you updated Chrome, or some component Chrome uses (Flash, maybe?). Are you browsing to a site with horribly recursive JavaScript? Are you running a user script of some kind, or have a recursive bookmarklet?

Memory leaks are internal programming errors in a program or script. They're neither caused, nor fixed, by user action.
posted by Netzapper at 5:33 AM on November 18, 2009

If you click on Shift+Esc and then click on Stats for Nerds, does it give you any interesting information?
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 5:54 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

This happens immediately after starting up the program, prior to opening any tabs. As part of my diagnostics I have been monitoring and killing the program externally, and so it is not reloading old tabs when I restart automatically, due to the abnormal shutdown.
posted by drlith at 5:58 AM on November 18, 2009

As far as I can tell, the stats for geeks data indicates relatively normal memory usage? ~100 MB physical memory and another 100 MB virtual memory. Watching Windows Task Manager also does not show insanely abnormal memory usage for chrome.exe itself. And yet, the second I start up the program, total memory usage begins to skyrocket, with Windows Task Manager not pointing to any culprit. The more times I start Chrome, the faster this happens--having restarted and killed Chrome now maybe 10 times in the past 30 minutes looking at stuff, it is now maxing out my memory and threatening to hang the system in less than 5 seconds.
posted by drlith at 6:17 AM on November 18, 2009

I'm guessing Chrome is like Firefox in that deleting and reinstalling the program still leaves some files around, like the ones for your user account, perhaps. I'd try uninstalling Chrome and tracking down all those files (googling "completely uninstall chrome" turned up some promising looking results).
posted by 6550 at 7:15 AM on November 18, 2009

Chrome updates itself automatically, so you never quite know what version you were running. (stable) was released Nov 12 and Chrome probably updated itself soon after. A quick Google search doesn't show anyone else having your problem, but you never know.

Try looking at your system with Process Explorer instead of Task Manager. Run it as Administrator (you can escalate privileges from the file menu). It will show you much more detail about running processes, including stuff not normally visible in the task manager. And you can get it to show you the rate of memory growth of each process.
posted by Nelson at 9:29 AM on November 18, 2009

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