Multiple chrome.exe processes in the Task Manager – What does it mean?

Chrome has become the favourite option for many users who want an efficient way to browse internet. Chrome is known for offering great speed and although it may slow down from time to time, there are many options to ensure that it works as fast as it should. What concerns some users is the fact that several chrome.exe processes appear to be running in the Task Manager while using Chrome, even if there is only one browser window active. You may be wondering what are these processes and if they affect your computer’s performance. Here we will take a look at these chrome.exe mysterious process to shed some light on them.

A legion of processes – what to do

To understand what we mean with multiple processes running at the same time, launch Google Chrome, open four pages in four tabs and then press Ctrl +Shift +Esc to view the full process list in Task Manager. You will see the chrome.exe processes running on your computer and they are likely to be more than the number of tabs that are open. The reason for this is that Chrome is designed to put web applications and plugins in separate processes that run independently from the actual Chrome application.

The idea behind this is to enhance performance and to maintain the security of the system. If all the tabs depended on a single process, in case one web app failed, the entire browser would crash, including the apps, tabs and plug-ins. Chrome works in a similar way to an operating system that keeps web apps apart from each other, making sure that the browser doesn’t stop working altogether due to a single problematic website or application. When it comes to security, the fact that applications are running independently, reduces the vulnerability of the system in case of any threats.

In order to have a greater control over these processes, you can use the Chrome Task Manager. To access it, press Shift + Esc in Chrome, or right click the Chrome title bar and select Task Manager. The Chrome Task Manager will offer detailed information about each of the chrome.exe processes that are listed in the Windows Task Manager. There would be one task for every chrome.exe process, as well as memory, CPU and network activity data. To find out more about them, you can right click in the window to choose from 17 different options, including CSS cache and JavaScript Memory. The Chrome Task Manager will enable you to identify the processes that may be affecting the performance of the browser and you can end them to fix any speed issues.

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How does it work

There are three kind of chrome.exe processes: Browser, Renders and Plug-ins. Browser uses one process and it is in charge of all Chrome’s tasks. The Renders main function is to display the web pages and they manage CSS3, Web 2.0, jQuery and HTML5 elements. The plug-ins manage individual processes, making sure that if an application that relies on them crashes, the entire browser will not be impacted.

Whenever you open a domain in a Chrome tab, a new chrome.exe process is generated. The browser has its own task, which is always running. Let’s say that you have five tabs open in total. Three of them are used for a news website and two for Gmail. In this case, you would see three tab processes in the Chrome Task Manager and three chrome.exe processes in the Windows Task Manager.

One of the processes, would be related to the news website’s domain, one would be for Gmail and the other one for Chrome. Keep in mind that if plug-ins are running, there would be even more processes. Once Chrome reaches around 20 chrome.exe processes, it would start re-using existing processes to avoid crashes and keep the browser running.

Overall, there is no reason to be concerned about the large amount of chrome.exe processes that appear when you are using the browser. This is the way Chrome is designed to work and as we previously mentioned, if a process is failing, you can use the Chrome Task Manager to end it.
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