Is Chrome making your computer too slow? Save memory by suspending idle tabs.

Is Chrome making your computer too slow? Save memory by suspending idle tabs.
A slow computer is stressful.
A slow computer is stressful.

Slow computer? It might be all your fault. If, like me, you have at least 25 different browser tabs open at any given time, you’re putting a lot of strain on your laptop. That tab extravaganza uses up more working memory and could make your computer slower if it doesn’t have enough RAM to handle it.

Thankfully, there’s a simple solution that’ll let you leave all those open links up. You’re totally going to read all those Wall Street Journal links and watch your friend’s 30-minute YouTube video — just not yet.

The solution is a Google Chrome extension called the Great Suspender. The extension is meant to “help reduce Chrome’s memory footprint for users that like to have too many tabs open at the same time,” according to its description. Basically, it freezes a tab when you’ve left it idle; when you’re ready to return to it, click and it’ll refresh.

Here’s how you can implement it in your own life:

First, download the extension. Just click here and hit “Add to Chrome.” When you’ve successfully added it, you’ll see a little face-like icon at the top-right corner of your Chrome window.

I circled the Great Suspender icon.
I circled the Great Suspender icon. Alexis Kleinman/The Great Suspender

If you click that icon and then click Settings, you’ll be able to choose how quickly you want unused tabs to be suspended. Here’s the Settings page:

The Great Suspender’s settings
The Great Suspender’s settings Alexis Kleinman/The Great Suspender

You have lots of options, including the ability to limit auto-suspending to certain times, like when you’re computer is connected to the internet or unplugged. There’s also a whitelist you can add to: Whatever URLs you put there will never be suspended no matter how long you leave them unattended. You can even choose how long a tab has to lie dormant before it’s suspended.

Choose how long it takes for a tab to be suspended.
Choose how long it takes for a tab to be suspended. Alexis Kleinman/The Great Suspender

I like to suspend my tabs after 30 minutes. Here’s what a suspended tab looks like:

A suspended tab
A suspended tab Alexis Kleinman/The Great Suspender

Once a tab has been suspended, you can just click it to restore it to its original version. Now that your computer is running better, you have more time to work — or play The Sims. Personally, I’ll be doing a little of both.

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