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Google Chrome is about to fix its biggest flaw — what you need to know

Google Chrome
(Image credit: Big Tuna Online/Shutterstock)

Google Chrome is finally getting an update that could stop it chewing through memory and causing instability on Windows 10 machines. 

On its Chromium site, Google detailed how it has been using a function called TerminateProcess to make exiting processes in the Chrome browser a lot “cleaner.” That basically translates to a smoother experience and a browser that's less prone to causing crashes in Windows 10.  

Google Chrome has long been known for its ability to hog system RAM, notably when a lot of tabs and windows are open in the application. This has the nasty side effect of not only slowing down a system but potentially causing crashes in the browser. 

We’ve lost count of how many times Chrome has become unresponsive or crashes to desktop on Windows 10 machines with 8GB of RAM or less. For example, on a fifth-generation Surface Pro with a Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, Chrome can chew up a major proportion of its resources, making using the browser a rather ponderous and unstable experience. 

Furthermore, after a long borrowing session with multiple Chrome tabs open, closing the browser can still leave some residual processes that consume system resources. 

The TerminateProcess function is often used in Windows to unconditionally terminate a specified process and all of its threads. Think of it as a means of closing an app completely and preventing it from running anything in the background. Doing this frees up any system resources that an app has been taking up. 

So making use of TerminateProcess should be one way for Google to enable Chrome users to close a selection of tabs or indeed the whole browser and immediately get back the computing resources it was using. And from our understanding, it should make running Chrome smoother and less resource-intensive overall. 

The use of the TerminateProcess function in Chrome is still being tested by Google. But we’d not be surprised if it comes to a new version of Chrome in 2021, though in practice you’re not likely to notice the change, other than a more stable Chrome experience on Windows 10. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.