Windows 10 update will finally stop Chrome from eating all your RAM

Google Chrome
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Windows 10 will apparently be the first platform where Google Chrome's biggest flaw finally gets fixed. This is thanks to a new feature in the operating system that allows for better (and lower) memory usage, which could correct Chrome's year's of being a RAM hog.

A post at Windows Latest points to a Chromium (which Chrome is based on) commit post (description of a work in progress) that explains the nutty gritty of how this will go down. This is a bit technical, but we'll make it as easy to understand as possible. 

The Chromium post details the upside of adopting "segment heap" technology into Chrome, and poster Bruce Dawson says that "Experiments with per-machine opting-in to the segment heap for chrome.exe suggests that this could save hundreds of MB in the browser and Network Service utility processes, among others, on some machines," before noting that "Actual results will vary widely."

Dawson also notes that the highest gains will be found on "many-core machines," which likely means laptops with multi-core processors. 

This change is owed to Windows because of how the Windows 10 May 2020 update saw Microsoft leveraging the segment heap tech in applications in order to "manage memory more efficiently." In fact, it enabled memory usage reductions of up to 27% in Edge, Microsoft's own Chromium-based browser.

As our friends at TechRadar point out, the 'segment heap' support is not in place yet, so don't expect to see changes in Chrome the second your machine gets Windows 10's May 2020 update (which it still may not be able to). 

The experimentation in Chromium needs to finish up, and then make it through the multiple beta versions of Chrome. In the meanwhile, Chrome still needs to solve its other Windows 10 bugs.

Once that's all done, and Chrome finally becomes a more friendly citizen on the PC, expect Mac users like myself to wonder when macOS will join in the fight to stop Chrome from taking over all your system resources. 

Of course, this all raises an interesting question: may Chrome not move as fast when you've got dozens and dozens of tabs open? Or can Chrome manage to stay speedy with less resources?

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.