Why Does Task Manager Show Multiple Chrome Instances?

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

If you’re a frequent Google Chrome user on either Windows 11 or Windows 10, you may have noticed that your Task Manager often shows multiple instances of Chrome running, even when you have only one tab open. This may seem like a cause for concern about excessive resource consumption and impact on your computer’s performance, but in reality, it is completely normal.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind multiple chrome processes and provide solutions to tackle the excessive resource consumption (high CPU, memory or disk usage) caused by them.

Why Does Task Manager Show Multiple Chrome Instances

What are multiple Chrome instances in Task Manager?

If you open the Task Manager on your computer while Google Chrome is running, you may notice that there are multiple chrome.exe processes listed. These processes are separate instances of Google Chrome, each with its own memory space and set of resources.

Each process is responsible for managing a different aspect of Chrome’s functionality, such as rendering web pages, running extensions, or handling network requests.

Suggested tip: How to Limit CPU Usage of a Process in Windows 11

Why does Google Chrome run multiple processes?

The primary reason for Chrome to run multiple processes is to improve its overall reliability, performance and security. By isolating each tab, plugin, and extension in a separate process, Chrome can ensure that if one of the Chrome tabs freezes, crashes or stops responding, it doesn’t affect the stability of the entire browser. Instead, only the affected tab or extension is affected, and you can close it without losing your entire browsing session.

Chrome’s multi-process architecture also contributes to its performance. By having each task run in its own process, Chrome can leverage modern multi-core processors and distribute tasks across them, making it faster and more responsive than other browsers.

Another benefit of multiple processes in Chrome is improved security. Because each process runs in its own sandbox, malware or other malicious code that infects one process cannot spread to others. This means that even if one tab or extension is compromised, your entire browsing session is not at risk.

Related issue: Game Lag When Watching YouTube or Twitch on Chrome

Do the chrome.exe processes in Task Manager represent tabs I have opened in Chrome?

It’s a common misconception that each chrome.exe process in the task manager represents a single tab that you have open in Chrome. However, that’s not entirely accurate.

why does task manager show multiple chrome tabs

While each tab in Chrome does run as a separate process, there are also other processes that are required to keep the browser running. These processes include the browser process, the GPU process, the render process, and the utility process.

The browser process is the main process that manages your browsing session, and it is responsible for managing all other processes, including the render process, GPU process, and utility process. The render process is responsible for rendering web pages, and it runs in a separate process to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with other browser functions.

See also: High GPU Usage While Watching YouTube Videos

The GPU process is responsible for handling graphics processing and runs on a separate process to ensure that it doesn’t cause any performance issues. The utility process manages various functions, such as handling downloads and managing cookies.

Each of these processes runs in the background, even if you don’t have any tabs open in Chrome. So, if you see multiple chrome.exe processes running in the task manager, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have multiple tabs open. It could simply mean that Chrome is running multiple processes to ensure smooth performance and reliability.

However, it’s also worth noting that each tab you have open in Chrome does run in a separate process, as mentioned earlier. So, if you have multiple tabs open, you’ll see additional chrome.exe processes in the task manager, each representing a separate tab.

What does multiple Chrome instances mean for my computer’s performance?

Multiple Chrome instances can have an impact on your computer’s performance, especially if you have a low-powered device. Each process running in the background consumes CPU and RAM resources, which can slow down your computer.

However, Chrome’s multi-process architecture is designed to optimize resource usage and ensure that the browser runs smoothly. In most cases, the impact on performance is negligible, even with multiple instances running.

Similar problem: Chrome Software Reporter Tool High CPU and Disk Usage

How can I reduce the number of Chrome processes?

If you want to reduce the number of Chrome processes running on your computer, there are several solutions you can try:

Close unused tabs

Each tab in Chrome runs as a separate process, so closing tabs that you’re not using can help reduce the number of instances running in the background. By doing so, you can reduce the amount of memory and CPU resources that Chrome consumes, potentially improving your computer’s performance. To close a tab, simply click on the “X” icon on the tab.

Remove unused and resource-intensive extensions

Extensions can also run as separate processes, consuming resources in the background. Removing extensions that you don’t need or disabling those that consume a lot of resources can help reduce the number of Chrome instances running.

You can remove or disable extensions by following these steps:

  1. Click on the three-dot menu in Chrome.
  2. Select “More Tools” > “Extensions“.Open Extensions on Chrome
  3. Click on “Remove” or toggle the switch to disable the extension.Disable Chrome Extensions

Disable Chrome’s background apps when Chrome is closed

Chrome allows you to keep running apps in the background even after you close the browser. This can be convenient, but it also means that Chrome is running additional processes in the background.

To disable this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Chrome’s settings.
  2. Click on “System” from the left pane.
  3. Next, turn off “Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed“.Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed

By doing so, Chrome will stop running background processes when you close the browser.

Also see: How to Know Which App is Using The Internet in Windows 11

Kill the chrome.exe processes yourself

If you want more control over the Chrome processes running on your computer, you can kill them manually using either Windows Task Manager or Chrome’s built-in task manager. Killing unnecessary processes can help free up memory and CPU resources, potentially improving your computer’s performance.

  • Windows 11/10 Task Manager: Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Task Manager, find the chrome.exe processes you want to close, and click on “End task“.Chrome multiple processes in Task Manager Windows 11
  • Chrome Task Manager: Press Shift+Esc to open Chrome’s task manager, find the processes you want to close, and click on “End process“.Chrome Task Manager

Force Chrome to display a single process

This is an advanced option that allows you to force Chrome to run all tabs under a single process, which can help reduce the number of Chrome instances running. However, this option can also cause issues with stability and security, so it is generally not recommended and should be used with caution.

To use this option, follow the steps below:

  1. Right-click on the Chrome shortcut.
  2. Select “Properties“.
  3. Add --process-per-site to the end of the “Target” field.Reduce Chrome processes

By doing so, Chrome will run all tabs under a single process. This method applies to both Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Chrome not opening, but multiple processes running in Task Manager

Sometimes you may encounter an issue where Chrome is not opening, but multiple processes are running in the task manager. This can be a frustrating problem, but there are a few things you can try to fix it:

  1. Try killing all Chrome processes from the Task Manager and then restart Chrome.
  2. If the problem persists, try restarting your computer.
  3. Clear Chrome’s cache and cookies.
  4. If nothing works, try reinstalling Chrome without previous settings and extensions.

    Final Thoughts

    Multiple chrome.exe processes in the Task Manager are normal and necessary for Chrome’s multi-process architecture. While having multiple processes running in the background can consume CPU and RAM resources, it’s designed to optimize resource usage and ensure that the browser runs smoothly.

    By closing unused tabs, removing unused and resource-intensive extensions, disabling Chrome’s background apps, killing chrome.exe processes, or using advanced options, you can reduce the number of Chrome instances running on your computer and potentially improve its performance.

    Nyau Wai Hoe
    Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of WindowsDigitals.com. With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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