In this article I’m going to specifically concentrate on Google Chrome and Opera memory management.
Google Chrome 20
The first question Chrome users would have concerning this is:
“Whadya mean Chrome has memory issues? IT DOESN’T!”
Not at first. But it eventually will.
Chrome is like IE in the respect that runs each tab as a separate chrome.exe instance in the Windows environment, and it’s also like IE in that if you go toolbar/extension crazy, the browser will slow down to a crawl.
Toolbars and extensions are easy to manage in Chrome where if one is causing a problem, you simply disable or delete it.
Where Chrome really has a problem – and believe me, this really sucks – is that you have almost no options for cache or history management.
If you’re a heavy internet user, and use Chrome for say 90 days, the cache directory it uses will get freakin’ huge. In addition to that, your web history will get freakin’ huge. And in addition to that, there are “suggested searches” on top of that in the address bar. In the beginning, none of this will be problem, but as your cache and history gets larger, it does become a problem and the browser starts eating up memory left and right.
There are three things you can do in Chrome to keep it fast.
1. Use the History Limiter extension
You can get this extension here. What does it do? It allows you to keep web history for a set amount of days before deleting.
I know what you’re thinking. “But.. um… web browsers have had this feature forever. And Chrome doesn’t?” Nope. You need the extension to get that feature.
2. Disable prediction service and “Instant”
3. Remember to dump your cache periodically
I suggest setting up an email or text reminder using your calendar service of choice or cell phone to remind you to dump Chrome’s cache. This is easily done with a CTRL+SHIFT+DEL in the Windows environment.
Remember: If you don’t do this, your cache will get insanely large.
Opera, surprisingly, has the best memory management of the bunch. Even more surprising is how stupidly easy it is to set up.
In Opera, press ALT+P (this is for Preferences and not Print, which would be CTRL+P).
From the window that pops up, click the Advanced tab.
On the left sidebar for that window, click History.
Here is where we see memory management options:
When you drop down the menu for Memory cache, you have several options to choose from:
More often than not, Automatic works just fine. However if you notice any significant slowdowns, the easiest thing to do is to purposely choose 4MB; this works particularly well on older, slower computers.
As far as other things you can do concerning memory management in Opera, it is true just like any other browser that the more extensions you’re running, the more memory the browser uses and the slower it gets. Whenever possible, run as few extensions as possible, if any at all.
Other than that, Opera pretty much takes care of itself. You can set your disk cache limit easily (and have it auto-dumped on close of the browser as shown above), you can set your memory cache limit, history limit, have the browser dump cookies on exit, etc. Once these options are set, you’re basically done.
The only drawback is that Opera does not launch tabs as separate processes like IE and Chrome does, which does mean you will have to restart the browser every so often to reset the Commit Size for memory. Fortunately you don’t have to do it nearly as much as you would with Firefox, but still, a browser restart (just the browser, not the OS) is periodically required.
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