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Browser First Aid: Fixes for Five Common Problems in Chrome

Chrome First AidBeing the world’s most popular desktop browser means Chrome gets it in the neck over the slightest of issues  —  even when the browser isn’t at fault! 

The tiered development nature of Chrome acts as a sort of purity filtration system, with bugs, quirks and regressions being removed the closer it gets to the bottom (the ‘stable channel’ in this analogy).

But while Google is able to control the quality of their browser they aren’t able to control the quality of the websites that appear in it, the system it runs on* or the users who used it.

When you next run into a problem with Chrome – be it restoring tabs after a crash, fixing a corrupt profile or diagnosing an errant extension – one of the following tips could help you out.

Reopen A Tab After Closing It

It’s almost a rite of passage; everyone will, at some stage, accidentally close a browser tab without meaning to, and panic as a result. I’ve done it, and you’ve done it, probably more times than either of us would care to admit!

The next time you close a tab by mistake you can get it back in a flash by pressing Ctrl + Shift + T (in Windows, Linux and Chrome OS) or Cmd + Shift + T (Mac OS X).

Restore Tabs After a Crash or Accidental Exit

There you were, working away like a trooper with multiple tabs open and your productivity in full-flow. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, it’s all gone.

Regardless of the reason, be it an unexpected crash, a system failure or, like above, accidental closing, Google has made it easy to restore tabs when re-opening Chrome.

To recover your tabs after a crash or quit just head into the ‘Recent Tabs‘ option in the Chrome menu:

  1. Click the Hotdog icon in the upper right corner of Chrome
  2. Mouse over the ‘Recent Tabs‘ item
  3. In the fold out menu click the ‘{num} Tabs’ entry

Recover Tabs in Chrome After Quitting

Bonus Tips: Auto-Recover Tabs

If quitting Chrome  by accident is something you’re particularly prone to, you may want to enable the ‘Continue Where I Left Off‘ option under Settings > On Startup:

Pick Up Where I Left Off in Chrome

Whether you quit intentionally or unintentionally all of your opened tabs when you exited your previous session will re-open on your next.

Mac users can also enable a ‘quit warning’ option from the ‘Chrome’ menu.

Kill An Unresponsive Page in Chrome

Ever encountered a webpage or extension that plays up? Of course you have.

You know the drill: the page becomes unresponsive and the tab refuses to close. As the rogue webpage starts tucking in to a buffet of RAM and CPU cycles, with a side order of battery juice, your frustration levels rise.

Here’s where the Chrome Task Manager can help.

chrome task manager

Google Chrome is clever; it runs each tab as a single process, independently of each other. This means that when one tab crashes the rest remain unaffected. As such, on the rare occasion you run into a rogue website that Chrome doesn’t kill automatically, you can take action yourself using the Chrome Task Manager.

  1. Click the Hotdog icon in the upper right corner of Chrome
  2. Mouse over the ‘Tools‘ item
  3. Select the ‘Task Manager’ entry
  4. Click the tab/extension at fault
  5. Hit the ‘End Process’  button

You can now refresh or close the tab as you wish.

Fix A Corrupt Chrome Profile

It’s not often you’ll encounter the complaint that your ‘Chrome profile could not be opened correctly‘ but on the rare occasion you do you can follow this guide to put it right:

  1. Click the Hotdog Icon in the upper right corner
  2. Click ‘Signed in as…’
  3. Under the ‘Users’ section find your profile and delete it
  4. Quit and reopen Google Chrome

It’s worth noting that this will wipe away all of your settings. If you have Chrome Sync enabled you can get all of your favourite extensions, apps and bookmarks back by signing in again with your Google Account.

Wipe The Slate Clean: Reset Google Chrome

When things get really bad you may want to resort to a nuclear option. For Windows users this often means resorting to the old ‘uninstall, reinstall’ trick.

You don’t actually need to do this.  Google includes a built-in reset feature that will wipe away everything. With a couple of clicks all add-ons and apps are removed, while all settings, flags and preferences, including your homepage and New Tab, are reset to their default values.

For times when resetting your profile doesn’t work, this will:

  1. Click the Hotdog Icon in the upper right corner
  2. Select ‘Settings’
  3. Click ‘Show advanced settings’
  4. Find the section titled: ‘Reset browser settings
  5. Click Reset browser settings’
  6. In the window prompt that appears click Reset’

Chrome will power-wash your browser and restart.

If these tips help you out the next time you run into an issue, please consider sharing this article with your Twitter, Facebook or Google+ followers. 

*Chrome OS excluded, naturally.
  • MEH

    Nothing about fixing the New Tabs page?

    • Bill O’Dwyer

      Or the frankly awful font rendering issues in Linux-based distributions other than Ubuntu?

      • Rudhá Oliveira

        Try infiniality, I use it on fedora and it’s better than ubuntu when configured correctly.

      • Rudhá Oliveira

        Try infiniality, I use it on fedora and it’s better than ubuntu when configured correctly.

        • Bill O’Dwyer

          Good call! Though infinality causes a lot of issues with Japanese fonts, so back to the drawing board :P

    • While not liked by a small minority of users the ‘new tab page’ isn’t broken; it’s not a bug. We’ve already written extensively about it, and continue to cover alternatives.

    • Maxime Poulin

      The extension “Speed Dial 2” is a pretty good extension to replace the new tab page. Much more configurable, you can set the thumbnail sizes, number of columns and various other cool things. Definitely recommend if you don’t like the new “New Tab” page.

  • bimsebasse

    Isn’t it called the “hamburger icon”? I can’t handle several different food related names for that icon!

    • Ankit Pati

      I find it best to just call it the “3 bars icon”. Clear, concise, unambiguous, universal. Hot dogs are not common (call them an extinct species if you will) in the part of the world I live in. I’ve never had one, and no one I know has ever had one.

      • Maxime Poulin

        Or just the menu icon. I think it’s common enough nowadays to be called as such. Just like “Save Icon” is well known to be the floppy disk.

        • Sarah Dragon

          You would think that was the case but my experience is that you often have to say “The icon with 3 horizontal lines under the red button with an X that closes the window”. As someone who works in techsupport I think there are some people who just shouldnt use a computer.

          • Ankit Pati

            Agreed, but that is only the first reference in a piece of text or a conversation. Subsequently, it is sufficient to refer to it as the “3 bars icon”.

            Oh, and there are some people who should be legally barred from designing a UI. Like the folks at Google who decided on a whim that 3 bars looks prettier than a wrench and left years worth of documentation outdated in a single master stroke.

        • Ankit Pati

          Problem is that the even the save icon has not been spared by people looking for originality. LibreOffice uses a hard disk instead of a floppy disk. With stuff moving to the cloud, save is often replaced with download. And a down arrow.

    • MagicMiguel

      Other than menu icon, the only other term I’ve heard for it is hamburger icon. Never heard hot dog before.

  • stevenkw

    Looks like an Egg McMuffin if anything.

  • Chrome still lacks a theme manager even after so many years. It should have had been there from day one. Changing themes or more particularly reverting to the older theme is still a pain with Google Chrome.

    • Ab

      The “after so many years” part is important. After so many years, the need of skinning has become redundant and, more often than not, the practice discouraged. It would perhaps be interesting to see Google work a more elegant, Chome HIG compliant personalization feature, but as it is, themes are a legacy feature.

      • Themes are not legacy. Everyone in Firefox use it. It is just not used in Chrome so much because theme management of Chrome sucks.

  • Wesley Files

    Shift+Esc is the easy way to open the task manager on Chromebooks.

  • Ian

    A good idea is to periodically backup the files: Current Session, Current Tabs in your Google Chrome profile folder. Sometimes Google Chrome cannot recover all tabs after crashing and reverting those files from the backup was the only solution.

  • Twizzle

    I hope I have placed this question in the right place. I’ve just installed Chrome because with XP & the latest version of IE that XP can run, I was getting a lot of sites that were having trouble displaying everything.
    Chrome is ok in many ways but I do not like the way it changes many of the icons of the shortcuts to the sites I visit, to the Chrome icon.
    a) Is there any way to make Chrome accept the default icon of the sites I already have shortcuts to and b) make Chrome accept the default of any new site I might make a shortcut to?
    Once again I apologise if this post is in the wrong place & if it is could someone direct me to the correct place.
    Thank you in advance.

  • Manny

    Mouse doesn’t work in Chrome browser, how can I fix? It works everywhere else even IE.

  • 3579

    We can right click in any tab area where there is no tab and select to open task manager or just use shift+enter.

  • Courtney Conniff

    Every time I open a new tab, I’ll get multiple tabs. My background does not come up at all, it’ll be just a blank page. Also then on the search bar or bars will have: ” chrome-internal://newtab/ ” typed in. So I have no idea how to fix this problem.

  • Kiki Oluwo

    Google Chrome sucks big time!

  • johnson dell

    For Free Browser Tech Support Contact Us: 1-800-935-0537

  • Michael Lowe

    can i sign back in with my google account after i get the aww snap thing and have to make a new user profile i don’t want to corrupt the new one as well

  • terrible advice. when Chrome crashes or you mistakenly close a window, if you have multiple windows open for Chrome both it and any program such as reload all tabs,or one tabs fail miserably. Is there a real solution to this problem?

    Or is it a failed attempt to control the brightness of the screen through every Google app in their store, or other elements that bother you on your pic. I uninstalled every piece of crap they had and found something that works for brightness. But it was a fluke not at all related to google.

    I feel google is a real pain in the butt cuz unless you ask a question and exactly the right words and with quotes google is basically useless, especially when you are looking for a solution on a specific problem.

  • Doc Talbot

    When you click on the Chrome icon at the bottom of the screen ….it goes pink. Nothing seems to happen. If you then move your mouse over the icon…it shows that little window popping up that it is running …you just can’t see it on the monitor….and can’t access it…

  • Woodhouse

    Never seen anyone refer to the hamburger/pancake button as the “hotdog icon”

  • joyceawest

    How can I close Chrome so I can install daselane

  • lostarts

    What is a “hotdog” icon, and why don’t I have one?

    • Its the menu icon in the top right corner that looks like 3 horizontal lines. This is called a “hotdog” icon because it sort of looks like a hot dog on a bun.

      • lostarts


        I never would have guessed that one.

  • NÌrmøhì Møhìt

    hey i cant see my full history on google crome……. whenever i click on history button….. its show me february history….. and m also clear history….. after then its show me again

  • jackiemontgomery

    My chrome won’t work please help me.

  • David

    After years of using Chrome, I finally reverted back to IE! Chrome keeps killing my Norton Security Toolbar, every time Chrome updates (far too often), the toolbar disappears, and reinstalling it does not work. The toolbar works on Chrome 41,42,and 43, Chrome is now 44. Bye chrome!

  • Mike

    I started having problems with Chrome around October 2015. It was the whole reason I upgraded to Windows 8 (in hopes that it was only my OS).

    I have:
    – Disabled hardware acceleration
    – disabled all addons and extensions
    – Unchecked compatibility mode (right click chrome, click properties, select compatibility tab, unselect)
    – Deleted coockies, cache, history, etc.
    – reset the entire browser
    – Uninstall and reinstall
    – Cmd: netsh winsock reset (reset network adapter)
    – and many other tips/tricks posted on help sites. NOTHING HAS WORKED, BUT I LOVE CHROME (or rather I love what chrome was prior to October 2015).

    What’s wrong:
    1. When I type in the Omni bar, I can type an entire sentence before the first letter appears. When the letters slowly begin to appear, they are garbled and out of order from how I typed them (usually some letters omitted and almost all “Space-bar” spaces are missing (sometimes the letters are even in an order that I am confident that I didn’t write them in)
    2. Chrome takes forever to start/open
    3. When I type in a website or click on a link in my bookmarks, the pages load horribly slow
    4. Scrolling down a page has lags. It doesn’t matter if I scroll with my mouse or use two fingers (on the mousepad), it is lag-ish and jumpy

    Chrome has become unusable. I have been using “Edge” and would just settle for edge if it had all of the add-ons that I have grown to love… Probably the one I miss the most is “video speed controller”, which allows you to increase the speed of a video by increments of 0.1. You can slow it down to 0.1X or speed it up to 4X (it will go faster than 4X, but the sound mutes at 4.1X and above).

    Thanks for any help anyone has to offer (as long as you don’t waste my time with suggestions I’ve already tried (above).

  • MicHaeL

    How about making the tabs easier to use??… Freaking… every other browser has tabs that have a limit on how small they shrink, and after that you can either scroll them (like Firefox) or get them in a dropdown-list (Maxthon). But I’m sick of those browsers and Chrome is really nice, APART FROM THAT ONE CRITICAL AREA THAT’S CALLED THE TAB-BAR.
    I swear, they have the monkeys of the design-team for YouTube working on Chrome as well.

  • marlrat

    I’m very depressed. Ever since Chrome won’t work on my Vista I have encountered many problems one of which is trying to get the notifications of “no longer supported ” or “unable to save preferences” off my page when I open google! I have to click on 3 different things to get to the page I want. I am on a fixed, low income and cannot afford to upgrade.. Was going to change to Firefox but read where they are having many problems also. What’s a poor person to do?? There was o consideration given to us at all. Chrome deletes many things from any article I might be reading or won’t open some things I click on. VERY frustrating and I know no one cares.