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Stop Google Chrome from Running in the Background on Windows

chrome background running

Is this bugging you?

While Google gets to work fixing the Chrome battery drain issue affecting Windows users, an easy interim solution may help preserve laptop battery life in the meantime.

The fix? Closing the browser when it’s not needed.

Captain Obvious

Historically, closing an application in Windows is straightforward: you click or tap on the ‘x’ window control button.

Depending on your settings, this isn’t always the case with Chrome; closing doesn’t always mean it fully exits. The browser often continues to run in the background on Windows (and Linux) – something you might never notice.

The Reason Why: You

Whether this happens or not depends on the sort of applications and extensions you have installed in Chrome. Some of these will “ask” the browser to stay awake so that they can continue to function; e.g., to deliver notifications of new e-mail messages or keep an active IRC chat alive.

Google makes it easy to tell when background apps are active: just look for the Google Chrome icon in the system tray (bottom right corner of your desktop screen). Click on this emblem to view a list of active tasks and a access a proper ‘Exit’ option.

If want to stop Chrome from running in the background entirely (i.e., so that it always exits when closed), regardless of extension, you can. You just need to tell it to.

How to Stop Chrome Running in the Background

On Windows or Linux click on the Chrome icon in the task bar/system tray, find the ‘Let Chrome run…’ option and click/tap it to disable/toggle the checkmark off.

It’s that simple. 

The behaviour can also be changed through the browser’s main settings page:

  • Click on the Chrome menu (or press Alt+E)
  • Select Settings
  • Click on the link titled ‘Show advanced settings
  • Under the section headed ‘System‘ untick the box next to “Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed”

To reenable the feature simply repeat the steps above but reversing the final step.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    There are people who didn’t know this?

    • Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      You’d be surprised.

  • Timothy Anderson

    …. or simply don’t use windows. It is the worst OS ever written.

    • pixelstuff

      Windows is the best OS ever written. Not without flaws, but still the best overall.

      • Timothy Anderson

        I’m glad you like it. Please enjoy it.

      • Piero Giorgi

        Actually, no.
        The most popular for sure, but definitely NOT the best ever written.

      • Efjay

        I’m surprised you weren’t lynched for that statement ;-) Although I support Linux, I would concede that Windows 8.1 is the best Windows Microsoft have made. Unfortunately because of luddites, it looks like they will be ripping all the good innovative UI stuff out to make another bland copy of Win95 and present it as Windows 9.

        • Richard Wild

          Nope, Windows 10 is awesome.

    • Matthew D.

      If I don’t use Windows how will I play all my games on Steam?!

      • Piero Giorgi

        On a SteamBox… (Linux)

        • Rodrigo Pinheiro Das Graças

          He said “ALL”. Not just 1/5th of his games. (I think I’m being very generous here!)

          • Piero Giorgi

            Using PlayOnLinux, then.
            Portal 2 works like a charm. (I’m not that much of a gamer)

  • Richard Wild

    Windows 10 is actually shaping up to be awesome.

  • Alex Edwards

    I like Chrome as a browser, but really I don’t need it running in the background. it’s not my e-mail client or operating system. it’s a browser, that’s it. There is nothing it needs to tell me that is so critical that it needs a dedicated and immediate notification avenue.