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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.