Make Google Chrome start 15 times faster!

Did it ever happen to you that you’ve needed to check something very quickly, an article, your emails, and then you opened Google Chrome but it took forever to have it respond to your commands? I’m sure that this happens way too often in way too many circumstances.

Identifying the problem itself

Now, while it’s nearly improbable, you should make sure that the startup speed is really problematic and it’s not just your lack of patience. If you’ve ever had a modern computer running the OS from an SSD, and you’ll try and compare that speed to an older computer running the OS from a hard disk, then you’re in error. SSD read and write speeds are significantly higher than HDD speeds. It also makes a difference if you have 4, 8 or 32 GB of RAM. Surely, it’s not a huge difference from 16 GB to 32 GB – in the context of merely starting Google Chrome – but the difference between 4 GB and 32 GB of RAM is very obvious.

The next thing you need to ask yourself is – how long ago did you reinstall Windows, if you’re running Windows? If you’re on some Linux distribution, which one is it? How many startup features are enabled, what graphics on what card and so on. For example, the same computer with the same hard disk will fire up Chrome sooner if Windows was installed yesterday versus a 5-year-old install.
Now, onto a real case of a real problem, which isn’t caused by other factors but just Chrome doesn’t start fast enough. One of the tools for this article is the one from here.

Tell me about your problem by clicking here. I will reply in two hours with a solution.

AppTimer is a simple, free application that simply times application startup time!  However, to check your issues, feel free to use any other similar application or simply a stopwatch – whichever works best.

While the latest release is old (10th of February, 2015), it still does the job. To use it, you don’t need to know much. The following image shows the GUI of the application when you first use it:

So, the application box needs the path of the Google Chrome EXE – or whatever other program you want to test – and then the log file box is simply the file in which you want to see the output, which is created during runtime.
Fair enough, here is what came out of the Google Chrome test results after 3 executions:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe - 3 executions
Failed to find window
Failed to find window
Failed to find window

Well, needless to say that the almost 55 seconds are a pain! What is the computer’s configuration? You’ll be surprised to see it’s not just an old Pentium 4:

To be mentioned: Windows Experience Index wasn’t measured, it’s a default 1.0 on any system if you don’t let it run the tests.

Attempts to fix the problem

There are several things that can cause Chrome to run slowly and to start itself slowly, and we’re going to address the most important fixes and test it to show you the difference!
Clearing all browsing history is certainly helpful – in just one week, so much clutter can be stored, and you don’t even notice and it’s also convenient to have the most visited sites cached and stuff like that, but actually it kills speed if ignored.
To do this, follow these steps as seen on the images:

Chrome also has a feature that checks harmful software. However, I strongly recommend a second tool as well, such as the famous Malwarebytes Antimalware. So, here’s how to run them. Chrome has this at chrome://settings/cleanup

On the test PC, Google Chrome didn’t locate anything harmful.

Malwarebytes found threats, so we remove those as soon as found. It is probable that a restart is needed, so if that comes up, accept it.

The next items to check are extensions and plugins. You see, it’s not always true that the more extensions you have, the better. At times, it’s exactly the enabled extensions and plugins that take so much to load, and thus the browser with them attached is loading horribly slowly. The almost 55 seconds mentioned can be extremely slow, as an old 486 PC with a Windows 95 installed with just around 8 or 12 MB of RAM (not gigabytes but megabytes,  that is correct) may start up and be operational in under 40 seconds. When comparing it as such, 55 seconds is way too long for a browser to get started, even if the system used to test it didn’t have an SSD, but just a hard disk drive.

The following settings were applied:

So, in this case, just Avira Browser Safety was left enabled. What about the other extensions? We don’t remove them, just disable them. You can always re-enable any of them, as needed. However, in newer versions of Chrome, there is no plugins page as it was before, so settings can be found here:

You can go over that list, disabling and enabling features as needed. There is no general rule as to what needs to stay active and what to be disabled – each person must decide for their own.
While many people may not have apps installed on Chrome, you may want to check it out on this page:
Again, if any app is to be removed, right-click on it and select Remove!
Check that Google Chrome is up to date or not. If not, we recommend an update as soon as possible:

Now, the moment of truth is running the tests again and to see what the above steps actually provided in terms of improvement.
Interesting fact to note – while visibly the speed was by far improved, the application aforementioned gave the same 54-55 second results. So we’ve used a manual stopwatch to measure launch time, and guess what? Average launch speed is now 3.5 seconds. Even if we measured it against a plain 54 seconds, this means 15.42 times faster, so fair enough to say that it’s at least 15 times faster. It was worth the effort, right?

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