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My Ubuntu 12.04 freezes when I open quite a few windows. I use it at work with a dual desktop, so I usually use about 10 different tabs in two different Chrome applications. I assume Chrome runs out of memory, or is it my small Swap partition?

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hardware config? – Nirmik May 25 '12 at 16:31
Run chrome from the command line, and see why it freezes. If its out of memory it'll say so, but if you have a decent bit of memory plus swap, it may be hardware config. But chrome eats up memory when you are using it like you do, so... – Thomas Ward May 25 '12 at 16:46
How much is your RAM and swap? – Chan-Ho Suh May 25 '12 at 17:33
Processor Intel Core 2 Duo – Valeriu May 29 '12 at 19:49
OK AskUbuntu does not make it easy for me now. I wanted to add an image with my partitions and have no idea how. I have RAM of 2x1GB DDR2 and HD of 250 GB, with Vista and Ubuntu as dual boot. SWAP has 2 GB. – Valeriu May 29 '12 at 20:06

If Chrome really runs out of RAM, there are two simple options:

  1. Add more RAM.

  2. Open less tabs.

Another route it to reduce RAM consumption by other processes, for example, disable what's not used, or switch to XFCE or LXDE desktop environments.

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Is there a way I can see if the problem is actually in the memory? Maybe the Plugins on Chrome are the cause? How can I tell? – Valeriu May 31 '12 at 9:13
The system monitor shows RAM usage, as well as swap. If the system starts to swap heavily, then yes, it's probably run out of RAM. – mikewhatever May 31 '12 at 9:51
Thanks,Mike. I looked on the system monitor, before I open chrome, my system uses about 23% of memory and 0% of swap (swap not abailable) - after I open chrome, it uses on average 60% of memory. Does this indicate that the memory is the problem? – Valeriu Jun 1 '12 at 10:49
That's not necessarily a problem, as it depends on how much RAM there is. You should post the output of free -m for review. Use, if you can't add it the question. – mikewhatever Jun 6 '12 at 10:20
total used free shared buffers cached Mem: 2004 1873 131 0 35 597 -/+ buffers/cache: 1239 764 Swap: 0 0 0 – Valeriu Jun 7 '12 at 16:18

When you start swaping your computer will get slow, if you had too little swap, then it wouldn't freeze, instead using too much memory would trigger the kernels Out Of Memory killer, which would then kill the "Baddest" process. (usually your graphical server, or processes in chrome, which would result in the "sad tab" page, or Firefox.) It doesn't sound like you are running out of swap, most computers will get far too slow when they start using alot of swap.

Turning off javascript is a major move towards using less memory, but lots of pages wont work, NoScript for Firefox makes this more managable. Also, keep the number of open tabs low, and some sites (IME "Web 2.0" news sites like Huffington post are the worst) are much more performance hungry than others.

A good program to let you see what processes are running on your computer is htop, which you can install from the software center.

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Chrome is known for using more memory than Firefox. Chrome is written with the assumption that people will happily buy more RAM and then they will want pages to load super-super fast. (And that this behaviour is preferable to using less memory and performing better with 200+ tabs.)

There are a number of extensions that help one "save tabs for later" like Too Many Tabs and TabCloud.

Another option is to open articles in w3m (a text-only browser which uses less memory).


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"Performing better" is not synonymous with "less memory". On 11.10, at least, Chrome is shown to use more memory than Firefox, but manage it better. – Chan-Ho Suh May 25 '12 at 20:45
@Chan-HoSuh The OP speculated that his/her problem is that the computer runs out of memory. Hence "Performing better" is not necessarily the relevant question. Regarding your link: I don't think there is a uniform definition of "better". The OP may find with his/her browsing style that the results s/he cares about differ from the measurements at your linked site. – isomorphismes May 26 '12 at 2:52

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