For a while now I’ve been dealing with general woes while using my beloved Google Chrome. I enjoy Chrome. It’s a great browser and it’s supported by a great team.
With that said, I have been spending a lot of time lately trying to justify why I still use Chrome despite all of the difficulties. Well to name a few reasons: I enjoy the secure content, the modular framework, the nifty features, and the interface is great… but it seems to be always CRASHING.
Granted I do use this particular setup for my sysadmin work, so I have slightly different necessities and software packages installed than your average user, but I tried with all my troubleshooting super powers (google.com) to try and figure out why I couldn’t prevent Chrome from crashing. I reinstalled, turned off all extensions, cleared temp data and Chrome user profile, updated the browser, updated Flash/Java, but nothing worked… I just could not figure out why Chome kept crashing.
But today is a good day.
Downloads Not Working
The first sign of trouble was when downloads in Chrome would sporadically stop working. I have never had trouble using my browser, EXCEPT for when I noticed that downloads stopped working.
It didn’t happen all the time. I could log into my desktop and start the Chrome process fresh and could be downloading files like when Napster was new. All of a sudden, though, it would stop working. I could click a download link over and over but nothing would ever happen.
The resulting bad behavior of this came when I tried closing Chrome. It would say that I still had Downloads in queue and to press Ctrl+J to clear them out, but of course there were never any downloads in the queue and even closing Chrome would sometimes leave a lingering processes in the task manager.
Can’t kill chrome.exe process
As I mentioned, there were occasionally lingering processes in the task manager. These were a nightmare. I noticed that if the downloads stopped working and for some reason had to close the browser, then most of the time I would be left with a chrome.exe process running in my task manager and no way to end it. No amount of End Process or End Process Tree could make this thing go away. I tried taskkill from cmd with the same result, it just wouldn’t end. It was like something had it locked.
If I then tried to run Chrome again, it just wouldn’t open. Since there was a chrome.exe process already running it wouldn’t allow for a new browser instance to be loaded. I tried to just log out of Windows and log back in, a usual fix, but much to my dismay chrome.exe was still locked in the task manager. The only solution for this was to restart the entire PC, and I still have a bad taste in my mouth.
Shockwave Flash crashing
Here’s where the door opened for me to see the true cause of my issues. After performing Chrome updates, uninstalling/reinstalling all versions of Java, reinstalling Chrome, and disabling all of my browser extensions, I was able to work somewhat normally. Downloads would work the majority of the time, but would still stop after a while. All pages loaded fine for the most part, aside from some slowness, but other than that it was doable (an admin’s way of saying “still broken but I have work to do”).
I started noticing that some sites would either eventually, or immediately, crash with the error “The following plug-in has crashed: Shockwave Flash”
I did some research and found the solution at the top of the return list Here. This article was perfect for resolving the crashing with Flash. No longer was I getting that error, but downloads continued to periodically stop working.
Of course I followed the instruction at the bottom of the Fix Shockwave Flash in Google Chrome article and browsed to chrome://conflicts in my browser, but it returned “No conflicts detected”.
Going off the resolution of the issue with the Shockwave plugin, I decided to look further into the chrome://plugins page in the Chrome browser.
I found that there were not only multiple Flash plugins (as described above) but also multiple Quicktime plugins were installed; 7 versions, of the same version.
After disabling all but the top entry and then uninstalling and reinstalling Quicktime, my download and freezing issues went away completely. It’s strange how so Quicktime was added 7 different times into the chrome://plugins page, but again this is a VM and my admin machine so really anything is possible.
**If you are having any general crashing, lockups, downloading, or page loading issues in Chrome, check the chrome://plugins page for duplicate or malicious looking plugins. Reference Google if you aren’t sure about what’s legit.
Check your Chrome plugins! If you have multiples then take ’em out! It’s hard to find a solution to an issue that is only vaguely describable in a short search engine query, but hopefully this general tip will help some of you out there.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments below!
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