3 Google Chrome:// tricks you probably didn’t know about

I love Chrome.

Yes, sometimes it crashes and other times it crawls at a glacial pace, but most of the time it works well.

In this post, I want to show you 3 obscure tricks that will fuel your online adventures with Chrome.

We’re not going to install a myriad of extensions but rather we’ll use existing keywords to peek “under the hood” of the browser and fine-tune a few things.  Ultimately, I hope this little guide helps you get more value from Chrome.

1. Managing Memory

In the address bar type this:

chrome://memory-redirect

Chrome pops open an advanced memory console that reveals all processes consuming virtual and regular memory. Virtual memory shows how much of your hard drive Chrome has apportioned for RAM.

Google Chrome Memory Tab

If your browser is feeling sluggish, check the total column.

But this memory tab doesn’t really let you do much about the problem, that’s why I recommend using the Chrome Task Manager to manage voracious Chrome.exe processes and lethargic tabs.

To conjure the Chrome Task Manager just press Ctrl + Esc.

Admittedly, it’s not as robust as using the Windows task manager; however, it does show you which tabs are having the most corrosive effect on your browsing experience.

2. Cache control

Cache makes me think of money, but I’m thinking of the wrong cash… ahh.

Anyway, as you surf the web, Chrome collects various web elements like images, videos and stylesheets and stores them on your hard drive.  This usually speeds up your browsing experience because it obviates unnecessary HTTP requests.

For example, the first time you visit fixedbyvonnie.com Chrome dutifully retrieves the logos, images and formatting sheets (called CSS stylesheets) and saves them to a special section of your hard drive.

The next time you visit my site, Chrome culls common elements from its local data store saving precious milliseconds that would have been wasted on an extraneous page request.  

Now, one element probably won’t make a difference but most sites have hundreds of elements so caching bits of common data often provides a tangible benefit.

So where exactly is the cache?

You can take a peek by pressing Ctrl + r and entering this address:

%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache

Or even better, type this into the Chrome address box:

chrome://cache

Viewing Google Chrome Cache

Clicking the link reveals esoteric details about the HTTP request such as the content type, age and expiration date.

If your browser is acting wonkey (is that word?) you might be tempted to clear the cache.  That’s a good thought; however, realize that the cache is actually an effective means of speeding up your browser.  It only becomes an issue when it grows too large.

That’s why I suggest clearing other browsing data before clearing the cache.

Only use the cache clear as a last resort.

In the Chrome address bar punch in this link:

chrome://settings/clearBrowserData

Check everything except Cached images and files and click Clear browsing data.

Google Chrome Clear Browsing Data

3. Perverse Plugins

I’m talking about those stubborn plugins that keep ruining your day.

To view all the plugins Chrome is cognizant of type this in the address bar:

chrome://plugins

Google Chrome Plugins

Now you can selectively disable to allow specific plugins.

Extensions are similar to plugins but I think the difference is that extensions are written for the Chrome Web Store but Plugins are designed to provide default services for the browser such as Adobe Flash and the ever tenuous Java.

The Bottom Line

Chrome has such a glut of features that sometimes it feels like a mini-operating system.  In addition to tweaking plugins, cache and memory you can manage user profiles, navigate with shortcuts and play with multiple tabs.  The Chromium OS is a Google OS that puts the Chrome browser in the spotlight and with the increased popularity of Chromebooks, Google Chrome will only continue to rise in stardom.

I hope these quick tips help you guys!  If you know of any tricks that I didn’t mention please share in the comments!

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Posted in Google Chrome, Web Browsers, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 Tagged with:
  • pen

    Hello: I am looking for a chromeCacheViewer but for Mac that allows me to view the cache as on technical user and then copy the required files I desire. My files are of file type = .swf files.

    Research so far:
    >There is a great utility for viewing in Windows (http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/chrome_cache_view.html) but I need this for Mac. This utility does handle .swf filetype.
    >There was an online web tool (sensesolutions) published in 2012 but it does not work for filetype = .swf.
    >So no solution that I can find after a few days of googling.
    > I can view the cache in Chrome on my Mac (10.10.3) by the standard command state above (e.g.chrome://cache), but sadly 0 that is about it. Appear no copy function seems possible for 1 file out of 100’s…. e.g. ctrl c, right click, no copy ability.

    Such a simple task I thought would be easy in Chrome. In Firefox there is an add-on and in Safari there is a Mac stand-alone app. But in Chrome for Mac users, nothing.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.