How to clear site data in Chrome on Windows 10

When you have problems loading a website in any browser, the one troubleshooting action you’ll be advised to take, regardless of which browser you use, is to clear the cache. All browsers maintain a cache and it’s normally maintained for every single website that you visit. Clearing the cache is a good idea and often it will fix loading problems but sometimes, the cache isn’t the problem.

Clear site data in Chrome

The cache is automatically refreshed after a certain period of time. When we force clear it, we’re basically removing files sooner rather than later. There are still some files for websites that Chrome keeps, and they generally are not refreshed. These site-specific files may prevent a website from loading.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Navigate to the website that won’t load.
  3. Tap the F12 keyboard key to open the developer console. Alternatively, right-click anywhere and select ‘Inspect’, or tap the Ctrl+Shift+I keyboard shortcut.
  4. On the developer console, go to the Application tab.
  5. In the column on the left, select ‘Clear storage’.
  6. In the pane on the right, you will see a donut chart. Click the ‘Clear site data’ button under it.

Clear website cookies and cache

The above will clear files related to a website that are normally kept indefinitely. You can use the developer console to manually delete cache files that are specific to the website.

  1. Open Chrome and visit the website.
  2. Tap either F12 or Ctrl+Shift+I to open the developer console
  3. Go to the Application tab.
  4. In the column on the left, expand ‘Cookies’ under the Storage section.
  5. Right-click each cookie, one-by-one, and select Clear.
  6. In the column on the right, right-click Cache Storage.
  7. Select Clear.

Note: deleting cookies will end all sessions that you have e.g., if you’re signed into a particular account/service on the website, you will be signed out. Data saved by extensions is not removed.

Website data in other browsers

Chrome is not unique in storing files specifically for a website. Lots of other browsers do it though not all of them provide a button to clear it. Most have a single option to clear all data for all websites. That said, most modern browsers are now based on Chromium so the option to clear site data may be present.

Edge, for example, allows you to clear site data in the exact same way. Its web developer console is identical to that of Chrome and all options that Chrome offers are available in Edge.

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How to identify Chrome GPU Process on Windows 10

Chrome has its own built-in task manager. You can open it with the Shift+Esc key. Chrome’s task manager only shows processes that are run by Chrome, or extensions that have been installed in Chrome. It can be used to close a tab but if you’re trying to monitor your system’s resources, you will still have to use the Task Manager on Windows 10 (or Activity Monitor on macOS).

Chrome GPU Process

If you open the Chrome Task Manager (Shift+Ese in a Chrome window), you will see processes with names that match the tabs that you have open. You will also see GPU PProcess. Chrome isn’t an app that needs to use the GPU i.e., it is neither a graphics-intensive game nor is it a graphics editor like Photoshop or GIMP (or Affinity) however, it can still use it.

Chrome GPU Process

1. Identify GPU process tab

The Chrome GPU process may be idle i.e. no usage, or it may actively be using the GPU. The only way to identify this is to go to the Task Manager. You should know that just because you see GPU Process in Chrome’s task manager, doesn’t mean that it is actively being used.

  1. Right-click the Taskbar, and select Task Manager from the context menu.
  2. Go to the Processes tab.
  3. Click the title of the GPU column to sort items by GPU usage.
  4. The processes at the top will be using the GPU and if it reads 0% then no Chrome tab is actively using your GPU.
  5. The GPU engine column will read GPU 1 if it is being used by Chrome.

2. Disable Chrome GPU process

If you want to prevent Chrome from ever using the GPU, you can.

Turn off hardware acceleration

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the more options (three dots) button at the top right.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Scroll down to the System section.
  5. Turn off the ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’ switch.

Set Chrome graphics to Low Power mode

You can also prevent Chrome from using the GPU by changing a setting on Windows 10.

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to System.
  3. Select the Display tab.
  4. Scroll down, and click Graphics settings.
  5. From the dropdown, select Desktop app.
  6. Click Browse.
  7. Select Chrome’s executable file and add it.
  8. Select Chrome, and click the Options button.
  9. In the pop-up that opens, select ‘Power Saving’.
  10. Click Save.

Conclusion

Chrome will still continue to use the onboard graphics card. All apps use it and it is not unusual behavior for the browser to use it. You may also continue to see the GPU Process in Chrome’s task manager but as long as it isn’t using your GPU, you don’t have to worry about it.

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How to open crdownload file on Windows 10

Browsers can download files and some have fairly decent download managers built right into them. While you will find a download manager in most modern browsers, how a download is handled by the browser will differ from one browser to the others. The files, while they are downloading, have to be stored somewhere until the download is complete and the file is ready to use. Some browsers choose to keep the file hidden while it’s downloading while others, like Chrome, create a file in the download location that represents the in-progress download. This file has the crdownload extension.

crdownload file

A crdownload file is a temporary file that Chrome creates. This file will exist on your system as long as a download is in progress. Each file that is downloading has its own crdownload file, and each one is given a different name. Once a download completes, the crdownload file is replaced with the name of the actual file that you were downloading.

Open crdownload file

If you see a crdownload file on your desktop, or in any other folder it indicates one of four things;

  • A file is downloading in Chrome
  • A file was downloading in Chrome but the browser crashed before the download could finish.
  • A paused download in Chrome.
  • The download failed and Chrome was unable to clean up the residual crdownload file.

In all four cases, you will not be able to open the crdownload file. In fact, these files aren’t meant to open until the download has finished simply because all the data isn’t there. Here’s what you can do to open the crdownload file.

1. Wait for the download to complete

If the download is still in progress, allow it to complete. To check if a download is in progress in Chrome, follow these steps.

  1. Make sure Chrome is already open. The browser can’t download files in the background.
  2. Tap the Ctrl+J keyboard shortcut to open the Downloads page.
  3. You will see a list of all recent downloads and any files that are currently downloading.
  4. For a file that is still downloading, you will see a progress bar, and the download speed. Allow it to complete.
  5. If there is a ‘Resume’ and ‘Cancel’ button, click the ‘Resume’ button. The download has been paused and will complete when you resume it.

2. Resume/Restart the download

If the download has failed, you can delete the crdownload file and start the download again.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Tap the Ctrl+J keyboard shortcut to open the Downloads page.
  3. Check to see if any downloads have a ‘Resume’ button. If you see one, click it.
  4. If you see a ‘download failed’ message under a download, you won’t be able to resume it. Copy the link that you see under the download.
  5. Paste the link in the URL bar in a new tab, and tap Enter to restart the download.

You might be able to resume a failed download but not through Chrome. Check out this little trick with Firefox.

Conclusion

A crdownload file cannot be opened simply because all the data needed to open the file isn’t there. More importantly, there is no app that can actually open a crdownload file. If you’re downloading a PSD (Photoshop) file and it has the crdownload extension, you won’t be able to open it in Photoshop because the app cannot handle this file extension.

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How to disable hardware acceleration Chrome

Chrome, and browsers in general, are able to interact with and use other peripherals connected to your system. The mouse and keyboard are obvious examples but a browser can also access your mic, speakers, and webcam if you allow it to. Some browsers also support hardware acceleration which allows them to offload processing to specialized hardware e.g., if you’re doing something that’s graphics-intensive0, Chrome can use the GPU instead of being limited to the onboard graphics card.

A browser that is able to use hardware acceleration is able to run better and support more powerful web apps. That said, a browser’s primary purpose is to load websites, and sometimes, its ability to use hardware acceleration gets in the way of loading a website properly e.g., some users report getting a blank screen when playing YouTube videos in Chrome.

Disable hardware acceleration Chrome

Chrome has a built-in switch that allows users to disable hardware acceleration.

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the more options (three dots) button at the top right.
  3. Select Settings from the menu.
  4. Click ‘Advanced’ on the settings screen.
  5. Scroll down to the System section.
  6. Turn the ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’ switch off.
  7. Restart the browser.

Other Chromium-based browsers

Other Chromium-based browsers support hardware acceleration as well. Like Chrome, you can disable hardware acceleration in them.

  1. Open the settings page/panel for the browser.
  2. Go to Advanced settings.
  3. Scroll down to the System section.
  4. Look for, and turn off the ‘Use hardware acceleration when available’ switch.
  5. Restart the browser.

Disable hardware acceleration in other apps

Plenty of other apps support hardware acceleration. These are normally apps that may need to use additional processing power e.g. animation apps, video editors, powerful image editors, etc. Not all apps can or have support for hardware acceleration but those that do have support for it will also have an option to turn it off. Look in the app’s settings and you will find an option to turn it off.

Conclusion

Hardware acceleration allows apps to perform better. Think of games that, by default, will always utilize the GPU to render the game. With other apps, hardware acceleration allows them to make use of the GPU (or the sound card), whenever they need to. These apps do run into trouble though when they try to offload the processing. Sometimes, the app has a bug, sometimes the OS doesn’t play nice, and sometimes, just the offloading process is too much and the app may crash. If you have trouble getting it to work, you might be better off without it. The app may take longer to complete a task, but it will be able to do so without crashing.

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How to disable automatic updates in Chrome on Windows 10

Chrome updates automatically but not invisibly. A new update will normally download in the background but it will install when you quit and open the browser again. Once a new update to the browser has been downloaded, you can’t avoid upgrading to it unless you’re willing to leave Chrome open on your desktop forever.

Chrome updates

Chrome is an exceptionally stable browser and its updates rarely, if ever, break anything. The updates will add and/or remove certain features to the browser. If you need to stick to a particular version of Chrome so you can continue to use a feature, you will have to keep the browser from updating.

Disable automatic updates in Chrome

There are two ways to disable automatic updates in Chrome. You can disable the update service, or you can disable or delete the task that periodically checks for these updates.

1. Disable Google Updates service

Chrome updates only when a service called Google Updates is run. If you turn the service off, the browser will not be able to check for and download updates.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the Run box.
  2. In the Run box, enter “services.msc” and tap Enter.
  3. In the list of services, look for and select the Google Update Service.
  4. Right-click it, and select Properties from the context menu.
  5. On the Properties window, go to the General tab.
  6. Open the Startup type dropdown. 
  7. Select either the Manual or the Disable option.
  8. Click Apply.
  9. Repeat for all Google Update services.

2. Disable Google Update task

Disabling the Google Update service may not work if there is a scheduled task that will run the service. In this case, you will have to disable the task that is triggering it.

  1. Open Task Scheduler.
  2. Select Task Scheduler Library in the column on the left.
  3. Look for the GoogleUpdate task.
  4. Right-click it and select Disable.

Updating Chrome

With automatic updates off, you will have to manually update Chrome. To do that, follow these steps;

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the more options button at the top right and go to Help>About Google Chrome.
  3. A new tab will open and Chrome will check for updates. If a new update is available, it will be downloaded.
  4. You will have to relaunch Chrome to apply the update.

Problem updating Chrome? Check out this solution.

Conclusion

While it is possible to disable automatic updates for Chrome, we don’t advise you do it unless you have a very good reason. This is because new browser updates often have security fixes and if you are running an older/outdated version of Chrome, you may be putting yourself at great risk.

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