Google Chrome address bar / omnibox getting slow.

Google Chrome address bar / omnibox getting slow.

Google Chrome address bar / omnibox getting slow.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll often keep the same browser open for days or even weeks and accumulate a lot of tabs!  Is your Google Chrome address bar slow?

Recently the omnibox in Google Chrome, the address bar from which you can search amongst other things, had been getting unbearably slow.   Sometimes it would take seconds for it to respond to keystrokes.  All other keystrokes within actual pages were responsive and quick.   After a closing Chrome and re-opening, the omnibox would function snappily again for a few hours until it slowed to a crawl once more.

Having hunted across various forums and seen suggestions with a varying degree of difficulty/upheaval I eventually came across a simple solution to my specific issue.  I was running Chrome in Windows 7 Compatibility mode as when I first got a somewhat bleeding-edge version of Windows 8, I had some issues getting Chrome to work properly.  I think that the Chrome developers have now ironed out any inconsistencies and thus no more compatibility mode is necessary.

Google Chrome Address bar slow


Since turning off the compatibility mode for Google Chrome, the omnibox has been beautifully responsive and I can save myself the schlepp of closing in the middle of workflow just to get the address bar back!

If yours is doing the same, it is worth checking if this fixes it for you too.

Going to the Chrome short-cut on your desktop, Right-click->Properties then select the “Compatibility” tab and make sure that Compatibility is unchecked, restart Chrome and you should be back to a quick and nimble omnibox!


Another suggestion

Tim Meyer suggested another tip which may help:

It seems that deleting all the cache files in the following hidden folder on Windows Vista and later:  C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache or  %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache – (as rainabba pointed out).

Tim recommends that this be done periodically to prevent omnibox slowing down too much.
This will remove all your cache and therefore slow down the reloading of previously visited sites.

More information about the file location and its purpose can be found here and here.


44 thoughts on “Google Chrome address bar / omnibox getting slow.

  1. Tim

    What really worked best for me is deleting every cache file in the following hidden folder. I had to use task manager to close all chrome processes in order to delete … Seems like this needs to be done periodically (month, 3 months, etc.) as it bogs down Omnibox. Definately a code bug.

    C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache

    1. Tina

      Ok… really weird solution… I tried all the above (compatibility and cache clearing) – and it worked the first time, but not today.

      Today, what worked was Relaunching Chrome in Windows 8 Mode (from the menu within Chrome) – then switching back to Desktop view. It’s now lickity split fast again!

      Whew. I’m really addicted to pin’d tabs, and did NOT want to go back to IE.

      1. MisturPandaa

        Thank you sooo much for posting your fix, Tina!! What worked for me was a variation on your solution–switch out of Windows 8 mode and make sure compatibility is off.

      2. Hooman

        Deleting cache from AppData and restarting in various compatibility modes and compatibility mode off didn’t work for me. I just launched into windows 8 and back to desktop and now my problem is solved. I will report back if it slows down too quickly again. Thanks, all.

    2. Eric

      the manual emptying of cache was the perfect solution. Thanks a lot.

      My symptoms were
      – very slow omnibox
      – impossible to open any Dropdown box
      – chrome hanging in many website opening.

  2. Charles

    Wow, thank you for this solution. Compatibility mode turned out to be exactly my problem. I had been fiddling with all sorts of settings trying to correct Win8/Chrome’s horrible HiDPI mode, and couldn’t figure out what I screwed up.

  3. hdhd092

    thank you so much for this! i’ve been struggling with this problem for weeks and everything seemed a bit too intrusive but this really did the trick!

  4. Vaishnavi Ravi

    Thank you! Whew! Most annoying bug. I have been trying to follow chrome guides on cashe and cookies, but this worked like a charm! 😀

  5. rainabba

    Just an FYI, but c:\Users\%username%\ will fail in many cases but the following should be good for everyone back to and including VIsta at least (might even be valid for XP)

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

    Thanks for the tips!

  6. Abdul

    Millions of Thanks Rob. i was struggling with problem for months. i thought i have to live with this problem because i never found a solution for this in google product forum. you did a great job by writing this tip here rob. Thanks again.

  7. jetbl4ck

    Hey im sorry to say but for me these solutions didnt work. For me it was the hardware-acceleration. Dont know why but when i turned it off all worked smoothly again. You can find it in the settings far down under “System”

  8. walrus

    Just a quick comment to confirm jetbl4ck suggestion above. That hardware acceleration settings slowed my Chrome typing down.

  9. Love

    This was such an annoying problem.

    jetbl4ck nailed the solution for me with chrome > settings > advanced settings > untick hardware acceleration.

  10. Stender

    What worked for me on Mac Chrome was just going to chrome://history and clearing the cache ‘since the beginning of time.’ Omnibox sped right back up.

  11. Steve White

    Hi Rob. I’m working on a laptop with windows 7. Chrome has worked fine for a year but this week it’s taking time to show keystrokes. The most annoying thing though is that typing into the central search box on my google page has changed. Once you start to type the cursor jumps up to the url bar and continues there. There are no drop down suggestions though. Any thoughts ?


  12. Ron K

    rThank you for this tip. I have been struggling for the past few months with this issue. Turned off compatibility and fixed the issue.

    Thanks Rob !!!!

  13. Malcolm Soh

    Here is a quick fix which worked for me with Window 7/Chrome v39. If you have Skype and have the Skype “click to call” extension installed in Chrome, disable it. It worked for me. Skype installs the extension automatically during updates.

  14. Thulasi

    Many thanks ! I had a lagging address bar for a week. Tried few things like – Reinstalling chrome, delete history, disabled extensions. Finally, deleting cache files in default folder did the trick. Thanks a lot again !

  15. Mark

    I finally fixed it using a different method. Please include this in your article. I disabled hardware acceleration in the chrome’s advanced settings. It was driving me insane. I couldn’t type anything into the omnibox. I was ready to switch to another browser. Essentially the basic function of google had been destroyed. “Hardware Accelleration” did exactly the opposite.

  16. Mike

    You saved my bacon, this was literally driving me crazy for weeks… pretty sure Microsoft did this little trick on purpose to get me to use edge… not happening.

  17. Geoff

    Thanks, I much prefer this solution over the others I’d seen (disabling hardware acceleration and deleting search history). I had no idea Chrome installed with Win7 compatibility. Switching it off fixed it instantly without trying the other methods.

  18. Randy

    Wow, this is the best solution I’ve found on the web.
    All others are saying about cache, h/w accceleration and so on.
    Nothing but this worked for me.
    Many thanks to you dude.

  19. Tom

    Clearing the cache worked for me. Found the compatibility mode on another forum, but that didn’t do the trick. Thanks for posting such a great breakdown.

  20. ky

    I just wanted to add one last tip. For me, I had a bookmark that was a massive inline javascript function. The Omnibox was slow because it was searching that giant string for matching terms every time. Removing it, the Omnibox is blazing fast again.

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