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Google promises to fix Chrome bug on Windows, causing laptop batteries to drain

Google has announced that a serious flaw in the web browser, reportedly affecting Windows machines since 2010, will finally be addressed. The issue is Chrome fails to return to an idle state when not being used, requiring more juice from the power supply, a serious problem for laptop and tablet owners. The company has pushed the flaw to the top of the to-do list for the Chrome team so we're hoping it won't be too long before a fix is released to allow the viewing of more cat GIFs between charges.

The problem lies with how Google is interacting with Windows when it comes to its web browser. Because the software is not properly running in idle, this is leading to more drain on the battery. It's all technical and whatnot, so we recommend you check out Ian Morris' report over on Forbes for more details. It's worth the read if you're interested to learn exactly why this is occurring. For everyone else, we'll alert you as to when Google releases a patch to address this problem.

Let us know in the comments if you've noticed significant battery drain on your mobile Windows PCs.

Source: Forbes, PC World, via: Engadget

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

180 Comments
  • Google suck
  • What an intelligent comment!
  • Actually, recognizing that IS an intelligent thing. Lots of people are enamored with them.
  • give this man a trophy, dude.
  • That's y I used the metro version of IE ever since it came out but only when 8.1 came out did IE became my Favourite web browser on my surface pro 1
  • True brother...
  • I second that
  • Telling the trugh is always intelligent
  • Screw Google
  • Who needs Foogle???
  • Considering me and lots of others use Google alot, I wouldn't say Google sucks. Don't let your opinion turn biased to Microsoft. They are dicks to Ms tho. Then again who isn't...
  • Cleaning their shit!!
  • This^^
    Honestly, who gives a monkeys about Chrome. IE is fantastic.
  • True, but IE still has problems loading some pages I know of
  • And IE also doesn't support many plugins like Adblock which is a life saver. If Adblock was supported I would use IE instead of Firefox
  • You can download adblock for IE just search in Bing or any other platforms.
  • Adblock is one of the few that *is* supported (in desktop mode).
  • you should see google chrome's adblock, chrome always uninstall it for no reason
  • IE on the desktop is a joke at best.
  • Nice. I've noticed that IE users less power than chrome on laptops. Chrome is my browser of choice on my desktop, but I often use IE in my laptop cause of that. Good for Google to finally fix it. IE is great but nothing matches Chromes js performance. Edit: Another potentially significant portion of this is reviewer's battery tests. Many reviewers use chrome to do their wifi testing. Presumably, Chrome should chill in idle when you are simply reading a webpage and not actively loading anything. That could have a big effect on battery life that you see in reviews, and depending on how long chrome should be in idle vs not, could have really skewed Windows laptops over the years.
  • Firefox matches and bests Chrome's JS performance.
  • Firefox?
    No thanks - it is slow, and until recently, was run by a homophobe.
    More than enough reasons to forget about that sorry excuse for a browser.
  • I tend to disagree. The browser works regardless of who runs it or runs the development. If no one knew about him or his stance and still used the browser, would you judge it for the developer or how it performs? Most likely how it performs, not a person's perspective on life and things.   I haven't used Firefox in a long time, I've been using Palemoon too long to remember the Fox, but if it is like the latest Palemoon, it is not slow at all.
  • "was run by a homophobe"
    haha yeah... because everyone has to believe and agree the same you do, and that has to affect the performance or the a stability of a browser...
    I mean, what has a developer or a CEO, or anyone in a company believes have to do with firefox?
    NOTHING...
    you are just acting like a ignorant putting that as an excuse.... not everyone will agree with you, and he is not beating up people who are not homophobes like him... so again, you are just ignorant, and apparently you are judging the same as him?
    oh I have news for you, you are exactly the same, judging him for what he believes :) but hey keep believing you are any better than him (because you are not better than him, so just believe it) if you stop using or never use a software because the CEO or anyone there is against something you do.
  • If you believe in the inalienable principle that everyone is born equal....then you would not seek to justify that CEO's homophobic decisions.
    I personally believe that in the modern world, we have few avenues with which to actually shape the world we want to live in. Money and big business has taken over.
    However, we can shape the world around us by voting with the money we spend and the software we use. I support businesses that enrich local communities....and I emphatically do not support companies whose key figures openly show themselves to be against the right to freedom of expression.
    Personally, I think you are on the wrong side of this argument...but I also reckon you are too hot-headed and entrenched to know when you may be in the wrong.
    Whatever the case, equal rights and opportunities for all is a noble thing to aspire to. What exactly do YOU stand for?
  • Why are you bringing this topic about the CEO up into this forum discussion? Does this have anything to do with the FF browser performance? It simply has no connection whatsoever. Is this topic occupying your mind all the time?
  • If you look...I made a comment in response to someone recommending Firefox.
    I gave two reasons as to why that sounded like a silly choice. Speed for one - and the fact it was run by a homophobe. On a moral or technical standpoint, FF is not a viable choice for me.
    The other person _Emi_ then got a bit hot under the collar...which warranted a response!
    I believe people should take account of ethical things when making decisions about what businesses they support. If people want to argue the toss, then I'll happily explain my viewpoint!
  • I did look and I know how it's started, and that's what I was pointing to. Not everyone thinks like you do and eventually you'll get someone else to argue back on a topic that has nothing to do with this original topic. Then when someone argued back and gave his explanation why he thought you were wrong to bring up the topic, then you called that person hot-headed. Yes, this certainly is a hot-headed topic, that's why it has no place in this forum. According to the free dictionary, a homophobe is someone fear of or contempt for lesbians and gay men. Personally, I find it offensive to use this derogatory term on someone who you know nothing about.  His "sin" is to have a belief that is different than you. He also has an inalienable right to believe and express that. Why don't you just give this topic a rest?
  • Someone who pays $1000 in support of a law designed to prevent gay marriage....
    Yep, I'd call that homophobic. & I would say that it is also going a step beyond simply exercising ones freedom of speech. That is buying political influence in what is an issue that should be enshrined/protected by the Constitution.
    America, land of the free... (as long as you aren't anything other than heterosexual/white!).
    By the way, you are perpetuating this discussion by replying...
  • And you just typed a hundred words in support of a move designed to stop the use of Firefox, although someone might see those words as going a mile beyond exercising your freedom of speech as well as incursion on someone's right to association, livelihood and pre-occupation. So agreed, you're even. And you still wanted to play the smart one by accusing a responder of perpetuating the argument by responding to you while in fact you should be chastised for failure to assess the suitability and timing of the comment you made to warrant the response.
  • FYI, big words and overly wordy sentences do not win discussions :). But thanks for your input
  • +1520
  • Until recently ran by a homophobe? He was only in charge for like a week and the only reason you know about what he donated to was because of liberal spies.
  • If liberal spies are what it takes to get small town hicks out of big business...then I'm all for them!
    Prejudice has no place in the modern world.
  • You make me sick. I shouldn't have to worry about people spying on me for the sole purpose of making me look bad.g P.S. I am in favor of gay marriage.
  • So you're happy to support gay marriage, and you are also happy for people to be able to make private campaign donations to organisations whose raisson d'être is to limit peoples freedoms?
    I would prefer liberal spies that promote freedom and equality than conservative hawks who try to limit those freedoms.
    I believe in freedom of the press. I also think it's acceptable for people with public profiles to have their campaign donations revealed in public. It helps combat corruption and limit the impact of money on political decision making.
  • I am in favor of freedom of press. I am also in favor of privacy. Obviously you have no interest in privacy. Good day sir.
  • And what are you btw? A homophile or a homo? As if your rant has anything remotely connected with FF performance. You got any bref with him, go iron or out on some other sites dedicated to your "belief". Before you logged into this forum, you well saw it as "windows central"- a mobile tech website, not "orientation central". Don't get things muddled up dude.
  • I can't tell from WPCentral's fairly rubbish commenting system whether you are directing that comment to me or not.... I'll assume you were. I am a straight white guy - someone who doesn't suffer prejudice of any kind. My brother is gay....he does suffer. That is wrong. So when I see a company with a subpar browser being run by a homophobe, I'm quite happy to justify why it is not the browser for me. It is average in technical terms, AND our support for it has allowed the director (since left) to make a contribution to a fund that stops people living a free and happy life. So yes, you may not have a conscience...but I do. & if I see people recommending Firefox, I'll wade in :). Good day
  • Your tears are delicious.
  • Maybe, but it's in milliseconds so it doesn't matter. Also, I still think IE11 on W8.1.x is the fastest.
  • +521
  • In my experience that isn't the case, although im willing to be wrong. The last time I ran Browser benchmarks on my desktop (which is a haswell i5), Chrome won handily in more than one. Whether it was Mozilla Kraken or the Chromium test, and a few others. Its not all attributable to one advantage, but I'd be surprised if it has changed.
  • For the past year and a half our so, FF has been the performance leader. Plus it uses many fewer resources and crashes much less often. Go ahead and Bing it.
  • Wrong with JS. Did an experiment with Safari and Chrome with a course of Angular.js in CodeSchool and Safari respond much better to it, while Chrome was lagging and stuttering.
    That course's interface is all made with Angular.js so it's JavaScript, and Chrome sucked with that.
  • IE outstrips Chrome when it comes to JavaScript speeds (try the SunSpider test, which coincidentally is created by the Chrome team but they can't win it vs IE).
  • shh, dont post this, google might know it and change the whole sunspider!
  • I never use anything related to Google, except YouTube.
  • Same here.
  • +520
  • +925
  • Same
  • Lol me too since cortana
  • +520
  • +620  
  • +620
  • +520
  • +920
  • And perhaps it's due to scroogle usual attempts at subtlety mining info in the background using it's "spywares" that is responsible for the increased battery consumption, same way it occurs on it's "android-meda" infestation on the android phones.
  • What about chrome and vlc for Windows phone??
  • Bhool jao bhai......:)
  • Vlc may come... Forget about chrome. IE on wp is good...
  • VLC ka to pata nahi par Chrome WP pe Qayamat ke baad ayega
  • LOL! Right you are!
  • Lol lol!!
  • I don't mind VLC, since WP still lacks a good video player....   But, will never allow anything Googly onto my phone....except youtube, ofc
  • Don't bother, chrome is shlt
  • I guess you think Internet Explorer is better?
    IE is fast....but it is buggy, doesn't have inline translation, doesn't benefit from the suite of plugins available to Chrome --- oh, and it's UI (particularly the right click menu) is a joke!
  • I love the right click menu thing. Plus there's an option to keep it out like the regular browsers. You gotta know that some ppl after using small 8 inch or 10 inch tablets and would like 100% of the screen for trading an article or something
  • LOL that menu hasn't been changed since IE4!
  • If you think IE is buggy and doesn't have plugins, then that is the problem - you don't need plugins to use it except flash.
    Lastly the later versions do have spell and translations, sho you are wrong
  • Inline automatic translations....
    No, no it doesn't!
    Oh, and don't tell me plugins are not important. I want Qmee, CamelCamelCamel and a good version of AdBlock Plus.
    Chrome is stable with those apps installed - IE is buggy without them!
  • Chrome is buggy without addons at all in my experience.
  • It's not shit man! I can show you many pages that don't work properly (or not at all) on IE11 with all it's updates, but do run smoothly on Chrome. I think it's safe to say that if Chrome cant open a page, then it means no other browser will be able to open it. IE11 is still way behind chrome on the html5 test (html5test.com)
  • That's because the site uses Webkit exclusive tags. Not standard.
  • So? IE should add support for them too, so we don't have to switch browsers everytime such a page comes up.
  • No! That is like asking Apple to reverse engineer Windows to run Windows apps on Mac OS X.
  • And try signing into OneDrive on IE11 right now. I can't! The page just keeps refreshing itself. Chrome has no issues loading it. My IE version is 11.0.9600.17207
  • Brilliant
  • Stfu Google
  • While I love how fluid Chrome works, this is another reason why I still use Mozilla Firefox (although being resource-hungry) on my laptop :/
  • Use Aurora..It's a sort of beta for Firefox and gets daily updates+new features early!!
  • Ah thanks for that! I'll try it :) It must be this one right?: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/#aurora
  • Yup that one only..16 GB RAM for me so it doesn't matter how much of it is used by it!! I run Aurora,,uTorrent,,CCleaner,,NFS MW-2,,Avast! simultaneously and it still doesn't cross 11 GB!!
  • Wow! that's a huge amount of RAM... Are you on Mac???
  • Can't a Windows PC have 16gb of RAM? :P
  • Of course it can. But normally people don't use that much when running Windows, while the situation appears more obvious for Mac users ;)
  • Mac OS sucks half the things don't run on it!! I have a custom PC (had 8GB and when my brother moved to Australia he gave me his 8GB RAM!! Lucky me) And by the way Windows supports 64GB RAM(4 slots*16GB RAM chips)
  • I know that feel bro, I feel the same way. Mac is just a closed system with some good software for enterprise and professionals, nothing else. And before someone rushes to fire me up, I admit: no offense, just my feelings :)
  • Firefox is much less resource hungry than Chrome.
  • Well, I'm running just 4 tabs in Firefox right now and its taking 680 MB of memory (91% memory). I know I'm less on RAM (4GB) but yet this much memory consumption is too high! I've only two add-ons in firefox enabled ("YouTube downloader" and "Translate This!") so this shouldn't take much ram either.. Here's a screenshot of Task Manager: http://i.imgur.com/dQaH1oq.jpg On ther other hand, I opened same 4 tabs in Chrome, and it took a cumulative memory of 233 MB http://i.imgur.com/b4FTifb.jpg
  • you didnt show the tabs that were open, nor how long they were open for (this does matter).
  • Just to satisfy your curiosity, I did a little experiment here: Closed both the browsers. Opened both of them at the same time, opened three websites on each. Let them remain opened for 30 minutes (doing nothing). And here's what I saw on Task Manager: Chrome consumed 141 MB (inclusive of all its services) while Firefox consumed as much as 511 MB (Given all the three sites on both the browsers were opened several times in the past): http://i.imgur.com/dZRI7kg.jpg I'm pretty sure Firefox uses more resources than Chrome, at least on my PC. But yet, I prefer it over Chrome (as I said before) because it still eats less battery (I had calculated battery drainage rate for them separately as well).
  • Here is your toffee Gautam ~=~
  • Thanks!
    *yum-yum*
  • Perfect comment and reply thank you. I use IE find it easier never did this test, I have all three on my PC but at dentist so couldn't try
  • No problem!
    I see :)
  • This is literally impossible. Firefox has been proven in every test for at least half a year to use less memory than chrome. The problem isn't FF, it's one of your addons. Im guessing the translate addon. Go to the firefox menu help (?) and click "restart with add-ons deactivated", then go to the same pages and you will see that FF won't use nearly as much memory. You can find out which add-on is causing this by deactivating one, restarting the browser and going to the pages and then looking how much it is using, and when it isn't using as much, the add-on you have deactivated in that moment is the one causing this. If you need something to click to translate a webpage, I am sure there is an addon that is only a few kb that will simply redirect the page you are on onto google translate and automatically translate it. I solved that years ago by copying a link on google translate's page (don't know if it's still there) and saving it as a bookmark in my bookmark-bar. That means I have a button that I can click and that automatically translates the website in google translate for me, and automatically picks the right language. Here's the link if you want it, you can just save it as a bookmark and put it into the bookmark bar: javascript:var%20t=((window.getSelection&&window.getSelection())||(document.getSelection&&document.getSelection())||(document.selection&&document.selection.createRange&&document.selection.createRange().text));var%20e=(document.charset||document.characterSet);if(t!=''){location.href='http://translate.google.com/?text='+t+'&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie='+e;}else{location.href='http://translate.google.com/translate?u='+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+'&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie='+e;};
  • Sorry for not mentioning that my Chrome has two add-ons enabled as well. One is "PageSpeed" (I use that to test my pages) and other is again, YouTube downloader. Even when I had zero add-ons on both the browsers, FF still took more memory as compared against Chrome, maybe its just me but its been just like that.
  • It doesn't matter how many, the point is that one of your add-ons hogs memory for no reason. If it still uses that much memory even when you "restart with add-ons deactivated", then there's a problem in your FF profile. In that case, just go to the Firefox Menu Help (?) and click on Informations for Troubleshooting (or whatever it says in your language), in the upper right you have a button where you can reset your profile, it will keep all your stuff (bookmarks, passwords etc), but will delete all add-on stuff that could cause the corruption.
  • But I'll try doing what you said and double check the results.
  • You shouldn't care about RAM usage unless you run out of it. The memory is there be used.
  • Google, pls get hangouts for wp's
  • Just use skype already
  • Is that a joke?
  • Why would it be?
  • Skype IS a joke. Don't even have a way to type in landscape... 
  • Your really going to say skype is a joke because it cant type landscape?
  • Basica feature in a messenger app. And this resuming/loading with 512mb is very bad too. I think Skype should have an integration like Facebook/Twitter/Music/Videos had in WP8.0.
  • I don't beg google to do do anything for WP platform. Their loose
  • +520
  • Isn't hangouts just the chat component? If yes there are good Google chat apps available
  • LMAO
  • I like to see chrome for wp
  • Maxthon is best honestly :D
  • I always wondered why my fan sounded like a jet engine when using it LOL
  • Tbh chrome is fastest browser, and explorer is safe
  • No, it isn't.
  • chrome lag, buggy, and their speed dial is a joke
  • Why are people still using that trash?
  • firefox better.
  • I hate google.
  • Well, finally! Though I'm considering going back to the 32bit version
  • I couldn't care less for google crap,I'd care more when they respect Microsoft
  • *couldn't
  • it should be "i dont care about google crap" i couldn't care less for google crap = i could care more for google crap
  • Nope....
    It should be 'I couldn't care less'. The following video summarises it pretty well :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=om7O0MFkmpw That should cover it :)
  • Edited
  • IIRC, Opera uses Google's engine. Does that mean it's affected the same way?
  • Opera is using the Chromium open source engine whereas Chrome is using a forked version of Chromium called Blink which is heavily modified.Both basically belong to Google but its possible Chromium isnt affected by  this fault
  • Opera Next uses Blink.
  • So it s when chrome (that I do not use, I find IE more precise on search) is idle, it starts sniffing your personal data and uploading them to scroogle paying companies ? Thank you.
  • They will fix it with an ad for Chromebooks.
  • That will be very stupid.
  • And this is related to Windows Phone how ...?
  • +620
  • Trash talk Chrome as much as you want but the fact of the matter is that the huge anount of extensions for it not to mention its super fast scrolling make it the browser to beat on Windows.Chrome matches IE in startup speed and the tabs IMHO look better on it.IE tabs look a little half baked because their squarish look doesnt look designed properly.Also afer the recent DirectWrite font update to Chrome beta the IE fonts look like blurred crap
  • Same as android vs windows phone xD
  • Yep +1 Chrome got me away from Firefox
  • Google lags my pc to hell. But sadly only one that's any good.
  • I always wondered why Chrome always used 15 different "chrome.exe" processes in Task Manager... Glad I went back to Firefox about a year ago. Love it.
  • That's because they treat each tab as a separate instance of Chrome. There are advantages to this in that you can end the task of just one tab rather than the whole application. But it also makes it more of a resource hog. However, that's different from the "sleep mode" they are referring to in this bug.
  • But even when you have one tab with a fresh opened Chrome, in Task Manager appears various instances of chrome.exe
  • Extensions.
  • I dont care about chrome. Good for their users
  • You are now entering the Twilight Zone
  • Firefox ever since this NSA stuff.
  • I have no doubt that google is now testing methods to hurt Windows, this being one of many. The fix for them is to just use Internet Explorer 11 or Firefox 30. Problem solved.
  • W000t!! Hopefully this gives me more battery life on my new Inspiron 15. I always have a ton of tabs open, just assumed that was the cause of drain. But maybe this was a factor!
  • Interesting considering many of the battery tests run by bloggers on Windows machines are done in Chrome.
  • Ugly truth chrome lately sucks like anything.
  • Yeee, and it's slow processing JavaScript, it lags with a tutorial of Angular.js .-. Safari doesn't, neither IE11
  • google - we create lag to your browser, when it lag, it open a spyware, so we can bypass your antivirus and antispyware and spy your life, account, living, home and more
  • I say not to bother cause they always do thing that are a big pain
  • Hah hah ha! Goofle is so shit.
  • They are sucking all of your information from your computer...yep that's a battery sucker.
  • It took them just 4 years to acknowledge the issue...
     
  • Moliplayer is best for video a More Feature than MX player
  • I use Chrome only when I ABSOLUTELY have to. IE is SOOO much more slick!
  • Don't and won't have Chrome.
  • Who here thinks this has impacted multiple reviews in the last 4 yrs which said windows products have bad battery life.
  • Lol