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Microsoft Edge Canary can put your tabs to sleep to save memory

Microsoft Edge logo
Microsoft Edge logo (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is testing a Sleeping Tabs feature for Microsoft Edge.
  • The feature puts tabs to sleep after a selected length of inactivity.
  • The feature should reduce how much memory your PC uses.

Microsoft Edge has a new Sleeping Tabs feature available in testing for people on the Canary channel (via Techdows). The feature puts tabs to sleep after a specified length of inactivity, which frees up memory on your PC. To use the feature right now, you need to enable it using edge://flags on Microsoft Edge Canary.

On Microsoft Edge, you can choose how long a tab has to be inactive before it goes to sleep. You can also select a list of sites to never go to sleep.

Here's how to enable Sleeping Tabs in Microsoft Edge:

  1. Open Microsoft Edge Canary.
  2. Go to edge://flags through the address bar.
  3. Search "Sleeping" through the search bar.
  4. Select Enable next to "Enable Sleeping Tabs."

Here's how to customize how long a tab needs to be inactive before falling asleep:

  1. Open Microsoft Edge Canary.
  2. Click the "..." menu.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Select System.
  5. Select an inactivity period from the dropdown menu next to "Save resources with sleeping tabs."

This section of Settings within Microsoft Edge also allows you to add sites to a list of sites to never go to sleep.

The Sleeping Tabs feature is similar to The Great Suspender, which is an extension available for Chromium browsers. Both The Great Suspender and Microsoft Edge's new Sleeping Tabs feature aim to accomplish the same thing; saving PC memory by suspending tabs that aren't in use.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

11 Comments
  • Nice to see Microsoft natively implement this in their browser. As much as I like "The Great Suspender", I'd much prefer this feature to be a native Microsoft one, since third-party plugins often have access to your browsing history etc.
  • Even though I'm not the type that has several tabs open, I do like this idea.
  • I wish Edge would behave like the old Edge and UWPs, where minimizing suspends cpu and memory usage. But I guess this is good enough.
  • Ok, but why..?? Haven't all PC.s today enough memory..??
  • Not enough when you have SolidWorks or MATLAB running, especially in a laptop
  • You run solidworks inside Edge?
  • Is that how memory works?
  • I assume it's not just memory, but also CPU, network, and disk usage? I'm more concerned about those than RAM. In fact, if total RAM usage is below 80%, no real advantage to freeing the RAM from one or more tabs.
  • There are plenty of 4GB devices out there. I've owned a couple. I wouldn't recommend it personally. But if you do opt for 4GB (maybe you're a real light productivity user) this makes life easier. I remember very well when other browsers made similar changes - you really felt it.
  • How do u enable vertical tabs
  • When will they bring back the Cortana feature in YouTube, where the Cortana icon would appear in the address bar when you selected a song. Hovering over it would ask "do you want the lyrics?". Clicking it would reveal the lyrics in an independently scrolling panel down the right side of YouTube. Nice, but she no longer nice. Or have I overlooked something in the new edge?