Fix: High CPU when browsing the Internet

Aleksandar Ognjanovic
by Aleksandar Ognjanovic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • If you're noticing a high CPU usage while browsing, it might be the browser's fault. 
  • Chances are you are using either Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Opera. For each one, we provide some quick actions that you can take.
  • Looking for other issues? Check out the browser error section
  • For more interesting guides and recommendations, take a look at our Browsers Hub on this website.
Fix High CPU Usage in browsers

High CPU usage when browsing the Internet is nothing strange in the current state of online multimedia presentation. All mainstream browsers are quite demanding, and if you have a lackluster configuration, there’s a good chance that CPU will hit the sky-high levels. Nonetheless, sometimes the core of the problem isn’t your overwhelmed CPU or underperforming GPU, but rather internal issues that are more browser-related.

In order to avoid seeing high CPU activity inflicted by your browser of choice, make sure to check the solutions we provided below. They should help you overcome the issue or, at least subdue it for the time being.

High CPU usage on Chrome/Firefox/Opera/Edge

  1. Opera
  2. Google Chrome
  3. Mozilla Firefox
  4. Microsoft Edge

1. Opera

high cpu when browsing with Opera
Opera made a lot of exquisite improvements over time and it’s the force to be reckoned with in the browser market. Nonetheless, even though it’s more than a viable solution because of integrated VPN and AdBlocker, a well-designed interface, and optimized browsing for slow connections, it still received a lot of complaints about CPU-hogging while browsing.

A couple of things that Opera does right in order to speed up browsing: of course, blocking ads helps. Besides this things like the Speed Dial, keyboard shortcuts, and delaying loading of background tabs help with the experience and the CPU usage.

This means that Opera is a better-suited solution that the others available on the market. The extra features incorporated in the browser make it much more worthwhile.

In case you’re prolific Opera user stuck with the above-average CPU activity, make sure to try these steps to resolve it:

  • Get rid of excessive add-ons and remove current theme/wallpaper. Press Ctrl + Shift + E to open the Extensions menu. Remove add-ons one by one and reach Task manager (Menu > Developer) to determine which one is causing high CPU usage.
  • Do not use the Beta version. Many beta versions are notorious for small bugs that keep the CPU stuck at 100%.
  • Delete browsing history. Press Ctrl + Shift +Del to open History. Delete browsing data, with special emphasis on cookies and cache.
  • Delete the QuotaManager file. Some users reported that after deleting QuotaManager the high CPU usage stopped.
  • Scan for malware intrusion. Perform a deep scan for malware and/or use Malwarebytes Adwarecleaner to address possible browser hijackers and adware toolbars.
  • Disable Hardware acceleration. Press Alt + P to open Settings. Under the Browser section, uncheck the ”Use Hardware acceleration when available” box.
  • Reinstall Opera. Reinstall Opera and delete all remaining folders. Don’t forget to export your data before doing so.
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2. Google Chromehigh cpu when browsing internet

Even though it takes the largest piece of the market share pie, Chrome is well-known as the most resource-intensive browser out there. It takes a hefty bunch of RAM and it can hog on CPU, as well. However, even Google Chrome will rarely cause above-average CPU usage in normal circumstances. Which means that something else is probably involved.

You might also find it useful to use extensions to speed up Chrome using extensions.

There are various reasons why browsing is the only thing that provokes CPU spikes and abnormal usage. We provided some Chrome-related steps below, so make sure to check them out before we move to other browsers on the list:

  • Disable all extensions and themes. Every extension uses extra resources so one of them might cause CPU spikes. Navigate to 3-dots menu > More tools > Extensions and disable all extensions or experiment with individual add-ons by disabling them one by one and looking for changes.
  • Scan for malware, with focus on Adware (browser hijackers). You can use basically any third-party antivirus solution or Windows Defender to scan for malware. Adware-wise, we recommend specialized Malwarebytes Adwcleaner.
  • Delete cache and cookies from Chrome. Press Ctrl + Shift + Del and delete stored cookies and cache.
  • Reset browser settings. Click on 3-dots menu and open Settings. Expand Advanced, navigate to the bottom, and click on Reset.
  • Delete an empty folder. This is peculiar, but for some reason, CPU usage substantially reduced after users deleted the folder in C:\Users\: username: \AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Protect.
  • Update Chrome. Open 3-dots menu and select Help. Click on About Google Chrome. This should update Chrome automatically.
  • Reinstall Chrome. Don’t forget to remove the remaining folders after the uninstall. For max results, you’ll need to start from scratch.
  • Download older version of Chrome. You can choose and download a well-performing version, here.

Also, make sure to use only the final version of Chrome. Beta versions are not advised and can cause various issues, performance-wise.

3. Mozilla Firefoxhigh cpu when browsing internet

The story of the rise and fall of Mozilla Firefox finally get a positive turn, as Mozilla introduced Firefox Quantum. The remodeled and improved version of Mozilla Firefox is a respectable competition to Chrome, Opera, and Edge. Nonetheless, even though it’s advertised as the resource-light browser, there are various reports of high CPU usage in Mozilla Firefox 57 a.k.a Quantum.

What you’ll need to do if you experience intensive CPU usage in Quantum is to follow these steps:

  • Disable Extensions and Themes, respectively. Press Ctrl + Shift + A to access the Add-ons menu. Disable extensions and themes one by one until you find the one that’s hogging on your CPU.
  • Restart Firefox to factory settings. Click on the ”sandwich” menu and then Help > Troubleshooting Information. Click on Refresh Firefox.
  • Scan for malware. You should use an antivirus to scan for malware in general. For adware specialization, turn to Malwarebytes Adwcleaner.
  • Delete cache and cookies from the browsing history. Click on the 3-line menu and open Library > History > Clear recent history. Make sure to delete cache and cookies.
  • Disable Hardware acceleration. Click on the ”sandwich” menu and choose Options. Under General, uncheck the ”Performance” box and then the ”Use hardware acceleration when available” box, as well. Restart Firefox.
  • Use an older version instead of Quantum. You can always turn to older versions if the latest one underperforms. Here’s the link to all Mozilla Firefox versions.
  • Reinstall Firefox.

4. Microsoft Edgehigh cpu when browsing internet

And as the cherry on the top of the CPU-hogging cake, we can’t skip on Edge. Microsoft’s attempt to get back to its adversaries and remove the brand of shame induced by infamous Internet Explorer. Edge is still in works, but it has some nifty features and seemingly gets more following as the time pass. However, it’s still bothered by a lot of bugs and issues, including occasional high CPU usage.

Edge is known for repetitive CPU cycles that use a lot more of the CPU power than it’s needed. Here’s how to address resource hogging on Microsoft Edge:

  • Remove extensions. Remove all installed extensions and give Edge another go.
  • Clear your browsing data. Open the 3-dots menu and then click on the ”Clear browsing data” button.
  • Reset Edge. Navigate to Settings > Apps > Apps & features > Microsoft Edge > Advanced options> Reset.
  • Scan for malware. Even though the browser hijacker malware isn’t common on Edge, it’s advised to scan your system for possible malware infections.

That should do it. In case you have questions, suggestions, or alternative solutions, make sure to share them with us in the comments section below.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.