Friday, 27 June 2014

5 Simple Steps to Fix Slow Omnibox/Address Bar Search in Google Chrome

I have been using Google Chrome as my default browser since 2009. I liked its lightweight nature, clear bookmark bar, apps--and most of all--speed.

One of the most important parts was the Omnibox which allowed you to search Google (or indeed any other search engine) from the address bar just by typing your query in there. It has probably over the years saved me quite a significant amount of time.

However, recently it has been running very slowly indeed. Chrome in general was still running very smoothly and quickly. However, the Omnibox was sluggish often taking several seconds to registers my key presses. It never crashed; it was just slow.

I tried clearing the cache both from Chrome itself and CCleaner but to no avail. After putting up with it for some time I decided I had to sort it out.

What I discovered was that there was, in fact, a hidden cache folder which was not seemingly deleted on clearing the cache. Once I cleared that folder Chrome was back to its full glory (and still is).

How to Clear Hidden Cache Folder

Here is how I fixed the issue (NB: I am using a computer running Windows 7. It may be different for other operating systems):
  1. Close all Chrome windows.
  2. Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del). Under "Processes" tab find the "chrome.exe" files and select "End Process". [This is to make sure all chrome processes are ended. Otherwise you cannot clear the full cache folder].
  3. Open Start Menu. Search for this "C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Cache" in the "Search programs and files" box. This will bring up the "Cache" folder.
  4. Open "Cache" folder. Delete all of its contents.*
  5. Chrome's Omnibox should be working perfectly after this.
Currently I do not know how often I will need to do this to keep Chrome working nicely. This is the first time I have had to do this with Chrome since owning this computer (about 3 years). Consequently, I don't think I will have to do it again for some time.

* If it says that files cannot be deleted because Chrome is still using it it means that you still have "chrome.exe" processes running. If this is the case, redo from stage 2.

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