Fix Chrome running slowly and lots of aw snap errors

Last Updated on April 3, 2021 by Dave Farquhar

I had a big problem with Chrome running slowly and lots of aw snap errors. It took me a while to fix it, but I’ll share my secret with you. It sounds weird but I promise it helps.

Chrome running slowly

The problem appeared gradually, over time, but for some reason it got worse after I upgraded to Windows 10. So of course I initially suspected Windows 10 had something to do with it.

Pages would load slowly, even when I had a very small number of tabs open. The more demanding the site, the slower it would run.

Chrome aw snap errors

Chrome aw snap
This irritating aw snap error message doesn’t give you much help. It’s especially fun when hitting F5 just respawns the error.

And the aw snap errors. Oh, the aw snap errors. Some pages wouldn’t load at all. They’d just go straight to the aw snap error. Or I’d be reading along, in the middle of something, and then it would hit. Sometimes the adjacent tab would get the error too. I’d hit F5 to reload, and usually it would just error again.

Rebooting is supposed to help. It never helped me for long. Updating Chrome is always a good idea, but that never helped for long either.

I checked memory usage. It was high, but not out of control. The system still had some free memory.

Finally I tried downloading a file. Downloads always took forever. The file would come down quickly enough but it always took forever to open the downloads folder afterward. I had several hundred files in there. I emptied out the downloads folder, and Chrome started behaving. It was its old self again.

That explains why it snuck up on me gradually. I’d download something, use it, then download something else next week, and the problem compounded over time. But since it wasn’t something I did every single day, the root cause was out of sight, out of mind.

So if you keep a lot of stuff in your Downloads folder, clean it out, or at least make a subfolder and move your stuff into that. Keep the main folder fairly clean, with no more than a couple dozen files in it. It really makes a big difference in speed and reliability. And you can’t have too much of either of those things.

Now, if you’re having other issues with Chrome after either upgrading to Windows 10 or installing the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, and your downloads folder is cleaner than mine, an old friend has a suggestion. Uninstall Chrome and then reinstall it. He had similar issues to mine, but the uninstall and reinstall cleared that up.

And that’s the weird trick to fix Chrome running slowly and lots of aw snap errors.

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