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Force Quit a Tab in Google Chrome

Published by Chris Coyier

Normally Google Chrome is very good at allowing you to close misbehaving tabs. Each tab is like its own little universe so if it crashes it doesn't affect other tabs. That's the whole "multi process" thing that Chrome brought to the WebKit party and was part of the reason for the Blink break-up.

But let's say there is a tab that just won't close. You click the closing ✕ and nothing happens. Try using ⌘W to close it, nothing. File > Close Tab, nothing.

It happens to me maybe once a week as I'm browsing around different Pens on CodePen. Perhaps there is an infinite-loop in the JS or some other madness and the tab just won't crash, it just hangs.

You can get that tab closed by using the Task Manager.

Window > Task Manager

Find the tab in the list. They are listed by <title> so hopefully you either recognize it or can drag the window wide enough to see the name in the tab itself. Then click the End Process button in the lower right. That'll close that tab no matter how stubborn it's being (in my experience).


  1. Martijn
    Permalink to comment#

    For me it’s in the hamburger menu->Tools->Task Manager. I have no Window menu.

    And of course, this is a problem that should be fixed in Chrome. Because when I say close, I expect a close.

  2. Im so used to working with that window, that I even discovered the Hotkey to acces it. No matter what OS (Win, Max, Linux…). It will open with Shift + Escape

  3. Luke
    Permalink to comment#

    Is it just me, or is Chrome bad about one tab wreaking havoc on the debugger, even when the tab has closed, requiring re-starting Chrome? For all its faults Chrome has had a great debugger, but in recent releases it’s been adding some odd bugs, like right click items not working. It would be nice if someone could find a way to use the old devtools – before it switched to one line of text tabs on top, that are easily obscured by the loading status-bar.

  4. Permalink to comment#

    Only when you find someone else’s infinite loop? I’ve done it to myself plenty of times!

  5. Working well with (Shift+Esc) for me.

  6. Jesse
    Permalink to comment#

    Sometimes I find that several tabs are associated together, showing one number for memory (of the group?), and clicking on one highlights them all. Often the tabs won’t even be in the same windows, which is strange. With 8GB of RAM, it’s usually problem and I just leave it alone, but it is a curious thing.

  7. the hamburger menu

    Lol. It used to be the wrench menu – but that’s a far better name.

  8. DarrenM
    Permalink to comment#

    Unfortunately the tip doesn’t work on Windows 7 (not on my machine anyway) because all you see in task manager is a bunch of ‘chrome.exe’ and there’s no way of knowing which tab is which.

    Fortunately I’ve very rarely ever had that issue with a tab. Just lucky I guess :)

    • Nah, I bet you’re looking in your Windows system task manager. Try looking in your Chrome task manager. That’s what Chris is talking about here. The Shift + Esc shortcut that Enrique mentioned above worked for me to pull up the Chrome Task Manager if I have a Chrome window active.

    • DarrenM
      Permalink to comment#

      OK gotcha. But shift + esc does nothing on my machine and ctrl + shift + esc opens Windows task manager, which is how I got there and thought that’s what we were talking about after reading another reply above…

      So I found it under Tools and now it all makes sense :)

    • Permalink to comment#

      @Keith Wyland

      I would upvote if I could. That’s a key clarification that wasn’t in Chris’ original post.

      I use the windows task manager all the time and trying to figure out which chrome thread to kill is sometimes tricky when I’ve got high-resource applications open that I don’t want to crash.

  9. Permalink to comment#

    And by clicking the star you can add a bookmark :rolleyes: How did you just discover this, it was one of the big selling points for chrome right after hitting F12…

  10. Getting alone with Google Chrome has never been issue for me. The best part of Google chrome is that each tab has different process. I don’t know about others but since I’m started using Chrome I find it better than Firefox, much faster and light in use.

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