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Home  /  geekspeak  /  Give your computer a boost with The Great Suspender

Give your computer a boost with The Great Suspender

If you’ve got a bad habit of leaving too many browser tabs open, The Great Suspender can come to your rescue.

I confess that I’m one of those people who leaves more than a dozen browser tabs open at once, “just in case” I need to go back to one of them later. It’s a tough habit to break, even when you realise that all those open tabs are chewing up precious memory and slowing down your computer. Rather than change my ways, I’ve turned to the The Great Suspender to free up all the memory wasted on those unused tabs.

The Great Suspender is a free plugin for Google’s Chrome browser, designed to hibernate those browser tabs you haven’t looked at for a while. You can change the wait time to anywhere from 20 seconds to three days – the default is one hour but five or ten minutes is probably more practical for most people.

When a tab is suspended you can still see the label at the top, it’s just greyed out. Open the Chrome Task Manager and you can see that tab is no longer chewing up any RAM – which can give your computer a big shot in the arm. You can free up even more memory by installing a Flash Blocker plugin, to stop unwanted videos and other resource-hungry Flash content running on web pages unless you really want to see it.

When you click on a suspended tab it takes a few seconds to reload, which is a little frustrating, but it’s a reasonable price to pay. Before I installed The Great Suspender it sometimes took a few seconds to switch between tabs or launch new ones, but now the browser is much more responsive and so is the rest of my computer.

The plugin’s advanced settings offer a lot of control over how the The Great Suspender behaves. By default it doesn’t suspend tabs with unsaved form inputs, so it shouldn’t leave you in the lurch when you’re in the middle of doing something important. I’ve found that it’s safe to let it suspend Google Drive documents because Google saves changes every few seconds. The only frustration is that when you revive the tab it takes you back to the top of the document.

It’s possible to exempt pinned tabs and well as whitelist specific websites, which is handy for sites like Rdio which you want to stay open in the background playing music. You can also tell the plugin to only suspend tabs when you’re connected to the internet, which is important because when The Great Suspender revives a tab it tries to reload it. If you’ve gone offline you won’t get the page back.

Every browser plugin you install comes with a slight performance hit, so use them sparingly, but you might find that The Great Suspender is worth it if it gives your computer a new lease on life.

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