Ask LH: Why Are Flash Videos So Slow In Chrome?

Hey Lifehacker, Every time I’m playing a Flash video in chrome, it seems to cause lag in my other applications. I have a pretty powerful computer so it can handle multitasking, IE doesn’t cause this problem and it only started happening a couple of months ago. Any thoughts? Thanks, Rolling Chrome

Dear RC,

Flash can often be a performance killer in any browser — make sure you have disabled your rarely used extensions, as some may interact poorly with Flash content. You can streamline this process with SimpleExtManager or Extensions Manager which put all your extensions just one click away.

Alternatively, you can monitor your extensions manually using Chrome’s Task Manager (Shift+Esc): when you notice one is taking up too much memory, get rid of it.

You can also gain playback improvements by disabling “PPAPI” Flash plugins which have been known to cause issues for some users. Type “about:plugins” into a Chrome tab and you’ll be directed to the browser’s plug-in configuration page — this article explains the steps you need to take.

As we’ve noted in the past, you can try boosting Chrome’s performance by heading into the flags page and enabling the following settings:

GPU compositing on all pages: This option should speed up Chrome across the board by giving your GPU more stuff to do. We’ve had mixed luck with this one, so use at your own risk.

Threaded compositing: As cool as the name sounds, you’ll probably only get smoother scrolling when a page is loading with this enabled. Still, that’s helpful enough for those slow-loading pages.

GPU Accelerated SVG Filters: This might speed up graphics-heavy sites that have a lot of effects like shaders going on.

Flash is less common these days (YouTube offers HTML5, for example) so the issue will likely resolve itself eventually. In the meantime, it might be worth treating Internet Explorer as your online video browser and sticking with Chrome for everything else.

Does anyone have any further tips or advice for watching Flash videos in Chrome? Let RC in the comments section below.


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