Chrome Tabs Reload When You Switch To Them

Chrome Tabs Reload When You Switch To Them

Tab discarding – the feature which will keep refreshing tabs you have not used in a while the moment you switch to them. Why do Chrome tabs reload on their own?

Do your Chrome tabs reload automatically? Let’s see!

Consider the following scenario:

Being a sucker for nice beach wallpapers, you are on a hunt to find and download new, fresh ones, to decorate your desktop.

You have launched Chrome, searched in Google for images, and opened several of them in new background Chrome tabs for later consideration and download.

By the time you feel that you are satisfied with the number of images you have opened in tabs, you are ready to start scrolling through them, one by one, to visit the respective websites and download them.

You switch to the first tab and pop – it reloads itself even though it had completely loaded in the background.

What happened?” you might have thought. “I guess it is a feature of that website to reload any new content automatically“.

You download that nice sea and sun image and proceed to next tab.

The tab also refreshes itself! How can it be?

By now you are getting annoyed at what is happening. All those Chrome tabs had loaded completely their content earlier, when you first opened them, and you could switch to them instantly. Why do they have to refresh again?

In the meantime, if you are looking for a Chrome or Firefox alternative, we have compiled a list of the top internet browsers, with detailed reviews for each and guides on how to get the most out of each of them. Find that popular article here.

Why Do The Tabs Refresh When You Switch To Them

The problem is quite common among users of Chrome and Chrome-based browsers such as Comodo Dragon and SlimJet. It actually is a feature – not a problem per se. However, it can get amazingly annoying at times and can severely delay your work and lessen your productivity.

It is called Tab Discarding and is a feature Google implemented to help minimize the memory footprint of the browser. It also helps keep running things smoothly. Essentially, Chrome will monitor the tabs that you interact with the most, and will keep those alive and ready to switch to. However, Chrome considers those tabs that you left at the background without interaction “uninteresting” – the browser discards them at particular times when the available system memory is running low. In our example, those images tabs that you opened in the background but did not access yet. Google believes that not all open tabs are tabs that are used – how true can that be?

Is there such thing as a not interesting tab?

Here in NitroTech we believe that any open tab is interesting and useful to the user. That is why the user opened them in the first place. Nevertheless, at particular situations Tab Discarding can be of help. It helps low-end systems with lesser RAM to remain stable and relatively fast when browsing the net – even with many Chrome tabs open. The browser will bring back any discarded tab by simply refreshing its content the moment the user switches to them. We all know that Chrome is not a lightweight browser/ Essentially Tab Discarding seems to be a nice way to maintain RAM consumption at low levels.

In theory, Tab Discarding can work well. In practice, it is very disturbing to switch to a tab that had fully loaded before and suddenly it has to load all over again. That feature brings additional things for consideration in place; what about those users who use a HotSpot of their data plan to surf the net in their laptops? Why do they have to waste some much of their data just to reload previously fully loaded Chrome tabs?

Moreover, what if the system has plenty of RAM available but Chrome fails to identify it and instead still discards tabs?

How To Disable Tab Discarding

That brings us to the issue at hand, and that is how to fix Chrome’s behavior by disabling Tab Discarding altogether.

Chrome tabs auto reload - how to disable tab discarding.
To disable Tab Discarding, the user has to open the flags menu and disable the particular option.

Launch Chrome (or other Chromium-based browser you might have) and type in the URL bar the following:


This will load a page with a list of flags of the browser, with the one we are interested in highlighted at the top. Here, we simply need to open the drop-down menu and select Disable.

There is nothing more to do here. There is no Apply, Save or even an OK button, and the browser saves the change automatically. You can simply close this tab and go on with your internet surfing as you used to. In particular circumstances, you might have to restart the browser for the change to take effect.

Please also note that you can use the same command in any Chrome-based browser. You do not have to change the syntax to reflect the browser name. The browser itself will load the flag properly.

So – Who would need to disable Tab Discarding?

  • Simply said, everyone who gets disturbed by auto-refreshing tabs.
  • People with sufficient system RAM for their everyday system usage.
  • Those computer users who tend to work with multiple open tabs at most times, and used to have no problem in the past.
  • People with sufficient RAM who use a data plan to browse internet.

Who should keep Tab Discarding enabled?

  • All users working on a low-end computer with low installed RAM.
  • Users who tend to open many tabs in the background, but do not plan to visit them anytime soon.
  • Those users with a surfing behavior where Tab Discarding does not cause problems.
  • Those who never got disturbed by auto-refreshing tabs.

Does Tab Discarding disturb you? If you tried our little trick, did you notice a difference in your productivity and day-to-day surfing? Let us know!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Chrome removed this method of fixing this problem.

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