How to Fix Google chrome startup issues due to unresponsive Chrome.exe process

How to end Unresponsive chrome.exe process
Lately my Google Chrome Browser started giving me lot of troubles. As I browse through pages, occasionally things will start slow down and chrome will almost freeze. The only thing I can do is to close all the tabs and the browser window as a whole.

But often I have noticed that chrome browser will not simply start again and one or more chrome.exe processes will be active in task manager.


Unresponsive chrome.exe process

Every time this issue occurs, I have noticed that I can close all the open chrome.exe processes except one instance of chrome.exe (probably the one with highest memory usage). This final chrome.exe will not respond to anything, we cannot end it through task manager, we cannot use taskkill command or even through advanced process explorer application (procexp.exe). It’s funny, sometimes you will only get a fake confirmation as the process is ended but it will be still running.

If you try to uninstall the chrome browser you will get error as ‘Please close all Google Chrome windows and try again’

Chrome.exe uninstallation error


The only option to get the chrome browser running again is to do a complete system restart. But as the issue started recurring almost on daily basis it was very annoying and I have decided to find a solution for this issue somehow.

After some research this is the solution I have found to tackle issue:

  • You cannot end the chrome.exe in any way, but as an alternative you can unlock the association between unresponsive chrome.exe process and the chrome User Data folder
  • Download and install (make sure you read the next step as well before installing) the unlocker tool from http://www.filehippo.com/download_unlocker/
  • During the installation wizard of this program, make sure you choose advanced option and get rid extra toolbars it will install otherwise (this will install only what you need – the unlocker tool)


How to troubleshoot chrome startup issues

  • This is a freeware utility to unlock the files and folders in windows from whichever the programs holding them
  • Once the installation is complete, visit the location C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Google (I assume you have windows 7)
  • You will see a folder named Chrome here

Unlocking chrome user data folder


  • Right click on this folder and choose Unlocker option from the context menu

Using unlocker to release the chrome.exe


  • You will see a lot of chrome.exe processes listed in there. Click the Unlock All button (you cannot likely kill the process from here either)

Unlocker window lists all open chrome.exe processes


Now try to launch the Google Chrome browser again and it should start properly.

Even after unlocking this folder, you will notice that the task manager will still list the chrome.exe which will not go away until you restart the computer. But it will not interfere with you again until you restart at a later time at your convenience.

Phew! Finally I have found the solution for this annoying problem. I hope it helps someone else out there banging their heads with this issue :)

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  1. Keith says:

    Awesome! You exactly described my problem and your solution worked. Thank you!!

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Glad to know it helped!

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks for this fix! This has been bugging me for a while.

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Naveen says:

    Thanks for the solution.
    It was so annoying that I thought of giving up on chrome. Will wait for a while now ;)

    1. electron says:

      Glad to know it helped!

  4. Bob says:

    Very nice workaround
    don’t understand why Google hasn”t already resolved this issue !!! with so many users impacted !!!

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the feedback. I hope google will fix this in their future updates.

  5. Jeremy says:

    What AV program are you using? We are using Enterprise McAfee and there was a patch released (for DLP Agent) that actually fixed this issue… at least for a few weeks, but has reoccurred on me just today.

    1. electron says:

      I do have McAfee AV and DLP program as well. Even though i receive occasional updates, the issue still seems to be occurring to me randomly. I have noticed McAfee messes up with Internet connectivity sometimes (so I end up in page cannot be displayed errors). But the chrome.exe freezing seems to be application related issue. So i guess the issue related to chrome browser in someway.

      1. Jeremy says:

        BTW, Thanks for the workaround. Worked for me.

        1. electron says:

          Glad to know it helped!

  6. good work says:

    great! worked as a charm. thanks.

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Glad to know it helped.

  7. altesa says:

    It worked just like you said. Thanks so much!

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the feedback. Glad to know it helped.

  8. gmkent says:

    After days of pulling my hair out I found your site and it worked perfectly. Thanks for posting.

    1. electron says:

      Well, there is always hope :) Thanks for the feedback.

  9. Mazz says:

    Thanks for the post,

    I’m unable to find any official answers from google. i love chrome, but in recent updates it stopped being the lightweight browser that it used to be, and the processes have become more and more dependant on other processes and sister chrome instances. this kind of beats the point that made chrome the best browser at the time.

    i have found something called Process Hacker (http://sourceforge.net/projects/processhacker/)
    you can use it to terminate the process tree and it usually does the trick and forces chrome to do a cold start after that.


    1. electron says:

      This is great and thanks for sharing this. If this tool is able to terminate the complete process tree then it will be fabulous. I will try this tool next time the chrome freezes.

      1. SD says:

        Just tried to kill the rogue chrome processes using processhacker and it was unable to kill the last chrome process – no difference from task manager.

        1. electron says:

          Yeah, i have also noticed this. Processhacker is able able to terminate only the child chrome.exe processes not the parent process. So i would recommend to go with the approach i have suggested in my post with unlocker utility

  10. Mazz says:

    No problem!

    It sucks still though because if you have a movie already buffered or a download that’s half way through etc, you’ve basically lost all your progress.

    i just ran through the same problem trying to read this comment and had to use process hijacker. it worked, but i lost my 62% progress on my 3GB download…

    Good luck!


    Also, some system information might be useful for future hits:

    Windows 7 home premium
    Chrome Version 29.0.1547.76 m

    This usually happens after the unlock screen with me too. sometimes when i wait for long enough it picks up again. but most of the time i have to do a hard kill for all the chrome processes and child processes and then start again. starting a second instance of chrome does not help either. everything either crashes at once, or starts up again at once.


    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the additional details! I am sure it will help other folks facing the similar issues.

  11. Devtara says:

    Very Helpfull Solution… it was bugging me for a long time and I was thinking of giving up on chrome…

    1. electron says:

      Glad to know it helped. Thanks for the feedback!

  12. ABcd says:

    Thanks, i was frustated by this problem and had to restart all the applications which i normally work it.

    The solution you suggested worked for me.

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the feedback!

  13. Manjime says:

    Thanks a lot, I??ve been dealing with this annoying problem for a long time… Thanks!

    1. electron says:

      Hi Manjime, Glad to know it helped and Thanks for the feedback!

  14. steve earle says:

    finally a solution that works. Thanks so much for sharing it. Now, can we please have Google fix their damn bug?

    1. electron says:

      I too hope google listens to us soon!

  15. Renato says:

    This is f……. awesome!!!! Thank you! I’ve spent hours trying other fixes and getting nowhere!

    1. electron says:

      thanks for the feedback!

  16. Ben C says:

    Thanks for the info. This has been an issue for many months. I can’t afford to reboot my work laptop several times a day just to continue using Chrome. This solution has allowed me to get to the end of the day without hassles. Cheers.

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the feedback. I certainly understand your pain and i was forced to research a solution for the same reason!

  17. Carsten says:

    Awesome, thanks for this fix! This has been bothering me for a while!

  18. tibor-s says:

    Thank you! – I should have look for solution long before.

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for the feedback tibor

  19. Fox says:

    It took about 3/4 of a minute for the browser to reopen and I’m not sure if it was because clicked on Start Unlocker in the Start menu which caused it to finally open, but I will say this. I am a heck of a lot further along trying this procedure than anything else I’ve found on line and I do believe that after a reboot, that may even fine tune this solution to work as stated. My confidence at the point of this review is high.

    There. And I’m stickin’ to it. Fox

    1. electron says:

      Hey Fox, thanks for the feedback!

  20. Prashanth says:

    Knowledge sharing by you was tremendous and it worked for me as well. Good work.

  21. Celtiq says:

    Great sharing, it really works!! thx much for that :D

  22. margo says:

    using windows vista. used the solution you describe (chrome just on slightly different address line to that of windows 7) but to no avail. when i get to the unlocker it gives me message ‘no locked handles’. so i’m still stuck with having to use task manager to end chrome.exe everytime i want to use chrome as my browser. thanks for the easy to follow instructions anyway.

  23. angel says:

    it worked for me… thanks!

    one tip, after installing the software, open a windows explorer window and there you’ll visit the location C:\Users\\AppData\Local\Google… follow the next steps as required

  24. Rahul says:

    Thankyou. You saved my day. !!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Lavanya says:

    Awesome! worked like magic. Thanks for this post :)

  26. flink says:

    Hi, I’m on Chrome 34 under Win7. I’ve been plagued by that last Chrome parent process that just won’t die. I’ve tried sysinternals tools, nircmd, and unlocker without success.

    Chrome is heading down the same road that Explorer has been on since the start. An improvement over Mosiac, but with so many half-working features that it is a misery to use.

  27. Vimaldev Devaraja says:

    Excellent. I have been searching for this solution for such a long time now.

    I was able to relaunch my chrome without having my laptop rebooted.

    Thanks again.

    1. electron says:

      Thanks for feedback Vimal!

  28. Terry L Schell says:

    Hi Electron-
    I am stuck on the section after installing the Unlocker tool. I enter the URL, C:\Users\ etc, where I typed windows7 in the User Names space, but it will not take/download. What do I need to enter in that space to get to the location? Thanks!

    1. electron says:

      Hi Terry, You can manually locate the Google App data folder. It will be in C drive >> Users >> Locate the folder in your windows user name (e.g. terry) >> AppData >> Local >> Google. Now you can right-click on this “Google” folder and open it with unlocker tool. Hope it helps.

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