How to Stop Auto Refresh in Chrome Browser Tabs?


Are your Chrome tabs constantly refreshing in the background? It may be because they are suspended due to inactivity. Here’s how to fix it.

Auto refresh, also known as auto reload, refers to the action of refreshing a page automatically after a certain interval of time (for instance, several minutes). Some people find auto refresh useful while others want to stop auto refresh since they consider it a disturbance.

The browser tabs of Google Chrome seem to auto refresh/reload the content of websites if the user switches between tabs. This is called Tab discarding, where pages reload happen when Chrome gets rid of tabs that it deems as unimportant from memory.

By default, if it’s using a lot of memory, Chrome purges the contents of some background tabs from RAM to conserve system resources.  When you click back onto those tabs, the browser has to reload them because they have been erased from memory.

While it may be useful at times if a site reloads content automatically, it can also be a nuisance especially if it does not feature a pause or stop button prominently.

Sometimes, it is useful if the entire page or some content on it refreshes automatically. It is useful if you are following a sports game on a site and get auto-refreshing scores and information about the game, or on the auction sites to refresh the highest bid whenever it changes.

Websites reload automatically sometimes when it is not desired by the user, and doing so can be highly disruptive. When inactive tabs are refreshed automatically, the content of the page might change resulting in loss of important information. Fortunately, you can disable this purge and reload process by following the steps below.

Restart Chrome

In Windows, follow the steps below

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to launch the Task Manager.
  • Under Apps, select Google Chrome process and click on the End Task button.

Alternatively, you can enter:

  • in the address bar insert chrome://restart to restart Google Chrome without losing any of your open tabs.
  • Then press Enter.
Chrome Restart

Run SFC Scan

In Windows

  1. sfc /scannow checks the system files with those available in OS disk and replaces faulty and missing files.
  2. Click on the Windows + S keys shortcut to bring up Windows search.
  3. Type in cmd into the search bar.
  4. Right-click on the Command Prompt and choose to Run as Administrator.
  5. Type or paste the sfc/scannow command and press Enter.
    Windows SFC Scan
  6. If it finds and fixes any issue, a message that reads ‘Windows Resource Protection found corrupt files and successfully repaired them’ will be displayed.
  7. Reboot the PC and check if the auto-refresh issue is resolved.

Turn off Auto Discardable

Enter the address chrome://discards/ in the ominibar and press ENTER to be directed to the Discards page, where you’ll find a list of active tabs and their details.

Chrome Discards Flag Settings

Find the Auto Discardable column and click on the Toggle option to disable it. Go on repeating the same process for other tabs you want to prevent from loading automatically.

The set preference only applies to a particular tab. Closing and reopening the same tab will prompt you to repeat the same process all over again.

Disable Extensions

Third-party extensions are probably the biggest reason why people choose Chrome over its alternatives. Some of them might be corrupted and malicious and end up causing auto-refreshing of tabs. Disable them momentarily to see if that resolves the issue.

Chrome Extensions

You can use Chrome’s task manager to find extensions that are hogging up a major chunk of memory.

Use The Great Suspender Original extension

Once installed, you can instantly begin discarding any tab that you are viewing via The Great Suspender icon located conveniently next to the URL bar. Alternately, you can discard all other tabs except for the one that you are currently on.

Chrome The Great Suspender Original Extension

By default, the extension begins discarding tabs after an hour of inactivity. However, The Great Suspender gives the user the option to choose a period to suspend/unsuspend tab(s) according to their convenience in the settings.

The Great Suspender allows the user to choose how long to wait before suspending a tab. The user can also prevent the suspension of tabs that are pinned, have unsaved input, or are playing audio. It also allows whitelisting certain URLs or domains to prevent that from auto-reloading.

The Great Suspender Chrome 1

It also has an option to automatically unsuspend the already viewed tabs, to prevent auto-reloading or auto-refreshing.

The Great Suspender Chrome 2

Reset Chrome

Reset Chrome and start from scratch to purge all extensions, cache, and history on Chrome.

Follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the main menu (the three dots in the right corner) and navigate to the settings menu.
  2. Tap on Advanced to expand for more options.
  3. Click on the Reset settings option.
  4. Click on the Restore settings to their original defaults option to open a pop window.
  5. Click Reset Settings to confirm.
Reset Google Chrome


  1. type chrome://settings/reset in the address bar, and press Enter.
  2. Under ‘Reset settings,’ click on ‘Restore settings to their original defaults.
  3. Then, click Reset Settings to confirm.

Restart your system

This way, you will be able to give your computer a fresh start. Although this might be a temporary fix, restarting the system has proven to be the solution to many issues.


Features like auto-refresh are designed to help us, but sometimes they can get in the way, causing videos or text to reload when we’re in the middle of using them. This leads to interruptions or even the loss of vital information.

There really needs to be an option to stop individual tabs from being auto-reloaded/refreshed. This is a good feature but annoying when you have activities like audio being paused only to return to it to find that it’s been reloaded.

Follow the steps above to prevent the Chrome browser from reloading all your tabs when you switch between tabs, or when you reconnect to another internet network. In effect, this will make the internet connection work faster, and even the computer’s CPU and RAM. To reload a tab simply right-click on it and click on the Reload option in the drop down menu.

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