Google Chrome Zombies

Generally speaking, I’m pretty happy about using Google’s Chrome browser. It works when visiting almost any website which is pretty impressive because almost no website indicates it is supported. I really like the fact that the address box is also the search box. There is, however, one ugly problem: it will not go away: the zombie apocalypse may be on your own box.

The context: Linux, Debian 6.0.6, using Chrome Version 23.0.1271.64 (as of today, but his issue has been going on for a long time for and has been encountered by others as well).

It is worth your while to check how many resources are being consumed just for the sake of curiosity, but if Chrome is acting badly, you really ought to start by checking to see how many instances are running. Run something like “ps ax | grep chrome” on a terminal and you will see something like this for output:

30498 ? Sl 1:28 /opt/google/chrome/chrome --type=service --lang=en-US
30506 ? Z 0:01 [chrome]
31112 ? Z 0:00 [chrome]
31962 ? Z 0:01 [chrome]

Depending on how many times and how long you’ve been running Chrome since the last power-on, there could easily be 10s, if not 100s, of of those zombie processes as well as a number of sleeping Chrome parent processes. If you kill the parent, in this case 30498 – a simple, unadorned kill will work – all the rest will disappear.

If you try and do something that will affect the basic operations and interactions of Chrome and your Google account(s), you may also end up with configuration confusion. This also seems to be cleared up by killing all Chrome processes.

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