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How to Restore and Fix: Chrome didn’t shut down correctly?

Although Chrome has a good feature of restoring the tabs if Chrome didn’t shut down correctly, it still gets the ‘Didn’t Shut Down Correctly’ error quite frequently for some users. The best ways to get rid of this error are, allowing Chrome apps to run in the background, renaming Chrome’s Default folder, tweaking the Preferences file, or resetting the browser.

While Chrome has managed to retain its numero uno position in the web browser domain, it also has its fair share of issues.

A few days back, while I was browsing the web via Chrome, the browser suddenly closed and then restarted on its own. Upon the restart, I was greeted with the error message that Chrome didn’t shut down correctly.

Chrome didn't shut down correctly error

Although the error message had the Restore command option, it only restored the tabs I had opened before that error and not while the error showed up. Furthermore, judging from these Google Support Forums, it turns out that I wasn’t the only one getting bugged with this issue.

On the bright side, though, there do exist a few workarounds that managed to rectify this issue. And in this guide, we will be sharing just that. So without further ado, let’s get started —

Restore the Tabs

There are a few ways to restore the abruptly closed tabs due to force closure. While Chrome provides the button to Restore the tabs after relaunching the browser, we have two other ways.

  1. Chrome has a built-in restore closed tabs feature that automatically restores recently closed tabs. If the browser has crashed, then you can use this option.
  2. We can also visit the Browser History tab using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + H and reopen the sites that were closed.

Restoring the tabs only work in normal mode and not in incognito mode. If you were browsing in private mode, restoring the sessions is technically impossible.

Allow Background Chrome Apps

By default, if Chrome isn’t up and running, then its associated apps or extensions aren’t allowed to run in the background.

However, you may disable this restrictive environment and let the apps function at their full capacity, even if the browser isn’t running in the foreground. This may cause Chrome to become slow and unresponsive, but the error will be solved.

Here are the steps to allow chrome apps to run in the background:

  1. Launch the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Click on More vertical 3dots icon and choose the Settings menu from the list.
  3. Scroll down to the Advanced section and click System.
  4. Enable the Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed option.
    continue running background apps when the chrome is closed

This workaround is primarily a trade-off with performance; however, since it is known to fix the underlying issue, you might have to sacrifice a few MBs of your RAM to get the browser up and running.

Rename Default Folder

Chrome’s Default folder holds data related to Sessions, Cookies, and Cache related to your user profile. In this regard, some users were able to fix this issue by renaming this Default browser folder.

The caveat of using this method is that your user profile will be removed, and you will need to re-login the Google chrome.

Here are the steps to rename the user data folder of the google chrome browser:

  1. Open File Explorer and browse to the below location (replace UserName accordingly).
    C: > Users > UserName > AppData > Local > Google > Chrome > User Data

    If you aren’t able to view the AppData folder, then it probably might be hidden.

  2. Click on the View menu on the top menu bar and enable the Hidden items option.
    Show Hidden Files in Windows OS
  3. The Default folder will now be visible under User Data.
  4. Right-click on the folder and select the Rename command.
    Rename Default folder in Chrome User Data
  5. Name it, say Default_old, and hit Enter keyboard button.

Once the renaming is complete, relaunch the browser, and Chrome might now create a new environment to store its default settings and files. This, in turn, should fix the issue as well.

Tweak Preferences File

If you get the error after every Chrome reboot, it could be attributed to the browser’s Preference file. Making the required changes to this file should generally launch the browser at the next boot.

Here are the steps to tweak the preference files in the chrome browser:

  1. Open File Explorer and access Chrome’s Default folder via the following location:
    C: > Users > UserName > AppData > Local > Google > Chrome > User Data > Default
  2. Within that, please scroll to the Preferences file and open it via a text editor like Notepad.
    Edit Chrome Preferences file in Notepad Editor
  3. Now use the Ctrl + F shortcut keys to bring up the Find dialog box.
  4. Type in exit_type, and press Enter to search.
    chrome preferences file exit_type normal
  5. Change the exit_type from Crashed to Normal.
    Chrome Preference exit_type crashed
  6. Save the changes using Ctrl + S keyboard shortcut.

This process involves quite a few steps; however, if the browser can’t make the changes to its preferences on its own, then taking the manual approach is the best route forward.

Reset Chrome Browser

If you have tweaked Chrome’s settings, they might conflict with the proper browser functioning. In this regard, reverting the settings to their default state might spell out success.

Here are the steps to reset the chrome browser settings:

  1. Launch the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Tap on More vertical 3dots icon and choose the Settings menu from the list.
  3. Please scroll down to the Advanced section and open it.
  4. Navigate to the Reset and clean up section.
  5. Click on Restore settings to their original defaults command tab.
    Resetting Google Chrome Settings
  6. Hit the Reset Settings button in the confirmation dialog box.

This process will disable the third-party extension and clear temporary data. But at the same time, it will bring all the Chrome Settings back to their default state. So once this is done, restart the browser, and the issue will probably have been rectified.

Bottom Line: Chrome didn’t Shutdown

So these were the various methods to fix the Chrome didn’t shut down correctly error. As is evident from this Reddit thread, a few users were able to rectify this issue via the first fix itself.

However, I had to take the nuclear route of resetting the browser. While, on the one hand, it disabled all my browser extensions, the efforts in re-enabling them were pretty minuscule compared to the benefits I could reap.

As I mentioned, if you try to improve Chrome’s performance to avoid crashes, it will lead to high CPU usage. One of the best ways is to upgrade your machine’s RAM capacity and Hard disk (at least to SSD) for better performance.

With that said, do let us know in the comments which method managed to give desirable results in your case.

Lastly, here are the recommended web browsers for computer and mobile phone that you should give a try.

Chrome WindowsChrome MacChrome iOSChrome AndroidFirefox Linux
Firefox WindowsSafari MacSafari iOSEdge AndroidChrome Linux
Edge WindowsFirefox MacEdge iOSSamsung InternetEdge Linux

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4 thoughts on “How to Restore and Fix: Chrome didn’t shut down correctly?”

  1. The problem with mine is that when Chrome doesn’t shut down correctly, there is no “restore” button to get my tabs back, and it is not discussed in this article how to fix that

  2. One recommendation to modify the current profile config files, verify the browser profile path navigating in Chrome to: “chrome://version/”.

    In that page you will see the actual profile path being used to read/write the current settings.
    Look-up for the “Preferences” file (it has no extension) and make it read-only while the browser is not displaying the restore pop-up.

    This fixed the problem for me. Although, it may bother if you later need to adjust any profile setting that would be also saved to this file. Keep that in mind.

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