How to Stop Auto-Reload/Refresh in Chrome Browser Tabs?

Learn how to stop auto-reloading/refresh of the chrome browser window when switching between tabs. We've mentioned different methods to fix the issue.

The Chrome browser gets extremely slow when you force it to push beyond its limits. But it’s only natural for such a program to slow down when we put pressure upon it that’s much more than a program can handle.

One major issue that the Chrome browser frustrates its users with is the curse of auto-reloading/refreshing the web pages when we are inactive in a particular tab.

Taking my case into account, this often happened to me when jumping between the open or loaded tabs. For instance, if I have 5 open tabs loaded and I switch to another tab and return to the previous one, it will refresh or start loading all over again.

It started with a big-time interval. Initially, the loaded tabs would stay as it is for an hour or so until it reloads again. However, through the course of time, the interval became short and it started to get on my nerves!

RelatedHow to Hard Refresh and Reload a Page in Chrome Computer?

This forced me to embark on a hunt for a reliable solution. Thankfully, I did come up with something capable of preventing the issue and you can refer to them below and apply if the same problem is frustrating you as well.

Why Chrome Auto-Reload?

By default, Chrome is programmed to automatically erase the data of any open, loaded tabs in case the browser is using a lot of memory. This is an automated process, which is initiated to conserve system resources and reduce the pressure off from your browser.

From one perspective, this is actually the ideal way the browser should operate as this process will ultimately reduce the chances of your system(or the browser alone) from slowing down or crashing. This maybe is better when thinking about how difficult it is to cope with a slowed down and crashing system rather than waiting for a few extra seconds for the tabs to reload.

However, from the other perspective, this is a frustrating issue. The frustration only gets to the extreme if you’re typing down long content, switches to another tab for some purpose, and comes back only to know that the tab is auto-reloading and you’ll have to write down the entire stuff once again!

This happens either because the browser is erasing the data or there’s a possibility that some corrupt files/data are interfering with it. However, simply applying the below steps will ultimately prevent the Chrome browser from erasing the open/loaded tabs.

Disable Purging of Open or Loaded Tabs

[UPDATE: This experiment flag is no longer available in the Chrome browser. Please skip to the next section]

For most Chrome users, the issue happens because the browser erases the tab data for the system’s optimal performance. Simply messing around with Chrome’s tab discarding menu will help solve the issue.

Here are the steps to disable the automatic tab discarding the chrome flag:

  1. Launch Google Chrome computer browser.
  2. Open chrome flags settings page at chrome://flagsand search for Automatic Tab Discarding. OR
  3. You can copy and paste in URL bar: chrome://flags/#automatic-tab-discarding.
    Automatic tab discarding chrome flags URL
  4. From the result, disable the tab discarding by setting the drop-down menu button to Disabled mode.
    Automatic Tab Discarding Disabled

Applying this particular step will prevent the Chrome browser from purging the open and loaded tabs when your system is struggling with pressure.

This will ultimately cease the chrome browser auto-refresh when you switching between the tabs and avoid frustrations anymore.

Toggle off Auto Discardable

This is a new addition to the chrome which I believe was introduced during the automatic tab discarding the chrome flag. It basically turns off the auto discarding that reloads the website page that is being inactive for a time.

In order to turn off the Auto Discardable toggle, we need to visit the chrome://discards address. This will show the list of active tabs and the option to stop auto-reload. It also displays the Site Engagement Score and Reactivation Score that essentially helps Chrome to understand the inactive site for auto-reload.

Chrome Discards Auto Discardable Toggle

If you want to disable or stop the auto-refresh, then you can just click to Toggle to turn off the Auto Discardable checkbox against the open tab and you’re done.

The only major caveat is that the setting is not permanent. If you close the chrome browser and relaunch, then Auto Discardable is re-enabled for the site. However, you can use this setting as long as you keep the Chrome active and running.

Run an SFC scan on your system

The purpose of an SFC scan is to scan all protected files on your system and fix any files/data that may be found corrupted. There are slight chances that system files are corrupted that causing the auto-reload.

Here are the steps to successfully run an SFC scan on Windows PC:

  1. Start by pressing the Windows + S key shortcut to bring up Windows search.
  2. Type in cmd into the search bar.
  3. From the results, right-click on the Command Prompt program and choose to Run as Administrator.
    Command Prompt Run as Adminitrator in Windows
  4. Then, copy and paste the following command into the Command Prompt window: sfc /scannow.
    SFC scannow in Windows CMD prompt
  5. Finally, press the Enter key to initiate the SFC scan.

It will successfully finish in a few seconds or a few minutes in the worst case.

When the scanning process is successful, it will replace the corrupted data with its respective fixes. In case the scan finds no corrupted data, it will return a respective message. Either way, when the process is complete, simply close the window and you’re set!

Restart your system

If the two fixes given above doesn’t work out, then the final step we can take is restarting the system.

Whether you’re on a Chromebook, Mac, or Windows, restarting the system is essentially the solution to many problems out there. However, please bear in mind that this might only prove to be a temporary fix for some users. In my case, restarting my computer did help me with the issue on some level, although it did come back after a few hours.

Although restarting your system might only act as a temporary fix, it is worth trying to see how much it will impact the issue.

Bottom Line: Stop Auto-Reload Chrome

Coming to a conclusion, users that saw no success with any of these solutions should perhaps wait until Chrome acknowledge the issue and release an update that will fix the same. However, for most users, disabling the automatic tab discarding flag in Chrome will fix up the issue.

As in my case, the first step I took when this issue started to frustrate me was restarting my computer. I use an HP laptop and restarting my system the first time did a huge impact on how Chrome automatically reloaded the tab. The first restart actually helped me gain a more lengthy interval for auto-reloading. However, the interval kept shortening each time I restarted.

The SFC scan returned no corruption at all. My final application was disabling the latter flags in Chrome, which certainly did resolve the issue for me.

You can also follow these article to manually hard refresh the site on chrome browser.

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

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

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13 Responses

  1. Nathan says:

    doesnt work anymore

    • Editor Staff says:

      Nathan, have you tried disabling the chrome flag: automatic-tab-discarding. It’s the actual cause of the issue.

      • tirakusmawati says:

        now had change to this
        chrome://discards/
        you not believe? try before speak

        • Matthew says:

          That is amazing tirakusmawati! Thank you so, so much for the excellent information!!

  2. Barbara says:

    chrome flag: automatic-tab-discarding is no longer a flag to be able to discard it.

    • Editor Staff says:

      Thanks Barbara for flagging this. Alternatively, we can use the other methods mentioned in the post.

      • Comter says:

        What alternate methods mentioned in the article prevent Chrome from automatically discarding tabs?

  3. Chad Whittington says:

    The “automatic tab discarding thing” doesn’t seem to work. I’ve tried looking it up over and over, but it never comes up. Dunno the problem

  4. Prabhakar Kundurthy says:

    my application runs on chrome and there is time out for the session and every time I need to re-login, can I change the browser settings to avoid refresh and re-login?

  5. Eric Bishop says:

    I came here because I have been constantly frustrated by this Chrome feature. Unfortunately, it does look like Chrome took away the flag you mentioned (as you already know).

    I found that I can manually disable the auto discard per tab, per session by going to: chrome://discards/. This is cumbersome and tedious, though.

    Then I found an extension for Chrome that automatically disables the auto discard for every tab in every session. Just search for “Disable automatic tab discarding” in Chrome extensions.

    I just installed it so I have no history with it but I’m hoping this works and me posting this will help others.

    Read the description on the extension…there are things you need to be aware of when disabling this automatically for every tab.

    • Editor says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, Eric! I see there are mixed reviews for the chrome extension. Some users are mentioning that it works, while some don’t. Let us know how it goes with you. I will be happy to add this to the article after your personal review. Thank you once again!

  6. Rajasekhar Pasupula says:

    what is the default time for the browser to reload and its happening for me less than a 1 min, since i am using banking website.. its a huge risk for my website

    • Editor says:

      Hello Rajasekhar. There is no default time as such. If the browser tab is inactive for time being, it will automatically reload. The chrome browser doesn’t categories whether it’s a banking site or social media. However, you can use the chrome://discards feature to toggle off the Auto Discardable feature for the tab.

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