Opera crashing or freezing? May be out-of-process plugins

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 16, 2012
Updated • Aug 16, 2012

Opera Software introduced out of process plugins in Opera 12.00 to increase the browser's overall stability when plugins were used to display contents on web pages. The basic idea behind out of process plugins is to move plugins in their own process so that they do not affect the web browser itself when they crash, freeze or cause other issues.

If you have been experiencing stability issues like crashes or freezes in Opera 12.0x recently you may want to try and disable out of process plugins to see if it resolves the issue when using the browser. A recent Opera Desktop Team blog post reveals that Opera Software noticed an increase in Opera freezing on pages with plug-in content on the Windows platform.

The out of process plugins feature seems the culprit, and Opera recommends to disable the feature in the browser for the time being until a proper fix is released in one of the future versions of the web browser. The issue is only affecting Windows versions of the web browser, with Mac and Linux users not experiencing the issues in their versions.

Whenever you open a web page with plugin contents, you will notice the opera_plugin_wrapper.exe process pop up on your system. It is this process the plugins are running in.

There does not seem to be a way to disable out-of-process plugins in the web browser directly. I could not find a setting to do so in the regular options nor under opera:config.

The only available fix as of now is a new Opera 12.02 snapshot build in which the developers have disabled the out of process plugins feature. Please note that this is only true for the 32-bit version under Windows. The reason why the feature is not deactivated in 64-bit versions of Opera is that these versions require the feature to run 32-bit plugins.

So, if you run a 32-bit Windows version of Opera and experience crashes or freezes, you may want to download and install the snapshot build to see if it resolves the issue. Keep in mind that it is a development build and not necessarily suitable for productive environments.

You can alternatively try and enable on-demand plug-ins in Opera. Click on Opera > Settings > Preferences to open the configuration window. Switch to Advanced > Content and check the enable plug-ins only on demand option there.  This may block some plugin content on websites, advertisement for instance, which in turn may reduce the chance of Opera freezing or crashing because of the issue.


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  1. Zu download said on September 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    I dont use Opera, the main reason is extensions. It has not many extensions, so I choose Google Chrome or Firefox, both of them work better!

    1. Viggo said on November 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      You can download an extension in the Opera store which lets you download Chrome extension.

  2. Fine citizen said on August 17, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Opera.. pushing testing to the release cycle

  3. Paul B. said on August 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

    There have been a lot of problems with version 12 for Windows, and I don’t think it should have been released. 12.02 is a workaround for 32-bit’ers until they can get to the root of them.

    It will vary by system, I’m sure, but I’m finding that Opera Next 12.50 is much more stable on my Win7 32bit system, and has feature / bug improvements as well. There still are some temporary freezes, and its own group of regression need to be dealt with, but for me it’s a good trade-off.

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