Speed up Google Chrome's start with BarTab-like FooTab extension

Martin Brinkmann
May 17, 2013
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

One feature that I have come to like a lot in the Firefox web browser lately is the delayed tab loading that Mozilla implemented some time ago in the browser (based on the Bar Tab extension). What this does basically is block the loading of open tabs during start until they are selected by the user (you find "Don't load tabs until selected" under tabs in the Firefox options).

Google Chrome does not ship with this feature and I recently noticed that the browser was causing slow downs on the system due to the number of tabs it had to restore. The tabs that I had open in the browser at the same time grew in the last weeks to about 50 and that seemed to be the main cause for the slow start that I was experiencing.

The loading can impact the whole system at the time. Up until now though there was not really anything that you could do about it since there was no extension or option to change the behavior.

So what can you do to stop Google Chrome from loading all tabs on startup?

The FooTab extension has been created to improve Chrome's start up time. It prevents all tabs but the active one from being loaded when the browser starts, so that the start itself is faster and not as taxing to the system.

chrome stop tab loading start up

What it does in detail? It blocks web traffic to all tabs but the active one for the first ten seconds of the browser start. This triggers the "this webpage was blocked by an extension" warning that you see on the screen instead of the actual website.

The extension enables web traffic again after the ten second period, and when you switch to a tab that has not been loaded yet, you will notice that it starts loading right away.

It offers in essence the same option that Firefox's native "do not load tabs" feature offers. The implementation displays page titles and favicons of the pages in the browser's address bar so that you can identify web pages even though they may not have been loaded yet.

Note: The extension is not hosted on Google Chrome's Web Store. The reason for this is, according to its author, that one has to pay a fee for that. It is offered as a download on SourceForge instead only. You can browse the source code of the extension on SourceForge to make sure it is clean.

To install the extension from there, do the following:

  1. Download the extension to your local system.
  2. Load chrome://extensions/ in the web browser.
  3. Drag and drop the downloaded extension on the page.
  4. Confirm the installation dialog.

FooTab is the only option right now that prevents Chrome from loading all tabs on startup. It speeds up the loading of the browser significantly, especially on older systems and on systems where dozens of tabs are restored on startup.

There is one thing that I do not like about the extension. Even if you have loaded all tabs, it is still making API calls in the browser. It would be interesting to know why it does so.


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  1. Paul said on May 19, 2013 at 9:46 am

    I really want this extension but I cannot work out how to download it! Please help!

    1. Paul said on May 21, 2013 at 5:18 am

      Installed nicely and working just fine
      Thank you for you help

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on May 19, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Why, what is happening?

      1. Paul said on May 19, 2013 at 3:57 pm

        I cannot find where to download!
        I might be missing something obvious – I am not familiar with source codes etc!

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on May 19, 2013 at 4:03 pm
  2. Topper said on May 18, 2013 at 2:56 am
    1. Anonymous said on December 30, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      It’s free, clown. It’s not author who demands payment, it is Google wants him to pay to google it in store.
      TGS, while being good by itself, is doing very different thing.

  3. Bob said on May 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    You only have to pay, what, $5? If he’s not willing to pay $5 to prove he’s legit, I’m a little skeptical about his work.

    1. rv said on August 7, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      I find your opinion notoriously ludicrous. So, in order to be a legit coder now you have to pay (any money) to Google? You can’t be serious.

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