The Great Suspender is a Chrome extension that does a very simple task – suspend all your Chrome tabs that you have not used for a while. This simple extension has saved my laptop from crashing several times over the last year.
I used to run Ubuntu on my work laptop and while it was great at almost everything I routinely did at work, it was horrible at browsing. Even around 10 tabs coupled with Sublime Text and a couple of tabs in Firefox along with a few terminals and other small applications was enough to bring my system to it’s knees, and me begging for mercy, to just let me save my file before I press the power button. I eventually traced the problem to memory usage. Chrome took up the largest chunk followed by Firefox and Sublime. But there was nothing I could do. The ten or so extensions I had enabled were essential to my work and having 10+ tabs open at a time is perfectly okay. Really.
I came across this extension then (probably on Lifehacker, can’t remember) and tried it. I set the delay to 15 mins and it visibly made a difference to my system stability. All I had to do to recover a tab was click in it. While some would argue that 15 mins is too short a time, I needed it to keep my system running smoothly. I have since moved to Windows + Ubuntu Server in VM and I keep the delay to 2 hours now, which is pretty okay. On Windows, I don’t even think it is necessary as I don’t have so many tabs open at a time anyway – just between 10 to 20, which is perfectly acceptable. I am not saying Ubuntu is worse at memory management. It could just be a configuration issue that was causing it (I had allocated ample space to swap partition).
The extension itself is simple, with just four options. Most important options is delay, which you can set from 5 mins to 12 hours (or never). You can also specify a whitelist for domains which should never be suspended. Other lesser used options allow you to turn on screen capture and unsuspending a tab as soon as you activate it. Simple enough.
All in all, I hate to lose this extension even though, technically, I don’t need it any more. It is a great little tool if you are facing issues with memory usage. Try it.