Troubleshooting Edge (or Chrome) Browser Crashes

By admin
In the modern browser world, there are

two
CARDINAL

types of crashes: browser crashes and renderer crashes.

In a browser crash, the entire browser window with all of its tabs simply vanishes, either on startup, or at some point afterward. The next time the browser starts, it should recognize that the last time it exited was unexpected and offer to recover the tabs that were open at the time of the crash:

Crash recovery prompt shown after restart

In contrast, in a renderer crash, one (or more) tabs will show a simple crash page with a "This page is having a problem" error message:

Edge’s Renderer Crash notification page

The Error code mentioned at the bottom of the page might help point to the cause of the problem. Sometimes if you search for this code on

Twitter
PRODUCT

or Reddit you might see a recent set of complaints about it and learn what causes it.

Automatic Crash Reporting

Microsoft Edge uses a

Microsoft
ORG

crash-reporting system called

Watson
PERSON

(after

Sherlock Holmes’
PERSON

famous assistant). When your browser or

one
CARDINAL

of its tabs crashes, the system collects information useful for engineers to diagnose and fix the problem and uploads it to

Microsoft
ORG

’s servers for analysis. (

Chrome
ORG

includes a similar system, called

CrashPad
ORG

, which sends

Chrome
ORG

crash reports to

Google
ORG

).

Backend systems automatically sort crash reports into buckets, count them, and surface information for the browsers’ reliability engineers to investigate in priority order. These engineers constantly monitor the real-world crashes worldwide and work to send fixes out to users via updated versions (“respins“) as quickly as possible.

In the vast majority of cases, you don’t need to do anything to get a browser update beyond just waiting. Visiting about:help will kick off a version update check:

…but even if you cannot do that (e.g. because the browser crashes on startup such that you cannot navigate anywhere),

Edge
ORG

’s background updater will check for updates

every few hours
TIME

and silently install them.

about:crashes

You can see information about recent crashes by visiting the about:crashes page in the browser. If you end up talking to an engineer about a crash or post a question in a forum asking for help, posting the CAB ID and Bucket ID information from

Edge
ORG

’s crash report (or

the Uploaded Crash Report
LAW

ID from

Chrome
ORG

’s crash report) will allow browser engineers the ability to easily pull up the data from your crash. This data often greatly enhances their ability to help you understand what’s going on.

If you’d like, you can click the

Submit
ORG

feedback button next to a crash and provide more information about what specifically you were doing that led to the crash. In most cases, this isn’t necessary, but it can be useful if you have a reproducible crash (e.g. it happens every time), and you were doing something that might otherwise be hard to reproduce (e.g. loading a non-public web page).

Self-Troubleshooting

What if the entire browser crashes on startup, such that you cannot visit the about://crashes page? Or you want to see whether you can change something about your browser to avoid the crash. In such cases, you might want to explore the following troubleshooting steps.

Troubleshooting: Try a new

Profile
ORG

Some crashes are profile-dependent– a setting or extension in your profile might be the source of a problem. If you have multiple different browser profiles already, and you’re hitting a renderer crash, try switching to a different profile and see whether the problem recurs.

If you’re hitting a browser crash (which prevents you from easily switching profiles), try starting

Edge
ORG

with a new profile:

Close all Edge instances; ensure that msedge.exe is not running in

Task
ORG

Manager. (Sometimes,

Edge
ORG

’s

Startup Boost
PRODUCT

feature means there may be

one
CARDINAL

or more hidden processes running.) Click Start > Run or hit Windows+R and enter msedge.exe –profile-directory=Rescue

If Edge opens and browses without crashing, the problem was likely related to something in your profile — whether a buggy extension, an experiment, or some other setting.

Troubleshooting: Change Channels

If you’re crashing in a pre-release channel (

Canary
GPE

,

Dev
PERSON

, or Beta) try retreating to a more stable channel. The pre-release channels are expected to have crashes from time-to-time (especially

Dev
PERSON

and

Canary
GPE

) — the whole point of publishing these channels is to allow the team to capture crash reports from the wild before those bugs make it into the Stable release.

If you’re crashing in the Stable channel, try the

Dev
PERSON

channel instead– while the team generally tries to pull all fixes into the Stable channel, sometimes those fixes might make it into the Canary/Dev builds

first
ORDINAL

.

Troubleshooting: Try disabling extensions

Generally, a browser extension should not be able to crash a tab or the browser, but sometimes browser bugs mean that they might. If you’re encountering renderer (tab) crashes, try loading the site in

InPrivate/Incognito
ORG

mode to see if the crash disappears. If it does, the problem might be one of your browser extensions (because extensions, by default, do not load in Private mode).

You can visit about:extensions to see what browser extensions are installed and disable them

one
CARDINAL

-by-one to see whether the problem goes away.

Troubleshooting: Try running without extensions at all

In rare cases, a browser bug tickled by extensions might cause the browser to crash on startup such that you cannot even visit the about:extensions page to turn off extensions.

To determine whether a browser crash is related to extensions, follow these steps:

Close all Edge instances; ensure that msedge.exe is not running in

Task
ORG

Manager. (Sometimes,

Edge
ORG

’s

Startup Boost
PRODUCT

feature means there may be

one
CARDINAL

or more hidden processes running.) Click Start > Run or hit Windows+R and enter msedge.exe –disable-extensions Verify that

Edge
ORG

opens correctly Visit edge://crashes and get the

CABID
ORG

/BucketID information from the uploaded crash report

Unfortunately, while in the “Extensions disabled” mode, you cannot visit the about:extensions page to manually disable

one
CARDINAL

or more of your extensions — in this mode, the browser will act as if it has no extensions at all.

Troubleshooting: Check for Accessibility Tools

Sometimes,

Chromium
ORG

tabs might crash due to buggy handling of accessibility messages. You can troubleshoot to see whether Accessibility features are unexpectedly enabled (and try disabling them) to see whether that might be the source of the problem. See Troubleshooting Accessibility.

Troubleshooting: Check for incompatible software

If all of the browser’s tabs crash, or you see many different tab crashes across many different sites, it’s possible that there’s software on your PC that is interfering with the browser. Read my post about how to use about:conflicts page to discover problematic security or utility software that may be causing the problem.

Troubleshooting: Check Device for Errors

While it’s rare that a PC that worked fine

one day
DATE

abruptly stops working the next due to a hardware problem, it’s not impossible. That’s particularly true if the crash isn’t just a browser crash but a bluescreen of death (

aka bugcheck
PERSON

) that crashes the whole computer.

In the event of a bluescreen or if the error code is

STATUS_ACCESS_VIOLATION
DATE

, consider running the

Windows Memory
PRODUCT

diagnostic (which tests every bit of your RAM) to rule out faulty memory. You can also right-click on your C: drive in

Explorer
ORG

, choose

Properties > Tools > Error Checking
ORG

to check for disk errors.

If the crash is a bluescreen, you should also try updating any drivers for your graphics card and other devices, as many bluescreens are a result of driver bugs.

Advanced Troubleshooting: Try a different flavor

If you’re a software engineer and want to help figure out whether the crash is in

Chromium
ORG

itself, or just in

Chrome
ORG

or Edge, try running the equivalent channel of the other browser (e.g. if

Chrome Dev
PERSON

crashes, try

Edge Dev
ORG

on the same URL).

Advanced Troubleshooting: Examine Dumps

Software engineers familiar with using debuggers might be able to make sense of the

minidump
GPE

files collected for upload to the

Watson
PERSON

service. These .dmp files are located within a directory based on the browser’s channel.

For example, crashes encountered in

Edge
ORG

Stable are stored in the %

LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Crashpad\reports\
ORG

directory.


-Eric

PS:
PERSON

Want to see what crash experiences look like for yourself?

To simulate a browser crash in

Edge
ORG

or Chrome, go to the address bar and type about://inducebrowsercrashforrealz and hit enter. To simulate a tab crash, enter about://crash instead.