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Chrome Keeps Freezing when Watching YouTube Videos – What To Do

Posted by Jamie on February 5, 2019

What can you do if your Chrome keeps freezing when watching YouTube videos? This issue isn’t just on YouTube either. It can also happen on videos from other sites too. It can be as simple as a stutter before playback resumes to a pause of many seconds before the video plays again. While a minor issue, it can be incredibly annoying.

Most of us watch video online all the time so any slowdown or interruption to playback is going to be a big issue. The good news is that there are few ways to address this. Much depends on what’s going wrong so as usual with these kinds of things, it’s worth performing all of these steps in order and stopping once it is fixed.

Chrome keeps freezing when watching YouTube videos

The freezing or stuttering can happen in different situations. Sometimes it’s full screen playback that pauses or won’t play. Other times it may be a standard YouTube window that keeps freezing. Playback may stutter during playback too and may have nothing to do with your internet connection.

Here are some things to try to fix Chrome freezing when watching YouTube videos. Or any video for that matter.

Turn off hardware acceleration

On paper, if you have a decent graphics card, using hardware acceleration should be a good thing. It isn’t always though and can actually degrade your experience. Try turning it off to see if it helps.

  1. Open Chrome and use the three dot settings menu on the top right.
  2. Select Settings, scroll down to Advanced Settings and select it.
  3. Scroll to System and toggle Use hardware acceleration when available to off.
  4. Retest using a video.

Keep the settings menu open for a minute as we will need it again if that doesn’t work. If your videos still stutter, try clearing cache and cookies.

Clear cache and cookies in Chrome

I have no idea why this might work but have seen first hand that it does. As it’s a simple fix, we may as well try it.

  1. Scroll to Privacy and security within Advanced Settings in Chrome.
  2. Select Clear browsing data.
  3. Select All time and select Clear data.
  4. Retest in YouTube.

If it works, great, if it doesn’t move on to the next fix.

Check your Chrome extensions

Certain Chrome extensions have been known to slow the browser down or interrupt normal use. It might be worth checking them out. Once in Extensions, disable one extension at a time, retest in YouTube and rinse and repeat until you have either tested all of them or found the one slowing things down.

  1. Either type ‘chrome://extensions’ into a new tab or use Menu, More Tools, Extensions.
  2. Use the toggle in the bottom left of each extension box to turn on or off.
  3. Retest after disabling each individual extension to isolate any that may be freezing your videos.

Reset Chrome

Resetting Chrome sets all options back to their defaults. If a customization is interfering with video playback, this should fix it. It does mean you will have to configure it to your liking once done though.

  1. Select the three dot menu icon in the top right of Chrome.
  2. Select Settings and scroll down to Advanced Settings and select it.
  3. Select Reset Settings and Reset.
  4. Retest a video to see what happens.

Use the Chrome reset tool

While you have already checked for errant extensions and reset to remove any customizations that is interfering with YouTube videos, there is another option. The Chrome reset tool. This is mainly for removing malware or serious errors with the browser but is apparently works with freezing video too.

  1. Open Chrome and select the three dots and then Settings.
  2. Select Settings and scroll down to Advanced Settings and select it.
  3. Under Reset and clean up, select Clean up computer.
  4. Select Find.

This tool will look for any code, malware or otherwise that may be interfering with how chrome works.

Reinstall Chrome

If a reset doesn’t work, your main option is to reinstall Chrome. This is the nuclear option but if there is a file corruption or setting that is causing the freezing, this should fix it.

  1. Uninstall Chrome from your system’s uninstall menu.
  2. Download a fresh copy of Chrome from Google and install it.
  3. Retest your video.

Update everything

If none of those steps work to stop Chrome freezing when watching YouTube videos, you might want to try updating your graphics and audio drivers. Old drivers affecting video playback is unlikely but seeing as we have tried everything else and new drivers benefit your computer as a whole, it is worth trying.

If that doesn’t stop Chrome freezing when watching YouTube videos, you might need to try another browser!

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