Google Chrome installation causing slow running of Windows 8.1 64-bit OS

Make sure that you install the right version of Chrome for Windows 8.1 64-bit OS!

chromeRecently I spent about 3 days trying to work out why Windows 8.1 had suddenly become unusable on a Sony Vaio i5 laptop. The main symptoms included slow running applications, “Limited internet access” error reports, and the computer being unable to shut-down or restart properly. I was surprised to find that Google’s Chrome browser was the source of the problem!

Early investigations

I’d been told that the problem appeared after adding a new email account in Microsoft Outlook. Right from the start, I thought that this was unlikely to be the cause of what looked like a serious Operating System failure. I was convinced that that laptop had suffered a ‘forced’ shutdown halfway through a Windows update.

My early efforts involved trying to resolving the “Limited internet access” error. My plan was to re-establish an Internet connection so that the suspected faulty updates could be removed and re-loaded.

I found a pretty good YouTube video that explains the process at:

It was quite easy to follow all of the steps advised in the video. Unfortunately, this just didn’t work.

Disabling Fast Startup on Windows 8.1

A few minutes on Google led to the discovery that a LOT of Windows 8 users were having startup and shutdown problems. Disabling the Windows 8 (and 8.1) “Fast Startup” feature was offered as a possible solution.

I found this post which explained the whole process:

Even with the Fast Startup feature disabled, the laptop was taking about 30 hours (yes 30 hours!) to shut down and about 45 minutes to restart – still with all of the applications running dead-slow.

By now I was seriously thinking about wiping the hard-drive and re-installing the Operating System.

The simple solution

While most of the Windows applications were running incredibly slowly, I noticed that there was one application that wasn’t running at all … Google Chrome! For some reason I decided to uninstall Chrome – even though the laptop was a complete wreck.

It was pretty amazing to see the laptop spring back to life as soon as Chrome was removed!

I ran through 3 or 4 reboot cycles – all of the problems were solved, even the “Limited internet access” error.

After a little more investigation I found that the laptop was running in Windows 8.1, 64-bit mode. Right now, it looks like the default, 32-bit Google Chrome browser for Windows 8 causes a catastrophic failure of Windows 8.1 in 64-bit mode. Maybe in future updates Google or Microsoft may resolve the problem.

Right now, if you’re using Windows 8.1 64-bit and you’ve been experiencing any of the problems that I’ve described above, you can download the fully compatible, 64-bit Chrome browser, directly from Google via this link:


Freelance Steve footnote