What pages open when you start Chrome?

Google Chrome has about 63% of the market for internet browsers*

Chrome logoSo, there’s a good chance that you use it and, judging from my experience with my own IT support clients, there’s a good chance that you haven’t made many changes to make it behave more how you would like. So, here are just a few tweaks to change how Chrome starts up. If you don’t use Chrome, then you will hopefully find this of interest as the principles also apply to other browsers.

To change what happens when you open Chrome, you need to find the appropriate options in Settings:

  • Click on the three vertical dots at the top right of Chrome
  • Left-click on Settings
  • Scroll down until you find a section entitled “On start-up”. The three options are then as follows (choose an option by clicking on the “radio button” next to the desired option).
Chrome startup options
For fastest Chrome opening, choose “Open a specific…” and type in “about:blank”

Open the New Tab page

This means that when you start Chrome, it will open at whatever your “New Tab” is set to. A New tab is achieved by clicking on the plus sign on the top line of Chrome. It gives you the opportunity to have several web pages open at the same time. The default “new tab page” in Chrome is a page offering your current default Search Engine (eg Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo). If your default search engine is Google, then, by default, it will not just show you the search box, but also a list of recent shortcuts. Personally, I don’t like this. I’m always afraid when I am with a client that it might display a recent shortcut that they would prefer me not to see.

You can, however, change this by clicking on the “Customise” button at the bottom of the screen and selecting another option (including not showing any shortcuts below the search box).

new tab redirectMy own choice for New Tab Page is the advanced Google search engine. The reason for this is not so much all the extra options it displays as the fact that it never displays those irritating (often animated) things where the Google logo usually resides. To change the “new tab page” to whatever page you like, you can install an extension to Chrome called “New Tab Redirect”.

Install the “New Tab Redirect” Extension as follows:

  • Visit https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions
  • Enter “new tab redirect” into the search box (without the quotes)
  • Click on that extension when it is offered
  • Click on the blue button entitled “Add to Chrome”
  • Click on “Add extension”
  • At the welcome screen, click on “Set options”
  • Underneath “Redirect URL”, enter the web page that you wish the new tab page to open (eg https://www.google.co.uk/advanced_search) or click on one of the blue options listed
  • Click on the “Save” button

Continue where you left off

If you want to return to the same page that you had open the last time you closed Chrome – including all of your previously open tabs – then this is the choice for you. Do be warned, though, that Chrome is what we disparagingly call a “resource hog”. The more tabs you have open, the more memory Chrome consumes. As I write this, and play with Chrome, it is consuming approximately 1gb of memory! That’s about 25% of the total memory available to a 4gb memory machine. If you always choose the option to “Continue where you left off”, it’s easy to just open more and more tabs, even though you don’t need most of them at any given time.

Open a specific page or set of pages

You can have one or several pages open (in separate tabs) every time you open Chrome by listing them under “Add a new Page”. Alternatively, if you choose “Use current pages”, all of the tabs that you currently have open will always be opened when you open Chrome.

And now, finally, the little tip that I first thought of that led me to write this particular post. If you want your Chrome to open at lightning speed and not waste time loading ANY pages on startup (possibly because there’s no single page that you habitually wish to see), then choose the option of “Open a specific page or set of pages” and set the value to “about:blank” (without the quotes). This will cause Chrome not to attempt to open any page at all. Instead, you immediately have control to be able to choose your page in whatever way suits you best (bookmarks bar, bookmarks, typing in a web page address etc).

So, there you go. Who would have thought it would take about 800 words to go through the startup options for Chrome?

* = according to https://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share (during 2020 and across all platforms (mobile, laptop/desktop, tablets))