Avoid the latest Google Chrome update, it could break your web browser

Google Chrome updates are usually something worth celebrating – bringing new battery saving features, or powerful new tools to make your life a little easier. However, the latest upgrade is something you really want to avoid.

As pointed out by ZDnet, the flagship feature in the new update is breaking the web browser for thousands of users.

Dubbed WebContents Occlusion, the new feature suspends Chrome tabs whenever you move any window on your machine over the top of the web browser. It’s designed to free-up resources on your laptop or desktop machine. And since you’ve placed a window in-front of Chrome, Google assumes you’re working on something else.

Unfortunately, businesses running Google Chrome is virtual machine environments have stumbled into some serious trouble with the feature, which starts suspending their processes and leaves them staring at a white screen seemingly at random.

And if your company relies on web-based applications and tools, it can be very difficult to suddenly drop everything and switch to another browser. As such, employees are being left gawping at blank screens as Chrome suspends their browser throughout the day.

According to system administrators speaking to ZDnet, hundreds and thousands of employees couldn’t use Chrome to access the internet following the update.

“This has had a huge impact for all our Call Centre agents and not being able to chat with our members,” someone with a Costco email address said in a bug report. “We spent the last day and a half trying to figure this out.”

“Our organisation with multiple large retail brands had 1000 call centre agents and many IT people affected for 2 days,” wrote another Chrome user “This had a very large financial impact.”

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Thankfully, users who just use Google Chrome on their smartphone, tablet or home computer likely won’t be impacted by the change. The devastating bug is reserved for business users that run Chrome on a Windows Server “terminal server” setup – very common in enterprise networks.

Although WebContents Occlusion has been trialled for months in Chrome Canary, which lets those keen to test-out the latest features beta test them before they’re available in the usual Chrome app, it was only when the update rolled-out to everyone that complaints started to flood in.

Thankfully, Google is rolling-out a patch that solves the issue. So, if you haven’t managed to avoid the new feature – the latest update to Chrome should now solve the issue. If you’ve managed to avoid the issue for the time being, it might be worth sitting out the Chrome updates for the next few weeks.

This should give time for things to settle down. After all, turning around patches and updates this fast can often lead to other quirks cropping up in the new software.

However, if the software patch hasn’t reached you yet and you’re already running the problematic update there is a way to resolve the issue.

You can also solve the white screen glitch by visiting chrome://flags and disabling “chrome://flags/#web-contents-occlusion” and “chrome://flags/#calculate-native-win-occlusion”.


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