Microsoft Edge processes in 11’s Task Manager – and what happens when you terminate them

If the PC suddenly becomes slow or the fan turns up to the max for no apparent reason, then you usually take a look at the Windows Task Manager to find out who or what is running amok. Under Windows 11, in connection with Microsoft Edge, there are new possibilities so that the entire browser session does not have to be pushed into the abyss if something “hangs”.

It is not unusual for a script to get stuck on a website or for a browser to otherwise stall.

In the Windows 10 Task Manager, Edge has so far been shown as follows:

Microsoft Edge in the Windows 10 Task Manager

Microsoft Edge runs in several processes, but it cannot be recognized which process is responsible for what. If a process with a high CPU load or exorbitant RAM consumption emerges here, you can end it selectively, but ultimately you don’t know what you’re doing.

In Windows 11, the Task Manager now presents itself as follows:

Microsoft Edge in the Windows 11 task manager

The individual processes have exact names, so with a little background knowledge you can clearly better identify which process uses which resources.

But what happens if you “shoot down” these processes?

Let’s go through them one by one with the appropriate consequences:

Browser

This is the mother of all edge processes. If this is terminated, Edge is terminated along with all other processes, unsaved data in open websites will be lost in this case with a probability bordering on certainty.

GPU process and utilities

If you terminate these processes, they are immediately restarted; the short-term effects can be seen in the open Edge window. If you close the GPU process, the Edge window goes black for a short time, if you close the audio utility, sound from websites (e.g. from a video) is briefly interrupted and then continued.

Renderer processes and tabs

If these processes are terminated, the affected tabs display a crash icon, instead of the content of the page, the message “There is a problem on this page” is displayed.

Edge Error Message: There is a problem on this page

Subframe

These are scripts that are called up within a website, for example embedded media or advertising banners. If you end such a process, a placeholder is displayed within the page instead of the integrated content:Crashed script in Microsoft Edge

If you reload the page or tab, the dependent processes are restarted.

Extension and plugin processes

The corresponding plug-in will be terminated. The message “This plug-in has crashed” may be displayed in the Edge window.

Crashpad

This is the process responsible for reporting error messages when something goes wrong in Edge. If you end this, you are practically flying blind if further problems arise. So it makes sense at best if the browser no longer reacts and you want to try somehow to save your work.

Dedicated workers

Processes of progressive web apps. If you terminate this, the corresponding app usually crashes.

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This also works under Windows 10

By the way, you don’t necessarily have to use the Windows Task Manager, with the key combination Shift + ESC you can also access this information within Edge – this also works under Windows 10.

Of course, this only makes sense if the browser is stable, so the Task Manager integrated in Edge is more suitable for monitoring than for troubleshooting. This is very helpful for web developers, for example, when they want to test how changes to a website affect the consumption of resources.