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Google is working on making Chromebooks less sluggish at startup

Google is working on making Chromebooks less sluggish at startup

Upon startup, some Chromebooks take a while to fully respond to user inputs. It may sound like a small problem, but that sluggishness is part of what makes Chromebooks feel like a step down from other types of machines. But according to a commit on the Chromium Gerrit spotted this week by About Chromebooks, Google is working on a fix.

The unresponsiveness is at least partially due to the virtual machine used to run Android apps on Chrome OS laptops (though the limited memory in many Chromebooks could also contribute to the problem). It seems that the Android Runtime for Chrome Virtual Machine (ARCVM) can hog the Chromebook’s CPU when you first log in. The commit blames ARCVM for eating up to 300 percent (three cores times 100 percent) of the processor’s resources “for several minutes.”

According to the commit, ARCVM “continuously consumes [the Chromebook’s] CPU for several minutes on user login before user has even launched any Android app or playstore [sic].”

The commit seeks to address the issue by throttling the virtual machine “when it is first placed in the background” so that it will use only 25 percent of the CPU. That figure may change, however.

“Once it is moved to the foreground, the throttling is removed. Throttling is then never added back until the device reboots,” the commit says.

It also says the fix won’t make ARCVM itself slow to start up because it won’t be throttled until after it starts.

It’s not clear whether we’ll see this fix in a Chrome OS update. In the meantime, patience is a virtue.

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