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Using Extensity to Manage Your Extensions and Optimize Chrome


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Chrome extensions are very useful pieces of software. They allow users to fix issues in Chrome that the developers do not plan on resolving, add new features to the browser, or increase security as you browse the web.

All of these benefits, though, come with a downside. This is an increase in memory, CPU utilization, and potential bugs that may occur due to conflicting extensions.

This is where the Extensity Chrome extension comes in. Extensity is an extension manager for Chrome that allows you to easily list, enable, & disable extensions installed in Chrome.

Even better, Extensity allows you to configure Profiles that consist of a specific group of enabled and disabled extensions. This way you can create a profile for web development or infosec that contain different groups of enabled/disabled extensions and switch between them as necessary.

The memory consumption of Chrome extension

Before take a look at Extensity, it is important to understand why this extension is so useful. While extension conflicting with each other do exist and extension icons can quickly take up too much space, the main reason to manage and optimize your Chrome extensions is to reduce the amount of memory Chrome uses. 

For example, below is an image of the Chrome Task Manager with one browser window and a single tab open to Google.com. This windows shows that Chrome is using about 70 MB of memory.




Now I personally have 24 extensions installed in Chrome, with the majority disabled until I need them.  To give a dramatic example of what Chrome's memory consumption looks like when all 24 extensions are loaded, you can see the image below. 


All Extensions Loaded


With all of the extensions loaded, Chrome is now using approximate 446 MB with only one Window open to a single tab of Google. As you open more browser windows and more tabs, this memory consumption will increase and begin to use up a large amount of memory.

This is where Extensity comes in.

How Extensity helps you manager your Chrome extension

As you can now see, while extensions add wanted behavior to Chrome, they can quickly use up a lot of your computer's memory.  To resolve this, we can use Extensity to only enable extensions when we need them and disable all the rest.

To get started, install Extensity from the Chrome Web Store. When Extensity is installed, a new icon will appear in your Chrome toolbar as shown below.


Extensity Toolbar Icon


Extensity Button


If you click on this icon, it will open a list of all the installed extensions and apps. You can then use this list to quickly enable or disable any extension.


Extensity Extension List


Extensity Extension List



To disable an extension, simply click on it and it will become greyed out to indicate that it is disabled. To enable an extension, simply click on one so it becomes bolded as shown at the top of the list above.

It is important to note that when you click on an extension, its status changes immediately and does not require the reboot of Chrome.

At the top of Extensity's extension list is a variety of buttons that you can use to perform various quick tasks.


Extensity Header Buttons


Extensity Header Buttons


Starting from left to right, is a toggle to quickly enable/disable any currently enabled extensions, a button that opens the Chrome extension list, a button for the Profiles screen, and a button for the options screen. The other three buttons are simply to share the extension on social networks.

The options page also allows you to configure various settings on how Extensity operates or displays the extensions. Some of the options I recommend enabling include "Show header at the top", "Group Apps and Extension", "Show Search Box", and "Show enabled Extensions at the top".


Extensity Options Page


Extensity Options Page


If you click on the Profiles button, you will be brought to a screen where you can create various profiles, or groups, of enabled and disabled extensions. You can use these profiles to make groups of extensions that are commonly used together and pertain to a particular task.

For example, you could create a default profile for extensions that you commonly use, another for web development, and another for security research.


Extensity Profiles Page


Extensity Profiles Page


You can then quickly use these profiles to switch between sets of enabled extensions. For example, I have a "development" Profile that contains all of the web developer extensions that I use. As I do not use these often, I created a profile that can enable these extensions, and disable the rest, as needed.

For example, below is how the Chrome task manager looks with only the extensions enabled that I routinely use. Notice that the memory consumption is much less than if I had all 24 extensions enabled, while still having the other disabled extension accessible if needed.


Commonly Used Extensions Enabled


Commonly Used Extensions Enabled


Now that you understand how Extensity works, the memory consumption of extensions, and how you can organize extensions into groups that are only enabled when you need them, you can begin to optimize the performance of Chrome



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have been using Extension Manager aka Switcher for a very long time, which have a better UI (IMO) and is user-friendly. B)

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you can do all those things just by using profiles in Chrome.. true - it's not maybe as "straightforward" as this but still.. going to skip this one...

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