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Issue 144847: A problem with Pepper Flash causes it to use 100% CPU, making the system almost unusable
35 people starred this issue and may be notified of changes. Back to list
Reported by, Aug 25, 2012
Chrome Version: 22.0.1229.14 (beta channel)
OS Version: 6.1 (Windows 7 Home Premium, 64-bit)
URLs (if applicable): n/a
Other browsers tested: n/a

What steps will reproduce the problem?
1. Make sure Pepper Flash is enabled in chrome://plugins
2. Visit a website that uses the Flash plugin, such as YouTube
3. If "Click to Play" is enabled, start the Flash plugin

What is the expected result?
Flash will operate normally

What happens instead?
The computer slows down to a crawl. Nothing can be done on the computer without experiencing major lag. Notice that a chrome.exe process in Task Manager is using 50% CPU. (In reality, it is using 100% of the processor core that it is running on.) In Chrome's Task Manager, no process seems to be using near that much CPU. Killing the process in Task Manager results in Chrome reporting that the Flash plugin has crashed. This issue happens every time the Pepper Flash plugin is loaded on a website.

Please provide any additional information below. Attach a screenshot if possible.
If chrome://plugins is visited and the PPAPI Flash plugin is disabled, Chrome's NPAPI version of the plugin is used and there are no issues with it. For some reason, I disabled the PPAPI plugin yesterday, but today it re-enabled itself to cause the CPU usage issue again.

UserAgentString: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/22.0.1229.14 Safari/537.4

Name: Shockwave Flash
Description: Shockwave Flash 11.3 r31
Location: C:\Users\Nicholas\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\22.0.1229.14\PepperFlash\pepflashplayer.dll
Type: PPAPI (out-of-process)

I couldn't find this bug reported yet after doing a few searches, but if it has already been reported, I'm sorry for wasting your time. I hope I provided enough information; this is my first bug report.
Aug 26, 2012
(No comment was entered for this change.)
Labels: Feature-Flash Feature-Plugins-Pepper
Aug 27, 2012
Here's a little bit of additional information.

I'm able to trigger the bug with any website that uses Flash. The CPU-hogging Flash process does not start until I "click to play" the embedded Flash. Even if I immediately close that tab, the system remains unresponsive and that process continues to use all CPU resources. Disabling the PPAPI version of the plugin in chrome://plugins also doesn't kill the process.

It only stops when it is manually killed in Task Manager or Chrome's Task Manager. This time when I replicated the bug, Chrome's Task Manager did show the 50% CPU usage for the Flash process. (It wasn't showing that last night for some reason.) It takes about 5 minutes to be able to end the process because of how unresponsive the system becomes.

This same issue also happens to another user of this computer. That Chrome instance is also running the beta channel but is using its own separate install and profile.

This machine's processor is the AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5200+ 2.60 GHz, and here is a paste of chrome://gpu:
Aug 30, 2012
Today the Pepper Flash plugin was automatically re-enabled itself on both installations of Chrome. It's starting to become very annoying because it takes so long to open up Task Manager and kill the process. I bet this bug is really angering the people who don't know anything about Pepper Flash and are having to deal with a very unresponsive computer.

I can provide logs or any other necessary information at any time to help get this problem solved. (I don't see any logs in AppData; does Pepper Flash log any debug information?)
Aug 30, 2012
It keeps re-enabling itself in my version of chrome too. But i think i've found a temporary workaround. Disable the Pepper Flash, restart chrome. Then open up Windows task manager, and select the top two instances of chrome that is using the most cpu and ram. Right click on each one, then select set priority > below normal. It's helped my system become more responsive while using chrome.
Sep 1, 2012
I can immediately tell when its re-enabled itself - my system starts crawling with Chrome running. Like post above mine starts every time with a flash enabled site and the pepperflash enabled. I will try setting the priority - below normal. 
Sep 3, 2012
Has anyone found a fix to this issue yet? The OP described my problem EXACTLY!
Sep 3, 2012

It is a bug with Pepper Flash, so I assume the only people able to provide a true fix are the Chromium developers and/or Adobe. The temporary fix is to disable the plugin, but that's not very effective because of the automatic re-enabling.

Perhaps the pepflashplayer.dll could be deleted and a read only blank file could be put in its place, Yes, it's a messy, unsupported "fix" that would probably break automatic updating of Flash, but I guess you could do that to avoid this problem altogether until the Chromium developers or Adobe release a fix. I wish I could figure out the specific problem, but I'm not familiar with the Chromium source code or Pepper API. :(
Sep 5, 2012
I second this problem. I don't know if it's related, but GoogleUpdate.exe also constantly grabs a lot of CPU (the same percentage as the Pepper Flash plugin does), while it doesn't seem to do anything. It can't imagine how this could be co-related, but the coincidence is weird..
Sep 9, 2012
The Pepper Flash plugin has re-enabled itself several times again in the past week. My parents, who also use this computer, are becoming very annoyed with Chrome. They've complained about it multiple times and are very confused why our normally fast computer is so unusable when they are running Chrome. I had to temporarily switch them back over to Firefox until this issue is fixed; I keep having to disable the plugin and kill the process for them every other day.

I had to create a Python script for my installation of Chrome so that the issue won't keep bugging me. It runs right before every launch of Chrome to make sure the plugin is disabled in the JSON-based Preferences file in %LocalAppData%\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default.

I really hope someone will care enough to look at this issue and figure out a proper fix. I think I've provided almost all the information that I can. This problem is turning people away from using Chrome because it's making their computer slow and unusable whenever they run it. :(
Sep 12, 2012
I'm experiencing this exact behavior: Pepper Flash spikes one core up to 100%. Terminating the process only works until I reload the browser. Disabling the plugin seems to not work for too long, and I'll know it's back again when my system starts freezing entirely. Not a problem with NPAPI. 
Sep 14, 2012
The bundled NPAPI version of Flash Player appears to have been removed from the Chrome beta channel completely. I don't think this was the right decision when there is still a major problem with the Pepper Flash plugin on some Windows systems. (Or no one at Google seems to be aware of this problem?)

Why does disabling the Pepper Flash plugin not stick? If users disable a plugin, they expect it to remain disabled so that they won't have to deal with its problems in the future. I can't believe it's re-enabling every single day and causing a terrible experience every time.

I'm just so frustrated right now. This is a MAJOR issue for those experiencing it, but no one seems to be concerned at all. We've provided all the information we could about the problem, but nothing is being done.

I want Chrome to be the amazing browser I recommend to friends and family, but it's not worth having to disable the plugin and kill the process every other day because the computer becomes unusably slow.
Sep 14, 2012
Hello firefox!
Sep 14, 2012
Hello Firefox!
Sep 14, 2012
Nicholas, I'm on version 22.0.1229.56 beta-m and still have NPAPI access...
Sep 14, 2012
I'm on 22.0.1229.56 beta-m, too. Here's a screenshot of my plugins page:

To clarify, I meant the bundled, automatically updated NPAPI version of Flash. Without that, you're forced to use the system installed version of Flash that's not automatically updated for security updates.
Sep 14, 2012
Ah, that's what mine looks like too.
Sep 14, 2012
I'm on the stable version of chrome 21.0.1180.089 and still have NPAPI access.
Sep 14, 2012
I'm having the same problem as described by Nicholas.
Sep 18, 2012
Anyone have time to take a look?
Labels: -Area-Undefined Area-Internals
Sep 18, 2012
One thing that I am interested in is that Pepper Flash keeps re-enable itself.
That is a bug. We want the user's choice to stick.

I opened a new issue, so this issue can focus on the 100% CPU usage problem.

Nicholas or others: would you please tell me more details about it in the new issue?
- Does it re-enable Pepper Flash right after you re-start the browser? Or it has to wait until the next day? Does it happen everyday?
- Is the profile at its default location?
- What about the enable/disable state of other plugins? For example, if you disable PDF, will it persist?
- Have you tried the Canary/Dev Chrome? Does it have the same problem? (Please note that Chrome Canary can be installed side-by-side with Dev/Beta/Stable.)


Blockedon: chromium:150596
Sep 21, 2012
I'm unable to reproduce this on the stable or beta channel in Windows 7. Does this happen consistently (in other words, if you close the browser entirely and then load up a page and run flash content, does it happen on the first page you load)? Or are you able to run a few flash movies before you hit this?

Also, can you tell me about your hardware configuration?
Status: Assigned
Sep 21, 2012
This happens every single time I launch Chrome with PPAPI enabled, instantly upon visiting any page with Flash enabled. (I have Click to Play turned on, but granted for Gmail, so usually it first occurs when I launch Gmail.)

The Shockwave Flash process instantly spikes to 25% (on a 4 core).

I'm running:

Intel Core2 Quad Q9650 @ 3.00 GHz
8GB Memory
Windows 7 x64 SP 1
ATI Radeon 5400 series
ATI Radeon 4500 series (for third display)

I can take screenshots or run a debugger or something, since it's guaranteed reproducible for me every single time. 

(This doesn't happen on my home computer, and I can't reproduce it there, despite running the same version of everything there, albeit on different hardware.)
Sep 21, 2012
Have you ever seen a yellow bar at the top of the web page, saying something like the plugin is not responding with a button 'Stop Plugin-in'?

If yes, please turn on "Automatically send usage statistics and crash reports to Google" in the settings. That way, every time you click 'Stop Plugin-in', a crash dump will be sent. And you can go to chrome://crashes/ to find out the ID, and paste it here.

Sep 21, 2012
No, it just churns and burns until I kill the process. When I do that, it does tell me that the plugin has crashed, but that's because I'm killing the process out from under it. Otherwise, it just runs and runs, ad infinitum.
Sep 21, 2012
That bar will come up some time (at least 10 sec) after the flash process is not responding. (Only if the plugin process stop responding to other processes's messages, which seems possible in this case.)

Sep 21, 2012
I posted my system specs in a comment above. I never see a yellow bar like that: Chrome doesn't recognize the plugin isn't responding. I can let it sit for 5 minutes and it still uses all of that CPU core with no notification. I too can replicate it every time I go to any Flash website. As soon as the plugin is started, it hangs the system and the user has no idea what's going on.
Sep 21, 2012
Hi, Nicholas.

Would you mind generating a dump for us? If it is okay, please
- attach WinDbg to the hung Pepper Flash process. Please use the x86 version of WinDbg (as opposed to x64), and the Pepper Flash process will have '--type=ppapi' in the command line.

- type ".dump <some local file, say, d:\a.dmp>" in the command line.

- upload the dump.

Sep 21, 2012
Here's the dump. Hopefully I did it correctly.
43.6 KB   Download
Sep 21, 2012
A quick look doesn't reveal anything suspicious in the call stacks.

There is a DLL AirfoilInject3 in the process. Could you disable/remove Airfoil and see whether it helps?

Sep 21, 2012
Uninstalling Airfoil seems to have fixed the issue! It's weird that Airfoil was affecting it because I haven't touched the Airfoil software in a few weeks - it's not running, so I didn't think it could conflict.

Perhaps the others having this issue could check if they have Airfoil installed on their system.
Sep 21, 2012

I also have Airfoil and uninstalling it seems to have fixed the problem.

Rogue Amoeba fixed an issue with Airfoil back in March that was causing similar Chrome behavior, though I'm not sure if it was related to Flash at the time. Looks like it's time to ping them again with this. Wondering if the others who reported this also have Airfoil installed...
Sep 21, 2012
I don't have Airfoil.
Sep 25, 2012
The problem is still here on stable as the integrated NPAPI flash player is gone now.
Sep 27, 2012
I also have this issue.

I can't disable the pepperflash, because there is no normal flash.
Sep 27, 2012
@Privat.Oliver.Lassen: do you have Airfoil installed?
Sep 29, 2012
Same issue with airfoil. I disabled "instant on" under preferences (forced me to reboot) and the issue went away.

I like to use airfoil with google music. I haven't yet tested if changing instant on breaks google music streaming to my airplay-enabled devices.
Sep 30, 2012
I have this bug also.  
I have an i5 (quad core) win 7.  25% of the CPU is used when I enable pepperflash
I use Airfoil.   I wonder if this is the problem?
My solution has been to use IE9-64 bit
Oct 1, 2012
I've contacted the Airfoil developers and I'll keep this updated with status.
Oct 8, 2012
I haven't heard back from the Airfoil developers at this stage. I just pinged them and we'll see what happens.
Oct 12, 2012
At last! This have been bugging me for several months and uninstalling Airfoil fixed the problem. Thanks guys!
Oct 13, 2012
A temporary fix is to disable the Pepper Flash plugin and replace it by installing the Flash plugin from the Adobe website. (The change should stick until the next update.)

If you do this, be sure to tell the developers exactly how your computer behaved before and after the changes, as I did:
Nov 12, 2012
This seems to be fixed in the latest version of airfoil for Windows. If people with airfoil experience further problems, please let us know.
Status: WontFix
Dec 8, 2012
The problem is very simple: Pepperflash does not use hardware decoding and therefore the CPU has to decode the entire video stream rather than the GPU (you can check this by opening any youtube video with pepperflash on and select show video info, it will say "software video decoding" wheras with the normal flash plugin it will say "accelerated video decoding". Impressive that no one has noticed/fixed this yet... 
Dec 8, 2012
Feb 4, 2013
so true.
I completely deleted my PepperFlash because it  kept re-enabling itself after being disabled which was extra annoying. Flash videos no longer cripple my computer ;-) This should be top priority, Flash functionality is important and can cause people to leave Chrome, I switched to Firefox before investigating the real issue with Chrome & Flash content. 
Mar 10, 2013
(No comment was entered for this change.)
Labels: -Area-Internals -Feature-Flash -Feature-Plugins-Pepper Cr-Content-Plugins-Flash Cr-Internals Cr-Content-Plugins-Pepper
Apr 5, 2013
(No comment was entered for this change.)
Labels: Cr-Blink
Apr 5, 2013
(No comment was entered for this change.)
Labels: -Cr-Content-Plugins-Flash Cr-Internals-Plugins-Flash
Apr 5, 2013
(No comment was entered for this change.)
Labels: Cr-Internals-Plugins
Apr 5, 2013
(No comment was entered for this change.)
Labels: -Cr-Content-Plugins-Pepper Cr-Internals-Plugins-Pepper
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