Chrome 32 Broke the Internet

So I want to make one thing clear before I begin talking about the Chrome 32 Aura scrolling bug. I am an avid user of Chrome and continually encourage others to move to Chrome for Improved security and performance, this is why what I am going to tell you is so frustrating for me (and millions of others I imagine).

The most recent release of Chrome (32.0.1700.76 m) has seen the introduction of new features such as; tab indicators for sound, automatically blocking malware files, changes for stability and performance, and a “mac-ish” style scroll bar (part of the Aura changes).

The new Aura style scroll bar has introduced several bugs that make the internet unusable for Chrome users on Windows 7/8 (using any Aero theme). I imagine that is a lot of users.

The first set of bugs is associated with the ‘Select’ control. If a select box contains enough entries to require scrolling the scroll bar simply stops working. Another is that the last item in a select box is not highlighted in hover.

The second set of bugs is with any popup window (window created with window.open). The first symptom is that the scroll bar will not work, this will shortly (approximately 30 second) be followed by the popup page crashing completely.

KillPage

When I first noticed these bugs on the 17 Jan I was obviously disappointed/surprised that such serious bugs made it into the “stable” release of Chrome, but what has frustrated me more than anything is the response users have had from Chromium. These bugs were reported on the 16 Jan under two main tickets in the Chromium site, #335248 and #334227. They immediately began to attract frustrated users that had automatic updates turned on:

“Everyone at my work and our clients using the latest Chrome are running into frequent Unresponsive Pages messages like this”

“It’s a problem with the scrollbars in panels, and it’s now in STABLE already!!!”

“I’m just adding this comment in the hope that, if enough people respond, Google will react more quickly.”

“Is anybody listening? A very humble request, please give us a simple provision to stop automatic updates. Let the users decide if they want to update the browser or not.”

“When is this issue going to be fixed? It makes Chrome useless for any application having large drop-down <select>s. This is a very SERIOUS matter.”

“Right…so to properly digest this is it going to be fixed anytime soon, coz if not – I am going to have to move back to Firefox…”

So I can agree that many of these comments are not constructive or going to aid the developers in fixing this issue, but I would have expected at least a time-frame for such a serious issue. Instead the response has been very limited, only really stating that it’s fixed in the latest Canary release. This issue is affecting all Windows 7/8 users with the Aero theme (default theme) that have automatic updates turned on. Why is there no urgency or time frame for a fix?

If a stable release fix is going to be pushed out within a week then I imagine users will wait, but if it is going to take over a month (time between 31.0.1650.63 release and 32.0.1700.76) then I think users will have to implement one of the workarounds below (I have also published step by step details):

  • Change windows theme to Windows 7 Basic (may require a certain level of user permission)
  • Use the scroll wheel or up and down arrows (fix for select box only)
  • Upgrade to the Beta release / Canary (I would not recommend this)
  • Move to another browser
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15 comments

  1. The Chromium team has finally posted a comment on ticket #335248 stating that this is being fixed and will be merged into the stable release:

    please don’t add comments with “also having the same problem.” We understand your frustration and are actively working to resolve it. When you add that comment, it’s confusing the comments around whether we’re able to fully fix it on canary. If we can confirm it’s fully fixed in canary, we can merge into the stable channel and everyone can get the fix. So please refrain from saying thatyou’re having this problem, too. I assure you we’re actively working on a fix.

  2. It’s also “kill” nearly all extension with UI.

    We seriously need to consider organizing some move to disable the automatic update for Chrome.

    They have a fix for already a several days, and yet, they start to react to messages, that ask to tell us at least a timeframe when this going to be in the Stable channel only after the things start to become hot and goes out of control – when post like this start to appears in the open Internet, not only in there bug database.

    From what I can see there is more surprises waiting for us in Canary now, maybe they will be fixed, till it will become a stable, but i am not so sure – as this is just a very slow operation in some cases, (on a big documents), unfortunately, for example for my application this is a common scenario – big documents.

  3. ToMaHaKeR · · Reply

    Everything was just fine in Chrome 31, but nooo…

    I agree with Vladyslav Volovyk – Google Update subsystem must die, and older versions of Chrome become available for download and offline install.

  4. Thank-you for pointing out these bugs are indeed Chrome centric. I wasn’t sure if it was my computer, my mouse or Chrome. Now I know.

  5. This reminds me of the “good old days” of the Web circa 1995-98 when Netscape would release Alpha and Beta versions for everyone to test. Although at that time you had to have a certain degree of technical know how to get online. Not like today when almost everyone with a computer has an Internet connection.

    1. I believe you are correct, lets hope they release a patch for Chrome 32. It was 4 weeks between Chrome 31 and 32 releases, so let hope we don’t have to wait 8 weeks :(

  6. […] recently wrote the article “Chrome 32 Broke the Internet” covering a set of bugs making Chrome unusable for many Windows 7 and 8 users. A fix for the […]

  7. Damn… I’m just glad others see this. my scrolling is f’d up badly. It’s unusable.

  8. Oh man. I ran into these issues, but I never suspected it was a chrome bug. I just thought it was due to the websites. Man, this is bad, most commonly affected is when you open a gmail email using the popup.

  9. I agree that this bug is very serious, and I share many of the feelings shared in the comments.
    However, I must disagree with the notion that auto update is a bad feature. The right way to address this is NOT to kill auto update, but for Google to fix their deployment routines as well as respond quicker when things like this happen.
    Killing auto update would put us right back were we where five years ago, and still are with IE; having to actively support multiple different versions of multiple different browsers.
    Nothing good comes of that. It just degrades the overall experience of the web for everyone.

  10. Todd Powers · · Reply

    I have a completely different issue with scrolling. I have my wheel scrolling set to 6 lines, not the default 3, as I prefer to scroll a bit quicker. It works fine in every application other than Chrome. In Chrome it scrolls almost a full screen at a time.

    Extremely frustrating!

  11. Todd Powers · · Reply

    Entered that wheel scrolling issue as https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=343478. Anyone experiencing the same issue, please chime in.

  12. tnovelli · · Reply

    Nope, it’s not fixed in 34 – or there’s a very similar bug. Expand a long thread in GMail, reply, and hit pgup/pgdn a few times. It’ll happen.

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