When I look in Activity Monitor in Mac OS X 10.8.3 on a Macbook Pro 15" Retina while running Chrome (Build 26.0.1410.64) in a Windows 8 Pro VM hosted in Parallels 8 (Build 8.0.18483) I see that the "Parallels VM" process is constantly showing 40-50% CPU usage, even when the VM is idle. At the same time the Win 8 Task Manager only shows 2-3% CPU usage for all running processes. Closing Chrome in the VM immediately drops the processor usage for "Parallels VM" on the Mac side down to 7-8% (Windows 8 Task Manager still shows only 2-3% CPU usage by all processes).

I can see this problem when Chrome is the only application running in the Win 8 VM.

This problem only happens when a web page is open in Chrome. Plug-in settings for Chrome are set to 'Click to play'. I am not clicking to play any plug-ins when I load a web page.

Some information about my setup:

My Parallels VM is set to use two CPU cores. This would explain why (when Chrome isn't running) I'm seeing about double the CPU usage for the "Parallels VM" Mac process as I see being used by all process when viewing Task Manager on the Win 8 side, since the Mac's activity monitor reports processor usage by all cores and combines those values for the display CPU usage value.

Parallels is running in full-screen (non-Coherence) mode.

Windows 8 Pro has all current updates installed.

Chrome 26 is a base install with default settings and no extensions are installed other than the default 'Google Docs' extension, which is disabled.

Does anyone else have this issue and, if so, have you found a fix?

  • Do you NEEED to run chrome in W8? VM Ware Fusion (and probably parallels) has a setting to forward links to your mac's native default web browser.
    – Alexander
    Apr 28, 2013 at 1:44
  • Yes, the main reason being that I using Visual Studio's built in web server, which creates a loopback interface which is not accessible from outside the VM (not without a lot of trouble at least). Also, I like to keep everything on the Windows side when I'm doing Windows development. And to clarify, Visual Studio is not running when I see this problem. Using Win Firefox is an alternative, but I prefer Chrome's developer tools for certain situations. Apr 28, 2013 at 1:52
  • Regarding your query if others have this issue: I do not have the same issue. I have basically the same setup as you (but non-Retina, and Parallels is allowed to use 7/8 CPUs). Chrome jacks the CPUs way high briefly and then puts it back to ~55% (normal idle, no other programs open). Have you noticed performance issues as a result of Chrome running on your VM? Apr 28, 2013 at 2:31
  • The performance issues I've noticed are significantly decreased battery-life (due to the constantly high CPU usage) and a pretty hot Mac. Apr 28, 2013 at 2:36
  • @bassplayer7.... ~55% is NORMAL???? Are you kidding me? It sounds like you have accepted poor performance and don't care. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but that is completely unacceptable to me!
    – user53504
    Jul 18, 2013 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


I had a similar problem in Windows 7 guest OS under Parallels 8. This fixed it:

In Chrome, go to chrome://flags and set 'GPU compositing on all pages' to "Disabled". Restart Chrome

There is a bug report related to this with more details: http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=172521

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