Why Is VS Code So Slow? – 5 Reasons

As a developer, have you ever experienced the frustration of a lagging VS Code? It’s like trying to write a sonnet on a typewriter that keeps jamming.

VS Code’s sluggishness can stem from several culprits: resource-hungry extensions, Electron’s JavaScript foundation, excessive memory and CPU usage, the absence of GPU acceleration on Linux, or simply an outdated version. Each of these factors can individually or collectively contribute to a less-than-optimal coding experience.

Too Many Extensions Can Bog Down VS Code’s Performance

One primary factor that can greatly degrade Visual Studio Code’s performance is the installation of an excessive number of extensions. Extensions, while enhancing functionality, consume system resources like memory and CPU cycles.

Installing too many can overwhelm the system, leading to significant slowdowns and sluggishness.

Additionally, conflicts may arise between certain extensions, compounding performance issues. To maintain ideal speed, it’s pivotal to regularly review installed extensions and disable or uninstall those that are unnecessary or redundant.

VS Code’s Electron Framework Is Built on JavaScript, Which Can Be Slow

In addition to the impact of excessive extensions, another factor contributing to Visual Studio Code’s performance is its underlying architecture. V

S Code is built on the Electron framework, which utilizes JavaScript and the Chromium browser engine.

JavaScript is an interpreted language, generally slower than compiled languages like C++ or Rust.

Electron’s Chromium engine is resource-intensive, often leading to higher memory and CPU usage.

The cross-platform nature of Electron can limit performance optimizations for specific operating systems.

Keeping up with web technology updates can introduce regressions that affect Electron’s performance.

Modern web application characteristics like DOM manipulation and event handling add complexity and overhead.

While JavaScript and web technologies offer cross-platform advantages, their inherent traits can contribute to performance challenges in Electron-based applications like Visual Studio Code.

Running Multiple Extensions and Large Projects Consumes Lots of System Resources

Excessive usage of resource-intensive extensions and working with large codebases can greatly strain the performance of Visual Studio Code.

The editor is designed to handle complex projects, but an excessive number of installed extensions can consume significant CPU and memory resources.

Certain extensions that perform heavy operations like code analysis or live previews can contribute to performance degradation.

In the same manner, working on large projects with intricate codebases demands more processing power and memory allocation, potentially leading to slowdowns.

The Chromium-based engine powering Visual Studio Code may struggle when tasked with resource-intensive operations, especially on hardware with limited capabilities.

Carefully managing installed extensions and optimizing project structures can help alleviate performance issues associated with running resource-constrained systems.

Lack of GPU Acceleration on Linux Can Make VS Code Feel Sluggish

The performance of Visual Studio Code on Linux can be hindered by the absence of GPU acceleration, resulting in a noticeable sluggishness during various editor operations.

This issue arises owing to the limitations of the Electron framework, which powers VS Code, and its inability to leverage GPU acceleration on Linux systems.

The lack of GPU acceleration can lead to:

  • Choppy scrolling and typing experience
  • Slow rendering of complex UI elements
  • Increased CPU usage and potential thermal throttling
  • Degraded performance on systems with integrated graphics or older CPUs
  • Suboptimal responsiveness, impacting developer productivity

To mitigate these performance drawbacks, users can investigate solutions like enabling GPU acceleration through extensions or configuration tweaks, upgrading to Linux distributions with better Wayland support, or utilizing a dedicated graphics card.

Using an Outdated Version of VS Code May Lead to Slower Performance

One common reason for sluggish performance in Visual Studio Code can be attributed to using an outdated version of the editor.

Older versions may contain unresolved bugs, lack optimizations, and miss out on new performance-enhancing features implemented by the development team.

Failing to update regularly can also lead to compatibility issues with plugins and other dependencies, further degrading the entire performance.

Moreover, outdated versions prevent access to newer settings and configurations purposely designed to optimize the editor’s responsiveness.

To guarantee the best possible experience, it is highly recommended to upgrade to the latest stable release of Visual Studio Code.

This will grant access to the most recent performance improvements, bug fixes, and enhancements, ultimately resulting in a smoother and more responsive development environment.