Everybody’s been there: you’ve been running your new computer for 6 months, maybe a year or more, and you begin noticing that things just aren’t running quite as snappy as they did out of the box—boot time is slower, tabs begin to lag, audio stutters occasionally. While most Chrome users don’t have to deal with these things as much, even the nicest Chromebook can begin feeling sluggish under the right circumstances.
What’s the remedy for this? In serious cases, this task is known as the powerwash—or as they refer to it outside of Google as a factory reset. Not all ChromeOS issues call for a complete powerwash though—so we assembled a couple other quick fixes for slow Chromebooks!
So what’s bogging down your Chromebook?
Once you’ve ruled out a poor internet connection, issues with ChromeOS often boil down to a few things: syncing data is clogging your bandwidth, you’re running some difficult extensions, or there’s something more significant affecting your Chromebook’s local environment (read: anything not on the cloud).
Deactivating your offline sync
One thing that gives Chromebooks such a boost in speed, is that many of the apps and tools you use are running from the cloud—which takes a burden off of what your specific Chromebook occupies itself with in the background. We all have to go offline sometimes, though and this is why Google Drive can be set to sync all of your Drive contents to your Chromebook’s local storage, so that you can work on them without an internet connection.
If you’re a heavy Google Drive user, though, this automatic Drive syncing can begin to sap your bandwidth, as well as processing power, and it may be worth deactivating this feature when you’re not using it. Here’s the two-step process!
1. Open Google Drive, and click on the “Settings” cog icon in the upper right
2. Under “General” settings, uncheck the box that reads “Sync Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drawings files to this computer so that you can edit offline”
Of course, you can always return to the same menu and reactivate at any time.
Eliminate suspicious Chrome extensions
If you’ve been making the most of your Chromebook, you’ve probably checked out and installed a number of extensions, like Pushbullet, Lastpass, or Pocket. For all the awesome content in the Chrome Web Store, you may also stumble upon extensions that perform poorly and bog down your Chromebook. In case you’ve gotten a little slap-happy installing new extensions, you can either run a quick test to see if you have any bad apples, or go into your extensions and manually deactivate them to look for a change in performance. You can do this by:
1. Open the Chrome menu in the toolbar
2. At the bottom of the drop-down, hover over “More Tools,” and on the new drop-down, click “Extensions”
3. From this screen, you can either uncheck the “Enabled” box, to temporarily deactivate extensions, and if you’ve decided it’s time to say goodbye to one, click the trash icon to the right of it.
One method to this strategy is to deactivate all your extensions. If you notice a boost in performance, then all that’s left is finding the bad extension! Reactivate them one at a time, until you notice a dip in speed or performance, and then get rid of the troublemaker!
To quickly test for bad extensions, try creating a new Gmail account, and log onto thetroubled Chromebook with the new information. This new profile will be free of any new extensions, and if you’re still noticing a struggle without any of these extra extensions, then it may be time to move to our last step…
Powerwashing a Chromebook
You’ve tried everything—and performance is still not up to snuff. Once you’re certain you want to start fresh with your Chromebook, your first step will be to back up your local data, because anything stored on the Chromebook’s internal space will be removed. This means plugging in an external harddrive, inserting an SD card, or uploading local files to your Google Drive cloud storage. Most Chromebooks have 32 gb (or less) of local storage, so this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
Once your most important, must-keep files are safe and tucked away in Drive or on a separate piece of storage, you can start the actual powerwash. Follow Google’s directions, and with a little luck, you’re only a few minutes away from a fresh Chromebook!
Now that you’ve sped up your Chromebook, let us help you speed up your school’s deployment with this 1-page enrollment guide.