What is a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are laptops that run Google’s Chrome operating system.
What is Chrome OS
Chrome OS is Google’s desktop operating system built on the Linux kernel and centered around the Chrome browser. Unlike most operating systems that require large, executable files, Chrome OS leverages the power of the web with Apps and extensions from the Chrome Web Store.
Is Chrome OS just a fancy browser?
No, Chrome OS has access to modern progressive web apps and features, many devices can now run over 1 million Android applications and even Linux apps.
How do I install Android Apps on my Chromebook?
First, you will need to check to see if your device supports Android Apps and that your system is up to date. . You can find the Play Store in your settings menu by clicking on the try in the bottom right of your screen and selecting the gear icon. If your device is compatible, you will see “Play Store” listed directly below “search engine.” Alternatively, you can point your browser to “chrome://settings” and access the same information.
You can find the full list of devices that support Android here.
How do I update my Chromebook?
Updates for Chrome OS do not work like other major operating systems. Thanks to the lightweight nature of Chrome OS, updates download in minutes in the background while you work and are installed in seconds with a simple restart of your device. The updates happen every six to eight weeks and ensure that Chrome OS is safe and secure. You can check for updates in the settings menu under “About Chrome OS.”
Can Chromebooks get viruses?
No software is completely immune to malicious attacks but thanks to Chrome OS’ secure boot feature, any corruption is detected when the device starts up. A secured image will then replace any corrupted files before your Chromebook ever reaches the login screen. This prevents any malicious code from running and makes Chrome OS the safest, most secure OS on the market.
Since you don’t run executable applications on Chrome OS, you don’t have to worry about things like malware, adware or even viruses.
How do I print from a Chromebook?
Printing from Chrome OS is quite simple as long as you have a compatible printer. Recent updates have allowed Chromebooks to recognized many modern wifi-enabled printers and access them without any extra steps or extensions.
To add your printer, go to the settings page of your Chromebook select “Advanced” and scroll to “printers.” Select “add printer” then pick your printer from the drop down menu. If your printer isn’t listed, you can choose “add manually” and input the information which can be accessed from your printer’s network display.
Note: For many, newer HP printers, no action is required. Simply connect the printer to your wifi then when you’re ready to print, the HP should appear in printer options of your print preview page.
Additionally, some HP printers can print via your Chromebook’s USB port. Check manufacturer manual for more information.
How do I use Linux apps and what is Crostini?
Recently, Google has added Linux app support to a growing number of Chrome devices. Linux apps work in a similar manner to executable apps found on Windows and Mac devices. This option gives users access to applications that may not have a cloud-based or Android comparable app.
To see if your device supports Linux apps, head to the official support page here and find the name of your device. If you aren’t sure of the code name of your Chromebook, you can look that up here. If your Chromebook can run Linux, you will see the Linux (Beta) directly beneath the Play Store in the Chrome OS settings menu.
So, what is Crostini?
Crostini is simply the code name for the project that brought Linux app support to Chrome OS. Crostini uses containers to run the apps. This ensures that each application is “sandboxed” which prevents it from compromising any other part of the system. All this to say, Linux apps will not make your Chromebook less secure.
I use Microsoft Office. Will it work on my Chromebook?
This is one of the biggest hurdles for users making the switch to Chrome OS. While you cannot install Microsoft applications on your Chromebook, there are a number of alternatives that will allow you to keep using Office. Google Docs can convert and save your documents and it works offline and is synced across all of your devices if you choose to do so.
You can also utilize the Microsoft Office Android app if your device is compatible as well as Microsoft Office 365 which is an online service offered by Microsoft.
Can I use a stylus with my Chromebook?
More and more Chromebooks are being released with pen support but devices that aren’t manufactured with it will only work with a capacitive stylus that works very much the same as using your finger.
Can I play games on my Chromebook?
Of course! Thanks to the addition of Android Apps, there are thousands of games that will work on your Chromebook. Other games, such as streaming will work too as long as your hardware will support it. You can also find “apps” in the Chrome Web Store that offers web-based gaming.
How do I reset my Chromebook?
There are different methods to reset your device depending on what you are trying to achieve.
If you want to wipe your Chromebook and restore it to factory settings, you will want to do what is called a “powerwash.” This will erase all save data, accounts and settings and return the Chromebook to its original, out of the box state.
If you have any files you want to save, make sure you move them to Google Drive or save them on a storage device. When you’re ready, head to the settings menu and scroll to the bottom. Click “advanced” and at the bottom of the page you will see “powerwash.” Click that and follow the prompts to reset your device.
If you are having a hardware issue such as a port not working or your keyboard isn’t registering, for example. You can do a hardware reset and you will not lose any data from your Chromebook.
To start the reset, power down your device. Then, press and hold the refresh key and press the power button. Once your Chromebook powers up, release the refresh key and check to see that the issue was resolved.
For Chrome tablets, Press the Volume Up and Power buttons for at least 10 seconds, then release them.
To remove a user from your Chromebook, log out. From the login screen, select the arrow beside the user you wish to remove and select “remove user.”
(This cannot be done for the primary user’s account.)
Can I control what my kids access on their Chromebooks?
Yes, you can. Google recently rolled out Family Link for Chrome OS which allows parents to filter and restrict content on devices managed by Family Link. You can restrict app downloads, manage browsing, access history and more. You can learn more at Google’s official support page for Family Link on Chromebooks here.