Noticed your Chromebook running slow? Just like any laptop, tablet, or phone, Chromebooks aren’t immune to the dreaded slow-down, despite functioning heavily on the cloud. You may notice your device becoming sluggish after a just few months of use (boot time takes longer, apps open slower, audio stutters, etc) and that just won’t fly in the classroom. So, what’s bogging down your device and how do you speed it back up?
NOTE: Before anything, rule out poor internet connection. If you are confident you are connected to a strong network and still having issues, they can often be boiled down to a few things: syncing data is clogging your bandwidth, difficult extensions/apps are tying your device up, or there’s something affecting your Chromebook’s “local environment” (i.e. non-cloud components). With that in mind, here are FireFly’s tips for getting your device back up to speed:
1) Deactivate your offline sync
One thing we love about Chromebooks is their ability to run most apps and tools from the cloud. This saves your device from doing the heavy lifting locally, adding an enormous speed boost. That being said, there will always be times when you don’t have a snappy internet connection and will need to take work offline. For those of us who primarily utilize Google apps (Docs, Slides, and Sheets) for file processing, are generally saved directly to Google Drive. Chromebooks can be set to have Google Drive sync with your local storage so you can access your content without the use of an internet connection.
Automatic syncing is a great option for those of us who often find ourselves needing access to our documents but can’t always find a reliable source of internet, but it has it’s downfalls. For heavy users of Google Drive, syncing can begin to take up large amounts of bandwidth and processing power on your device. If you think this could be your problem, it might be worth deactivating automatic syncing.
- Open Google Drive, and click on the “Settings” cog icon in the upper right
- 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”
2) Move locally stored files to the Cloud
Typically, Chromebooks have pretty limited local storage. The closer a device come to storage capacity, the more bogged down it becomes. Be intentional about what gets downloaded onto your device and delete anything you don’t need. If you are already excessively storing files locally, go through and move what you can to online storage (i.e. Google Drive) before deleting them from your device.
3) Limit Apps and Extensions
Extensions and apps can really help make the most out of a Chromebook. They add a layer of customization and function to our devices that make them a really useful and powerful tool for educational and personal use. Unfortunately, having excessive amounts of either doesn’t do your device any favors in terms of speed. Delete any apps or extensions that are suspicious or that you just don’t use. While you’re working on extensions, you can actually install a few that help save bandwidth:
- Data Saver. With this extension, everything you view online is filtered through a server that compresses it can before being sent to your device, which means fewer bits and bytes.
- The Great Suspender. We’re all guilty of going overboard with tabs sometimes. The Great Suspender puts tabs to sleep after idling for a period of time, freeing up bandwidth.
- AdBlock. In addition to cleaning up webpages of unwanted advertisements, AdBlock saves bandwidth by limiting the number of graphics being processed online.
4) Powerwash your Chromebook
Starting fresh with your Chromebook might be a great idea for getting your device back up to speed. Before you powerwash the device, backup all your local data (anything stored internally on your Chromebook) by transferring it to an external disk drive, uploading it to you Google Drive cloud storage, or both if you want to be extra sure your most important documents survive the purge. Once you’re sure your content is safe and sound, follow these instructions for doing a factory reset on your Chromebook:
- Sign in to your Chromebook.
- At the bottom right, select the time.
- Select Settings .
- At the bottom, select Advanced.
- In the “Powerwash” section, select Powerwash Restart.
- In the box that appears, select Powerwash Continue.
- Follow the steps that appear and sign in with your Google Account.
- Note: The account you sign in with after you reset your Chromebook will be the owner account.
Once you’ve reset your Chromebook, follow the onscreen instructions to set up your Chromebook then check if the problem is fixed.