Chromebook For Dummies
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A Chromebook is made to be easy to use right out of the box. It’s not a self-driving car, but it’s almost as easy. Get it out, plug it in, turn it on, and follow the prompts: You’ll be up and running in minutes.

Still, even though Chromebook is very usable, you may want to do some further customization. This article contains ten tips, tricks, and shortcuts to make your Chromebook experience more productive — or at least a little more fun.

Search your Chromebook from the Launcher

The Google platform is baked into the Chromebook and Chrome OS through and through. That was the point when Chromebook was created: Create a tool that’s powered by — and showcases — the extensive Google ecosystem of applications.

One way in which the Google platform is integrated into Chrome OS is the Chromebook Search feature. When you open the Launcher or press the Search button on your keyboard, a Search bar is revealed. Type a search query into the bar and press Enter. Chromebook serves you Google search results, as though you had first opened a browser and gone to to find something.

Do a quick reboot on your Chromebook

No computer is perfect, and although some manufacturers like to make you think that you’ll never need to reboot your computer, you almost always will at one point or another. The longer you use your Chromebook, the more gunked up the memory becomes with remnant websites, applications, data, and so on.

You can reboot your computer a few ways, but the fastest way to reboot is to press the Power button and Refresh button simultaneously. Like a flash of light, your Chromebook restarts with fresh memory in just a few seconds.

Note, however, that when you start the Chrome browser after a reboot, it picks up where you left off if you configured Chrome to do so. But when you do a quick restart, Chrome asks whether you want to restore pages,” meaning just that: it will pick up where you left off, or you can just select that little box and start anew.

Chrome browser The Chrome browser asks whether you want to continue from where you left off before your reboot.

Control your Chromebook with the Omnibox

If you’re familiar with Chrome from using it on devices other than your Chromebook, you may already know that Chrome has several high-powered features that you can access by entering Chrome shortcuts into the Omnibox (the search or URL field). Naturally, Chrome on Chromebook has the same set of features. Following are some of the shortcuts you might find the most helpful:
  • chrome://power: View how much charge your Chromebook has and how much power you’re using.
  • chrome://settings: Load your Chromebook settings.
  • chrome://extensions: See and manage all your Chrome browser extensions.
  • chrome:// quota-internals: Quickly view how much storage space you have on your Chromebook.
  • chrome://chrome-urls: A complete list of all these Chrome URLs.

Lock your Chromebook screen

Ever been in a public place working on your computer and need to get up to go to the bathroom in a hurry? Or maybe someone is barging into your room, and you don’t want him or her to get into your business and see what you’re doing on your Chromebook?

You can lock your screen by holding down your Power button for 400 milliseconds and then clicking Lock. But sometimes you need to lock your screen in 1 millisecond. Never fear: Press the Lock key to lock your screen in an instant!

Launch Chromebook apps in the shelf

One way that you can save time on your Chromebook is by pinning frequently used apps to the shelf. In doing so, you save yourself the extra click, as well as the scrolling through pages of applications to find the one you want.

If you’re serious about keyboard productivity, you can save yourself the need to even click: Load a pinned app by pressing Alt and the number corresponding with the placement of the application in your shelf (counting from left to right or top to bottom). No longer will you be bogged down by the long journey of a mouse pointer to a click.

Do a barrel roll on your Chromebook

Sometimes, you just need to have a little fun with your day. Google has hidden a few Easter eggs in your Chromebook. Make your screen do a barrel roll. That’s it. No productivity, usefulness, or work-changing functionality here.

It’s just fun to make your screen go bananas for a brief moment. Press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Refresh to make your focused browser window roll around and then snap back to normal. (If all apps are minimized and you see only your wallpaper, nothing will happen.)

View Chrome browser tasks

Have you ever wondered why your Chromebook has slowed down but weren’t sure which tab was responsible? Find out by going to the Chrome browser, clicking the menu button (just under the X used to close the window), clicking More Tools, and then clicking Task Manager.

A new window opens, showing the tasks running on your Chromebook. Click CPU, and Chrome sorts the list, showing the biggest users first.

Further, if you think a tab is causing browser problems, fix it by clicking the corresponding row in Task Manager and then clicking End Process.

See all the open windows on your Chromebook

If you’ve been using your Chromebook for a while and doing a lot of different things with it, you might have a lot of apps open. Press the Show All Open Windows key to immediately show all the apps and windows that are open on your Chromebook.

What to do from here? Press the Show All Open Windows key again to return to what you were doing before. Or, click any of the open windows to switch to the one you want.

Chromebook windows Press the Show All Open Windows key to view all open windows.

Perform math, conversions, and definitions with Search

Google Search is a major feature that’s available on a Chromebook. Have you ever used Google to perform conversions or calculations for you? If you haven’t, you should. Your Chromebook will give you the same service through the Search bar. Give it a try with these steps:
  1. While logged into your Chromebook, click the Launcher.

    The app menu opens, and the Search bar appears.

  2. Enter your math problem or search query into the Search bar.

    For example, type 4+4. The second result will be the answer: =8. You can even ask for conversions: Type 15 ounces to grams. The second result is = 425.2428 grams.

  3. Enter a word to define into the Search bar.

    For example, type define cello. The result is “the bass member of the violin family tuned an octave below the viola.”

Google Translate is also available on Chromebook through the Chrome browser. Google can translate words and phrases from one language to another.

Use a proxy for the Chromebook’s delete key

It’s true: Your Chromebook doesn’t have a Delete key. It has a Backspace key, but no Delete key (unless you’re one of the fortunate few). Here’s the difference between these two keys: Delete removes the character to the right of your cursor, whereas Backspace removes the character to the left of your cursor. This is handy if you are typing an email message or composing or editing a document.

To delete characters to the right of your cursor, press Alt+Backspace. Characters to the right are deleted one by one.

You can also delete entire words to the left of your cursor by pressing Ctrl+Backspace. The words start to vanish one by one.

Want to learn more about what your Chromebook can do? Check out our Chromebook cheat sheet to learn more.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Lawrence C. Miller, CISSP, is a veteran information security professional. He has served as a consultant for multinational corporations and holds many networking certifications.

Peter H. Gregory, CISSP, is a security, risk, and technology director with experience in SAAS, retail, telecommunications, non-profit, manufacturing, healthcare, and beyond. Larry and Peter have been coauthors of CISSP For Dummies for more than 20 years.

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