Most Chromebooks are in the budget segment with mediocre hardware. Most importantly, the Chromebooks provided by most schools and workspaces come with sub-par quality. No wonder these Chromebooks get slower over time or sometimes all of the sudden. But due to Chrome OS’s nature, you can make your Chromebook fast again. Here’s everything you can do to improve Chromebook’s performance.
Let’s start with the small changes first.
1. Check the Task Manager
Task Manager displays a list of all the apps that are currently running on your Chromebook. This includes web apps, Android apps, and Linux apps. Just use the keyboard shortcut Search + ESC to open it. You will also see memory, CPU usage, and network speed for each app. Now select an app or system process and click on End Process to close it. You can press Ctrl and select multiple tasks and close them at once. Note that few system tasks cannot be closed including the Google Chrome browser.
You want to close apps that you are not using actively or ones that are consuming too many resources.
2. Update the Chrome OS to Latest Version
One reason for your slow Chromebook can be the Chrome OS update. Google often rolls out updates with bugs only to fix them with the next update. So if you find that your Chromebook is working slow, one reason could be the last update. Check if any updates are available on your Chromebook. You can do that by opening Settings > About Chrome OS > Check for updates to see any new updates are available. If not, you can wait for the next update to fix the issue.
3. Restart the Chromebook
The Chromebook will automatically reboot after each update. But if there aren’t any updates to install, then quickly restart the device once. Sometimes a simple restart solves such issues. To restart, click on the clock at the bottom right corner and then click on the power icon to shut down. Then press the power button to switch on the Chromebook.
4. Clean Up Your Chromebook Storage
Chromebooks come with less storage than Windows laptops. Some Chromebooks even come with 16GB storage space which is even lower than most smartphones. Low storage on Chromebooks is one of the common reasons for a slow device. You can check the storage on your Chromebook by opening Settings > Device > Storage Management. If you find little storage space is left, delete some files using the Files app.
5. Uninstall Less Used Apps
Apps also take up a lot of storage on Chromebooks. Most importantly, Android and Linux apps are much larger, at least for a Chromebook. To save space, uninstall the apps that you don’t use much or at all. Just right-click on the app on the app drawer and select the Uninstall option in the pop-up menu. To uninstall Linux apps, you can use the Linux terminal which can have different commands to uninstall each app.
6. Replace Linux and Android Apps with Web Apps
If you cannot uninstall an app, then you can replace it with a web app. Web apps take less space on your system thus helping you save storage space and making Chromebooks faster. Also, web apps are more optimized than Android apps in terms of UI and better than Linux apps as Linux apps run in a container environment.
7. Update All Apps to the Latest Version
Sometimes apps, especially Android ones, can reduce Chromebook’s performance. While Linux apps work in their own container, Android apps can be installed on your main storage fighting for valuable and scarce resources. Uninstalling unnecessary apps is a good way, but updating all the remaining apps to keep them bug-free is also important to improve their security and features.
To update apps, open the Play Store > Profile Pic > Manage apps and devices > Manage > Updates available to check if any Android app needs an update.
8. Use Fewer Extensions
Too many extensions, just like too many apps, can also make your Chromebook lag more. Try using only a few extensions and uninstall those that you don’t use anymore. If possible, replace extensions like tools or downloaders with web apps as they don’t stay on your Chromebook all the time and consume resources.
To remove extensions, click on the Extensions icon at the top right corner. Now click on the three-dot menu beside the extension you want to remove and select the Remove from Chrome option.
9. Block Tracker Scripts
Another strategy can be blocking scripts from the websites that you visit. Scripts are used for tracking purposes and display relevant ads to you. So removing them will not only improve performance but also offer better privacy. There is no in-built feature to block tracker scripts, but you can use extensions like Ublock Origin.
10. Remove Browsing History and Cache
Another piece of data that can consume storage space on your system is browsing history and cache files. Cache files are used to open websites that you had visited in the past again, but faster. But all that data can make your device slower if storage space is the culprit.
To remove browsing history and cache, open Chrome settings > Security and Privacy > Clear browsing data. In the pop-up, set the time range to All time. This will delete all the data that is stored, but you can also choose to set the time range to last 4 weeks, 7 days, 24 hours, or even last hour to delete the history only in that time range.
Note that you may be logged out of all sites so make sure to save work before moving forward.
11. Preload Pages Before Clicking
Preloading pages will not make your Chromebook faster. But it will just preload the websites right after you hover on the link. So that by the time you click on the link, the website has already started loading in advance. This method is not recommended for Chromebooks with low resources or that are slow, but if you want a better experience, then preloading pages may help. You can achieve it with Faster Web Chrome Extension.
12. Control Cache Better
Another way to improve Chromebook experience is by managing cache. There are extensions like Speed up Browsing which will download more cache than normal. This cache will be used when you browse the same images and script on other pages. Again, this method is not recommended for Chromebooks that lag but will help your experience by making websites load faster than normal.
13. Limit the Number of Tabs and Apps
To make your Chromebook run smoother consistently, the only way is to use fewer resources. One way to do that is by using fewer apps and Chrome tabs while working. That way, you don’t use more resources like RAM.
14. Do Not Use Power Hungry Features
Chrome OS supports features like virtual desks, multiple accounts, Linux environment, etc. which are resource-intensive. Using such features on a budget Chromebook will make it run slower. Remove multiple accounts and disable the Linux environment on your device if you could.
15. Powerwash the Chromebook
If your device continues to stay slower after updates and even after uninstalling many apps and deleting files, then your obvious choice is to powerwash the Chromebook. This will do a clean wipe on your device. Anyhow Chrome OS syncs everything to your account from apps to wallpaper. So when you log in after power washing, all your apps and settings will be back. Anyhow it will not sync your files, so do a backup to your files on your Chromebook before resetting.
To Powerwash, open Settings > Reser Settings and click on Reset beside the Powerwash option. This will reset the Chromebook in a few minutes and open as a fresh new Chromebook.
Making Light Weight OS Even Lighter
Chrome OS is a lightweight OS that can run apps from Android and Linux in a container. Apart from them, it is just a web browser. So by using the containers less and by only using the Chrome Browser or web apps, any kind of Chromebook can work smoother. To make your experience even better, try using fewer apps, fewer extensions, and fewer tabs at the same time. That’s it, you are good to go.