Chromebook

How to Print from a Chromebook

While many of us have strived to move into an all digital world, printing is still a necessary evil for most people. If you’re a Chromebook user, printing can be a bit of a pain, but thanks to some recent changes by Google, it just got a little bit more convenient.

Traditionally, Chromebooks have relied exclusively on Google Cloud Print for all printing needs. The biggest problem there is that not all printers are Cloud Print ready, which can cause issues for anyone trying to print from a Chromebook. Fortunately, Google recently added a way to add local printers to Chromebooks—it’s not as simple as it is on other PCs, but at least it’s something. We’ll cover both local and cloud methods in this post, so you’ll be covered either way you go.

How to Use Google Cloud Print on a Chromebook

Before we get into how to add your printer to Cloud Print, l want to note that this assumes you’ve already gone through the necessary steps to set your printer up on your network. Each manufacturer is different, so I’ll direct you to their instructions to learn how to get yours set up.

If Your Printer Is Cloud Ready

If your printer is cloud ready, you can easily do everything you need to do from your Chromebook. To find out if your printer is cloud ready, jump over to this list and look up your particular model.

There are two different generations of cloud ready printers: version 1 and version 2. These versions are noted on the Cloud Ready Printers page—if it doesn’t have a “V2” indicator, then it’s a V1 printer. V2s are easier to set up, so we’ll tackle that first.

Once you’ve confirmed that your model is V2 cloud ready, you can add it to your Chromebook by doing the following:

  1. Open the browser, type chrome://devices in the address bar, and press Enter.
  2. Find your printer in the New Devices menu and click the “Manage” button next to it.
  3. Click “Register” to confirm your printer.

Back on your printer, it should ask you to confirm that you want to add it to…

How to Change Where Screenshots Are Saved on Chromebooks

Most Chromebooks have relatively limited storage, which can fill up quickly with nigh-useless debris—like screenshots, for example. The default location for screenshot storage is in the Downloads folder, but you can easily change that.

If your Chromebook has an SD card slot, this is the place where you’ll want to store superfluous data—stuff like temporary downloads, screenshots, and the like. This way, if you forget to go in and clean out the rubbish, it’s not as big of a deal and your Chromebook’s internal storage isn’t constantly filled with stuff you probably won’t need to look at again.

Chrome OS considers screenshots the same as any other download, so to change where screenshots are stored, you have to change your default download location. First, open the Settings menu by clicking on system tray, then the gear icon.

How to Troubleshoot Your Internet Connection Problems from Chrome

Network issues can be hard to pinpoint, but if you have Chrome installed (or a Chromebook), you can easily run a thorough diagnostic right from your browser that can help you figure out what could be going wrong.

To do this, we’re using a Chrome app called—get this—Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics. I like a straightforward app that knows what it is. Go ahead and install it from the Chrome Web Store to get started.

Once installed, you can fire it up by jumping into Chrome’s app menu and finding Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics. If you’re using the Chrome browser on Windows, Linux, or macOS, you can open the app menu by clicking on “Apps” in the bookmarks bar.

On a Chromebook, you can either click the menu button in the bottom left corner and find the app, or just tap the search button and type “Chrome Connectivity Diagnostics.”

Either way, these are two means to the same end.

As…

The Best Android Apps You Should be Using On Your Chromebook

If you’re lucky enough to have a modern Chromebook that can run Android apps, you should definitely be taking advantage of this awesome new feature. And if you’re in the market for a new Chromebook, make sure you get one that can run Android apps out of the box. Here are the apps that make it worthwhile.

The State of Android Apps on Chromebooks

Android apps have been available on specific Chromebooks for about a year now. While Google initially anticipated a full rollout by this time, it has proven to be more of a challenge than they originally thought. As a result, Android app availability on Chromebooks has been much slower than originally planned. There are still only a handful of Chromebooks out there than have access to the Play Store, with many more still in the works.

When I first went hands on with Android apps (on the ASUS Flip C100, the first Android device to get access to the Play Store) it was a buggy, mostly unstable experience that ultimately did show a lot of potential. Over the last year it has gotten much better, with the majority of apps—especially ones that are constantly updated—offering a very stable, usable experience.

Since the first test piece, I’ve upgraded my Chromebook to the ASUS Flip C302, which uses an intel Core m3 processor. It’s a great machine, but take note: Intel chips don’t provide as good of an experience as ARM processors do when it comes to Android apps right now. I haven’t had very many issues with mine, but I’d be remiss to not mention it as a potential issue.

Either way, that may be a tradeoff you’re willing to deal with (as I am) since Intel processors typically have much better performance than ARM chips. And like I said, I haven’t noticed a huge hit in my day to day Android app usage, save for a few games here and there which don’t perform all that well.

All in all, I’d say Google is making decent progress with Android apps on the devices they currently work on, though I also understand that the delays in rolling the feature out to more Chromebooks is frustrating to many users, especially ones who purchased a Chromebook with the expectation of being able to access the Play Store before now.

Android Apps vs. Chrome Apps

This is really what we’re here to talk about: the Android apps that you should at least check out on your Chromebook. Some of these apps work better (or at least as well) as their Chrome counterparts, while others are in a class all their own without a legitimate “competitor” in the Chrome Web Store.

And while we’re on this subject, I have a theory that I want to share on why many Android apps work better than their Chrome equivalents. Essentially, Android apps are built for slower processors and oftentimes limited RAM environments. As a result, they’re far more resource aware, and generally make the best on much more limited hardware than Chrome does. Because most Chrome apps aren’t necessarily designed with Chromebooks in mind, but rather Chrome Desktop, they can be a bit more resource needy. As a result, they can easily bog down Chromebooks, since most don’t have the resources that are available on the majority of desktop machines.

But that’s just a theory. I think it’s pretty sound.

Anyway, let’s talk about some apps.

Productivity

When it comes to getting things done, there are a lot of people out there who think you can’t work from a Chromebook. I beg to differ, especially when Android apps are thrown into the mix. There are a lot of really useful tools on the Play Store, and many of them work very well on Chromebooks. Here’s a quick look at some you should at least consider giving a shot.

  • Gmail/Inbox: Regardless of whether you’re a Gmail or Inbox user, both of these Android apps run faster and smoother than their Chrome counterparts on Chromebooks.
  • Keep: If you use Google Keep for lists and whatnot,…

How to Manually Update Your Chromebook When the Software Is Too Old

If you buy a Chromebook that has been out for a while, there’s a small chance it could have an issue downloading the latest OS updates. Fortunately, getting your Chromebook to a completely up-to-date state isn’t impossible.

It’s unclear why this failure happens, but if a Chromebook sits on the same build for too long, it simply can’t pull the latest version from Google servers. Instead, it will kick back an error or tell you that the system is up to date when you know it isn’t.

The first solution is the simplest: change channels, then change back.

How to Change Channels on your Chromebook

Open the Settings menu by clicking the system tray and then the gear icon.

From there, click the “About Chrome” option. On the About page, you should see a “Change Channel” button under the “Channel” section. If you’re using the Material Design settings page (as I am in the screenshot below), this option is found under the “Detailed…

How to Check Your Chromebook’s Battery Health

Knowing your device’s battery health can be crucial for gauging battery life and longevity. If you’re a Chromebook user, you have a couple of useful tools for finding this info—especially if you want to track it over time.

Check Battery Stats with Crosh

If you’re looking for a simple way to get more information about your battery, using the Chrome Shell—or CROSH—is the easiest way to do it. To open a Crosh window, just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open a terminal window.

At the terminal, type the following command and then press Enter:

battery_test

This command shows you a few stats. First up, you’ll see the current battery state (charging/discharging) along with the remaining percentage of battery life. You’ll also see the battery’s health, displayed as a percentage. The health represents the overall usable portion of the entire battery and shouldn’t dramatically change over time.

The command also runs a simple discharge test, where it records the amount of battery drain over a specific amount of time. The default is 300 seconds, but you can change that time by appending a value in seconds to the end of the command, like so:

battery_test 30

In our example, the test runs for 30 seconds instead of 300. While you can do this for any value, it’s probably not a good idea to go for extreme amounts of time here—stick to minutes, not hours. Just keep in mind that the value has to be entered in seconds when appended to the command.

Once the test has finished, it will tell you how much the battery drained in the specified amount of time, which can help you gauge how much battery life you’ll get overall under a similar workload.

Find Advanced Battery Stats in Chrome OS’ HIdden Power Menu

Like so many things in Chrome OS, many of the most powerful tools are hidden behind the scenes. That’s the case with…

How to Monitor Your Chromebook’s System Resources with Cog

While Chromebooks are generally considered “casual use” machines, they continue to get more powerful and versatile. And as they continue to do more, the strain on the machine naturally becomes larger. If you’re looking for a great way to quickly and easily keep tabs on what your Chromebook is doing, look no further than Cog.

Where Chrome’s Native Task Manager Falls Short

Now, before we jump into what Cog is, let’s talk about the native task manager in Chrome OS. This is a great tool that will let you easily hunt down resource-hogging apps, and Cog isn’t meant to replace this. Instead, it’s really useful alongside the native task manager.

If you’re not familiar with the native task manager in Chrome OS, there are two ways to launch it:

  • Three dot menu button > More Tools > Task Manager
  • Tapping Search + Escape on the keyboard

This will give you a nice overview of what’s going on with the system, albeit in a very plain Jane, straightforward, text-based look. (Read: it’s ugly.)

It’s not only…

How to Update Your Chromebook When Using a Mobile Network

There are plenty of Chromebooks out there too choose from, and many users are opting to make one of those their primary (and only) laptop. While a handful of modern Chromebooks have mobile network connections built-in, they all make great mobile companions when tethered to smartphone for an always-on connection.

As it turns out, there is a small subset of consumers out there who choose to only use their Chromebooks while tethered to their phone’s mobile connection. While there don’t seem to be many drawbacks to doing this (aside from the obvious cell data usage), there’s one issue many users may not know about right out of the gate: Chromebooks won’t update while tethered to a mobile network.

You see, Google built Chrome OS to be smart about how it handles data connections, and it can actually tell the difference between being connected to a “real” Wi-Fi network and being tethered to a phone’s mobile hotspot. It does this with the intention of saving…

Microsoft and Apple in mad scramble to catch Google Chromebook in U.S. schools

Image Credit: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat

(Reuters) — Microsoft Corp’s announcement of a suite of new education products on Tuesday shows the company’s determination to reverse a major shift that has taken place in U.S. classrooms in recent years: for most educators and school districts, Google’s Chromebook is now the computer of choice.

The Chromebook has gone from a standing start in 2011 to wild popularity in the market for education technology, which tech companies have traditionally viewed as a critical way to win over the next generation of users.

In 2016, mobile devices running Alphabet Inc’s Google’s Chrome operating system accounted for 58 percent of the U.S. market for primary and secondary schools, according to Futuresource Consulting.

The Microsoft products introduced Tuesday, including a new version of its Windows operating system, software to boost collaboration among students and a new Surface laptop, clearly show the influence of the Chromebook, industry watchers say.

“The success of the Chromebook has awakened sleeping giants,” said Tyler Bosmeny, CEO of Clever, an education technology company. “There’s so much investment into the space – it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”

For years after the release of the Chromebook in 2011, Apple Inc and Microsoft stuck to their strategies of offering slightly modified and discounted versions of their products for educators.

But the Chromebook’s low price–it starts at $149– and easy management proved irresistible to many schools. Google also saw a key chance to expand its market share several years…