The Chromebook is one of the most secure and bug-free computers you can own. However, even a computer running on Chrome OS can sometimes run into problems. This article looks at the problems that can occur with your Chromebook and how to fix them.
Do not assume a Powerwash is what your Chromebook needs
Most people decide a Powerwash is needed when their Chromebooks fails. This may be the case in some situations, but there are other things you should be looking at before doing a Powerwash.
A Powerwash clears your Chromebook of everything on it, so you’ll have to back up all of your work files if you don’t want to lose them. It also removes any registered Google Accounts. Having to set these up again can be time-consuming. It’s great if it works, but most of the times the problems still occur.
So let’s take a look at what you should be looking at, in order, when you have a faulty Chromebook. It’s a game of trial and error, but once you’ve fixed your Chromebook you’ll feel more confident about fixing any other problems you may have in the future.
STEP 1 – CHROME EXTENSIONS
Check your Chromebook extensions
If your Chromebook turns on and tends to operate normally and you only appear to have problems when using the Chrome browser. Then it’s most likely you have an issue with a Chrome extension. This is more common than you may think and most problems you have with your Chromebook can be traced back to a Chrome extension.
You install Chrome extensions when using the Chrome browser and these are usually found at the Chrome Web Store. Chrome extensions are great because they add extra functionality to your Chrome browser. You can get some seriously great Chrome extensions, so it’s understandable if you’ve got a lot of extensions installed on your Chrome browser.
Some Chrome extensions are unsafe
Most extensions for Chrome are safe to use and have been designed to make your life easier. However, you should be aware that some extensions for Chrome have been created maliciously to cause you problems. This is why you should only ever get extensions from the Chrome web store or websites that you trust.
The extensions in the Chrome web store are checked to ensure they are not acting maliciously. However, there is always a possibility that a malicious Chrome extension can go unnoticed for some time, so you should always be careful even if you install extensions from the web store.
To keep yourself and your Chromebook safe it’s always a good idea to check comments and ratings left by other users. This usually gives you a good indication of whether the extension is worthwhile. You should always use your own judgement though and not just rely on other peoples comments and ratings.
How can a Chrome extension be causing my Chromebook to fail?
So we’ve looked at unsafe extensions, but you should not be too worried about this because most extensions are safe to use. The problem usually occurs if the extension has been written badly or it may be that the extension clashes with another extension you’ve installed.
A Chrome extension can cause all types of issues, so you should never rule it out. The majority of the time you’ll fix problems you have with your Chromebook by doing an audit on your extensions.
Why a Powerwash will not fix an issue linked to a Chrome extension
This is why you should not automatically do a Powerwash when your Chromebook does not work the way you expect. Most people have set their extensions to sync. This is because most people have more than one device. If you did not set your extensions and other data to sync, it would cause you extra work, and we all try to avoid this where possible.
If you Powerwash your Chromebook it’s true that all the extensions will be removed. However, this is only because a Powerwash also removes all of the Google Accounts registered to it. The moment you re-register your Google Account with your Chromebook. Any extensions you have had previously will begin to sync with your Chromebook.
The extension may not have been installed on your Chromebook
You also need to remember because your extensions are linked to your Google Account. It may not be an extension you’ve installed directly from your Chromebook. It could be an extension you’ve installed on your phone, tablet, Windows PC; any device where you’ve registered the same Google Account.
So before you dismiss the likelihood of the issues being linked to an extension. You need to consider whether you’ve installed extensions on other devices and computers that you own.
How to fix Chrome extension issues on your Chromebook
To check whether an extension is causing the problems on your Chromebook you need to turn your extensions off. It’s best to turn all the extensions off. If this resolves the problem you need to find out, which extension was causing the problem. To do this you should turn your extensions on one at a time. After you’ve turned on each extension check to see if the problem reoccurs. Continue to do this until you find the extension causing the problem.
How to turn off your extensions:
- Open a Chrome browser
- In the top right-hand corner click the ‘more’ option
- Then go to >more tools>extensions
- Switch off the extensions
STEP 2 – PERFORM A HARD RESET ON YOUR CHROMEBOOK
If you were unable to fix the problem by checking your Chrome Extensions you should try to do a hard reset of your Chromebook. A Hard reset will reset your Chromebook hardware such as the touchpad and keyboard.
To perform a hard reset do the following:
- Turn off your Chromebook
- Hold down the refresh button and Power button at the same time
STEP 3 – FACTORY RESET (POWERWASH) YOUR CHROMEBOOK
If you’ve not been able to fix your Chromebook by auditing your Chrome extensions or by doing a hard reset, you should then perform a factory reset. A factory reset is called a Powerwash on the Chromebook. A Powerwash will remove all of the files stored on your Chromebook, so it’s important to back up your files first.
To find out more about how to perform a factory reset. Have a read of this article How to powerwash or factory reset a Chromebook.