Get better performance from your Chromebook with Virtual RAM

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The Chromebook is known to need a lot less processing power than other types of computers. This is because Chrome OS is an extremely lightweight operating system. That being said, the subject about how much RAM you need for your Chromebook in 2021 is still something that gets people talking. It’s true you need more RAM now than you did a few years ago, but you’d expect that. If you’re running a Chromebook with at least 4GB then you should not have too many issues.

If you’re using a Chromebook with 2GB of RAM or even possibly 4GB and you need extra RAM. Then the only real way to do this is to go out and buy a new Chromebook. This obviously costs money and not everyone might be in a position to do this. If this sounds familiar then perhaps you should try and give your Chromebook a boost by adding virtual RAM. In the Linux world, which is what Chrome OS runs on it’s called a swap.

WHAT IS A SWAP

A swap allows you to use some of your Chromebooks storage as RAM. It uses Z RAM, so you don’t need to worry about it having a negative impact on your solid storage device. All Chromebooks come with solid storage, which is great because it’s much quicker than a PC that uses a hard disk with moving parts. By creating a swap you’ll be able to add virtual RAM to your Chromebook. It will not be as fast as physical RAM, but it should be faster than virtual RAM used on a hard disk with moving parts.

This means if you currently have a Chromebook with 2GB of RAM and you do a swap for 2GB of RAM. You’re essentially then running a Chromebook with 4GB of RAM. It’s not as good as going out and buying a new Chromebook with the extra RAM you need. However, it’s still possibly going to benefit you if you’re struggling with running out of RAM on a regular basis.

It’s important to note that Chrome OS already does this to some extent. When your Chromebook runs low on RAM it moves some of the data from your RAM into a swap. The difference with creating your own swap is you decide how much storage you’d like your Chromebook to use. The amount you choose all depends on how much storage you have. However, Google recommends not to use more than 2GB of storage as virtual RAM.

HOW TO ADD VIRTUAL RAM TO YOUR CHROMEBOOK

To add virtual RAM to your Chromebook you need to go into your terminal. It’s important to note Google states you use this at your own risk. However, this command is part of Linux, so it’s unlikely you’ll have any problems using this. You can also reverse the action at any time, so if it does not help with performance. You do not need to worry because anything you do is reversible.

  • Hold down Control + Alt and while holding these down press the letter T. This will then open your terminal. From here you can check the current status of your swap by typing swap status.
  • To use 2GB of storage as extra RAM type the following into the terminal swap enable 2000. 2000 is requesting 2GB of storage be used as RAM. So if you wanted to use 1GB you’d simply type in the following swap enable 1000.
  • You’ll not notice any changes until you reboot your Chromebook. Once you’ve done a reboot type in swap status in your terminal. You’ll now see information about the swap and this confirms it is now in place.
  • This will then use 2GB of storage as RAM when needed. If you ever need to cancel this open your terminal and type in swap disable. Again, you’ll need to reboot your computer after doing this. If you want to ensure it has been disabled you can check using the swap status command in your terminal.

That’s it. You’ve now added virtual RAM to your Chromebook. It’s best to give it a try and see if it helps with performance. You may need to use it for a couple of weeks to see if any improvements are seen. If you do get better performance you can leave it running. However, if you’ve not really noticed any performance benefit you can simply cancel the swap following the instructions above.

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