So, you want to make your Chromebook faster and speed it up again.
Is your Chromebook sluggish, laggy, or freezes often? Is it nothing like when you got it and booted it up for the first time?
Tired of it freezing during your online conference meetings?
Well, don’t fret. You’ve come to the right place.
In this complete guide, we’ll go over a few tips and tricks to get your Chromebook running quickly again (like when it was brand new).
Ready to get started? Let’s roll.
Last updated: 1/8/21. This list has been updated for accuracy.
Is your Chromebook running slow?
Chrome OS is built around speed and is advertised to never slow down over time, unlike some other operating systems.
These machines are supposed to be fast. So when it runs slow, you know that something can be optimized. Or it needs fixing. Or you broke something.
Chromebooks are also advertised to never slow down over time. They’re built and programmed for speed and simplicity with plenty of self-checks to make sure they’re always fast and speedy.
You can read any Chromebook’s product description and you’ll likely see something about it being a fast laptop.
This makes it actually pretty difficult to make them sluggish unless you’re intently doing so by running 20 tabs in Chrome.
But sometimes, slowness happens.
Whether it’s a bad Chrome extension, malware, or even some third-party software you installed (like Linux), it’s very annoying.
Saving a bunch of junk files that pile up in your downloads folder or downloading a bunch of extensions or apps from the Play Store both contribute to performance problems.
This guide was written to help you find the issue and speed it up.
How to make your Chromebook faster
It’s actually pretty easy to speed up your Chromebook again. There are many methods you can do that’ll take you a few minutes for a huge boost in system performance!
Chrome OS is very versatile by nature s you can easily restore it back to like when it was brand new.
it comes with a whole host of easy to enable/disable apps and extensions that you can attach/detach from the Chrome Browser. It also has automatic updates and even self-repairs itself every time you start it up.
And if you still can’t get it running smoothly, you can always do the omnipotent Powerwash.
Let’s go over some steps you can take and things you can do to make your Chromebook fast again.
Uninstall unnecessary apps and extensions
This is probably the main issue that’s possibly causing your Chromebook to become slow.
Chrome OS is basically the Chrome Browser, and if you have tons of apps or extensions installed, it’ll definitely slow your Chromebook down.
Even if you don’t have a lot, poorly coded or inefficient ones can have a major effect on performance.
The following steps will help you filter through your apps/extensions and remove ones that are slowing down your device and help you remove useless ones.
Here’s how you can easily remove all useless apps and extensions from Chrome:
Step 1: Disable all apps and extensions
The first step is to find out if you have a “bad” app and uninstall it.
The easiest way to do this is to simply disable all your apps and extensions.
This will fix any speed issues caused by apps.
Once you disable them, you should notice a huge speed improvement. If so, your Chromebook is running slow because of an app.
Step 2: Activate them one at a time
The next step is to activate them again- one-by-one.
Start by activating the ones you actually use and find important.
If you notice a sudden speed decrease or your Chromebook takes a performance hit, that app is probably poorly coded and isn’t working properly in its current version.
Go ahead and delete it.
If it’s an important one, you can likely find a substitute to use instead. Just check the app’s “related” section in the app description.
After you find the culprit, continue activating them one at a time because you never know if there’s another one.
Step 3: Delete the ones you don’t use
While you’re doing this process, take the opportunity to remove any apps or extensions you don’t use much.
The more you have, the more resources Chrome uses. The more resources used, the slower your Chromebook. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to have as few apps as possible.
Tip: The next time your Chromebook is slow, just try launching an incognito window. This will run Chrome without any apps or extensions installed.
If the speed suddenly increases, your device was running slow because of an app and you should go ahead and filter them to remove any useless ones.
Install apps that improve your Chromebook’s performance
There are a few apps you can get that help your Chromebook run faster and smoother.
I know, this is the opposite of the point above, but it’s for a good reason.
You’re installing apps which do add more resource usage, but at the same time, these apps help boost your laptop’s speed and also clean up unnecessary files to improve performance.
The first one I recommend and Click&Clean (or Click and Clean).
It’s an app built for the Chrome Browser that’s used actively by over 3 million users with a 5/5 star rating based on over 54,000 reviewers at the time of this writing.
Click&Clean is basically a central hub with tons of valuable tools that help clean up your Chromebook and keep it running fast and smooth. It offers a variety of utilities that can do everything from cleaning up temporary files, deleting your history, clearing cookies, and even protecting your privacy online.
It’s completely free to use and makes maintaining your Chromebook a lot easier.
Sure, you could do some of these tasks manually by clicking through menus, but why do that when you can do the same thing automated with a single click?
And for more complex tasks, you’d have to spend your valuable time and energy looking up a resource guide on “how to do whatever” and then go through the entire process of doing so.
For instance, if you don’t know how to remove Flash cookies (LSOs), you’d likely look it up online, right? Then you have to find the right guide. Then you have to read it. Then you’d have to do the process yourself- by hand. And then you’d be done.
Why go through all that and waste time? Plus, the next time you want to clear these flash cookies again, you’d have to go through the same process.
Click&Clean offers a very quick and handy solution to do the same thing with a single click. It’s a priceless time saver and one of the only extensions I always install on a new instance of Chrome.
Here’s a list of things you can do with Click&Clean:
- Scan for Malware (on Chrome OS, you don’t have to really worry about viruses and malware)
- Delete Chrome download history
- Delete Chrome browsing history
- Delete Chrome temporary Internet files
- Clear all cookies from Chrome
- Delete application cache
- Delete local storage
- Delete saved password
- Delete file systems
- Delete plugin data
- Clear form data
- Empty Chrome cache
- Delete SQL Databases
- Remove all Internet activity
- Remove Flash cookies (LSOs)
- Protect your privacy
- Clean up your hard disk to free up space and speed up performance
You can do all this for free simply with a single click.
For some options, you can customize how exactly you want the utility to function.
For example, if you only want specific history items to be deleted, you can do so. You can also search for specific entries you want to delete. Or you even block access to the History page in Chrome entirely.
You can also set it to delete your history automatically when you close Chrome.
For cookies, you can choose which trackers you want to delete and which ones you want to keep.
For example, if you signed into a website you don’t want to stay logged in to, you can selectively choose to delete that cookie and you can remain logged in to your other sites.
If you’re not tech-savvy, you can use preset settings as well to control how much information you want to delete.
Deleting all these data will speed up your Chromebook. Doing this practice once in a while is good for removing useless and unnecessary files that just take up space.
You can install Click&Clean from the Chrome Web Store here.
OneClick Cleaner for Chrome
This is an excellent alternative to Click&Clean.
It’s an (even easier) cleaner extension built just for Chrome that pretty much has all of the utilities you need on a single page.
It features a single list of actions you can take aligned with checkboxes. Simply check the ones you want to be completed, and then click the “Clean Now” button at the bottom.
It’ll then go ahead and perform all the operations while you sit back and watch funny cat videos.
OneClick Cleaner isn’t as expansive as Click&Clean, but it offers a lot of the most commonly used actions, such as:
- Clear app cache data
- Clear cache, cookies, and downloads
- Clear file systems
- Clear form data
- Clear database storage
- Clear local storage
- Delete passwords
- Delete plugin data
- Delete web SQL data
You can also select the time period you want to clear.
This extension makes it very easy to clean up your device with just a few clicks.
For a lot of people, this is all they need to keep their Chromebook running fast.
If you want a minimalist approach to cleaning and speeding up your Chromebook (and an extension that doesn’t hog too many resources to keep the same theme), OneClick Cleaner for Chrome is a good choice.
You can get OneClick Cleaner for Chrome here.
The Great Suspender
If you have a lot of tabs open at any time, Chrome is known for using up resources like crazy.
This is a common reason why Chromebooks run slow. Each tab in the browser is like a mini app and uses up its own share of resources.
Chrome was built this way so that if a tab crashes, it doesn’t affect all your other tabs.
I mean, how absurdly annoying would it be to have to relaunch all your tabs just because one crashed. That’s crazy.
If you use Chrome with many tabs open at once (like I do), The Great Suspender is a must-have Chrome extension.
What it does is simply suspends any idle tab that you’re not actively using. By suspending it, it minimizes its resource usage drain on your Chromebook.
This, in turn, speeds up your device since the tab is basically in an idle state.
Remember that simply having the tab open and active uses resources, even if you’re not focused on that particular tab. The Great Suspender will actually “close” the tab while keeping in there for when you need it again.
You can simply click on the suspended tab and then click anywhere on the page to refresh it.
By doing so, your tab will relaunch itself and become active again so you can continue using it.
It’s also smart enough and comes loaded with customization options. You can have tabs from a specific site never suspended (such as tabs that you need constantly active for quick referencing). By adding them to a whitelist, the extension won’t suspend any tabs from that site.
You can also set the timer before the tab gets suspended. By default, it’s thirty minutes. You can set this timer to whatever value you like and if the extension detects no activity within that tab when the timer runs out, it’ll automatically suspend it.
Oh, and to clarify, “activity” means you visiting the tab. If you glance at it during any time, it’ll reset the timer again.
Suspended tabs show up as a grayed-out version of the website’s favicon (the little icon on the tab that represents the site). This is convinced so you know which tabs are suspended for which sites at all times.
If you’re typing in a form, it’ll also keep itself from suspending that particular tab.
For example, if you’re filling out some shipping details or typing an email, it won’t suspend that tab because it scans and detects any form input. This is very handy and has saved me from hours of possibly wasted effort.
Besides all this, there are some other customization options and awesome features that The Great Suspender offers:
- Suspend any tab immediately
- Suspend all other tabs
- Unsuspend all tabs
- Whether or not to suspend pinned tabs
- Whether or not to suspend tabs playing audio
- Automatically unsuspend a tab when it’s viewed
- Theme options
- Screen capturing
- Keyboard shortcuts (with custom key mapping)
- Session manager
And it’s all free.
If you’re using a Chromebook and you have a habit of opening multiple tabs, you definitely need to try out this extension. It’ll speed up your Chromebook guaranteed.
If you’re not sure whether or not you qualify as someone who uses “a lot” of tabs, I’d say you should install this extension if you have more than three tabs open at any time that you don’t constantly use, but you need to occasionally glance at it. Or if you manage multiple windows or monitors. It helps as well.
You’ll benefit from it. Get it here.
Clean up your hard disk
The more junk you have saved on your hard disk, the slower your computer becomes.
It’s a well-known fact that reigns across nearly all operating systems- including Chrome OS.
Even though Chrome OS is well-coded and advertised to not slow down over time, I found that my tiny Acer CB3-131 eventually got slower and slower. The only variables were me saving more stuff to the disk, and the parts wearing out.
Other than that, I can’t really recall anything that could possibly slow down my Chromebook to such a noticeable extent.
I remember the first few months I had it, it would be blazing fast. Apps would launch instantaneously. It would start up in just a few seconds. The Chrome Browser would handle multiple tabs (without a tab suspender) with no sweat.
The amount of apps and extensions I have added to chrome is nearly constant since I usually just install one for a bit to try it out, and then completely remove it.
Unless they leave behind traces in the browser that I’m not aware of and that Click&Clean can’t remove, I don’t think apps or extensions should be a factor. Or perhaps I’ve “traded” some lightweight apps/extensions over time for more resource-intensive ones. Who knows.
Also, it could be because of Google updates for Chrome OS. Perhaps adding all these new features like a new Launcher, Night Mode, material design, and even a new wallpaper background slowly added up over time and now takes a lot of resources to run.
Perhaps back then, Chrome OS was lightweight and agile. And now it’s slow and sluggish because of too many updates. Who knows.
Here’s a video showing how to access your Chromebook’s disk:
Deleting junk from the hard disk does make your Chromebook faster
Now that I’ve owned (and used) my Chromebook almost daily for about two years, its performance took a noticeable hit.
It’s now a lot slower, sluggish, doesn’t start up as fast, and Chrome chugs when it only has three tabs.
So I went ahead and deleted everything on the disk.
The performance increase was definitely noticeable. It started up faster, launched apps quicker, and I could view my hard disk, folders, and custom directories a lot faster since I don’t’ have to let all of the files load.
It’s still not as fast as when I first got it, but it’s definitely faster. Deleting useless images, videos, documents, spreadsheets, or whatever else you have saved on your hard drive speeds up your Chromebook.
If you have a lot of junk, go through it and remove all the pictures, videos, and other files you don’t need anymore. Maybe at one point, you saved a random picture off the Internet because you thought it was cool.
But now that it’s slowing down your Chromebook, it’s not as cool anymore. You’re annoyed. You’re frustrated. You’ve had enough.
Just delete it. Get rid of it. If it’s that cool, save it to your external hard drive.
Go ahead and comb through your files and get rid of the useless stuff you don’t need anymore. It’ll speed up your laptop.
When in doubt- Powerwash it
This is probably your last resort if you can’t get your Chromebook back up to speed.
A Powerwash will basically restore your Chromebook back to factory settings. The only catch is that it’ll delete all your saved local data as well. This means everything you have saved in your “Downloads” folder, any custom folders you’ve created, and all your Chromebook settings.
However, everything saved in your Google Account will be safe. This means your Google Account settings, your Chrome Browser apps/extensions, Google Drive storage, and everything else that’s saved on Google’s Servers.
An easy to way have this data sync across all your devices is to enable Chrome Sync. This way, after you Powerwash your Chromebook and log in to your Google Account again for the first time, you’ll have all your Chrome apps, extensions, settings, and other data tied to your account automatically synced to your laptop.
You’ll only lose your local data that was physically saved to your hard drive, but that stuff can easily be backed up with an external hard drive, thumb drive, or SD card.
(Don’t have a device to back up your stuff to? Check out some of the best Chromebook-compatible external backup media.)
After you have everything backed up and ready to go, it’s time to do the actual Powerwash. I’ve written a complete tutorial on how to do a Chromebook Powerwash you can check out. It covers everything you need to know.
Practice good habits to keep your Chromebook running fast
It’s all about being a minimalist.
Only keep the extensions and apps that you actually use
Sure, some people may have difficulty using only the bare minimum number of apps/extensions, or controlling their downloading habits and not saving every single funny cat picture they find online.
But if you really want to keep your Chromebook fast, you need to practice good habits.
If you find a shiny new extension, go ahead and install it by all means. But if you end up not liking it, don’t just let it sit there unused and take up your valuable resources. This will only just bog down your Chromebook’s performance.
You need to install it. Delete it. Get rid of it. Get that small fraction of resource back (or large fraction if it’s a resource-heavy extension).
Over time, you’ll keep your laptop running smoothly and quickly. Practice good minimalistic habits and you’ll always have a fast Chromebook.
Don’t download everything
This applies not to just installing apps and extensions, but everything else as well.
Don’t download everything just because it looks cool.
But if you can’t help it, transfer your pictures and files to an external hard drive and off of your Chromebook’s drive. This will take the stain off of your laptop and keep it running well.
Keep Chrome OS up-to-date
Also be sure to keep Chrome OS updated at all times.
Even though the new features Google adds to Chrome OS may slow it down just a tad, they’re constantly working to improve the OS.
Perhaps in one update, they introduce a new feature that slows your Chromebook down to a crawl. In the next one, they may fix it and bring your Chromebook back to normal speeds.
If you don’t keep up with the updates, you won’t get these necessary fixes and patches (and awesome features).
It’s also necessary for security issues as well.
What if you install a poorly-coded Chrome extension that’s vulnerable to security exploits?
Or what if you download a crappy app that leaves hackers a way to snoop on your information?
It also works the other way around too- what if you install a cutting-edge app that runs on the newest code (that your device can’t take advantage of because it’s not updated)?
Or what if you download an app that utilizes some of the newest Chrome OS features (like Night Mode) that you don’t have installed yet?
Keep Chrome OS updated at all times. Google is constantly working to improve the platform, so it only makes sense to have the latest and greatest version of the operating system. Each update only takes a few seconds to install (after a few minutes of downloading) and requires a quick reboot.
(Don’t know how to stay updated? Check out this tutorial on how to update your Chromebook.)
Stay safe online
It’s also important to stay safe online.
Visiting malicious websites can definitely slow down your Chromebook. This is because they can install malware, spyware, viruses, trojans, bloatware, and tons of other nasties.
Traditionally, Windows is the main target for malware. Since you’re on a Chromebook, you’re pretty much safe from all malware. Chrome OS by nature is very secure.
It’s a locked down Linux-based operating system which makes it very hard to get infected with malware.
You’re pretty much safe from viruses and other malware on a Chromebook. That’s why there’s no such thing as antivirus for Chromebooks. It’s not impossible to get infected, but it’s pretty freakin’ close. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about any of this.
The only issue is that malicious sites do install a bunch of trackers onto the Chrome Browser- without your knowledge. Having a browser chock-full of these ad trackers does indeed slow down performance.
Not to mention, your privacy is compromised and you’re being spied upon by third-parties (whether they’re ad companies or individuals).
Visiting only trusted sites will go leaps and bounds to keep your privacy in check and keep your Chromebook running fast. Trusted sites do also install trackers on Chrome, but they’ve generally trusted ad trackers from companies like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
If you’ve visited a malicious site, go ahead and clear your trackers using either Click&Clean or OneClick Cleaner for Chrome (links in the section above).
You can also take additional steps to protect yourself against ad trackers completely by blocking them. Ad trackers are basically small “scripts” placed on your browser to watch your online activities so ad companies can serve relevant ads when you browse the web.
A common example is when you’re doing some product hunting online and visit random sites but still see the same product advertised all around the web.
This is why you see ads for products you’ve recently searched. You’re being tracked by trackers.
Use some Chrome extensions to protect your Chromebook
Of course, there’s gotta be a solution with extensions.
There’s always an ap-…extension for that.
Here’s a quick rundown of some useful Chrome extension to protect your privacy and Chromebook online:
Privacy Badger blocks ad trackers that are invisible to the average user.
When you visit a site, you can see a list of all the trackers it attempted to place on Chrome. It’ll automatically block trackers and protect your privacy when you visit any site.
It lets some trackers through that it deems non-invasive and safe. But you’re paranoid, you can easily toggle whether or not you want to allow each tracker.
Sometimes having a too restrive setting breaks websites from loading properly, so you can easily adjust it per site and it’ll automatically save your settings.
I personally use it and just have it running it the background whenever I browse the web. It’s pretty much a must-have privacy app for Chrome. Get it. It’s worth it if you value your privacy.
It also helps speed up Chrome and stops it from getting bogged downloading different ads for different trackers. It’s a project that’s part of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
It’s completely free to use and will block ad companies from spying on your online activities.
Get Privacy Badger here.
This extension basically forces all websites to use secure “https” instead of the insecure “http” when you browse the web.
If you didn’t know, “https” is simply the secure version of “http”- hence the “s” in the protocol.
It’s also supported by the EFF and is a simple solution to staying secure online. It protects you against many different forms of surveillance, account hijacking, and even country censorship.
HTTPS Everywhere is free to use and makes a nice addition to secure Chrome and stay safe when you browse the web.
Get HTTPS Everywhere here.
(Fun Tip: Look up at the address bar. See that green lock with the “Secure” text? PlatypusPlatypus respects your privacy and security =]).
Web of Trust (WoT)
WoT is an online website reputation management platform that’s backed by an active community of users.
It’s pretty much like a rating system for websites rated by users. When you visit a site, you’ll instantly see a site’s rating and whether or not it’s regarded as safe to use.
WoT also has an automated system that scans for scams, malware, phishing, dangerous links, and rogue web store. It combines users’ votes with its automated system.
You’ll see a red, yellow, or green light symbolizing whether or not a site is safe to visit. You can view scoreboards for each site, add a warning screen before visiting a dangerous site, and even use a real-time protection system.
WoT is powered by its huge community of like-minded web surfers. You can read up on reviews for any site and leave your own as well. If you come across a site you’re unsure of, you can request a review without having to visit it yourself.
The mob power that WoT has is just astounding. You’ll be surprised to see all the detailed reviews for every site and you’ll be backed by tons of signals to show you all the site metrics you could want.
If you browse a lot of random sites (whether habit or for work), WoT is a nice little extension to check for the legitimacy of a shady site. It’s completely free to use as well.
You can get WoT here.
Use a VPN
If you really want to go hardcore paranoid mode about protecting your privacy and blocking ad trackers, you may want to get a VPN.
There are a ton of them for Chrome and they’re generally free to use with the option to upgrade.
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and offers protection from trackers, government agencies, hackers, website owners, and even your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
They also let you mask your online identity with a fake IP and a fake country, which makes it very difficult for anyone to track your online activities.
(Interested in staying anonymous online? Check out this list of the best VPNs for Chromebooks).
And you can refer to this article to even further protect your privacy on Chrome.
Is your Chromebook powerful enough to handle your tasks?
This is a common issue that’s overlooked.
Chromebooks don’t offer much power under the hood from the get-go. This is what keeps them affordable for students, which is their dominant market share.
Because of this, the majority of them don’t have enough power to handle a lot of demanding tasks. If you’re trying to push the limits of your device when it can’t handle it, it’ll likely run slower with lots of lag and hiccups.
The average Chromebook nowadays just has about 2-4GB of RAM and is powered by an Intel Celeron CPU. This is enough to handle light to moderate tasks, but nothing more. You can surf the web, watch videos, browse social media, and even play some games.
But when you try to do too much at once, it’ll lag.
For example, if you have lots of tabs simultaneously in Chrome, that’ll cause it to run slower.
If you’re dual-booting Chrome OS and Linux Ubuntu, that’ll slow it down.
If you’re running Chrome, playing music, surfing the web, and playing a game, it’ll lag.
The Chromebook is a speedy machine when used for its intended propose.
You can’t expect too much from it. So, if you’ve gone through this entire guide and your laptop is still slow, it may be because you’re pushing it beyond its limits.
Now, not all Chromebooks are slow. In fact, the newer Chromebook models have some very powerful specs.
But for the majority of users, we all have an average Chromebook with average specs. Nothing too powerful. Nothing too impressive.
So if you’ve tried everything to get your device to run faster, but it’s still slow, consider upgrading to a more powerful Chromebook. Or just use another device to take care of resource-hungry tasks.
Did you bring your Chromebook up to speed?
Well, that’s about it.
With the solutions on this guide, you should be able to get your Chromebook running like new again. Everything from removing apps and extensions to deleting unnecessary files to Powerwashing it only helps clean up junk that’s stalling its speed and boosting its efficiency.
If you have any other tips and tricks to speed up your Chromebook, go ahead and leave them in the comments and I’ll add them to this list.
If you’ve found this guide helpful, let me know as well. And consider telling a friend =].
Thanks for reading.