Fix unresponsive, frozen, or slow Chromebook with Chrome's Task Manager.

How to Fix a Frozen (or Unresponsive) Chromebook – Hot Tip #1

Is your Chromebook frozen?

Did it ever get caught into a loading loop?

Did it ever become unresponsive?

Did it ever just go blank with a white, transparent overlay and just freeze up?

Last updated: 1/1/20

For us Chrome OS users, it takes a little more effort compared to other operating systems…

On Windows, you can simply open up the Task Manager by doing the good old “Ctrl + Alt + Delete” trick. From there, you can just find the program or application that holding up your computer and force close it. And that should fix it- most of the time.

On Mac, you can easily Force Quit any application by pressing “Command + Option + Escape” and shut down whatever is holding up your computer resources.

It’s about time someone wrote a guide made just for Chromebooks. This troubleshooting guide will teach how to fix it up so you can get back on track.

So…lets get to it.

How to fix an unresponsive, slow, or frozen Chromebook

How do you force close unresponsive apps? Or what do you do about Chromebook that’s frozen?

Fix unresponsive, frozen, or slow Chromebook with Chrome's Task Manager.
To fix an unresponsive or frozen Chromebook, use the keyboard shortcut to bring up the Chrome Task Manager.

First, you’ll need to learn about the Chrome OS version of the Task Manager that you may be used to on Windows.

Here’s a quick tip: There’s a keyboard shortcut just like Windows and Mac, so you’re in good hands already (no coding or hacking needed). Whenever your laptop freezes up or becomes unresponsive, just press the following keys together:

“Shift + Escape.”

That’s the keyboard shortcut for the Chrome Task Manger.

It works just like Windows’ version, but a little more simplified. It’s actually easier to access since it’s one less key to press (if you want to be nitpicky about it.) It’s just a weird key combination to remember since many of us are used to Windows’ infamous “CTRL + ALT + DELETE” combination.

Anyway, after you bring up the Chrome Task Manager, you’ll see a small window that lists all of the current running Chrome applications. It’ll also give you detailed information like Memory (RAM) usage, CPU usage, Network Usage, and more. It’s basically Window’s Task Manager on Chrome. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Nothing special here.

After you bring it up, go ahead and scan through the apps and see what’s taking up all your resources. You can sort through the list by clicking on the tabs at the top. Look for the app that has the most Memory or CPU usage and end it by clicking on it and then clicking on the “end task” button. You can also end it by right-clicking on it and closing it.

If there’s nothing that you can identify to be the culprit, you’ll need to take a closer look at your apps. It’s possible that the app doesn’t take up too many resources but is still freezing up your laptop. So, you’ll need to make some educated guesses and find it and end it.

And if your Chromebook is completely frozen, then you may want to do a hard reboot first, then check for any apps that are taking up valuable resources.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Hold down the power button until it shuts off

Step 2: Turn it back on

Step 3: Log into your Google Account

Step 4: Launch the Task Manger and look for any apps taking up resources

Note: If you don’t see anything suspicious, continue using your laptop while monitoring resources usage and look for apps that spike the percentages consistently as you use them.

If you’re new to this, here are some tips to find the right process to force quit:

  • Try looking for any app (or apps) that are new to your Chromebook (chances are that your trusted apps that you’re used to aren’t causing the issue)
  • Look for apps that are using a lot of Memory or CPU usage (you can sort by clicking on the column headers)
  • Look for apps that you don’t recognize

A note of warning: Don’t force quit “Browser.” This is Chrome OS. And if you quit this app,  you’ll basically shut down your entire laptop. This is the computer itself (pretty much). So don’t quit it.

After you find it, click on it, and click on the “End Process” button in the lower right-hand corner. This will force quit the application on your laptop.

If you chose the right one, your laptop will start chugging along again. This should fix the issue if your Chromebook is frozen, unresponsive, or slow. If not, we have more options following below. Check ’em out.

Also, consider uninstalling the app if you don’t need it so it doesn’t screw up your device again. Untrusted apps are typically the cause of these issues.

Doing this simple task should fix up any lag, slowness, or unresponsiveness. Usually, when you have too many apps running or one hangs, it causes these issues. Ending the process will free up resources (RAM and CPU) for your laptop to use for other processes and should speed up your computer.

Apps can cause freezing and performance problems

With the addition of the Play Store, many Chromebook owners (including myself) have downloaded a slew of apps from the platform. This leads to a lot of useless and abandoned apps that I never touch anymore, which can slow down the performance of the Chromebook over time.

Unmaintained apps from both the Play Store and the Chrome Web Store both can affect your system’s performance. Apps that run deprecated code can cause issues like freezing, slowness, lag, or other performance problems- not to mention pose a security risk.

You should always remove any Chrome extensions you don’t (or rarely) use, and uninstall any apps you don’t need. Scan your Downloads folder once a month and delete any useless files just sitting there and taking up precious space.

These are basic practices, but they can help prevent freezing in the future and also help improve the performance of your Chromebook.

Is your Chromebook still unresponsive?

Is your Chromebook frozen? Kill the apps using the Task Manager.
Is your Chromebook frozen? Kill the pages. Do the same for apps using the Task Manager.

If you end up closing a whole bunch of apps and your Chromebook is still unresponsive, then you’ll have to shut it down and restart it.

Simply click on the system status area in the bottom-right corner of your screen (where the time, battery, and account information is) and then click on the Power icon. This will shut down your laptop and you’ll have to restart it.

If you can’t even get it to shut down, then you’ll have to do a hard reset. Press and hold the Power button (it should be the very top-right button on your keyboard for most models) for 3 seconds and it’ll force shut down.

After it’s completely off, simply just press it again to turn it back on and go from there. It should fix your frozen or unresponsive Chromebook.

Still not fixed? Backup your personal files and do a Powerwash.

Well, that should solve your issues. Most unresponsive issues can be fixed simply through the Chrome Task Manager and killing the process that’s freezing up your laptop and making it not respond to your commands. If not, then move up the chain and take more drastic measures such as restarting your laptop.

That’s it. If this has helped you, consider telling a fellow Chromie about it. If your laptop still isn’t fixed, or if you have any other awesome tips, feel free to leave a comment.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

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SusanTiigeriTiigeriBookWorm78Chloe <3 Recent comment authors
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Susan
GUEST
Susan

Chromebook totally frozen. Tried the power/reset buton and the power button alone. Also tried plugging the power cord in with lid closed, then opened. Also tried contrl/esc – nothing. Mouse moves but I cannot click on anything. Looks like daughter was using google classroom or google docs before it locked up totally..

Tiigeri
GUEST
Tiigeri

I installed a screen recorder from play store, I started recording with it, launched the game I wanted to play and test the recorder on but when the game was loading, everything froze, the keyboard functions, power button, touchpad, mouse, there was nothing I could do, I also tried holding the power button down for three seconds

Tiigeri
GUEST
Tiigeri

Also the touchscreen does not work. My chromebook is new, not even a month old

BookWorm78
GUEST
BookWorm78

I have an Acer Chromebook and I somehow managed to freeze it. I’ve tried the task manager and the hard reboot. I can’t get it to respond to this. I power it up and it goes to a screen that has a blurred image of my lock/home screen background. The mouse cursor still glides around the screen. I was running a couple tabs on Chrome, the Files, app, had just installed a Chrome extension for my webcam and went to the task bar at the bottom and it locked up right there. Please help me with this issue. I don’t… Read more >>

Chloe <3
GUEST
Chloe <3

I was doing homework on holtmcdougal and I was also using yt and I moved both tabs side by side so I could use both, and in the process of moving it next to each other, and just froze and none of my keys will work, and I can’t even use the touch screen. None of the keyboard codes will work either. And my video just kept repeating the same phew words over and over, then stopped. WHAT SHOuLD I dO!?

I would like it to work.
GUEST
I would like it to work.

Pressing the Power button and the Reload button simultaneously seems to have successfully made mine reboot.

BookWorm78
GUEST
BookWorm78

What is the reload button?

Jeremy M Donaldson
BookWorm78
jer85.donaldson78@gmail.com

I would like it to work.
GUEST
I would like it to work.

my samsung had a little hole where you could do a hard reboot using a paperclip. Does the hp have anything similar? The light is on where the powercord goes, otherwise it is completely unresponsive.

Mom
GUEST
Mom

My son’s chrome book is not responding to any clicks to close or power off etc. He was playing crowd city and it is completely frozen/locked up. Holding down the power button does nothing, trying to click on the 3 dots does nothing, alt/escape does nothing. It will not allow me to click on anything ‍♀️ Any ideas?

Dorinda
GUEST
Dorinda

My Chromebook just froze, completely. It doesn’t even respond to the shutdown button. I was playing a music at the time it was frozen and the same notes just keep playing over and over again!!!! It’s driving me crazy!!!!! Help!!!!!

Michelle
GUEST
Michelle

Ours is stuck on the startup screen. And keyboard will light up. Nothing else.

Anna
GUEST
Anna

Mine is completely frozen, doesn’t respond to the power button. Nothing.

Lili
GUEST
Lili

Same did yours ever unfreez?

Tweddy
GUEST
Tweddy

Same here. Just the startup screen. No response from the keyboard or touch screen at all.

sassafrasnanc
GUEST
sassafrasnanc

Mine too. This happened when i was installing the chrome update on a notification. Nothing on the screen at all…

HALP I WANNA WATCH YOUTUBE
GUEST
HALP I WANNA WATCH YOUTUBE

I accidentally clicked on a random notification and then a “windows support alert” popped up. I know that that was supposed to get me to download a virus, but then my chromebook’s screen froze. The keyboard was unresponsive and the touchpad too. Even the power button on the side of my chrome book stopped working. The time froze too. How to fix?