Foreigner references aside, Chromebooks, like most computers, freeze up from time to time.

Google introduced the Chromebook in 2010, and the brand is exceptionally popular with individuals and educational organizations. K – 12 schools are taking advantage of G Suite to customize learning plans and make education more technology-focused than ever. It also helps that with an easy-to-use interface; anyone can pick it up and start working.

With all of that said, that does not mean that Chromebooks do not run into the same walls that other computers do. Much like any Windows laptop or MacBook, these devices are more than capable of freezing up.

Whether it is a problem with an outdated version of Chrome OS, a rogue device, or a ton of apps or tabs open at once, programs are running improperly, worst-case scenarios, and internal hardware problems. 

The good news is, there is no need to panic, as many frozen causes can be fixed with a few quick troubleshoots. The bad news is just figuring out which one is going to resolve the issue.

Chromebooks can freeze due to a myriad of issues, but here is how to fix this typical problem.

Remove external devices and accessories.

These can range from mouses, additional keyboards, wireless headphones, USB drives, etc. By disconnecting one-by-one, a user can begin deducting which one is causing problems.

Why not Google it?

In some situations, Google will generate an automated error message to let the user know what is going on with the device. On a non-frozen device, a user can look for what is wrong with the machine.

Use the Task Manager.

Anyone who has used a Windows computer knows about the CTRL+ALT+DELETE keyboard shortcut. Chromebooks are complete with their keyboard option to bring up its Task Manager.

  1. Press Shift and Escape at the same time.
  2. Once the Task Manager window opens, begin looking through the list of apps and webpages currently open.
  3. If one or more apps are using a lot of memory, click on its name and then click on End Task. 

Do a hard reset or reboot.

While these two do sound interchangeable, hard reboot and hard reset are two completely different processes.

hard reboot has the user holding down the Power button until it turns off. The device will then turn back on, and when it finishes booting, open up the Task Manager and look into what apps and services. 

On the other hand, a hard reset involves pressing down the Power and Refresh buttons simultaneously. This will restart the hardware, not the system. Doing this gives it a new start but will also erase specific configurations for the screen, keyboard, or trackpad.

Let the battery run out.

Sometimes, it is best to drain the battery. Make sure to keep it unplugged and have it depower itself. While it may delay getting any work done, it is better than doing a hard reset since not much will be lost when the device shuts down.

Make sure to update

When a Chrome OS is out-of-date, there are chances of it malfunctioning. One instance is the device freezing. A user can check to see if their version of Chrome OS is up-to-date by doing the following:

  1. On the bottom of the screen, select the time.
  2. From this menu, click on the Settings option, which has a gear next to it.
  3. At the bottom of this panel, click on About Chrome OS.
  4. Underneath the Google Chrome OS option, a user can find the version of the Chrome operating system.
  5. Next, click on the Check for updates option.
  6. The device will start to look for a software update.

Powerwash your system

Pro tip: do not grab a hose and start spraying it down with water. That is not a good idea. 

A Powerwash is an admittingly unique name for giving the Chromebook a factory reset. This should be one of the user’s last resorts because it wipes all user accounts and files and downloads. Meaning, once it finishes washing, the user will have to start over with downloading apps.

Powerwashing can be done through two different methods. For instance, a user can go through the Login Screen:

  1. At the login screen, hold down the Shift, Ctrl, Alt, and R keys 
  2. A window will pop up that is named Reset this Chrome device and click Restart.
  3. After the resetting process finishes, the login screen will appear with a new option titled Powerwash. Click on that.
  4. Click on the Continue button when the Confirm Powerwash window opens up.
  5. Sign in with your Google account to complete the process.

Or Powerwashing can be done through the Chrome browser:

  1. Open up Chrome.
  2. Click on the menu button in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. From this menu, click on Settings.
  4. Next, scroll down to the bottom and click on Advanced
  5. In the Advanced settings, please scroll down to find the Powerwash option and click on it.
  6. A window titled Restart your device pops up; select Restart to begin the process.
  7. Finally, as the Powerwash process completes
Unfreezing complete!

Regardless of whatever brand of laptop you own, when it freezes up, it isn’t enjoyable. However, in rare situations, it can result in expensive repairs. But, for most cases involving a frozen Chromebook, there are tons of easy fixes, and are all free.

Huh, a blog involving the word ‘frozen’ and not one mention of the song “Let It Go”?


Darn it.

At MicroReplay, we know a thing or two about MacBooks and how to repair these devices. With over twenty plus years of experience, our company specializes in repairing liquid damaged MacBooks and other high-end laptops.

In need of a liquid spill or cracked screen repair? Book a repair with us today!

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