Chrome OS is very minimal and consumer-facing so it does not provide details like system memory, CPU usage, background processes and similar metrics for the end-user. However, if you want to access those metrics, there are some hidden commands that let you do it. Just enter chrome://system/ in the address bar and hit enter. You will get all the information from hardware to software on this page. Other than that, you can also install an extension called Cog (Free) which allows you to monitor many metrics like CPU usage, temperature, etc. in a slick and graphical interface.
One of the best features of Windows OS is that you can seamlessly access files and folders from other Windows computers using a common wireless network. So to make the desktop experience similar on Chrome OS, Google has also brought Network File Share and it’s embedded in the native File Manager. Basically, you can remotely access all your Windows files and folders on your Chromebook without any hassle. I have written a detailed guide on how to use this feature so go through the steps and you will be all set.
Recently, Google added support for Linux on Chrome OS and it’s simply magical to use both the operating systems side by side. While the project is still in beta, the Terminal works quite well with support for all the Linux commands. You can even install Linux apps on Chrome OS, but let me clarify, at this point, the performance is not that great. Anyway, if you want to enable it, open Settings and simply navigate to “Linux (Beta)”. Here, turn on the toggle for Linux and go through the on-screen instructions. However, do note that Chrome OS and Linux, both have different storage systems so you will have to share your local folders to Linux. You can do so from the native File Manager itself. Just right-click on the folder that you want to share and choose “Select with Linux”. That’s it.
Earlier, there was an unofficial way to enable ADB on Chrome OS through Linux and platform tools. However, things have changed now since Google has brought native ADB support on Chrome OS. You can find the dedicated page from Settings -> Linux -> Develop Android apps and enable the toggle for “Enable ADB Debugging”. You are good to go.
Similar to Command Prompt on Windows, Bash in Linux and Terminal on macOS, Chrome OS has its command line called Chrome Shell (Crosh). It allows you to modify many system settings that are otherwise not available in Settings or Flags page. So, if you want to dive deep into Chrome OS, you must learn what Crosh offers and how it can help you do many things. We have already written a tutorial on the best Crosh commands so go through that as a primer.
As most of you know, Google has brought Android app support on Chromebooks and it’s a great step towards creating a coherent Google ecosystem. You can install and use millions of Android apps directly from the Google Play Store. In case, it’s not turned on by default, you can enable Play Store from the Settings page. Click on “Apps” on the left pane and open “Google Play Store”. Here, allow various permissions and set up Play Store. That’s it. Enjoy Android apps on your Chromebook. If Play Store settings are not showing on your Chromebook then it might be in beta and you may have to change your update channel to access Play Store. I have mentioned how to change the update channel in the next section so go through those steps. Also, you can find the details about Play Store support for your Chromebook from here.
On Windows, you can add multiple Google accounts under a single Chrome profile, but on Chrome OS, Google creates a new profile for every new Google account. While I get the idea behind it, sometimes I just want to check my work email or access Drive files from another Google account and that’s when it becomes frustrating. Nevertheless, now Google has provided an option to add a secondary account in the existing profile itself. Here is how you can access it. Open Settings and click on your name under the “You and Google” section. Here, click on “Add Account” and enter the new Google account credentials. Enjoy!
While there are endless keyboard shortcuts on Chrome OS, here are some crucial ones that will help you navigate through Chrome OS like a pro.
Users have been asking for a virtual desktop environment on Chrome OS for quite some time. Finally, it’s available in the stable channel starting with Chrome OS 78. For multi-taskers, it’s a huge help as it lets them focus on important things first. So here is how you can access it. Just do a 3-finger slide up gesture and you will find the “New Desk” option on the top-right corner. Alternatively, you can use these shortcuts as well: Shift + Search + = to create new virtual desktop and Shift + Search + – to delete one. You can switch between them using Search + ] and Search + [ shortcuts.
As we already know, Chromebook is deeply tied to our Google account. So, before accessing anything, we have to enter our Google account password every single time. I find it very tiring and frankly a chore. Coming from a Windows PC, I want to set a pin for hassle-free login and thankfully, now Google allows you to set a PIN. To create a PIN, open Settings (Cogwheel icon) from Quick Settings menu and open “Screen lock and sign-in” under the “You and Google” section. Here, enter your Google account password for the last time and set a 6-digit Pin. Voila, you are done.