Category Archives: Chrome OS

Install Google’s Chrome Web Browser On Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf

Ubuntu1510Terminal

To install Google’s Chrome web browser on Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf, first launch the Firefox web browser and visit the Google Chrome website:

http://www.google.com/chrome

Click on the Download button, which will take you to the download page. Select the 32-bit or the 64-bit version for Ubuntu, depending upon your system’s processor architecture. Hit the accept and install button, and the Chrome installer will download.

Once the download is complete, you’ll have a *.deb installer package for Chrome in your Downloads folder. Double-click on it to launch the installer. You’ll be taken to the Ubuntu Software Center. Click on the Install button to begin the installation of Chrome.

You’ll need to enter your password to authenticate, and then follow the default prompts to install Chrome.

After the installation is complete, the first time you launch Chrome you will have to do so from the command line. It will not appear in the Dash or the Launcher until you launch Chrome from the command line for the first time. To launch Chrome from the command line, summon a Terminal window by hitting the CTRL+ALT+T keys simultaneously, and typing this command into the Terminal prompt:

google-chrome-stable

Chrome will then launch and ask if you wish to set it as the default browser. After this first run, you can launch Chrome by clicking on the Dash (the Ubuntu icon on the upper-left hand corner of your screen), searching for Chrome, and clicking on the Chrome icon.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

Ubuntu: 101 Tips & Tricks

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

Use Powerwash To Reset A Chrome OS Device

Reselling a Windows or a Mac computer is potentially dangerous. Unless you reformat and securely overwrite the hard drive, there’s always a chance that you might have left some personal information on the drive. This makes reformatting and overwriting the hard drive necessary, which is a time-consuming and occasionally annoying procedure. Chrome OS avoids this with a useful feature called Powerwash. The Powerwash option is essentially a “factory reset” procedure for a Chromebook. Powerwash removes all your account data from the Chromebook, along with the data of anyone who ever logged into the Chromebook, and resets all settings back to the original state. If you want to sell or give a used Chromebook to someone, it is highly recommended to run a Powerwash first.

To disable guest access in Chrome OS, first click on the Status button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen (it will have the time, network status, and battery information). The button will expand into the larger Status menu. When it does, click on the link for Settings. (Alternately, you can go directly to the Settings page by typing the address chrome://settings into the omnibox of the Chrome browser.)

Once the Settings page opens, scroll down until you see the Show Advanced Settings link. Click on the link to expand the Settings page, and scroll down until you see the Powerwash button. Click on the Powerwash button, and a dialog box will appear offering you a chance to cancel. Click Cancel if you have changed your mind, or click Restart to continue.

When you click Restart, your Chromebook will restart and then load a dialog box warning you that the Powerwash will reset your Chrome OS computer to new. Click cancel if you have changed your mind, or click Powerwash to continue. You will see one more dialog box with a warning, and one final chance to cancel. Click the Reset button in the dialog box, and the Powerwash will begin.

Your Chromebook will restart again, and then you will see a message that the Powerwash is in progress. Typically this will take no more than a few minutes. Once it is finished, your Chromebook will be cleared of all data, and you can sign in with your Google account for the first time.

-JM

Disable Guest Logons In Chrome OS

Normally, to use a Chromebook you will need a Google account and password. However, Chrome OS offers a “guest user” feature that allows anyone to use the computer without having a Google account. You might wonder why you would want to use a Chromebook without having access to your account, but using a guest user offers several advantages. When logged in as a guest, your browser history will not be recorded. Additionally, any cookies created by any websites you visit will be deleted when you sign out. Any files you download or any bookmarks you create will also be deleted when you sign out. In essence, every time someone signs out of the guest user, it is “wiped clean” and left to use for the next user. This is quite useful if you want to let someone else use your Chromebook, for instance, or if you are using someone else’s Chrome OS device and do not want to sign into it with your Google accounts.

That said, there are many good reasons to disable guest access to your Chromebook, especially if you don’t want to entrust a stranger with your computer. Chrome OS therefore lets you disable guest access.

To disable guest access in Chrome OS, first click on the Status button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen (it will have the time, network status, and battery information). The button will expand into the larger Status menu. When it does, click on the link for Settings. (Alternately, you can go directly to the Settings page by typing the address chrome://settings into the omnibox of the Chrome browser.)

Once the Settings page opens, scroll down until you see the Users category. Under the Users category, click on the Manage Other Users button. This will open up a dialog box with options for managing and restricting other logins into your Chromebook. Uncheck the checkbox labeled “Enable Guest Browsing”, and your Chromebook will no longer allow guest logins.

-JM

List All Chrome:// Pages

Both Chrome OS and the Chrome browser have many “hidden pages” – local system pages that use the chrome:// prefix. These pages offer diagnostic information and configuration data about your Chrome OS system. Some of these pages, like chrome://settings for the Settings page and chrome://extension for managing extensions, you might visit fairly often. There are many more, though. Fortunately, Chrome OS comes with a handy index for listing all of these system pages.

To view the index of the system pages, first launch the Chrome browser. Once the Chrome browser opens, type this address into the omnibox:

chrome://about

A page will load with an index of all the available chrome:// pages.

-JM

Find The Current Version Of Chrome OS

Google pushes out updates to Chrome OS on a pretty regular basis, usually monthly. Most of these changes are “under the hood”, so you don’t see too many cosmetic differences to the operating system’s interface. That said, from time to time you might need to learn what version of Chrome OS you are running, most likely to help diagnose a problem.

To find out what version of Chrome OS you are running, first launch the Chrome browser. Once Chrome has launched, type this address into the omnibox:

chrome://system

This will take you to Chrome’s hidden About System page, which displays a variety of information about your Chrome OS computer. The very first item on the page is CHROME VERSION, which displays the version of Chrome OS your Chromebook or Chromebox is currently running.

-JM

Customize Keyboard Mapping In Chrome OS

The Chromebook does not include the standard keyboard included with most PC laptops. The CAPS LOCK key is absently entirely, replaced by a dedicated SEARCH key. Additionally, the traditional row of function keys (F1, F2, F3, and so forth) is missing entirely, replaced by keys dedicated to individual assigned controls. Some users prefer a more traditional keyboard, so Chrome OS allows you to reassign the function of the keys.

To reassign the key functions, first click on the Status button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen (it will have the time, network status, and battery information). The button will expand into the larger Status menu. When it does, click on the link for Settings. (Alternately, you can go directly to the Settings page by typing the address chrome://settings into the omnibox of the Chrome browser.)

Once the Settings page opens, scroll down until you see the Device heading. Underneath the Device heading, click on the Keyboard Settings button. This will bring up a dialog box controlling various keyboard settings. The SEARCH key, the CTRL key, and the ALT key each have a dropdown menu that allow you to assign them different functions. You can also mark a checkbox that will set the top-row keys as function keys, replicating the traditional behavior of a PC keyboard.

Once you have made your selections, click OK, and your keyboard will follow its new functions.

-JM

Swap Mouse Buttons In Chrome OS

By default, the buttons on a touchpad and the buttons on a mouse are configured so that clicking the left button selects something, and clicking the right button usually brings up some sort of context menu. This is comfortable for right-handed users, but left-handed users might find this arrangement awkward. Fortunately, Chrome OS provides an easy way to swap the mouse buttons for those who prefer it.

To swap the mouse buttons, first click on the Status button in the lower right-hand corner of the screen (it will have the time, network status, and battery information). The button will expand into the larger Status menu. When it does, click on the link for Settings. (Alternately, you can go directly to the Settings page by typing the address chrome://settings into the omnibox of the Chrome browser.)

Once the Settings page opens, scroll down until you see the Device heading. Underneath the Device heading, click on the Touchpad and Mouse Settings button. This will bring up a dialog box that allows you to adjust certain settings for your mouse and touchpad. To change the order of the mouse buttons, click on the checkbox marked “Swap primary mouse button.” Clicking on the right side of your Chromebook’s touchpad or mouse will now act like a traditional left-click.

To change it back, simply uncheck the checkbox.

-JM

Take Pictures In Chrome OS

Most Chromebooks include a camera of some kind, usually above the screen on the rim of the lid. The cameras are not high-resolution, but they are good enough for video chatting over the Internet. You can also use them to take pictures of yourself – such as for a profile picture, for instance, or for general amusement. To use the built-in camera, Chrome OS includes the Camera app.

To launch the Camera app, go to the application launcher (the button with the grid icon in the lower left-hand corner of the Shelf). Left-click on this button, and the application launcher will appear on the lower left-hand corner of your display. The Camera icon will likely be pinned to the second screen of results, and you can launch it by clicking on the icon. If the icon isn’t there, you can also find it by typing “camera” into the search box and clicking on the icon when it appears.

When the Camera app launches, its functionality is pretty simple. The window will show a live preview of whatever is in front of the camera at the moment. To take a picture, click on the red button at the bottom of the window. To save the picture to your Chromebook, click on the Gallery icon within the Camera icon, click on the picture you wish to download, and then click on the Download button in the lower right-hand corner of the gallery window. The image will then download to your Chromebook’s Downloads folder.

-JM

Check File Size In Chrome OS

Google Drive offers a large quantity of online storage for your files. However, your Chromebook’s local storage is likely far more constrained. If you download a lot of files to your Chromebook or sync a large number of offline files to it, you might start running out of space. Therefore you might need to check on what files are consuming space on your Chromebooks’s storage. Fortunately, Chrome OS’s Files application makes that easy.

To check the size of files in the Files application, first launch the Files application by going to the application launcher (the button with the grid icon in the lower left-hand corner of the Shelf). Left-click on this button, and the application launcher will appear on the lower left-hand corner of your display. The Files icon, which looks like a blue button with a white file folder, will likely be pinned to the first screen of results, and you can launch it by clicking on the icon.

When the Files application launches, you will see a list of your storage locations in the left-hand column, usually your Google Drive and your local Downloads folder. Navigate to the folder that contains the file you wish to check. In the upper right-hand corner of the Files application you will see a button with four parallel lines on it. Click on it, and Files will change from a grid view to a list view. (Once the button has been clicked, it will show a grid of four small squares.)

List view displays your files in a list according to four categories – Name, Size, Type, and Date Modified. If you click on the heading for Size, Files will sort your files from largest to smallest. This will quickly allow you to determine which files are taking up the most space on your Chromebook.

-JM

Delete Files In Chrome OS

Google Drive offers a lot of storage space, and it can sometimes be something of an effort to fill it up. That said, Chromebooks themselves tend to have a limited amount of storage space, so managing the size of your local files becomes important. Fortunately, the Files application makes deleting files and folders quite easy. Additionally, you can also use the Files application to delete files and folders in Google Drive.

To delete files using the Files application, first launch the Files application by going to the application launcher (the button with the grid icon in the lower left-hand corner of the Shelf). Left-click on this button, and the application launcher will appear on the lower left-hand corner of your display. The Files icon, which looks like a blue button with a white file folder, will likely be pinned to the first screen of results, and you can launch it by clicking on the icon.

When the Files application launches, you will see a list of your storage locations in the left-hand column, usually your Google Drive and your local Downloads folder. Navigate to the folder that contains the file or folder you wish to delete. Right-click or ALT-click on the file or folder, and select Delete. The file or folder will be immediately deleted.

Note that if you change your mind about a deleted file, whether deleted in Google Drive or locally, you can recover it in the Trash folder in your Google Drive web application interface.

-JM