Chromebook Frozen? 8 Ways to Fix That

Don't get left out in the cold again

You can take a number of steps to fix your frozen Chromebook. Here, we look at reasons Chromebooks malfunction and suggestions to address these problems.

Causes of Frozen Chromebooks

A Chromebook is any lightweight laptop that runs Chrome OS, a stripped-down operating system designed primarily for working online with Google apps. Many companies now make Chromebooks, but because these devices run the same software, each is prone to many of the same problems.

Acer Chromebook.
Acer

Typically, Chromebooks freeze, lock up, or stop responding for reasons that include:

  • A program that is currently running.
  • A device that's plugged into the Chromebook.
  • Problems with Chrome OS.
  • Internal hardware problems with the Chromebook.

How to Fix a Chromebook That's Frozen

Try these strategies to get your Chromebook working again.

  1. Remove any USB drives, headphones, or other external devices. Eliminating these devices from the mix can help you determine where the problem lies.

  2. Check error messages. If you're presented with an error message while your Chromebook is frozen, write down the message, then Google search the exact text using another device for insight into what steps you can take. You can also consult the Chrome OS Help Website for further guidance.

  3. Bring up the Chrome OS Task Manager and close some apps. If you can still use the keyboard, you also can use a shortcut combination to open Task Manager: Press Shift+Escape simultaneously. Scan the list of currently running apps and web pages. If you see one that consumes a lot of memory, click it and select End task.

  4. Perform a hard reboot. If you can't control the mouse cursor, press and hold the Power key until the Chromebook turns off. When you turn it back on, open Task Manager, and consider deleting any infrequently used apps that take up too many resources. Keep an eye out for newer apps you don't recognize. Select the column headers to sort the app list.

  5. Drain the battery. If the Chromebook is frozen and won't turn off, unplug the computer from its power source and allow the battery to drain. Wait three hours to give the CPU time to cool down before reconnecting the charger and turning on the device.

  6. Perform a hard reset. If your Chromebook doesn't boot up at all, perform a hard reset by holding down Refresh+Power for about five seconds.

    The Refresh key looks like a circular arrow and is typically located at the top of the keyboard. Some Chromebooks have refresh buttons that look different. Consult your device's user manual for help finding it.

    A hard reset restarts the Chromebook's hardware. Therefore, you could lose some of your configuration preferences for the trackpad and keyboard. Still, you won't lose any apps or files with the potential exception of items in your Downloads folder.

  7. Perform a Powerwash (factory reset) on your Chromebook.

    A factory reset, or a powerwash, isn't the same as a hard reset. A factory reset erases all your files and returns the device to its original settings. Consider this method only as a last resort.

  8. Get it professionally repaired. If you still have trouble with the Chromebook, it's probably having internal hardware issues. Check your device's warranty to see if you can get it looked at by a professional for free.