How to Speed up a Chromebook

The 10 best ways to get your Chrome OS laptop running faster

If you're experiencing slowdown on your Chromebook, you may be curious how to speed up a Chromebook. Thankfully, while there are a few known issues that can cause these laptops to slow down, fixing them is easy.

01
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Check the Task Manager

Screenshot of Chromebook task manager

One of the easiest ways to figure out how to speed up a Chromebook is by checking the Task Manager on your Chromebook.

To access the Task Manager, open Chrome, select the three dots at the upper right, then select More tools > Task manager.

In the Task Manager window, you can see which apps are consuming the most CPU or memory on your Chromebook. If you see any apps here that are a culprit, uninstall them to free up your Chromebook resources and improve performance.

02
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Verify You Aren't Having Network Issues

Screenshot of Chrome speed test extension

Many Chromebook users think their Chromebook is slowing down when the real cause might be network issues. You can rule this out by running quick network speed tests.

Use online speed test services by opening your Chrome browser and visiting any of the top network speed tests services. Run these tests to confirm your internet speed is what you expect. The best of these services include Speedtest.Net, TestMy.net, or Speedof.me.

If you want to monitor your network speed on an ongoing basis, you could install Chrome OS apps from the Chrome Web Store. These apps let you check your network speed from inside the browser. The best apps include SpeedTest, OpenSpeedTest, or Ookla Speedtest.

If you discover your network is the issue, check your router or contact your ISP to troubleshoot your internet connection.

03
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Reduce Local Storage Clutter

Screenshot of My files downloads section

Another issue that can slow down the performance of a Chromebook is when the local hard drive reaches storage capacity. This can lead to errors whenever you try to download or create new files.

Most Chromebooks come with 16 GB to 32 GB of local storage. It doesn't take very long for downloads and other files to fill up that space without you realizing it.

There are a few ways you can resolve this.

04
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Enable Page Prefetching

Screenshot of prefetching pages setting in Chrome

Google implemented a creative technology to make web pages load faster. This is called page prefetch.

When you turn on page prefetching, Chrome will search through the page you've opened for any links, and it'll cache the web pages that any of the links on the page link to. If you tend to browse the internet by clicking on links from one page to the next, this can enhance your browsing experience. To set this:

  1. Select the three vertical dots in the top right corner to open Chrome's settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Advanced.
  3. In the Privacy and security section, make sure Preload pages faster browsing and searching is enabled.
05
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Minimize Chrome Extensions and Apps

Screenshot of installed Chrome extensions in Chrome

On a Chromebook, the only applications you can use are either Chrome extensions or Chrome apps. But even Chrome apps are technically Chrome extensions that run in their own window.

Because not all extensions are created efficiently, poorly programmed (or malicious) apps can cause your Chromebook to slow down. This is why it's always a good idea to scan through all of your installed Chrome extensions and clean them up.

To view and uninstall Chrome apps or extensions, open your Chrome browser and type chrome.google.com/webstore/ into the location field to open the Chrome Web Store. At the top of the window, select the gear icon > My Extensions & Apps.

This page will show all extensions and apps that you have installed. If you see any apps or extensions that you don't use anymore, select Remove from Chrome.

If uninstalling extensions doesn't work, but you still suspect malware or other problems with Chrome, you can reset your Chrome browser. However, keep in mind that this option resets all settings do default, clears temporary data, and disables all extensions. So, only use it as a last resort.

06
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Clear Browser Cache and Cookies

Screenshot of clearing Chrome cache and cookies

Over time, as you visit many websites, the browser cache and stored cookies can add up significantly. It's always a good ideal to regularly clear the cache and cookies to keep storage clean and keep your Chrome browser (and Chromebook) working at peak performance.

The option to clear browsing history is automatically checked when you clear browsing data. Make sure to deselect this if you don't want to lose your browsing history.

07
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Block Javascript and Ads

Screenshot of disabling Javascript in Chrome

Most websites these days utilize Javascript for both website functionality and ads. Unfortunately, not all websites use this scripting efficiently, and still more websites use malicious scripts.

Flash has been a security concern for Chrome for some time, and because of this, Google is disabling Flash support in Chrome. You can take this a step further by disabling Javascript as well.

  1. Open Chrome, then opening it's settings.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Advanced.
  3. In the Privacy & Security section, select Site Settings.
  4. Select the arrow next to Javascript.
  5. Disable the selector next to Allowed so the text changes to Blocked.

Keep in mind that disabling Javascript will remove a lot of normal functionality from many websites. A less drastic approach to protecting your Chromebook from scripts that slow down web browsing is installing ad-blockers for Chrome (just make sure to whitelist your favorite websites, like Lifewire).

08
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Enable Hyper-Threading

Screenshot of enabling hyper-threading in Chrome

Hyper-threading is when multiple threads (processes) can run on a CPU. This means that if one process you have running "hangs," your CPU will continue running other threads and your system won't lock up.

To Enable hyper-threading, open Chrome and type chrome://flags#scheduler-configuration into the location field. In the dropdown to the right, change Default to Enables Hyper-Threading on relevant CPUs.

Note that this feature will only work on Chromebooks with CPUs that are capable of hyper-threading. You'll also need to balance the pros and cons of performance versus security risk when enabling this.

09
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Enable GPU Rasterization

Screenshot of enabling GPU resterizing in Chrome

Google has a list of experimental Chrome flags that can help boost performance. One of those is GPU rasterization. This simply offloads web content processing from your CPU to your GPU. This can help performance since GPU processors are normally fairly powerful, and browsing the web rarely requires much GPU processing power.

To enable this experimental feature, open Chrome and type chrome://flags#GPU rasterization into the location field. To enable this feature, change the dropdown to the right from Default to Enabled.

10
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If All Else Fails: Powerwash Your Chromebook

Screenshot of powerwashing a Chromebook

If all else fails, you may need to reset your Chromebook to factory default.

A Powerwash will remove all apps and extensions, and set all Chromebook settings back to factory default. You will also lose anything stored in local storage.