Recently, I ended up purchasing an Acer Chromebook for my wife. She had been plodding along with an old Macbook Pro. I didn’t realize how much of a plod it was until I ended up having to do something to fix it.
The fix involved rebooting and I swear that I could cook supper while waiting for it to reboot. It’s hard to think that there was a time when that was my best computer. I guess my standards were lower then or, more likely, technology has become so much better.
It’s not the actually computing ability but the speed with which you can transfer data to and from the hard drive. Remember physical hard drives with the platters and moving head readers? Buying an SSD might have been a solution but it made more sense financially and functionally to upgrade to a new machine.
Right out of the box, this Chromebook just screamed. Plus, I was able to install the Android applications that she uses frequently on her phone to make it address two of her computing needs. Upon first startup, I also checked to see if there was an update to the Chrome OS and it claimed that it was up to date. I knew that wasn’t true but guessed that it would just kick in automatically.
If you’re a Chromebook user, you know that one of the endearing things about Chrome OS is that it keeps itself up to date. I asked her to let me know when it wanted to update but that moment never came. Actually, since the Chrome OS is essentially running the Chrome browser, it wasn’t a big deal. There were no complains on her end; the new machine was light and just screamed, doing everything that she wanted in a computer.
Still, though, when my own Chromebook updated itself to version 90, it kind of bugged me that her machine was still at version 83. I tried everything that I could think of which is really not much in the Chrome OS world. It’s designed to do everything that it does without user intervention.
This past week, she had to go away for a day and I warned her that I would be spending some intimate time with her machine. I worked my way through all the suggested fixes with no success. I’d worked my way down to the nuclear option – Recovering your Chromebook.
It reads like a simple process and certainly, I’d run enough live Linux distributions from a memory key to know that miracles can happen. But, it’s one thing to nuke your own computer and quite another to do that to someone else’s.
The process seemed simple enough; just download the latest version to a memory key and start with the memory key in place and let the machine do its thing. The only thing was that the instructions called for an 8GB memory key. I actually have a bag full of memory keys from places that I’ve been at over the years. They were a combination of 1GB, 2GB, and 4GB keys. Not an 8GB key in my collection. But there were some memories brought back as I checked out each in my Windows computer since not all of them had the capacity printed on their surface.
Now, in a normal world, I have a couple of buddies that I could drive over and borrow a key if they had one. Or, I could drive into Windsor to BestBuy or into town here to The Source and buy one off the shelf. As you would suspect, those were not essential services. I could have ordered and picked up a couple of days later. But, before I did that, I figured that I’d try one of the 4GB jobbies. After all, if Google and Chrome OS were so smart, they wouldn’t let me hurt myself.
As it turns out, the download to the 4GB key went rather quickly and I was ready to go to the next step and do the Recover. It took maybe 10-15 minutes (I wished I’d timed it) and there was a reboot and I was back to the initial installation dialogues. A few quick clicks later and I was starting at the Chrome desktop and then noticed that all her bookmarks, extensions, and her designed theme were back in place. Oh no, did I do all that for nothing?
Nope. A check of the OS and it revealed I was now running version 90. I actually should have been able to tell the difference just by looking.
I was kind of pleased to hand her an upgraded machine when she got home. I was even more pleased when she said that it felt like it was running quicker than before. It might well be or it might just have been her making me feel good.
But, the bottom line was that I was able to report that all worked out well and it really was a seamless upgrade installation.
Everyone is happy!