How I sped up my Chromebook


A few years ago, it was time for me to delve into the world of Chromebooks. I didn’t want to get one of those really small ones but held out for one with a larger screen, the ability to have touch, and I went with the Acer Chromebook R13. It’s somewhat comforting to see that it’s still in Acer’s lineup. That’s not usually the luck that I have with technology.

It was meant to be something to experiment with and also something light enough that I could have it in my lap. And, it’s done the job.

When i first got the computer, it seemed lightning fast. It was actually kind of cool that Google and/Acer provide regular updates which gives one the comforting feeling that it’s well supported.

After a while, I started to notice that it was slowing down. I do a number of things to see if I could speed it up and really only had minimal success. I did a lot of reading and wondering. I know that traditional laptops perform better when plugged in but I saw no evidence that this works in the Chromebook world. It did, however, make the screen brighter.

Now, I will make some confessions here; I am one to often shoot myself in the foot as I experiment with this and that to see what would happen. I also noticed that there were three stages for updated capacity so I went with the middle (Beta) one and noticed a number of ongoing updates. I also added a bunch of extensions that would hopefully make it better and that kind of kept growing. I enabled Linux and installed Firefox on the Linux partition.

I still had a working computer but it was noticeably slow so I decided to start all over. One of the primary reasons that I had switched to the Beta Channel was to really use a dark interface. It has now become a flag that is available in the Stable Channel. With the rain on the weekend, I decided to give the Chromebook a fresh start, head back to Stable, and then judiciously add back extensions.

The Chromebook makes it so easy. Just do a Powerwash…

It was a little freaky when it rebooted and the instructions came up in French becaue I chose Canadian English as a language but high school French and no alternative made it easy.

Once booted into Stable Mode, I did a couple of quick things online and it was indeed much faster and also, boy, is the Internet ever filled with advertisements! My next challenge was actually logging in since I use a Password Manager to handle complicated passwords. That was the end of going Extension-less. I know that the common wisdom is that you should tay away from too many of these but they do add a certain functionality for me. But I’m going to be judicious in what I choose instead of chowing down and the all you can install Chrome store buffet.

I add…

  • uBlock Origin – my favourite ad blocker and it seems to do so efficiently
  • a password keeper – not going to tell you which one to maintain a bit of security
  • Diigo – my bookmark keeper
  • Privacy Badger – blocking those invisible trackers
  • Cookie AutoDelete – delete cookies when I leave a website except for a couple I whitelist
  • Shareaholic – my goto sharing utility for morning reads
  • ClearURLs – get rid of tracking element in a URL
  • Web of Trust – a little help to identify the good versus the bad
  • OneTab – great utility to tame runaway open tabs (and I’m going to be better about using it this time)

My extension are in the tool bar looks so bare now that it’s cleaned up to the bare minimum. One of the extensions that I used to have was HTTPS Everywhere which certainly was important for keeping websites on the straight and narrow. It’s now a setting in Chrome and so that’s pretty well made it redundant.

The final step was to go to the screen size setting and set it to Native Mode resolution 1920×1080. Of course, that made everything smaller so I went into the browser settings and upped the Zoom level a bit.

I have to really admit; my Chromebook really flies again. My biggest wonder at this point will be if I have the discipline not to go on an extension installing spree again! Speaking of which, are there extensions that I have overlooked and should go out and get?

Do you have any performance tips and tricks to speed up a Chromebook?

OTR Links 10/05/2021


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.