How To Create a Restart Button in Chrome OS

Chrome OS Build 61 App Launcher

While Chrome OS is very efficient at managing memory and processes, it, like everyone Operating System, needs to be restarted from time-to-time.  For Chromebook users that has meant that you have to power down your device completely then fire things back up.  Doing so empties cached items in memory and kills off PIDs (Process Identifiers) so things run smoothly again.

But there are times when you are in the middle of working on things where a quick restart button would be handy.  Natively, there is not such a button in Chrome OS but in this How To, I’ll show you how you can quickly create one and have it in your browser favorites bar for quick access.

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How To Enable The Unread Message Counter for Gmail Tabs in Chrome

Gmail Icon

One of the hidden gems in Gmail are the labs.  The labs are unsupported, experimental features that may make their way into the mainstream support for the email service.  For the most part, I don’t recommend using beta or unsupported features but there is one that has been there a long time and Google seems to continue to improve it.

The feature is the ability to enable an unread message counter on the Gmail tab in the Chrome browser on Windows, MacOS or Linux as well as in Chrome OS.

Unread Counter in Gmail Tab in Chrome
Unread Counter in Gmail Tab in Chrome

In this How To, I’ll show you were to go in Gmail to enable the feature so you can try it out for yourself.

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How to Create a Google Home Audio Group

My Google Home Group in the Home App

One of the best features of Google Home when it comes to audio is one that I suspect many have not heard of or used.  It is called Home Grouping and it allows you to put your Home and Chromecast audio devices into a logical group inside the Home app.  Once done, you can give the command to play music on that group and it will play across all of your Home devices.  It is a great feature and is easy to setup.

First, make sure you have the latest Google Home app on your phone.  Next, make sure that your phone and the Home, and the Chromecast devices you want to add to your group are all on the same network.  In other words, you can’t do this while you are on a business trip or on holiday.  You have to be home to do it.  Finally, make sure all of your Home device and Chromecast devices are turned on so they can be found.  With that, let’s get to the How To.

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How To Pin A Site to The Shelf on Your Chromebook

Adding a Site to the Shelf on Your Chromebook

One of the great features of a Chromebook is the ability to save a site you regularly visit to your Shelf for quick access.  It is a feature that is exclusive to Chrome OS and not something you can do on the Chrome browser for Windows or MacOS – at least not yet.

If you are new to Chrome OS and a Chromebook, adding a site to your Shelf is very easy to do and in this How To, I’ll show you were to find the somewhat buried menu to do so.

First, navigate to the site that you want to add to your Shelf in the browser.  Now go to the overflow menu (the three vertical dots) and go down to More Tools.  There you will see the second menu option, Add to shelf.

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How To Add Multiple Goals to Google Fit

Goals in Google Fit

While there are dozens of health & fitness apps available for Android, Google’s own Google Fit has slowly but steadily been growing up.  The app was very basic in the early days but as Android Wear 2.0 was released earlier this year, the Fit app became far more useful and helpful in tracking not only your fitness goals, but getting injected data from other apps like Sleep for Android and MyFitnessPal.  It also gained things like tracking your heart rate (assuming you have a compatible Android Wear watch) during workouts as well as elevation changes for certain types of workouts like running, biking or skiing.

One of the best features of Google Fit is that you can setup multiple goals within the app, track them, and even have them as a widget on your Home screen on your phone.  It is a feature that often goes unnoticed but it is powerful as you can keep track of virtually any goal you desire to meet your own health and fitness goals.

In this How To I will show you how to create multiple goals within Google Fit and how to add them as a widget to your Home screen.  My assumption is that you have Google Fit installed so if you don’t, go get it from the Play Store before continuing.

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How To Create a Recover Disk for Your Chromebook

Step 1 of Creating a Chromebook Recovery Drive

Like any platform, Chrome OS from time-to-time gets corrupted.  It doesn’t happen often – I’ve never had it happen in the two-plus years I’ve been using the platform.  However, when it does, you’ll need to make sure you are prepared to get things back in order quickly so you can get back to being product (or YouTube cat video watching as the case may be).

Chrome OS has a great recovery tool that is built into Chromebooks that allows you to create a recover disk using a USB drive that allows you to quickly restore your computer.  Like a Powerwash, when you use the recovery drive to restore, you will wipe the data stored on it and it will return it back to a factory default.  But that’s okay.  Remember that Chrome OS leverage the cloud for storage and unless you have some local files like pictures or files you’ve not sync’d to your Google Drive, you shouldn’t loose any data.

In this How To, I’m going to walk you step-by-step through the process of creating a recovery disk for your Chromebook and then walk you through the actual recovery process.  Like many things Chrome OS, it is pretty straightforward.

Before getting into the process, make sure that you have an extra USB drive around that is at least 8GB in size.  I use a 16GB PNY USB Drive for my Acer Chromebook 14 and it works great (and it’s cheap).

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How To Powerwash Your Chromebook Using Keyboard Commands

Chrome OS Powerwash

Like any laptop, there are times when you will want or perhaps need to reset your Chromebook.  In Chrome OS terms, that is called a Powerwash and as the name implies, it completely wipes any apps, accounts and data on the device and restores it to the factory default.

The easiest way to perform a Powerwash on a Chromebook is to go into the Settings and execute it from there.  However, if your Chromebook is corrupted and you can’t open Settings, what do you do?  Simple:  perform the wash by using keyboard commands.

Long time Chrome OS users will know this trick but for those of you who are new to the platform, this may not be known.  That’s where this How To comes into play.  I’ll outline the keystrokes you need to use in order to reset your Chromebook.

It should be noted that in this How To, I’m assuming you are not using a Chromebook tied to a corporate or education account.  In those cases, your Admin must reset the devices.

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Can’t Find A Google Cloud Print Printer? Make Sure You’re Invited

Google Cloud Print on Android

Google Cloud Print is a handy feature that can be found in Android and Chrome OS that allows you to quickly and easily print to printers that are configured and enabled to leverage the cloud-based printing solution.  The vast majority of printers on the market today will work with Cloud Print but, if you haven’t invited users to use your printers at home or in your small office, they won’t see them as a printing option.

This seems to be the most common problem I find for users who are trying to get a printer configured to work with their Chromebook or phone.

This tutorial is aimed at those who have Android, Chrome OS and a compatible Google Cloud Print printer at their home or small office.  Most enterprise Android & Chrome OS users will not have to worry about this as printers are managed through your G Suite administrator.

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