5 top tips for Chromebooks

Here's how to get more out of your Chromebook.

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Got a Chromebook and want to get more out of it? I've got help --- use these five great Chromebook tips.

Peer deep into your system

Want to get more details about the current state of your hardware and software? It's simple to do. Type chrome://system into the URL bar and you'll come to a page with plenty of details, including the strength of your Wi-Fi connection, how much memory you're using, how much memory each tab uses, information about your battery, and more.

Create a recovery image

Want to make sure that no matter how badly your machine goes on the blink, you can restore its software? Create a recovery image on a USB flash drive or SD card, and then if something goes wrong, use that image restore your system. In the URL bar, type chrome://imageburner and press Enter. That launches a utility for burning a recovery image. Follow the simple instructions. Then, if something goes wrong with your Chromebook and you can't boot it, pop the flash drive or SD card into it when you see the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" screen. The Chromebook will now boot from the image and install a working system.

Open apps in their own windows

Chrome apps typically run in tabs. But they're not really confined to that. You can instead run them in their own separate windows. To do it, hold down hold the Shift keyboard button at the same time that you click the app shortcut in the Chrome App Launcher.

Use the task manager

Chromebooks have a very nifty task manager that displays all of your open apps, not just those in your browser tabs, and lets you quickly switch to any. This is especially useful if you're running apps that aren't on browser tabs. To use the task manager, swipe up using three fingers. It appears. Just tap the thumbnail of any open app to head to it, or else swipe down with three fingers to get back to your last active window.

Try out experimental features

Google is constantly tweaking Chrome, and frequently adds new experimental features that sometimes make their way into the operating system, and sometimes don't. But you don't need to wait to see if they'll make it -- you can try them out yourself. To do it, type chrome://flags into the URL bar. You'll come to a screen full of the current experimental features. You can turn on any you want. Keep in mind that they're experimental, so could cause problems. As Google notes on top of the screen: "Careful, these experiments might bite." However, you can always get back to this screen and turn off any you no longer want to use.

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