How to diagnose a Chromebook

Chromebooks are incredible devices which are optimized to just work and don’t need too much troubleshooting. But every now and then, you may need help to investigate issues, and the following tools will help you.

Diagnosing battery life

Batteries are complex piece of energy storage hardware and almost all of them have a finite lifespan. To find out more details about your battery and its health, you should look for “Battery health” in your systems menu. You can also get there by navigating to chrome://diagnostics/

The screenshot above shows that I have a 6620mAh Battery, and over the last year the extensive use has eroded 20% of its health (this is normal). It also shows that I’ve charged this device about 202 times and shows that I’m currently using up 1044mA as I write this post.

Running the “Discharge test” does some basic on-device troubleshooting to check if the discharge rate is within acceptable limit.

Diagnosing CPU performance

CPUs are the heart of your Chromebooks. And understanding whats going on in there may help you understand how to make the best of your Chromebooks.

You can visit the CPU diagnostic tool using the System menu as well, or you can go to chrome://diagnostics/. The screenshot below shows a few important facts about my device. I’m using a Intel i7 processor (this is one of the top of the line CPUs), I’m using about 5% of the computational power available, the CPU is currently at 41°C and its currently operating at 0.86GHz.

Running the “CPU test” will stress your device for about 5 minutes and will ensure that the system is operating within CPU performance guidelines. Note that in the screenshot below the CPU temperature did go up slightly. On devices without fans, this temperature can dramatically shoot up in extended periods of intense usage and Chrome OS may have to throttle the “Speed” to keep the CPU from heating up. This is what causes slowness on some devices. I’ve noticed this is more common in hotter weathers than in cooler months.

Memory diagnostics

There are few different types of “Memory” on a Chromebook. The one which retains information only while the device is powered up is called RAM (Random Access Memory). This very fast piece of hardware is one of the most expensive parts of your Chromebook after the CPU. The screenshot below shows that the device I have has about 16GB of total available RAM of which about 7.5 is currently being used.

If you are noticing more than normal crashes, I recommend you do a “Memory test” to check if all parts of the storage are working perfectly. Even a tiny error could cause a significant amount of user frustration.

Debugging Network subsystem

Networking is harder to debug because connectivity depends on multiple things to work together. What the Chromebook can test is its connectivity to the local Wifi router and its ability to get to the internet. You can launch the connectivity diagnostic using the Systems menu or by clicking by going to chrome://diagnostics/. The diagnostic test is instantaneous and doesn’t need you to click on anything else.

However, this is not all. There is a significantly more advanced diagnostic tool which is buried for Super admins to use and I recommend not doing anything you don’t understand. You can get to it by going to “chrome://network/”.

The “General” tab has some basic options to reset your eSim configs. It’s the “Network Health” tab which I use the most. This has significantly more tests which often come in handy when you are using Chromebook for the first time a network without other Chromebooks. This can detect some of the most obvious mis-configurations which can help Network admins make changes to support Chromebooks.

There are more tabs in there, but I won’t go into those today as it requires slightly more advanced knowledge to understand.

Google has a help center article here if you are interested in learning more about some of these and other diagnostic tools.

Leave a comment below and tell me what type of diagnostics are you interested in for your Chromebook.






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