Chromebook laptop computers - - A tutorial for beginners

by Tom Cloyd (reviewed 2024-04-02 Pacific Time (USA))

Acer 311 laptop

Chromebook laptops have excellent battery life, a great keyboard, and are safer than other laptops. (Pictured is the Lenovo Flex 3i)

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: I am completely revising this whole Chromebook section. The REFERENCE MANUAL will be increasingly important, and the Brief structured lessons will be using the MANUAL for source material.

Page contents list…

  • Updates - Immediately below, in the next section.
  • Brief structured lessons - Separate page, which introduces essential knowledge and skills
  • REFERENCE MANUAL - Separate page, which contains essential information for review and further learning.

A “tutorial” is a document (or class or film, etc.) which offers practical, structured information to learners.

This one focuses on Chromebooks - Google’s design for a unique and unusually affordable laptop computer that is ideal for students and most other computer users1.

Small, lightweight, and easily carried in a backpack or large purse, they have most of the functionality of a larger laptop. Their operating system is well-designed and significantly easier to learn than those found on standard personal computers.

Chromebooks’ ease of use and range of available applications makes them an outstanding everyday computer tool. Google recently announced that most Chromebooks will receive updates of the ChromeOS operating system it runs on for 10 years.2 This is great news, because it means that a Chromebook purchased today will have a lifetime utility that considerably exceeds that of non-Chromebook laptop - another benefit of choosing this paraticular kind of computer.

About updates to this tutorial ^

This tutorial is a work-in-progress. What this means is that a number of sections are incomplete. They are indicated as planned, but I have not yet had time to write them. I am earnestly working as fast as I can, so we may hope that these missing sections will soon appear here!

AN IMPORTANT WARNING: Your laptop has many features you can turn on or off in your Settings window. If you start experimenting - trying things out to see what they do - you can make some very strange and possibly unwanted things happen! Until you understand what a setting change will do, leave it alone! How can you find out what it does? Ask Tom, or do a Google search about it. Or do both! But know what you’re doing before you start changing things.

SUGGESTION: Click a link in the text below to look at an update, then quickly return here using Alt + Left Arrow.

Lesson 5 is new. It is about “Personalizing your ChromeOS and Chrome Browser”.

How to… …do a number of useful things you might want to do. Give it a look!

  • Particularly notice this “how-to” concerning the phone hub icon.

SPECIAL NOTE: As of November 23, I have been rearranging my Chromebook tutorial material into multiple pages, AND editing to make it better, AND adding new material. It’s been a LOT of work and the work is not finished. You will see errors, and places where information should be but is not yet, and possibly other problems. This is all so new. It will take a while to find and fix most of the problems.

If you see a problem, please let me know. That will be much appreciated! If a section is plainly marked “(writing in process)” or “to be written”, and so on, I know about it. But anything else I may not have notice yet, so tell me about it! Do this:

  1. send me an email or text with the page URL (web address) or title
  2. give me a few words I an search for on the page to locate the area where the problem is
  3. tell me precisely what you see that is wrong - spelling, punctuation, repeated word, nonsense (!) - whatever. It’s all good information for me.

Keyboard shortcuts - has an important update. I have pointed out SIX very important keyboard shortcuts which I recommend that you memorize. A good way to do this is to write them down and carry your little note with you everywhere!

Visual aids - a new section I’m developing. It will contain diagrams and other visuals aids. The first such visual aid is under development, but this section is still empty at this point.

Lesson 2, section E has been added. It is for terms that don’t belong in any of the previous sections. It has now two term that are both new and very useful: “click-path” and “function”. You will need to understand what both of these mean in order to respond to the very next update, described immediately below:

ChromeOS 119 is the new, just released, version of the Chromebook operating system. It has made some changes to some of the keyboard shoagertcuts. Do you have this update? Here is how to find out: Click time (lower right corner of monitor) > Settings (gear icon) > About ChromeBook (bottom fuction on the Settings screen left panel) - then look on screen for “Version….” specification.

Quick Review - Important new additions have been made to this page.

Brief Lesson 5 is now our focus. It is an opportunity to practice moving around inside your browser, and using various important keyboard shortcuts - while exploring a fascinating website about hour planet Earth. It now has two exercises ready to explore.

  • The page title has been changed - since the material here applies to all Chromebooks, the title now reflects that.
  • In Brief structured lesson 2 , System scratchpad and Memory cache now have clear definitions. See them here.
  • Brief structured lesson 3:
    • has been substantially revised, with more detail and explanation.
    • important new keyboard shortcut has been added: * Alt + Tab - try it out, but read about it first!
    • special attention has been paid to Page scrolling shortcuts.
    • I have added 2 additional exercises to the lesson. The total is now three.
  • Brief structured lesson 4 is new. The former Lesson 4 is now #5. The new Lesson 4 is about some important parts of your operating system, and some ways to lock and unlock your Chromebook.
  • Brief structured lesson 5 was formerly called Lesson 4 and is still being written, but is almost finished. It now has a nice illustration.
  • I have updated Brief structured lesson 2 with some new terms and additional explanations of several terms previously added. I have also switched the order of the first two sections, so that hardware terms comes first.
  • I have added an exercise to Brief structured lesson 3, so that you can practice some of the keyboard shortcuts on which it focuses.
  • Lesson 4 is partly written, and I expect to finish it very soon.
  • I will continue to develop the other Lessons which have on titles at present.
  1. ^

  2. Vaughan-Nichols, S. J. (n.d.). Chromebooks are forever… Well, a decade. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from ^


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