Google regularly puts out updates for Chrome OS. If you come from the Microsoft Windows world like me, you may cringe at the thought of doing an OS update. You may wonder what’s going to break and how long am I going to have to wait before the update install is complete and I can use my computer again.
Chrome OS updates don’t work the same way as Windows updates. The updates download in the background and don’t install until the Chromebook reboots. The update happens almost instantaneously so you don’t see any slow down in the boot up time after the update.
Your Chromebooks should automatically download updates, but like I said the update installs on a reboot. Below are someways you can handle making sure your Chromebooks stay up to date based on the way you have them setup.
- To manually check for updates on a Chromebook you are logged on to, in the web browser search bar type “chrome://help”. That brings up the About page with a button to check for updates
- To see what version a Chromebook is running that isn’t logged on, press ALT + V. The version will show up in the top right hand corner.
Chromebook is used in Kiosk Mode
Many of our younger grades use Chromebooks in Kiosk mode only. When the device boots up it immediately logs on and goes to a website chosen by the school. You shouldn’t need to do anything to update these Chromebooks. After a Kiosk session ends or times out, the Chromebook will reboot and install the update prior to starting the next Kiosk session.
Students log onto Chromebooks, but multiple users use Chromebooks throughout the day (not 1:1)
This section is for schools whose students login into Chromebooks, but don’t have a Chromebook assigned to only them (1:1). By default, when you close the lid on a Chromebook, it locks. A Chromebook that is locked (rather than logged off) will not automatically reboot to update. The following setting is a USER setting in the Google Admin Console, but if all of your Chromebooks are used this way you may want to implement it. You can change the Action on lid close to Logout.
This way the Chromebook will reboot if it needs to install an update. Plus, the Chromebook is ready for the next user to logon.
Chromebooks are used 1:1
In this scenario each Chromebook is assigned to a particular student and that student is the only user. In this case, you wouldn’t want the Chromebook to logout when the lid is closed. One option is to tell the students to reboot their Chromebook once a week. Another is to setup a bookmark for students so they can tell if there is an update available for their Chromebook. To do this follow these steps.
- In the Admin Console go to Device Management > Chrome Management > User Settings
- Scroll down to the User Experience section
- If you aren’t already using managed bookmarks, give the folder a name
- Add the URL chrome://help
- The name is up to you, but could be “Update Chrome”
- Click the + sign.
- Enable the Bookmark Bar
- Click Save
This link will open the About page.
If the update has already downloaded and is waiting for a reboot, there will be a “restart” button on this screen. If not, there will be a “Check for and apply updates” button. Once you click it, it will begin downloading the update if one is available. The student can continue using the Chromebook while the update downloads. Then, at their convenience, the student can restart the Chromebook.