One of the easiest ways to find out what Chrome OS version a Chromebook is on is to press ALT + V while on the logon screen. This will make the version information show up in the top right corner of the screen. On an non-managed Chromebook, you will also see the serial number. This too is helpful information.
Unfortunately, once you are managing the Chromebook in the Google Admin Console, the serial number is no longer shown.
Update 12/2/17: beginning around Chrome OS version 60, serial numbers continue to show up when pressing ALT + V after being managed. Thanks Google!
Instead you see the Asset ID. Th Asset ID field is one of the custom fields you can modify in the Admin Console.
At first our district was tagging Chromebooks with asset tags when they were purchased and we would populate this field with the tag number. However, we no longer tag the Chromebooks.
Recently, I’ve had two Chromebooks brought to me that we needed to check the warranty status on. I looked at the bottom of the Chromebooks and one had had its stickers removed. The other had its original stickers, but the serial number had worn off. There are ways of retrieving the serial number and I did for these two Chromebooks However, since I expect this issue will become more of a regular occurrence as time goes on I decided to setup a quick way to get the serial number that would be easy for everyone to access.
My solution was to take advantage of the Asset tag field. Remember, besides the Chrome OS version, it is the one field that shows up on the screen when you press ALT +V. We populate the Location field with the school’s acronym. The serial number is automatically recorded in the Admin Console. Also, many of our Chromebooks have asset tags. So, I populated all this information into the Asset Tag Field. Now when you press Alt + V you should see the school acronym, serial number, and asset tag (if it has one).
This should make getting this information faster in the future.
How’d I do it?
If your a Google Admin in another school district and want to know how I did this, keep reading.
First, I exported all of our Chromebooks out of the Google Admin Console to a Google Sheet. There are (at least) two Google Sheet add-ons that can do this, Chrome Gopher & Chromebookinventory. You have to be a Super Admin in your Google domain in order to use either add-on.
Once I had all of the Chromebooks in the sheet, I added another column. In my case, the information I wanted was in the following columns:
Column C = Locations
Column G = Serial Numbers
Column D = Asset Tags
In the new column, I used this formula where “2” was the row.
=CONCATENATE(C2,” “,G2,” “,D2)
This joined all the requested data in one column with spaces in between.
I did a Fill Down with the formula.
Then, I copied the contents of the new column and did a Paste Special > paste values only into the existing Asset tag column.
Lastly, I uploaded the changes into the Google Admin console. Both Chrome Gopher and Chromebookinventory can do this.
The next time the Chromebooks “checked-in” with Google, their Asset tag fields updated.