Chromebooks are usually very reliable, but from time to time you may experience a situation where the laptop is totally unresponsive. If that happens, here are a few things you can do to get things up and running once more.

1. Use Chrome Task Manager

If your Chromebook is not entirely frozen, but has become incredibly slow, then there could be an issue with an app using up too much of the CPU and memory resources. In this instance you can try using the Chrome Task Manager to shut down that particular app to see if it clears the problem.

To do this, press and hold down the Shift and Escape keys, which will open the Chrome Task Manager. This is like the Windows version, in that it displays all the active tasks, along with how much CPU and RAM they are using.

How to fix a frozen Chromebook: Task Manager

Look to see if one is hogging all the power, as this could indicate that it’s got caught in a loop or just gone a bit rogue. If so, click on it then select the End Process option at the bottom of the list. Hopefully, your Chromebook should now regain its usual speed.

One important thing to note: You will see an app called Browser that features prominently in Chrome Task Manager. Don’t close this, as it’s the operating system itself rather than just Chrome, hence the reason it’s using up so much of the resources available.

2. Disconnect external drives & accessories

A second option for Chromebooks that are running slowly is to disconnect any external hard drives, USB drives or other peripherals it has attached. It’s possible that there is some kind of conflict or routine that’s gone wrong, which might be fixed by unplugging the attached accessory. If you have multiple devices attached, try removing them one at a time to see if one is causing the problem.

3. Reboot a frozen Chromebook

If you have no way of interacting with the software, either through the mouse cursor or keyboard, then the first thing you’ll want to try is something called a hard reboot. While this may sound like giving the errant device a swift kick to see if that helps, and alleviate your frustration at the same time, it’s actually something a little less violent.

Simply hold down the Power button until the device shuts down. Then, press the Power button once more to reboot the Chromebook. With any luck, this will have cleared the problem.

4. Hard reset a frozen Chromebook

Should you get no joy from the methods above, another thing to try is a hard reset. This is different from a hard reboot in that it restarts the hardware at a lower level. Because of this, Google warns that users may find they lose files stored in the Downloads folder. So only proceed if that’s acceptable.

To hard reset a Chromebook, power it down using the method outlined above. Then press and hold the Refresh key (the one that looks like a circular arrow) and tap the Power key. Keep holding down the Refresh key until your Chromebook powers up. If all goes well, this should get your device back into a full working order.

If you still keep getting errors, freezes and slow-downs, then you might want to wipe the Chromebook and start again. For this nuclear method, see how to reset a Chromebook.

In the sad case that everything proves in vain, you can always check our best Chromebook chart to see the models we recommend as a replacement or best budget laptop if you fancy life with a Microsoft flavour.