ChromeOS

What do I do when my Chromebook "expires?"

Acer Chromebook

Episode 1704

Bob from Warren, RI

Bob's Chromebook is "expiring" this month. Leo says he hates that Google does that. But even though Google will stop updating your Chromebook, that doesn't mean it'll stop working. It will be fine for most things. Will it be a security issue? Not really. Chrome is inherently secure as it is. So Leo wouldn't really worry about it all that much. When you're ready to upgrade to a new one, then buy it. Acer's Aluminum Chromebooks are great for around $300. But no need to feel pressured to do so now. 

Can I install Linux on a Chromebook?

Acer Chromebook

Episode 1688

Rich from Sonoma, CA

Rich has an original Google Chromebook that isn't supported anymore. Can he wipe it and install Linux? Leo says you can, but it's a bit tricky. There is a physical hardware switch you must enable to turn on developer mode. Once you do that, you can install Linux. Look up the model, plus Linux, and you should be able to find step by step instructions. Check out AboutChromebooks.com as well.

Will Chromebooks continue to be updated?

ASUS Chromebook

Episode 1680

Mike from St. Cloud, MN

Mike wants to get his parents a new Chromebook, but he's concerned that Google won't update them after a few years. Leo says that Google says that they will update them up to five years. But one, Chromebooks are extremely secure by design, so even after its end of life, you still can use it online and two, Chromebooks are cheap to replace. Worst case, you may run into issues visiting some websites. Check out about Chromebook's end of life and Auto Update policy here.

How Can I Use a Windows Reef Light on a Chromebook?

coral

Episode 1671

Tom from Yorba Linda, CA

Tom grows saltwater coral, and you use an LED light to simulate reef light from morning to evening. But it's very smart and he needs to connect it to an app. It requires Windows, but he's a Chromebook guy. Is there an emulator that can work with Chromebook? Leo says that he thinks the hardware has a generic interface and a BIN file. There are Linux apps that can do that. Google is starting to support using Linux on a Chromebook, so that's one way to go.

Is ChromeOS the most secure laptop operating system?

Episode 1670

Jose from Modesto, CA

Jose wants to know if he should get a Chromebook. Leo says that a Chromebook is great for those looking to get stuff done, but most of the things they do are online and in the cloud. Can he get the same by putting Linux on an older laptop and still be secure? Leo says that you can, but you have to update it regularly to keep it healthy. Leo recommends PopOS. But there's also an obscure OS called Qubes because it's very locked down. But it's very hard to use as well. 

Will My Chromebook Be Safe After End of Support by Google?

Chromebooks

Episode 1659

Lex from Richmond, VA

Lex hears that "end of life" support is coming for some Chromebooks. How safe will a Chromebook be after those dates? Leo says that new devices will have six and a half years of auto-updates, while much older generation Chromebooks have already been phased out of support. But Chromebooks are still incredibly secure. It'll be fine to continue to use.  Will a VPN help? Leo says not really. 

What can I do with an old laptop?

Asus ZenBook UX305

Episode 1653

David from Redondo Beach, CA

David collects old laptops, refreshes them with Q4OS Linux, and donates them to teachers. Leo says that Linux is very robust and secure, and what David is essentially doing is turning those old laptops into Chromebooks, which is something most teachers want because it's all they need. Leo thinks that's awesome and a great way to repurpose computers that are still good, but are just old.

​Check out the Laptop Elf Project on Facebook.

Why Does My Keyboard Switch Languages?

Chromebook

Episode 1650

George from Webster, NY

George uses a Chromebook, but lately, his Keyboard has been switching to another language. Leo says that if he uses another language with an Android device at times, Google may remember that and switch it suddenly. That's where the powerwash option comes in handy. It'll reset everything. He can also go into advance settings under language and input methods, and disable any additional languages for Chrome to support. Also, check the spellchecker. Maybe it has an Arabic set. But PowerWash is a good alternative to start over.

Is a Chromebox a good computer for my mother?

Chromebox

Episode 1649

Grant from St. Paul, MN

Grant wants to get his mom a computer and is thinking of getting here a Chromebox. Leo says that's a good option for most people because most just surf. The average price of a Chromebox is $250-350 without a monitor, which is another $100. Add a keyboard and a mouse, and you're still under $500. If you already have the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, then you're still under $300. You can even buy a used one from Acer for under $150. An iPad is another option; you can get one on black Friday now for around $229 from Apple.