A Chromebook! A lovely little Internet machine, indeed. And deliciously simple to start with.
Setting up your Chromebook is literally a three-step process, and that’s only if you include “activate” as one of the steps. Ready? Here is:
1. Turn that on.
2. Choose your language, connect it to your Wi-Fi network, and sign in to your Google account.
3. Choose a profile picture or an icon (I would go with an icon, but I’m shy).
And really, that’s it: you’re done. Life with a Chromebook after that is simply a matter of collecting the apps you need. It already comes with Calendar, Google Drive, the full suite of Google Docs apps, YouTube, Google Meet and Chrome Remote Desktop. You can find additional applications in the Chrome Web Store.
If you share your Chromebook with others in your household, you can add more users from the sign-in screen. Just ask them to follow the same steps as you by signing in with their Google account. You can also give your friends the option to log in as guests when they come and need to check their emails. For guests, no configuration is required – just choose “Log in as guest” on the login screen.
Oh, and you might have heard that Chromebooks only work when they’re connected to the internet. This is not entirely true; there are many Chrome apps that also have an offline mode including Gmail Offline, Google Drawings and even Android apps from Google Play—Although you might want to walk lightly, as mobile apps don’t always work perfectly on the laptop.
This setup guide was updated in December 2020.
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You have a cool gadget! You lucky duck. Now you need to configure it. Poor sap. The WIRED Master Guide can help you.