Did you know that Chromebooks have a built-in terminal? Known as the Chrome OS Developer Shell – or Crosh for short – this terminal gives you access to a command line interface that you can use to debug your computer, run tests, or just poke around for fun.
So let's take a look at some terminal commands all Chromebook users should know to improve productivity and troubleshooting.
Important Crosh Terminal commands for Chromebooks
We'll explain all of this in more detail, but here is the TL; DR version:
Open cross: Ctrl + Alt + T
Ring: ping (domain)
Test memory: Memory test
Configure modem: Modem help
Chrome OS rollback: Rollback
Stop a process in Crosh: Ctrl + C
Open Task Manager: above
Battery manager: Battery test (seconds)
Developer mode commands: Sleeve, systrace, Packet capture
User and operating time: Operating time
Time settings: set the time
Network diagnostics: network_diag
Network trace: Trail path
Help: help, help_advanced
Storage information: for free, meminfo
Switch to the canary channel: live_in_a_coal_mine
Automatic updates via cellular networks: update_over_cellular (enable | disable)
Quit Crosh: exit
1. Open Crosh
You won't find Crosh in the regular list of apps in your Chromebook's app drawer.
To open Crosh, you have to press Ctrl + Alt + T, which opens the terminal window in a new browser tab.
Note: Your Chromebook doesn't need to be in Developer Mode to access Crosh.
2. Perform a ping test
Type ping (domain) to ping your Chromebook. To check your network connection with ping, enter the following command:
In case you didn't know, ping tests are an important tool when trying to diagnose network problems. It shows you how fast the traffic is between your computer and a web server. It also notifies you of dropped packets.
3. Test your Chromebook's memory
While you can use third-party plug-ins to view information about your Chromebook's storage (see our article on reviewing your Chromebook's specs to learn more), it may not be enough for some users. If you want more detailed information, use Crosh. Just enter the following and press Enter:
4. Configure your modem
A critical part of troubleshooting your network is making sure that your modem is configured correctly.
Enter the below mentioned command into the Chromebook's terminal. You are given access to a number of options, including settings to activate your modem, connect your modem, change the modem firmware, reset your modem to factory settings, and more.
5. Reinstall a previous version of Chrome OS
If a recent Chrome OS update wreaked havoc on your computer, you can easily undo the changes and use Crosh to revert to a previous version of the operating system.
All you have to do is type and hit the following command in Crosh Enter:
6. Stop any process in Crosh
Suppose you want to stop a background process like a ping or memory test in Crosh. You can do this by pressing Ctrl + C. This method is better and safer than closing the Crosh window completely.
7. A better task manager
Few people know that Chrome OS (and the Chrome browser on other operating systems) has its own task manager. It shows you which processes are eating up your CPU and memory. You can find it by opening Chrome and going to. walk More (three vertical dots)> More Tools> Task Manager.
Even fewer people know, however, that Chrome OS has a secondary task manager hidden in Crosh. You can use it to learn about low-level processes that are not shown in the main Task Manager app. You can access it by simply typing:
8. Battery management
Again, you can see the headline battery stats by simply looking in the lower right corner of your Chromebook's screen.
However, if you want more information, please give Battery test (seconds) in Crosh (replace (Seconds) with number). You can test this command by typing the following into the terminal:
Battery test 10
Crosh shows you exactly how much battery power your device has used over the specified period, as well as feedback on your remaining battery life and the general health of your battery.
9. Developer mode commands
You don't have to be a developer to use Crosh. However, once you've enabled Developer Mode, there are three new commands available to you:
- Sleeve: Opens a full bash shell
- systrace: Starts a system trace
- Package_Erquisition: Captures and logs data packets
10. User and Uptime
When was the last time you turned off your Chromebook? There can be days or even weeks between reboots.
You can use the command mentioned below to see how long your computer has been running since it was last shut down. The results also provide information about the currently logged in users.
11. Change the time
Are you having issues with your device's display time? Perhaps you live on a time zone boundary or have an Internet connection with an IP address that moves frequently.
Enter set the time in Crosh, and you can override the operating system's time settings. For example, run the following command to change the time:
set_time February 10, 2021 11:21 am
12. More network diagnostics
If you've pinged your modem and tried to configure your modem but you're still having problems, enter this command for full diagnostics on your network:
The output is saved as a TXT file in your Chromebook's memory.
13. Follow the package route
The last Crosh network command on this list allows you to trace the route of the received data packets over a network. Run this command to check the packet route for google.com:
14. Get command line help
If you're looking for a command that isn't on this list, you can get a short or full list of all of the Crosh commands available to you.
Here's a short list of commands:
For a full list of commands, type:
15. Storage information
If you want information about your Chromebook's memory usage, you can use either of the two Crosh commands below.
For detailed information:
16. Switch to the Canary Canal
You can subscribe to different channels depending on the type of updates you want on your Chromebook. There are four main channels available.
- Stable is for reliable and tested updates.
With beta, you get tested and fairly reliable latest features.
- Dev Channel provides the latest updates that may not be very reliable.
Then there is that canary Channel that offers experimental updates with state-of-the-art functions but very low reliability.
The name of this experimental channel is derived from the saying "canary in a coal mine". You can switch to that channel and live on the edge with the following command:
17. Automatic updates via cellular networks
By default, Chrome OS does not update the system while on a cellular network. It's the same as Android. If using the mobile Internet is not a problem for you, you can use these commands to enable or disable automatic updates via cellular networks:
18. Leaving Crosh
When you're done exploring and want to close the shell, just type:
As simple as that.
Make backups before you start
It goes without saying that if you change settings in the Chrome OS Developer Shell without knowing what you are doing, you can render your system unusable.
Fortunately, Chromebooks are remarkably easy to restore, but you would lose all of your locally stored data. So make sure you take backups before you poke around too much.
Have fun exploring your Chromebook by tinkering with the Crosh commands listed above.
All Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts: The Chrome OS Cheat Sheet
Our mega list of Chromebook keyboard shortcuts will help you complete everyday tasks while using Chrome OS.
About the author
(1601 published articles)
Dan joined MakeUseOf in 2014 and has been Partnerships Director since July 2020. Contact him with any questions about sponsored content, affiliate agreements, promotions, and other forms of partnership. You can also find him in the showroom every year at CES in Las Vegas. Say hello when you come with me. Prior to his writing career, he was a financial advisor.
By Dan Price
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