Michael Horowitz
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Debugging a Chromebook

June 14, 2019

I am a huge fan of Chromebooks, for many reasons. But, nothing is perfect.

A while back I purchased a Lenovo Chromebook and it had a couple out-of-the-box problems. The first was immediate: when opening the lid the computer did not turn itself on. Not a big deal, but still, a Chromebook is supposed to power itself on when the lid is raised. The other problem was more troublesome, and resulted in my returning the laptop. For the life of me, I can't recall what the problem was.

Just before returning the Chromebook I powerwashed it. Powerwashing is a great Chromebook feature that restores the laptop to factory fresh state. All traces of your accounts and activity are washed away. Vaguely, I recall that the powerwash fixed one or both of the problems, but it was too late by then to care, the return had already been carved in stone.

Just this month, I bought an Acer Chromebook and it too wasn't doing what it what supposed to. This was a fringe problem, and I didn't notice it for a while.

Like many Chromebooks, the screen on this one rotates completely. In theory you could use it as a tablet, but that strikes me as ridiculous. However, rotating the screen also lets you use it like a newspaper or magazine for reading on a table. That is, the computer can form an upside down V (like a tent) and then you can use the touchscreen rather than the mouse and keyboard. Or, you can have the keyboard lie flat on the table, facing away from you, with the screen facing you. I like these configurations for reading but they are also great for people who prefer their own keyboard and/or mouse to the one built into the Chromebook.

Of course, when you rotate the screen, it is supposed to flip the displayed image upside down automatically. That was the bug. No flipping. Turns out there is a configuration setting for this, but its only visible in tent/tablet mode, not in normal laptop mode. Who knew? The setting was configured correctly, to automatically flip the screen image. You can manually rotate the screen image using a special combination of key presses, but the Chromebook was going to be used by a non-techie for whom that was too much to deal with.

So, I packed it up for return and then it hit me - powerwash. I had nothing to lose.

It worked. After the powerwash, the screen automatically flips the image when it should.

Hopefully this helps someone in the future.



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 michael--at--michaelhorowitz.com   Last Updated: June 14, 2019 7 PM  
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