creating a chromebook recovery disk

In the past, I have used the Chromebook utility to create a recovery image USB. This time, it hung at 0% on writing to disk. I tried with two different USBs. Then I started searching for a workaround

A reddit post led me in the right direction. This URL downloads a conf file with the direct URLs to download the image for each Chromebook. I searched the file for my model (Acer Chromebook 15 (CB3-531)) and downloaded the zip file. It was about the size of a CD (655MB)

Then I chose the gear and the local image option. I picked the bin.zip file. It still wouldn’t load. I wound up just copying the zip (and the unzipped cpgz) to the USB. (still under 3GB). That way I have it in case it is needed. My mother would have to bring the ChromeBook to best buy anyway so they can make the recovery disk if needed. We’ve never needed it so I don’t expect to!

I’m now wondering why it needs a 8GB disk when the image is far smaller. i also note that in 2012, it said you needed an 8GB disk and i used a 4GB one. So inflation?

Listening to Free Music on a ChromeBook

My mother decide she’d like to listed to music on here Chromebook. Conveniently the new Chromebook has good speakers. The gotcha is that she has limited bandwidth at home.

Luckily, this is still possible via a “simple three step procedure”

Step 0 – pre-req

  • Go to Amazon Play on the Chromebook and download the Amazon music app
  • Right click the Amazon music app and pin it. That way it always shows up on the bottom
  • Login to the Amazon music app using the account with a Prime membership. Note this must be the actual account with a Prime membership. Not one you merely shared free shipping with. (Amazon allows up to 10 devices with access to the music on a single Prime account so they must be ok with families sharing)

Step 1 – pick Amazon Prime songs

  • Go to Amazon Digital Music
  • Search for what you are interested in
  • Filter by Amazon Prime on the left
  • This will give you a list of albums with at least one free prime song
  • Each one tells you how many songs are included with prime
  • Click on the albums you are interested in
  • Click “Add” and the icon turns into “Listen now”. This makes it accessible via the app

Step 2 – download to Chromebook while on free wifi

While my mother is bandwidth limited at home, she has free wifi in the lobby and at the library. So for this step:

  • Open Amazon Music on the chromebook
  • Go to My Music. I had tow wait about two minutes for the new songs to show up
  • For each song, click the three dot icon at right and choose Download

Step 3 – listen to music on Chromebook

  • Without being online, open Amazon Music
  • Choose “Offline Music”
  • Click “Shuffle all”
  • Click “play” on first song. Then they all play

Chromebook the third!

I bought my mother a Chromebook in 2012 and again in 2014. That one lasted longer and here we are five years later. It’s time to replace the Chromebook with her third one. Definitely a happy customer.

I went the Best Buy like the last two times. The number of Chromebooks on the market exploded! I think they had nine in the store. I went with the Acer Chromebook 15. It’s a basic machine with built in speakers. Like actual speakers, not embedded ones.

Comparing the stats from 5 years ago

My mother wants to listen to music now. This means I care about the hard drive now when I didn’t five years ago. Everything is better on this machine except the CPU. The computer is never CPU bound though so that seems ok

Asus (2014)Acer (2019)
Screen size13.3″15.6″
Price$299$240
CPUIntel 2.16 GHzIntel 1.6 GHz
RAM2 GB4GB
Hard Drive???16GB
USB1 USB 2.0 and 1 USB 3.02 USB 3.0
HDMIYesYes
Weight3.1 lbs4.41 lbs
Headphone jackYesYes
Battery life???12 hours

Setting up the Chromebook

  • The Chromebook was set to Sept 18th 1:00 on May 15th 10:21. Maybe that’s when it was built/packaged? It got fixed automatically when I connected to wifi
  • I chose “let’s go” on the welcome screen and connected to my home wifi.
  • I then got the ChromeOS terms page. For about a minute, it showed me a cert invalid page. Then the screen loaded with the terms. Weird.
  • I chose not to send data to Google and accepted the terms. (My mother is bandwidth constrained so don’t want to use up any helping Google.)
  • Signed in. My profile was automatic. Since I signed on as my mother, I got her giant accessibility cursor
  • I accepted Google Play/Google Drive since I want to use an app. I did not enable location services.
  • On settings
    • disabled Bluetooth
    • disabled sync for passwords/addresses/google pay
    • changed time zone to Pacific
    • turned off check if have payment methods saved
    • on site settings, disable microphone and camera
  • Installed Keep Awake browser extension
  • Covered camera
  • Right click desktop and choose “set wallpaper”. Choose light blue under solid colors
  • I tested the USB, HDMI headphones and that a Kensington security lock works with
  • I made a recovery disk. The procedure hasn’t changed
  • Finally, I deleted a bunch of apps (go to the circle icon in the lower left corner). Right click the app to uninstall. The “uninstall” button is blue and looks grayed out, but you can still click on it (I needed a mouse for this – deleting with the trackpad doesn’t work.) I deleted a lot of stuff because it’s less apps my mother won’t use. Which means less stuff that needs to download auto updates
    • ebay
    • Play Movies
    • Play Music
    • Play Games
    • YouTube
    • Google Maps
    • Google Keep
    • Google Photos
    • Text
    • Calculator