Here’s how you can run on a Chromebook:

Basics of using a Chromebook

  • A Google account is completely separate from a gmail account.
    • A gmail account only gets you access to email.
    • A Google account gets you access to your Google Drive – this place, and only this place, is where you will store anything you want to save.
    • It also lets you log into the Chromebook. You can browse as a guest, but your work won’t be saved for the next time you open the computer. When you’re logged in with your Google account, your work is saved, by default, and it can be accessed again on any computer in the world, effectively, and at any time.
    • You can create a Google account using any email address – e.g.,
      • Go to
      • Create account
      • Enter your name
      • Enter an email account
      • Create a password. This is not your email account password!
    • Your Google account is free of charge. The only possible charges will come if you store more than 10 GB of files on your Google Drive
    • Some people worry about being tracked (e.g., parents concerned for their children using Google accounts to use our Chromebooks in class). Having a Google account does not add to the considerable exposure we all have from Facebook, Windows or Mac OS or Linus, Microsoft, etc. – all of which we can manage safely, anyhow, with some prudent choices and very common-sense use of Internet access. David Gutschick wrote up a rather comprehensive presentation of how our personal information is used on the Internet and how to be careful with it. I can send a copy, if you’d like.
  1. With a Google account.
    1. You must have a Google account login
    2. When the Chromebook opens up, you need to log in under the icon with your name
      1. If your name is not there, you need to go to the bottom of the screen and click on Add person and type in your name in the new window. I have more details a the end of this document.**
    3. Enter the password for your Google account (not your email account, unless you set your gmail and Google passwords to be identical). You’re in.
    4. I’ve told parents NOT to create your account in their name. If they do, you can’t log in as yourself; we can’t call parents during class to ask them for their password, sorry.
    5. You can now access the Chrome browser, Google Docs for creating files, etc. The icons to get to these functions are at the bottom of the screen, on what’s called the shelf.
    6. You have access to your Google Drive, where you may have stored photos or other kinds of files and folders.
    7. ABOVE ALL: Be sure you memorize your Google account password, or have it written down on a piece of paper you keep safe. Otherwise, you can use or (but not Colab) but you can’t save your results.
  2. Without a Google account.
    1. When the Chromebook opens up, just go to the bottom of the screen and click on Browse as guest.
    2. The Chrome browse opens up.
      1. You can browse the Internet, going to any website.
      2. You can get to your email account, such as by typing in the browser address bar.
      3. Your browsing history is not saved. It gets cleared when you log out. That is, you won’t see a convenient list of sites you visited so that you can use autocomplete for URLs.
    3. You will not have access to your Google Drive, where you may have stored photos or other kinds of files and folders. You will not be able to save any projects that you create at, nor in Google Colab.

** About storing your results:

  • If you wish to store your project from, you must do it onto your own Google Drive. I will give you instructions on how to do this from the Chromebook that you’re using at the time. (You can store to your Google Drive from ANY computer you may be using.) If you are in the Python programming class, your results in Colab will be saved automatically in Colab (but you have to take steps to save them to your Google Drive!).
  • It’s possible to store to the local disk drive on the Chromebook but this will be cleared almost every week. I clean off the drives because Chromebooks have very limited data storage. Anything you want to keep should be stored in your Google Drive.

Some special cases about using a Chromebook that is not your primary or secondary Chromebook:

  • If both your primary and secondary Chromebooks are in use by other students:
    • I will try to locate who is using one of these and see if they can give up that Chromebook to you.
    • Sometimes that won’t work, so you have to Add Person (yourself) on some other Chromebook that’s available. Keep working on that one for the whole class, but save any results that you wish to keep on your Google Drive at the end of the class.
  • At the end of the week, usually, I will be removing all accounts on each Chromebook that are not for the students for whom it is their primary or secondary Chromebook.
    • The login icon for the other students will disappear, and so will any data they have stored on the Chromebook itself.
    • The items stored in your Google Drive are safe; you can get to them on any Chromebook later.
    • You can log into any Chromebook with your Google account. On your primary or secondary Chromebook, your name will appear on the login screen. If you have to use a different one (see above), you can log in when you add your name via Add Person.

OK, now let’s have fun and learn about computers and programming!

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