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Is your Chromebook drowsy? Here's how to make it stay awake

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If you own a Chromebook, you may have noticed its annoying tendency to slip into sleep mode at the blink of an eye. In fact, it can be hard to keep Chromebooks from entering sleep mode. Not only do most Chromebooks have a feature that switches on Chrome OS sleep mode when you shut the laptop lid, but the operating system also includes a failsafe that forces that laptop to hibernate after around six minutes if no action is being taken.

This helps Chromebooks save battery life and improve security. However, the sleep mode has proved more annoying than helpful – particularly because you can’t just go to settings and turn it off. There is no built-in way to stop the Chromebook narcolepsy, which means you need to get creative. Here’s how to keep Chrome awake.

Keep Awake: Caffeine for your Chromebook

Keep awake extension
Tyler Lacoma / Digital Trends
Tyler Lacoma / Digital Trends

Chromebooks have a whole lot of extensions waiting in the Google Store, and an active Chromium community coming up with fixes, new tools, and tweaks to make the experience better. Given this, it’s no surprise that someone has created an ideal solution to the sleep problem, and it’s called Keep Awake.

The Keep Awake extension is both simple and effective. When installed, it creates a new icon in the top right corner of Chrome browser window. This icon is either a picture of a bright sun, a setting sun, or of a moon. Click it to switch between the three. When the bright sun icon is on, then sleep mode will not work and your Chromebook screen will always stay on. When on sunset, the Chromebook screen can go blank to save power, but it won’t actually got to sleep. When on the moon, the traditional Chrome OS sleep mode settings apply.

Keep Awake will prevent your computer from absently slipping into sleep mode while you are streaming, or studying, or working on a long project. It will also prevent those awkward moments when you are giving a presentation on a second screen and your Chromebook suddenly decides to take a nap. How do you get it? Just follow this link to the Google Chrome Web Store and select Add to Chrome to download the extension and get it working.

Note: If Keep Awake stops working on you, double check to make sure that you have downloaded the normal version and not the beta. Also look for updates to the extension.

Chromebook lid issues and fixes

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

If you paid close attention to our description of Keep Awake, you probably noticed that it doesn’t affect sleep mode when you close the lid (except when using a second screen). This is a thornier problem, and one that may not be important to you. But, if you do want to keep Chrome awake even you shut the laptop, there’s something you can try.

This move requires using the Chromebook terminal to execute a specific command that will stop the sleep function for all lid-related activities. This fix has been around for several years, and still appears effective.

First, make sure you are the admin user. You can open a terminal at any time on a Chromebook by holding down CTRL+ALT+T. This opens a command prompt window where you should type and enter in these commands, in order:

  • shell
  • sudo stop powerm
  • sudo stop powerd

This will solve your sleep problem, but be warned! It will only work as long as you don’t restart your Chromebook. If you do restart – say for an update – then Chrome OS will wipe out your little administrator hack and you’ll have to do it again.

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Tyler Lacoma
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