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How to keep your Chromebook from falling asleep

Keep Awake will keep it awake.

I don't employ a Chromebook as my primary computer, so I view Chrome OS limitations as virtues. I love the simplicity. It's quick and responsive, and its updates are the opposite of oppressive; they occur infrequently and when they do, they happen nearly instantaneously. You could say I skipped past the five stages of Chromebook acceptance and went directly to a warm embrace.

Still, there are things you can't do on a Chromebook, including run Photoshop, store lots of data locally and customize your settings to the level you can with Windows or MacOS. You can't, for example, tweak the power options to change when your Chromebook enters sleep mode.

My Chromebook puts itself to sleep after 6 minutes of inactivity when running on battery power and after 15 minutes when plugged in. There are times, however, where I'd like it to stay awake, like when I'm downloading or uploading large files and step away from my desk. Other times, I just want my Chromebook to greet me upon my return in the same state that I left it out of sheer convenience. I'm lazy; don't make me swipe to wake you up when I get back from making a cup of coffee.

With no power options at my disposal, I turned to the Keep Awake extension. It places a small button to the right of Chrome's URL bar, which you can click to override Chrome OS's default power plan. Keep Awake offers three modes, each with a different icon:

  • Sun icon: no sleeping; the screen stays on
  • Sunset icon: screen will dim and then turn off per usual but the system will not sleep, keeping your network connection active
  • Moon icon: extension is disabled, leaving you with Chrome OS's default power settings
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Two notes before we depart: Keep Awake will not keep your Chromebook from sleeping when you close the lid; it works only when your Chromebook is open. And it works only on Chrome OS, in case you were thinking of using it as an easy power utility on a MacBook or Windows laptop.

In related news, find out the best way to use Dropbox on a Chromebook and how to print from a Chromebook.

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