Getting To Know Your Chromebook’s Desktop

When it was a baby, Chrome OS was different. It was born without a desktop. For operating systems, it was a weird thing. Everyone bullied Chrome OS saying it didn’t look cool, because everyone else had a desktop with a stylish wallpaper on top of it (btw, why do you call it a wallpaper and not a table cloth, because it is on a”desktop” ? )

Chrome OS is mostly just a browser. People knew this fact but still felt uncomfortable because they felt locked inside a browser without no place to move around. This was mainly because there was no desktop (again)

And then Chrome OS got wallpapers and desktop.

Chrome OS desktop is similar to the normal desktops that we see around. It is slightly different too. Let’s take a look at its features.

  • You can right click and change wallpaper
  • You can select from pictures available in Chrome OS or choose a custom image as wallpaper. In future, we might see extensions that will bring awesome wallpapers from the web, changing them occasionally for you.
  • At any time, you can press Ctrl + M to access the desktop
  • You Can’t place files or links on the desktop. It is good for those who like their desktop clean, and bad for those who manage most of their stuff right from their desktop

Launcher or Taskbar


Chrome OS has a taskbar placed at the bottom of the desktop. It is called the Launcher. The Launcher behaves similar to your windows taskbar. Here is a small list of things you can do from the launcher.

  • Right click the launcher or anywhere on the desktop to change the position of the launcher. You can place it on the bottom,  left or right of the desktop. The option to place it on the top was removed recently.
  • There is an option to auto hide the launcher as well. Once this selected, the launcher will automatically disappear and will come back only when you place the cursor where it was.
  • You can pin programs to the launcher. To pin an app to the launcher, right click the app icon on the apps menu and chose Pin to Launcher
  • Once an app is pinned to the launcher, you can open it using a keyboard shortcut ALT + Number. The first icon on the launcher is the Chrome app which is your browser. Skip this and start counting to call an app. For example, if the Youtube app is the fourth icon on the launcher, you will press ALT + 3 because the first one is Chrome app which is not counted, as I just told you.
  • Pinned apps will show a white underline if you have the open.

Ash Tray

The bottom right corner of Chrome OS desktop (that’s the default position, unless you have changed the launcher position) is the most useful part of the Chrome OS desktop.

google chrome os  10 New Features Coming To Your Chromebook

The Ash Tray? Yes because Google calls the Chrome OS desktop “Ash” so the tray is Ash Tray and the launcher is Ash Launcher.

Features? Okay, here is the list

  • The try displays time, notifications icon, connection status, battery and your profile picture
  • When clicked, it opens a small settings panel
  • Click the profile icon to go to the settings page where you can change your Chromebook account’s profile picture
  • There is a Sign Out button here for you to logout easily
  • Next up in the list is the name of the network that you are connected to. Click this to get additional options to manage your connection.
  • You can change the network you are connected to from here. That means you can change the wifi network, and switch between Wifi and 3G network if your Chromebook has a SIM card slot
  • Clicking the Wifi icon here on the bottom can be used to enable or disable wifi. The network signal icon does the same for your 3G network
  • The “i” icon displays additional information about the current network. This includes IP address and MAC address for Wifi.
  • The “<” icon on the bottom takes you back to the settings panel.
  • Next up is Bluetooth status. It shows either Bluetooth enabled or Bluetooth disabled. If bluetooth is enabled, you will see connected devices here. You can also add a new bluetooth device from here.
  • Next is the volume icon. You can adjust volume or mute your Chromebook from here.
  • Then there is Settings. Click this to go to settings page
  • Next to Settings icon, you will get the battery status and remaining percentage
  • Next is date, click here to go to the settings page to adjust date and time
  • The “?” icon takes you to Chrome OS help center
  • Then there is the power icon to shut down your Chromebook
  • Next to the powder icon is the lock icon. This locks your Chromebook screen

Hope you learned a thing or two about your Chromebok’s desktop here. Share this with your friends to help them get started with Chrome OS and Chromebooks.

In Category: Chromebook


Dinsan made Google Chrome his default browser within hours of its release. He fell in love with Chromebooks from the day he first touched one and is currently obsessed with Chromecasts.

Show 1 Comment
  • Jo 25/06/2014, 8:58 pm

    I bought my Chromebook in March and I had no problem setting a dynamite wallpaper to my desktop. Actually many kickin’ wallpapers. (I tend to change them often). I’d like an app or extension that runs like a slideshow for a wallpaper! Jo –