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How to Backup a Chromebook

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Almost everything on a Chromebook backs up automatically to your Google Drive account. In this article, I will show you how to enable backup for everything on your Chromebook.

Google Chrome Backup

Like the desktop version, the Chrome browser on your Chromebook backs up passwords, bookmarks, and more to Google Drive. Here is a list of items your Chrome browser can backup:

  • Apps
  • Bookmarks
  • Extensions
  • History
  • Settings
  • Theme
  • Reading list
  • Open tabs
  • Passwords
  • Addresses and more
  • Payment methods, offers, and addresses using Google Pay

Now, you don’t have to enable backup for all these items. You can pick and choose what’s backed up and what’s not. To do this:

  1. Click the three-dots settings menu.Chome Three Dots Settings Icon
  2. Choose Settings.
    Settings in Chrome Menu
  3. Select You and Google from the left pane. You and Google - Chrome
  4. Under Manage what you sync, select Sync everything or Customize sync.Customize Sync - Chrome
  5. When you select Customize sync, Chrome enables toggles for individual items. Click to enable to disable different items.Sync Indvidual Items - Chrome

Chrome OS Automatic Backup

Like the Chrome browser, Chrome OS, the operating system, also can backup a few things automatically. Here is the list:

  • Apps
  • Settings
  • WiFi networks
  • Wallpaper

Here is how to confirm and customize these items on your Chromebook:

  1. Open the Settings app.Chromebook Settings App in Menu
  2. From the left pane, select Accounts.Accounts - Chromebook Settings
  3. Select Sync and Google services.Sync and Google Services - Chromebook Settings
  4. Now select Manage what you sync.Manage what you sync - Chromebook settings
  5. Choose Sync everything or Customize sync.Choose sync on Chromebook
  6. To select individual items to sync, select Customize sync.Choose what to sync - Chromebook

Backing Up Files on a Chromebook

Are you noticing a pattern here? Like Chrome and Chromebook settings, Chrome OS backs up some files automatically and some are stored locally.

Remember this: everything in your My files folder (Downloads and Play files) is stored locally. You will lose these files when you reset your Chromebook. Everything in your Google Drive folder is backed up to your Google account.

Files App - Chromebook
Files App – Chromebook

So, how do you back up your local files? Simple, move anything you want to back up from the My files section to the Google Drive section.

See How to Copy and Paste on a Chromebook to learn how to copy files.

Summary

Knowing what is backed up and what is not, helps you keep your files safe and secure.

I hope you learned a thing or two from this article. Do you have any questions? Ask me in the comments section below.


One response to “How to Backup a Chromebook”

  1. Noses Himself Avatar
    Noses Himself

    You completely missed the part that is really scary and makes every powerwash a real adventure: Android applications. Be it Outlook, Nine Mail or Remote Desktop Manager, you have to start at zero every time you have to reinstall because these programs expect you to make your own backups of their configuration data. While this is not that difficult on a real Android device it is a major upward oriented pain in the rear end and there is no real solution to it unless these applications permit you exporting their configurations.

    And… About 20% of my Linux container backups fail to restore automatically if the ChromeOS version is changing between upgrades.

    Worst: There is no way to extract ChromeOS flags in any meaningful way that can be reapplied easily.


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