TestOut does not officially support Chromebooks. However, we still try to provide the best assistance we can to those using them.
There are two reasons we don't technically support them:
- They use ChromeOS, and we have not tested our products to work on that operating system. We have had reports of LabSim working well in it, but we can't guarantee it will work in every situation. There may be instances where certain things simply will not work, unless done on a supported operating system. Also, our tech support department's tools, to remotely connect to a computer for troubleshooting, do not work on ChromeOS, so it limits the technical support we can provide.
- Many/most Chromebooks use low-end hardware, often with CPUs that are far below the recommended technical specifications needed to have a pleasant and responsive experience in the labs. See this article: The-Importance-of-the-CPU. So, depending on the specifications of the Chromebooks, slowness and lag in the labs may be impossible to avoid. For example, the Dell Chromebook 11 and its CPU is about 1/3 as powerful as we would recommend users to have. Perhaps Chromebooks can do more with less power than other operating systems, but a slower CPU generally means less responsiveness in the labs.
So, can Chromebooks actually be used with TestOut LabSim?
It's possible, but we make no guarantees that everything will work correctly. Generally, we expect them to work for videos, fact sheets, and most quizzes. Lab simulations and exams that contain labs, will likely function in most cases, but unusual behavior, slowness, and some unresponsiveness may (and probably will) occur in at least some of our simulations/exams. Other unexpected behavior may occur. We have had reports of LabSim working fine from some users of Chromebooks, but we've also received some reports of LabSim not working very well at all from others. Only combine LabSim and Chromebooks if you understand and accept this risk.
If users run into problems with slowness or unresponsiveness using a Chromebook, try the following:
- Restart the computer, and make sure to have as few programs and browser tabs running as possible, to reserve all possible CPU power and memory for the TestOut labs.
- Disable any and all unneeded browser extensions while using LabSim.
- While using Labsim, keep the Chromebook plugged in, and not just on battery power. When running only on battery power, many laptops and notebooks limit how hard the CPU can work, further slowing the labs down.
- If possible, do the labs on a different computer that meets our recommended specifications. See this article: What-are-the-system-requirements-for-the-TestOut-software. This is especially recommended for exams with multiple lab simulations in them. This may also be the only way to bypass unexpected programming conflicts that might be encountered when working in ChromeOS.
- Students that experience freezing during exams can contact us and/or follow the advice in this article (especially point 8): Troubleshooting-Slowness-Unresponsiveness-or-Freezing-during-TestOut-Lab-Simulations-Expanded-Edition.
Other common issues and their work-arounds for Chromebook users:
Unable to use F-Keys
- Click the Settings panel in the bottom right corner of your Chromebook screen.
- In the resulting Settings menu, choose Settings. This loads your Chromebook settings into a Chrome browser window.
- Scroll down to the Device section and click Keyboard Settings. This loads the Keyboard Settings overlay.
- Check the Treat Top-Row Keys as Function Keys checkbox.
- Click OK. This disables the shortcut functionality of your Chromebook’s shortcut keys and enables their function as F-keys.
Unable to use Delete Key
You can use the Alt + Backspace keys to work as Delete. Simply hold the ‘Alt’ key and press the Backspace button, this will function as the Delete key.