How to freeze the screen on a Chromebook - Google laptop explained

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how to freeze the screen on a Chromebook

A Chromebook can be a useful tool if your life revolves around Google apps. It’s cheaper than a regular laptop and has a touchscreen for convenience. But there are times where you need to know how to freeze the screen on a Chromebook and prevent it from moving around. You might have security concerns and don’t want people accessing your Chromebook.

Freezing the screen on a Chromebook isn’t a straightforward process, but it is possible. What you mean by freezing depends on what you want, as there are several definitions. To freeze the screen on a Chromebook, you must determine the outcome you want and figure out how you achieve it.

So, read on below to find out how to freeze the screen on a Chromebook and other related tips and tricks.

How to freeze the screen on a Chromebook

To freeze the screen on a Chromebook by locking it, you have several options. First is pressing the Search + L keys, or the Launcher + L combination. You can also select the time on the bottom right, which gives you an option to lock the Chromebook. Going into the Security & Privacy settings will also allow you to lock the screen there, or set the screen to lock when you close the laptop/go into Sleep Mode.

Either option will freeze your Chromebook and allow you to return as if nothing had changed. You still have to configure the settings to lock the Chromebook, but it will stop most programs from running. When you unlock the Chromebook, it will return you back to the screen you saw before locking it.

While not a complete “freeze”, it’s the best alternative to protecting your work. It’s difficult to block people from using your Chromebook if it’s open, and you can’t freeze the screen with a few button inputs. Locking your computer is the most reliable way to freeze your screen for security purposes.

Freeze your Chromebook screen for a snapshot

If what you want is a snapshot of the Chromebook screen as it appears, you don’t have to freeze any programs or stop the computer from running. Pressing the Control + Show windows buttons will give you a screenshot of your current screen, as if you froze your screen at a certain point. If you just want part of your screen frozen, you can take a partial snapshot with Shift + Control + Show Windows. This combination will change if you aren’t using a typical QWERTY keyboard.


The snapshot will be saved wherever your pictures are normally stored, or configured in the settings. If the snapshot doesn’t show what you want, prepare the screen again and take another snapshot. There isn’t a foolproof way to freeze the screen at a specific moment in time and stop all programs from running. A snapshot is the next best alternative.

Should your Chromebook screen have all programs stop running and the screen is unresponsive, that’s not a lucky accident. That’s your entire computer freezing up, which usually requires a restart. You won’t be able to take screenshots while the computer is frozen, if you can do anything at all.

Freeze the Chromebook screen by disabling the touch controls

You might not want the Chromebook to have a screen with no action, but you are trying to prevent your accidental touches from ruining your work. This requires disabling the touch controls, allowing you to continue using the Chromebook but not worry about accidental movements.

Start up Google Chrome and put “chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts” into the address bar. This will take you to the Chrome flags menu. There will be a drop down menu next to the Debugging keyboard shortcuts option. Search for the Disabled text, turn it to Enabled, then reboot your Chromebook. When you start up your Chromebook again, this will prevent the touch screen from working.

You can repeat the process to re-enable your touch screen if you must use it for another situation. This is as close as you can get to freezing your Chromebook to prevent accidental touch inputs.

Be careful when freezing your Chromebook screen

Wanting to freeze your Chromebook screen is straightforward if you know what you want. None of the methods listed above are actual “screen freezes” in the sense that your screen stops moving while you work. The best they can do is keep others out of your laptop, take a picture, or prevent accidental touch inputs.

If your screen actually freezes, then you have a bigger problem with the Chromebook that requires a reset. Take care of your Chromebook and ensure it never locks up, and you should be able to get what you need from snapshots or screen locking.

What it means to freeze the screen on a Chromebook

While it might seem obvious that freezing the screen on a Chromebook means “the screen doesn’t move”, that does have different definitions. Do you want the screen to not respond when you touch it? Or do you need the screen to stay frozen because you want to take a picture? Sometimes you might even want to know how to freeze a screen to avoid having your computer crashing.


Defining what it means when you say “freeze the screen” will help in figuring out the best way to stop the screen from moving. When people ask to freeze the screen, they usually refer to the following:

  • Locking the screen to prevent anyone from accessing it.
  • Freezing the screen to get a good snapshot of the screen’s contents.
  • Deactivating the touch screen to prevent accidental touches from moving the contents around.

What people are not referring to when they want to freeze the screen:

  • Their Chromebook is not responding to any inputs.
  • A black screen that doesn’t change no matter what you do.
  • The Chromebook screen is stuck and it isn’t responding to any inputs.

It’s a deliberate measure rather than an accident, and you are trying to get pictures or prevent people from accessing your Chromebook. If the Chromebook isn’t responsive and the screen is genuinely stuck, that’s a sign that you need to manually power down the computer.

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