Chromebook Basics: Migrating to a Chromebook

Lesson 4: Migrating to a Chromebook


Migrating to a Chromebook

While making the switch from a laptop to a Chromebook may seem complex at first, it's a pretty easy transition to make. To make your transition as simple and smooth as possible, you'll want to take a few easy steps.

Creating a Google account

When using a Chromebook, you'll need to use a Google account to sign in. If you already have a Google account, you're all set! You'll just use your email and password to sign in at the sign-in screen. If you don't currently have a Google account, you can review our lesson on creating a Google account for help.

If you used the Chrome browser on your previous computer, you may already have bookmarks, settings, and other information saved to your Google account. When you sign in to your Chromebook, these will show up automatically.

Bookmark saved to Google account

Backing up your files

When changing to a new computer, it can feel pretty overwhelming to move all of your files from one place to another. Luckily, there are some easy methods to transfer your files from one computer to another.

  • Because Chromebooks draw mostly from your Google account, you can simply upload any files you want to transfer to Google Drive. When you sign in to your Chromebook, you'll have immediate access to all files on your Google Drive. Review our lesson on uploading files to Google Drive for more information.
    Google Drive
  • If you don't feel comfortable uploading all of your files to the cloud, you can also save your files to a storage device like a USB drive or an external hard drive. Chromebooks have a USB port, so you can easily transfer your files from a device to Chromebook.

We recommend using Google Drive to back up your files. Chromebooks' local hard drives are relatively small and may not be able to store everything you want to transfer.

Finding alternative software

Because Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, you can't download and install software you may have previously used on a Windows computer. However, there are a variety of apps you can use as an alternative to some of these programs.

  • Google Docs: This is similar to Microsoft Word. It allows you to open and edit existing Word documents. You can also use Google Sheets to create and edit spreadsheets and Google Slides to create and edit presentations.
    Google Docs
  • Pixlr: This is similar to Photoshop. It allows you to open and edit existing .psd files. Pixlr is not a default program on Chromebooks, but it can be easily downloaded from the Google Play Store.
  • Outlook: If you're unfamiliar with Gmail and would prefer to use another email client like Outlook, you can download this app from the Google Play Store.

To learn more, review Google's Switching to Chromebook page.