Network administration is one of those annoying realities of using so many connected devices, and although there is lots of tools that can help streamline thingsSometimes it feels like Chromebooks are going out of their way to make it harder. Right now, it’s even difficult to identify your Chromebook on your local network because Chrome OS doesn’t broadcast your device’s hostname, a unique tag that helps it stand out. As a result, diagnosing even simple wireless issues is more painful than it should be, forcing you to deal with cumbersome IP addresses. Fortunately, you won’t have to wait any longer before you can give your Chromebook a convenient and easy-to-recognize hostname.
Back in October, History of Chrome discovered a work in progress that would allow a user to change their Chromebook’s hostname directly from System Preferences – no admin console needed. This opens the door for so many potential wacky and creative names to help you identify your device on the network. Despite the accumulation nearly 300 stars on the bug tracker, the development of the feature fell silent, hopes to rename our Chromebooks collapsed for almost a year.
Recently we have surfaced several commits at Chromium Gerrit which prove that Google has not abandoned the feature, and in a recent update to the Canary Channel, its flag became available to test again. Intrepid users can see the user interface by copying and pasting the following URL into bold in the address bar of Chrome:
Allows you to set the Chrome OS hostname, the name of the device that is exposed to the local network – Chrome OS
Toggle its drop-down list from Default to On, then restart your Chromebook. Once your desktop returns, click “About Chrome OS” in System Preferences, then select “More Details.”
You will soon be able to customize the name of your device through System Preferences.
You will find a new entry “Device name” towards the bottom of the page with the option to customize it. On my particular unit, the default name for my Chromebook is ChromeOS_959745 (the arbitrary numbering is not here to stay, luckily), but we can change that to something more creative. When you click on the pencil icon, you will be able to enter up to fifteen characters (letters, numbers and hyphens included). The new name will become visible to other devices on your network and via Bluetooth connections.
The name change feature is not working at this time, so it will take a while before you can customize the name of your Chromebook. Troubleshooting wireless issues on my Chromebook has proven to be a tough ordeal at times thanks to a bunch of wireless devices in my house, and it’s hard to remember my laptop’s IP address. With a unique name, I can easily find my device on the network, without having to go to my Chromebook’s network settings or mess around with crosh.
Since we’re still waiting for the official arrival of this feature, you have a little time to come up with a good name for your own Chromebook. Personally, I name my Pixel Slate “Ayam-Cemani” – so no carbon copy.