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The Summer Guide for Storing Student Devices: Long-Term Chromebook Storage Tips

Image of two students returning devices into cart

For a K-12 IT team, collecting individual Chromebooks from students and storing them for the summer is a long and tedious task. After each Chromebook is collected, IT teams get ready to jump the next hurtle—preparing all Chromebooks for storage.

That process includes ensuring devices are repaired if returned broken, and wiped of data, as well as pairing them with their battery or charger. It’s a crucial process, as IT teams must ensure student devices are properly put into storage until the next school year begins.

Properly implementing Chromebook preparation and storage will positively affect the lifespan of the device and ease back-to-school set-up. Read on to see our recommendations for summer storage best practices.

Preparing Chromebooks for Storage

Preparing student Chromebooks for storage between each school year is extremely important, as it not only affects the quality of Chromebooks, but it also impacts school liability.

Like all laptops, the more data, apps, and information that is stored on the device, the slower the performance. By wiping the data in between school years, technicians can rejuvenate each Chromebook and extend its lifespan.

Another aspect K-12 IT teams have to pay attention to is information security. If a school district fails to protect their information, they may be held liable for the leak. Best practices suggest wiping each Chromebook before back-to-school starts.

Furthermore, the best way to extend the Chromebook’s life—as well as protect the student’s and school’s information—is to conduct a factory reset. By doing so, all data from the Google Drive, apps, downloads, and associated accounts will be removed, thus increasing storage, speed, and protection.

Google Support provides these recommended steps to follow when resetting a Chromebook back to factory settings:

  1. Sign out
  2. Press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift + r
  3. Click “Restart”
  4. When a box appears, click “Power-wash” and then click “Continue”
  5. Follow the next steps that appear and then sign in with your administrator account
  6. Follow the onscreen instructions to set up the Chromebook

After all of the Chromebook factory reset steps have been completed, connect to wifi and ensure that all school firewalls and administrative restrictions are implemented for every Chromebook.

The next step is to ensure each Chromebook is paired with their charger. Sometimes this involves pairing each Chromebook with their specified charger based on barcodes, but some IT teams prefer Chromebooks to be placed in charging stations. Either way, each Chromebook will need to be plugged in, charged, and placed into long-term storage.

Chromebook Battery Care

Extended Chromebook storage directly affects the laptop’s battery life. While it provides us comfort to leave devices plugged into a power source for extended periods of time, it is not the best practice for the device’s battery. In terms of a Chromebook, they have lithium-ion batteries, and they lose their charge longevity if they are always plugged in. To avoid lowering battery longevity, it is best to charge each Chromebook between 80 and 90 percent, and then stop charging.

Once each Chromebook is optimally charged, there are two options of powering them down. The first option is the most common, where they are simply unplugged and shut down. While this system works, there is a better alternative that slows the discharge process while they are not plugged into a power source—this is called the battery disconnect state. It helps prolong the battery lifespan, since it will require less charging throughout the summer before back-to-school.

Follow the process below to put the Chromebook into the battery disconnect state:

  1. Connect the Chromebook to a charger and turn it on
  2. Press and hold the Refresh and Power buttons at the same time
  3. While holding these buttons, remove the power cable, and then release the buttons
  4. The Chromebook should shut down and remain off
  5. Press the Power button to ensure that the Chromebook is in the battery disconnect state. To know it worked, the Chromebook should not turn on
  6. The device will not power on until the Chromebook is plugged back into a power source

Throughout the summer, every Chromebook will need to be periodically checked to ensure that they do not drain completely of charge. In terms of caring for the battery lifespan, the best rule of thumb is to charge the Chromebook when necessary to avoid over- or under- charging. It is also important to maintain some form of battery life as their lithium-ion batteries can sustain damage if they are not maintaining any charge for extended periods.

With that said, if they were charged traditionally (without putting them in the battery disconnect state), best practices recommend checking two or three Chromebook battery percentages every two weeks. If they are all above 20 percent charge, don’t charge them. If they are under 20 percent charge, plug every Chromebook back in and get them back between 80 and 90 percent charge before unplugging them from their power sources once again and putting them back into storage.

Another factor to consider in terms of battery life is the temperature they are stored in. Due to the fact that a Chromebook has a lithium-ion battery, they require cold, dry conditions. A Chromebook will lose battery life faster if they are placed in hot, humid conditions for extended periods. Lastly, because Chromebook batteries cannot sustain heat well, they should not be stored in direct sunlight, as that would raise the temperature for the battery, even if the room is cool.

Chromebook Storage Guidelines

We have discussed the importance of preparing and caring for each Chromebook, but what about storage? Storage is heavily influenced by what is available to each IT team and district, but there are some tips and tricks that can maintain organization and protection for student devices.

As we have discussed previously, it is very important for a Chromebook to be stored in a cold, dry environment where they are not sitting in direct sunlight to protect their batteries. The best temperatures for Chromebook storage is between 50 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is better to stay on the lower end of the range. If your storage room is sunny, purchasing solid cabinets or charging carts will help, as they will provide a shaded place for Chromebook storage. Utilizing cabinets and charging carts are also instrumental to storage rooms with little to no windows, as they are capable of being locked to add another layer of security. These measures will also help reduce the likelihood of devices being knocked over or damaged.

Choosing between cabinets and charging carts is another decision that is based on preference, existing Chromebook procedures, and district budget. For example, whether or not chargers are paired to a specific Chromebook based on barcodes may play a strong role in whether or not to go with cabinets over charging carts. With charging carts, they can easily pair and keep the Chromebook and charger paired through storage. When it’s time for back-to-school preparations, the Chromebook is simply taken out of the cart with its specific charger. Maintenance charging throughout the summer is also efficient, due to the charging cart being the power source to each Chromebook within. Charging carts are also largely mobile and can be rolled throughout the school when needed, and can also be implemented into classroom storage.

As for cabinets, student devices are charged outside of the cabinet, instead of being stored in slots with their designated charger conveniently dangling down. They are instead stacked with no more than 7 Chromebooks, as any more may cause screen damage due to the weight. While each Chromebook may not have their designated charger directly with them, a way to increase efficiency is by organizing the specific chargers in small containers that can be placed with each Chromebook stack. Charging carts store about 30 Chromebooks on average, while cabinets with four shelves can hold about 140 Chromebooks. This will lead to less shelving purchases and will conserve space within the storage room.

Another factor when deciding between cabinets and charging carts is the price difference between them. Charging carts are more expensive because of the benefits they provide, such as charging ease and their mobility. Depending on the number of charging slots and cart material, charging carts’ price range is between $150 to $1,300 each. Cabinets, on the other hand, are slightly cheaper, as their prices range from $100 to $1,200 each, depending on aesthetics and material.

Last Notes on Chromebook Storage

Overall, properly storing Chromebooks long-term has more factors to consider than what first meets the eye. Many questions need to be taken into consideration when it comes to protecting the device and student information, clearing up storage or disk space, and properly storing Chromebooks over breaks.

Asset management software is also used to further assist IT teams and K-12 districts managing large Chromebook deployments. Incident IQ helps IT teams track every device’s location, as well as highlight preventative maintenance needs over the summer. By utilizing Incident IQ’s ticket templates, all devices can receive proper and optimal care on a predetermined schedule. Technicians using Incident IQ can also create storage checklists before summer, and pre-deployment workflows before students return to school.

For more asset management help and support solutions, reach out to us for a free demo.