Last month, a new flag popped up in the Canary channel of Chrome OS that was labeled “Chrome OS Full Restore.” My initial thought was that this could have something to do with restoring the actual operating system but it quickly became clear that this was not the case. “Full restore” is actually referring to a user’s applications being restored after shutting down their Chromebook. Enabling the flag creates a new sub-menu in the Chrome OS settings menu labeled “on startup” and as it implies, it gives you the option of what you’d like to do when you start your device.
The ins and outs were first discovered by Chrome Story a couple of weeks back and now, the feature flag is partially working in the Canary channel. I say partially because the UI is there and you will get prompt to restore your applications when your device powers on. However, clicking restore still does nothing to launch your previously opened applications. Still, it is clear that Google is working diligently to get this feature up and running.
This builds on two features of Chrome and Chrome OS that you may already be accustomed to using. When your Chromebook crashes or powers down unexpectedly, you’ve probably seen the browser notification that asks you if you want to restore your closed tabs. In Chrome for desktop, you can also set your browser to open where you left off when you shut down your device. The full restore feature will take this even further by allowing you to relaunch every application that you had running when you turned your Chromebook off.
I did a little digging to see which “apps” this feature would apply to because Chrome OS now runs Chrome apps, Linux applications, and Android apps out of the box. In its current state, “full restore” will launch Chrome apps, web apps, and system apps but in the “to-do list” for the feature I discovered that Android applications are eventually going to be added. That’s great news for the masses that have adopted Chrome OS and utilize Play Store apps on the regular. Users have the option to disable this feature or they can choose from “always restore” or “ask every time.” There’s still some work to be done on the full restore feature but I’m crossing my fingers that the Chrome OS team will get this one zipped up and ready to ship for the release of Chrome OS 89 in early March.