Google Chrome Laptops

How do you factory reset a Chromebook?

acer chromebook on the white desk
Photo by Kaboompics .com on

Even Chromebooks are not immune to being filled with unwanted junk that kills their performance. Compounding the issue is that many Chromebooks use low-powered components, so it doesn’t take much to overwhelm them, leaving frustrated users drumming their fingers impatiently on the desk. If this sounds familiar, here is a simple way to factory reset a Chromebook.

Let’s Powerwash a Chromebook

Powerwash? Before you reach for the Karcher, know that Google has named its factory reset process Powerwash. Whatever you want to call it, the process erases all the user data on the machine’s drive, including all files and downloads, so ensure all critical files are stored elsewhere before you begin. If your Chromebook files are stored on Google Drive or an external device, the Powerwash process will not delete any of your data.

How to factory reset a Chromebook

If you’re signed into your Chromebook, then sign out.

Chromebook screengrab of pre-powerwash reset screen

Flex your fingers, crack your knuckles because you need to press CTRL + ALT + Shift + R at the same time. Press Restart on the pop-up and the machine will restart.

Chromebook screengrab of powerwash screen

No need to press anything (there’s sometimes a delay, so I know how tempting it is!), and when the box appears, select Powerwash, then Continue.

When the Powerwash process is complete, the machine will display some language options and a Google login window. As the machine no longer has any user data, enter the details of whichever Google account you want and the setup will complete.

Can I Powerwash a Chromebook which doesn’t start?

It is not possible to factory reset a Chromebook which does not start. If your machine has suffered some sort of catastrophic hardware calamity, you’ll need to perform a Chromebook recovery.

There are many reasons why you may need to factory reset a Chromebook. As you can see, the Powerwash process is simple and will certainly eradicate any software glitches inside your machine. It’s also the best thing to do when donating a used Chromebook to a new user.

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About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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