If you’ve been around Chromebooks for any amount of time, it is highly likely that you’ve fully reset your Chromebook back to factory status at least once. Whether it is when upgrading and handing off your Chromebook to someone else or if you’re having some sort of technical issue, resetting your Chromebook can alleviate many issue you may be having and is a quick, easy process that I recommend from time to time.
If you are completely new to Chromebooks, however, there’s something that needs to be explained at this point. A factory reset on a Chromebook – called a Powerwash – is not your run-of-the-mill process if you are coming form the wold of Windows, iOS, Android, or MacOS. Instead, a Powerwash is a quick, painless process that leaves you with a factory-fresh device within just a few minutes, not hours. If you’ve reset a Windows device, you know the pain I speak of. A Powerwash is quite the opposite and, because of this relative ease and brevity, is recommended from time to time.
One of the chief benefits to Chrome OS is the fact that your entire setup is synced and saved in the cloud in real time. From apps to shortcuts to preferences to extensions, your personal Chromebook setup is tied to your account. When you perform a reset on a Chromebook that takes about 30-45 seconds, you can be assured that a simple log-in will restore everything that was in front of you in just a few minutes. This obviously does not apply to locally-stored data, but that is why we suggest leveraging Google Drive as much as possible even for basic downloads. If you mainly operate in Drive, these factory resets are even more simple.
As a reviewer who bounces between many Chromebooks, this one feature is one of my absolute favorites. Whether it is clearing out a device to send back or simply getting it ready for someone else to take for a spin, it is reassuring to know that I can always return to factory status within just a few minutes every single time. That persistence is key to retaining the ability to hop on a lender Chromebook for quick tasks as well (I’ve used a Chromebook in a Best Buy to do 30 minutes of work while out of town once), but that’s for a different post. Just know that Chrome OS’ ability to get you back up and running quickly is unmatched by any other operating system and when you harness that ability, it is absolutely liberating.
How To Powerwash
We’ve talked about the Powerwash before, but it is worth bringing up again from time to time. The process can be started from either your settings menu or the lock screen. In the video below we walk you through the lock screen Powerwash. Just log out, hit CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+R at the lock screen and follow the prompts. Easy!
The other method is to open up your settings, search for ‘Powerwash’, and click that reset button. Follow the prompts that double-check your intentions and you’ll be back to factory fresh in a matter of seconds. Again, I can’t stress how simple and awesome this is to have the freedom to factory reset a device and be back up and running in just a couple minutes. Whether it’s to solve a hardware issue or just a simple device return or hand-off, this ability makes full use of the entire Chrome OS ethos of fully leaning on cloud computing in a way that no other OS can.
I recommend doing a Powerwash every 3-6 months even if you aren’t having issues. It’s always good to clean house and get back to the starting point and with the quickness and ease with which you can do this in Chrome OS, there’s almost no reason not to. Just be sure to back those local files up first!