Of all the tools available to the Chromebook user, the Powerwash is one of my favorites. The functionality isn’t that big of a deal, really. In fact, nearly every device on the market has a factory reset of some sort at this point. The addition of this feature isn’t standout or useful because it resets your hardware. No, this feature is awesome on a Chromebook because it serves to highlight the cloud-based nature of the OS and the ultimate flexibility it provides for users.
Hear me out. With a Chromebook, I have the ability to wipe the device clean and hand it off, sell it, or return it with very little effort. I also don’t need a ton of time to do it, either. In fact, a full wipe/Powerwash of a Chromebook can happen in a matter of minutes. In just 3-5 of those minutes, I can go from a personalized Chromebook to a factory fresh version with the click of just a few buttons. Good luck doing this on any other OS, desktop or mobile.
This is possible thanks to the fact that Chrome OS and all your settings, preferences, apps, etc. all live in the cloud and are attached to your Google account. I can walk up to any Chrome OS device, log in, and be up and running in just a few minutes. No setup is required, no overt backups are needed, and no prior thought is necessary to move my desktop setup from device to device. It just works. And the ability to quickly wipe a device only serves to highlight this quality of Chrome OS. If I need to loan a device out, sell it or return it, I can wipe it clean without any fear that the next Chromebook I see will have all my needs on hand the minute I sign into it instead.
There are times, however, when you need to Powerwash a device and you don’t want to bother logging in or setting up a new account to do so. You simply need to get the device cleaned up for whoever it is going to next. Luckily, there is a quick and simple way to do this right from the lock screen on a Chromebook. Once everyone is logged out, simply press CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+R and you’ll be prompted with the Powerwash interface. Follow the couple necessary steps and your Chromebook will be cleared of all its local data and accounts and ready for what’s next. Simple!