For various reasons, we all need to reset our devices from time to time. You may be handing your Chromebook off to someone else for an extended period, returning your Chromebook, or simply looking for a completely fresh start. Regardless of the intent, I’m here to tell you that doing this on a Chromebook is not only simple, it is fast as well. As a person who reviews a lot of Chromebooks, I have to Powerwash them a lot (that’s the quirky Chrome OS name for a factory reset) and I absolutely love how painless the whole process is.
For many of you coming from the world of Windows, MacOS, iOS, or Android, you likely think the process of factory resetting or wiping any electronic device is a painstaking task that should only be done when absolutely necessary. That simply isn’t the case for a Chromebook. Instead, Powerwashes are so quick and simple that I don’t even give it a second thought when I feel the need to do so. Whether its a hand off to someone else or I’m moving through the Chrome OS Beta and Developer Channels to try out new features, wiping my Chromebook never causes a second of hesitation.
Why is that? Simple. Chromebooks keep your entire desktop setup saved in your Google account in the cloud, so the second you sign back into another Chromebook or your freshly-reset Chromebook, you’re good to go in a matter of a couple minutes. I can go from beginning a Powerwash to work-ready in about 5 minutes total. It’s a bit insane, honestly. So, let’s talk about how to do this if you need to wipe your Chromebook for any reason. Oh, and don’t forget to back up any local files you’ve not tucked away in Google Drive. Those won’t sync!
Wipe your Chromebook from the settings menu
Both methods of Powerwashing are simple, but this one is the easier of the two. Simply head to your settings and then navigate to Advanced > Reset settings > Powerwash > Reset and follow the prompts. Alternatively, you can just search “Powerwash”, “Reset” or “Factory reset” in the settings app and you’ll end up in the same place. You’ll be asked a few times to make sure you actually want to clear your Chromebook and after you’ve agreed, you’ll be back to factory fresh in just a minute or two. Easy!
Wipe your Chromebook from the lock screen
Alternatively, the method I use is activated from the lock screen and once you are logged out on any particular Chromebook, from the lock screen you can simply press CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+R and you’ll be prompted to to Powerwash from there. At first I saw this as a security flaw, but remember, Google is concerned with keeping your data safe, not locking down your Chromebook. Sure, any Chromebook can be reset from the lock screen, but that has no bearing on your personal info and you can just as easily sign back into that (or any other) Chromebook and be up and running within minutes.
Whichever way you choose to go, just remember to back up those local files or, even better, set up your download folder to be a Google Drive folder so you never even have to worry about that, either. Wiping a Chromebook is by far the simplest, fastest, and most pain-free factory reset you’ll ever do on any electronic, and I love that about Chrome OS. We hope this article gives you a clearer understanding of how to wipe your Chromebook and actually encourages you to go for it whenever the mood strikes you.