Make your device as good as new with a quick Powerwash
Chromebooks are straightforward, easy to use, and reliable devices that can do everything most people need. A growing number of Chromebooks offer hardware that rivals Windows laptops. If you have a new-to-you Chromebook, you may still have the previous owner's data on your device. If you've had your Chromebook for a while, it may be having issues and needs a good Powerwash. If so, here are a few ways to factory reset your Chromebook, whether it's from Asus, Samsung, or another manufacturer.
We use Powerwash and Factory Reset interchangably throughout this guide. Google also uses both terms, but they're not exact synonyms. Powerwash refers to the tool that removes data from a ChromeOS device. Factory Reset refers to the process of removing data using the from a ChromeOS device using the Powerwash tool.
Things to know before you Powerwash your Chromebook
Before you reset your Google Chromebook, take a second to review the following:
- Resetting your Chromebook removes all local files. Before resetting your Chromebook, make sure the files you need are backed up to Google Drive so that you do not lose them. These files cannot be recovered after the reset, so make sure you have what you need.
- All accounts on your Chromebook are removed when the Chromebook is reset. Make sure the files from those accounts are backed up and that login information for those accounts is saved in a password manager.
- Most Chromebook data automatically syncs to the Google Drive of the associated Google account. However, Android app data and Linux apps are not saved. Make sure to manually back up your Linux apps and Android app data before you begin the reset process.
How to factory reset a Chromebook when you're logged in
Sometimes, you may be logged into your Chromebook when you decide it's time to reset it. If that's the case, here's how to wipe your device:
- Open the Settings app.
- On the left, select Advanced.
- Click the Reset settings option.
- Push the Reset button.
- Click Restart in the dialog box that pops up.
Once the device restarts, the reset is complete. You are prompted to sign in to your Google account, sign into a Wi-Fi network, and start the Chromebook setup process.
How to factory reset a Chromebook from the login screen
If the previous owner did not remove their data from the Chromebook, you might not be able to log in and reset it through the settings. Instead, reset the device from the login screen:
- Simultaneously press Ctrl, Shift, Altand R.
- Click the Restart button on the dialog box that appears. You can also hold down the power button to shut off your Chromebook.
- When your Chromebook restarts, select the Powerwash button in the new dialog box that pops up.
- Confirm that you want to powerwash your device by clicking the Continue button.
Once this process completes, your device is reset, and you are prompted to log in with a Google account.
Last resort: hard reset a buggy Chromebook
It might be time for a hard reset if you're having issues with your Chromebook hardware. A hard reset will reset your hardware and may delete some items in your Downloads folder. Make sure your files are backed up before you do a hard reset.
- Power off your Chromebook.
- Simultaneously press and hold the Power and Refresh buttons.
- Once the Chromebook has restarted, release the Refresh button.
If you have a Chrome OS tablet, press and hold the Power and Volume Up buttons for about 10 seconds and then release them.
This should hopefully solve your hardware issues.
Check your Chromebook's diagnostics before you reset
You're now prepared to powerwash your Chromebook should the need arise. If you need some help troubleshooting issues with your Chromebook but don't want to resort to a powerwash, give the Chrome OS Diagnostics app a try.
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