How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

How to Powerwash a Chromebook

In this article you will find out how to powerwash a chromebook? Chromebooks are cheap, convenient, and free from the trappings of many other laptops. Chrome OS is loved by writers and developers alike for their long battery lives and compatibility with Android and Linux apps.

Unlike most other laptops, you don’t need to completely reinstall the operating system to perform a factory reset (sometimes known as Powerwash). If you buy a Chromebook second hand, or if something goes wrong with yours, it’s a quick and easy process to powerwash a Chromebook.

Google Chromebooks are known for relatively low costs as well as their simplicity and ease of use. Although Chrome OS is not as complex as macOS, Windows or other major operating systems found on laptops, you may still run into the occasional stubborn issue, like your Chromebook freezing up, that can’t seem to be fixed.

How to Powerwash a Chromebook? In cases like this, restoring your Chromebook to its factory state may be necessary. Another reason you may want to apply this break-glass method is if you’re turning your Chromebook over to a new owner and want to make sure that all your personal information is removed beforehand. In either scenario, the Powerwash feature can be used to return Chrome OS to its original condition.

What to Know Before You Powerwash a Chromebook? How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

Local files and settings cannot be recovered once a Chromebook has been Powerwashed, so read the following points carefully before proceeding.

Although most Chrome OS files and user-specific settings are stored in the cloud, either associated with your Google Account or located in a server-side Google Drive repository, there are still some locally stored items that are permanently deleted with Powerwash.

Files that are saved to your Chromebook’s local hard drive are often stored in the Downloads folder. The contents of this folder should always be backed up to an external device or to your Google Drive prior to initiating a Powerwash.

All Google Accounts previously used on your Chromebook are removed during a Powerwash, as well as any settings associated with said accounts.

As long as you have the respective usernames and passwords stored elsewhere beforehand, these accounts can be restored on your Chromebook at a later time.

Things To Check First: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

If you get a Chromebook second-hand, you should always do a full reset to ensure nothing remains from the previous owner. If you already own the Chromebook and are trying to fix crashes or strange behaviour with it, there are a few steps you can take first before you powerwash a Chromebook: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

Perform a hardware reset: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

  • Turn the Chromebook off.
  • Hold the Refresh (🔃) button and turn it on.
  • Let go of the Refresh button.

Disable Chrome Extensions: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

  • Open Chrome
  • Click the three dots at the top right of the screen.
  • Under More tools click Extensions.
  • Switch off all of your extensions.
  • If this fixes the problem, turn extensions back on one by one until you find the extension that was causing errors.

Confirm you are in ‘Stable Mode’: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

  • Open Settings > About Chrome OS.
  • Open Additional details.
  • Click Change Channel.
  • Ensure you are using the Stable channel.
  • Restart your device.

These three methods, separately or in combination, solve most Chrome OS problems.

When To Powerwash a Chromebook? How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

Alongside buying a used machine, there are several reasons you should powerwash your Chromebook. The clearest indication that you need to perform a factory reset is an on-screen message reading “Reset this Chrome device.”

Persistent problems that don’t go away after rebooting, which cannot be fixed by the steps outlined above, are another good sign that it’s time to Powerwash your Chromebook and restore its factory settings.

Start a Powerwash Through the Chrome Browser: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

If you are planning to turn your Chromebook over to a new owner, do not enter your account credentials once the Powerwash is complete.

Doing so will re-add your account to the device, which is not something you want to do if it will no longer be in your possession. Restore your Chromebook to its default factory state: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

  • Open the Chrome browser.
  • Click the menu button, represented by three vertically aligned dots and located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window.
  • When the drop-down menu appears, select Settings.
  • Chrome’s Settings interface can also be accessed via the Chromebook Taskbar menu, located in the lower right-hand corner of your screen.
  • Chrome’s Settings interface should now be displayed. Scroll to the bottom and click Advanced.
  • Chrome’s Advanced Settings appear. Scroll down again until you locate the Reset settings section and select the Powerwash option.
  • A dialog labelled Restart your device should be displayed, overlaying the Settings interface. Click on Restart.
  • Your Chromebook will now be restarted and the Powerwash process will complete. When prompted, sign in with your Google Account credentials and follow the on-screen prompts to set up your newly restored Chromebook.

How to Reset Chromebook from the Login Screen? How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

Instead of initiating the Powerwash process via Chrome’s Settings interface, you can also reset your Chromebook from the login screen by taking the following steps: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

  • While on the Chrome OS login screen and prior to authenticating, press the following keyboard shortcut: Shift+Ctrl+Alt+R
  • A window will appear labelled Reset this Chrome device. Click Restart to begin.
  • Your Chromebook will be restarted. After returning to the login screen, a new version of this window should be displayed. Click Powerwash.
  • The Confirm Powerwash dialog will now appear. Click Continue.
  • Once complete, you can sign in with your Google Account and follow the on-screen prompts to set up your newly restored Chromebook.

How To Powerwash a Chromebook?

Before taking the next steps, make sure you back up any data via Google Drive or using an external hard drive. Performing a factory reset completely wipes the hard drive. To powerwash your Chromebook, take the following steps: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

  • Sign out of your Chromebook user account.
  • Press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R.
  • Click Restart.
  • When Prompted, select Powerwash > Continue.
  • Follow the on-screen steps to create a new user account.

After a factory reset, you’ll need to set up your Chromebook again, as you lose your user preferences along with your data. If you are a Google Chrome Sync user, you’ll find that your browser will already be customized. Any hardware preferences like local language or keyboard layouts will need changing in the Chrome OS Settings.

What To Do When a Chromebook Won’t Boot? How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

Sometimes, a Chromebook can get so corrupted that it won’t boot at all. If you turn on your device to see a warning reading ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged,’ you’ll need to recover the operating system.

Before starting, you’ll need a USB drive that can hold a minimum of 8 GB, that you are happy wiping. If your Chromebook has an SD or microSD slot, you can use that instead.

You’ll also need another computer running the Chrome browser, with the Chromebook Recovery Utility installed via the Chrome Web Store. Beginning on the functional computer, take the following steps: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

  • Open the Chromebook Recovery Utility.
  • Click Get Started.
  • Select a model from the list or enter the model number of your Chromebook (you can find this on the ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’ error screen).
  • Click Continue.
  • Enter your USB drive, microSD or SD card, and select it from the dropdown menu.
  • Click Continue > Create Now.
  • When the recovery media is ready, remove it from the Chromebook.

Now move over to the Chromebook with the error message and follow these steps: How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

  • Remove any attached peripherals like USB hard drives, keyboards, or mice.
  • Press and hold Esc + Refresh (🔃) and press the Power button.
  • When prompted, enter the recovery USB stick or SD/microSD card.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to recover your Chromebook’s operating system.

How to Powerwash a Chromebook if You Get Locked Out? How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

Like any digital device that’s protected by some sort of passcode, there’s a chance you could get locked out of your Chromebook. If this happens to you, here’s how to powerwash it without having to log in.

Why Would You Need to Do This? How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

Since you log in to your Chromebook using your Google account and password, you might be wondering how you could get locked out of it. There are a variety of reasons—maybe you simply don’t use your Google account that often and forgot the password.

Maybe you changed the password and can’t remember the new one. There’s even a chance you bought a used Chromebook, and the original owner didn’t powerwash (that’s Google’s name for performing a factory reset on your Chromebook).

Whatever the reason, you’re not without hope if you happen to get locked out of your device. There are fail-safes in place just for situations like this, so fret not—it’s a pretty easy process.

How to Reset Your Locked Chromebook? How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

As soon as you fire up your Chromebook, it opens to the login screen. If the account is already signed in (but the device is locked), you’ll first need to sign out.

After signing out (or if it wasn’t signed in to begin with), press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+R to open the reset window. Tap or click the “Restart” button.

The device will restart, and you’ll need to confirm that you want to powerwash the device. It’s also worth noting that some Chromebooks might have a firmware security update that can only be done during a Powerwash—there will be a checkbox at the bottom of the Powerwash dialog box if it’s available on your device.

We highly recommend doing this. Once you check the box (if available) and click or tap the “Powerwash” button, a final confirmation box appears to ensure you want to Powerwash the device. Doing so will erase all the contents and set it back to a factory-fresh state, and it’s an irreversible process.

But if you’re indeed locked out of the device, none of that matters in the first place. After tapping the “Continue” button, the Chromebook will reset and powerwash. It will then restart, and you’ll be ready to sign in like new.

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How to Powerwash a Chromebook?

by Vibhuti Sawhney time to read: 7 min