How to backup your files before a Powerwash on your Chromebook

If you’ve been using your Chromebook for some time you may decide it’s time for a Powerwash. In ChromeOS a Powerwash is the same as a factory reset, it’s simply a different way to describe it.

I’ve owned my Chromebox for a few years and decided it was time for a Powerwash. I’ve got five different accounts registered on my Chromebox, so I needed to make sure all the files were backed up safely.

How long it will take to backup your files will depend on how you use your device. Also, if you have more than one account registered to your computer, this will also need to be taken into account.

Files you need to backup before a Powerwash

In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have many files to backup. This is because we should be making the most of saving files in the cloud, as it’s really easy to save files to Google Drive on ChromeOS. However, if you’re anything like me you may have a lot of files stored locally.

Because I had a lot of files stored locally I needed to make sure I saved the files I wanted to keep before doing a powerwash. To make matters worse I’ve got five accounts registered, so each account will have a separate downloads folder.

The downloads folder is where all of your local ChromeOS files are stored. If you have the time it’s a good idea to delete the files you’ll never use again. This will speed up backing up the files you want to keep, and it will reduce the amount of external storage needed.

The files in your Downloads folder are all you need to think about. However, if you have Linux installed on your Chromebook. Then you will have to do a backup of your Linux files on your Chromebook as well.

Upload files you want to keep to Google Drive

One option you have is to move any files you have in your downloads folder to Google Drive. This is a good idea if you don’t have too many files stored locally. If you have a lot of files stored locally then you’d have to look at how much storage these local files are using.

This is because Google Drive provides 15GB of storage as standard. You can of course buy more Google Drive storage, which would allow you to upload more files. Although I’ve increased my Google Drive storage to 100GB. I decided it wasn’t appropriate for my backup plans on this occasion.

Instead, I decided the best option was to back up all my local files to an external hard disk. You can use either an external HDD or a USB stick to backup files from your ChromeOS computer.

Setting up my External storage

Before I started to back up my files I created a folder for my backups. This was because I already had other files stored on my external device. This would allow me to easily find these files at a later date. Also, because I had five separate accounts to backup; I created five separate folders for each account.

Once I created the separate folders for each account. I simply logged into each account and copied all of the files from my Downloads folder onto my external HDD. It did take a good half an hour for my backup to complete on one of my accounts because I had so many files stored locally.

Once I had completed the backup I had five separate download folders on my external HDD for each registered account.

I was now ready to Powerwash my device

Now I had all my files stored on my external HDD I could get ready to powerwash my computer. I didn’t need to worry about Android apps because these sync with your Google account. What this means is that when you Powerwash your device and log in with your account. All of the Android apps you had installed previously would automatically install on your device.

Once I had followed the powerwash process I simply registered my accounts on my Chromebox. Once I had done that it was simply a case of copying the files for each account from my external HDD into my Downloads folder.

There may be other ways to backup your files before doing a powerwash. However, I found this one of the easiest ways. Also, I decided to keep my downloaded files on my external HDD, so if anything happens in the future I’ll have access to a copy of the files I had backed up.