How to Power Wash or factory reset your Chromebook

If you’ve ever owned an Android phone you’re most likely familiar with the term ‘factory reset’. A factory reset allows you to reset all of the settings on your phone. You can also do a factory reset of your Chrome OS computer and this is called a PowerWash. It’s exactly the same as a factory reset.

When you do a PowerWash on your Chromebook it resets everything back to the factory settings. This means any changes you’ve made since owning your Chromebook will be removed. It will also remove any Google accounts assigned to your computer.

A PowerWash can be used if you’re experiencing issues that you’re unable to fix. If you’ve tried fixing an issue on your computer and it’s still ongoing. Then a PowerWash should resolve this for you. However, it will depend on the root cause of the issue, so a PowerWash isn’t a fix-all solution. That being said, it’s a good choice if you’ve tried everything else.

What happens when you Powerwash a Chromebook

A Powerwash will remove any of the data stored on the Chromebook, so it’s important you back up any data you may want to keep. It will not remove any files you’ve saved in your Google Drive, so you don’t need to worry about that. It will delete any of the files stored in your downloads folder or any other location on the hard disk.

It will also remove any user accounts that have been assigned to the Chromebook. Once you’ve done a Powerwash any users who were previously registered will have to re-register. Therefore, it’s a good idea to let anyone who uses the device have the opportunity to back up their data before you PowerWash your computer.

Only the owner of the Chromebook can perform a PowerWash.

When would you want to Powerwash a Chromebook

If you want to sell your Chromebook

If you’re selling your Chromebook or giving it to a friend or relative a PowerWash is necessary. Resetting your computer back to its factory settings will give the new owner a brand new software install of Chrome OS.

Once a PowerWash is completed your Chromebook will be exactly the same as it was when you bought it. All of the data will be removed and you’ll have to log in to your Chromebook again. If you’re selling your Chromebook once you’ve completed the PowerWash, you don’t need to do anything else, and should not log in.

It’s really important to PowerWash your Chromebook if you’re no longer going to be the owner.

If you’re experiencing problems with your Chromebook

Another reason why you may want to factory reset your Chromebook is if you’re experiencing problems. This may be if the Chromebook is not booting correctly or if you experience other problems that happen on a regular basis. A Powerwash will usually fix any problem you have with your Chromebook, so it’s a good thing to try if all else fails.

However, if the problem is caused by a Chrome extension or Android App. Then it’s possible the problem will reoccur in the future. This is because your Android Apps and Chrome extensions are synced with your Google account. When you log back into your Chromebook after Power Washing. The extensions and apps will reinstall. Therefore, check all Android Apps and Chrome extensions for issues before attempting a PowerWash.

How to backup your data before a PowerWash

If you have any data stored locally on your Chromebook you’ll want to back this up before you do a PowerWash. This includes any files in your downloads folder and any Linux files if you’ve installed Linux.

You have a few options to backup your files. One of the easiest ways, which does not require any additional hardware is to copy all of the files from your downloads folder and move them to your Google Drive.

Google Drive is a cloud storage solution that you have as standard with your Chromebook. You can simply right-click on your Downloads folder and choose copy. You can then paste your downloads folder into your Google Drive. Once you’re happy all of your files have been synced to the cloud. You can go ahead with the PowerWash.

How to Powerwash your Chromebook

Follow the steps below to perform a PowerWash of your Chrome OS computer.

Time needed: 2 minutes

How to PowerWash a Chromebook

  1. Navigate to your Chrome OS settings menu

    Left-Click on the settings menu at the bottom right of your Chromebook desktop.
    PowerWash a Chromebook - First Step

  2. Click on the settings cog

    From the settings menu at the bottom right of your desktop. Left-click on the settings cog to access the main settings menu.
    PowerWash a Chromebook - Step 2

  3. Find the advanced settings

    From the main menu, you’ll have a list of options on the left-hand side. Left-click on the advanced menu option.
    How to PowerWash a Chromebook - step 3

  4. Click on the Reset settings option

    Once you’ve clicked on the advanced menu option, you’ll have access to further menu choices. From here you want to left-click on Reset settings.
    How to factory reset your Chromebook - step 4

  5. Click on the reset button

    When you click on the Reset settings option from the menu on the left-hand side. You’ll be presented with further menu options on the right side of the menu panel. In this panel, you’ll find a Reset settings option. Left-click on the reset button.
    How to PowerWash a Chromebook - Step 5

  6. Confirm the factory reset

    Once you’ve clicked on the reset button a dialogue box will pop up on the screen. This is your last chance to change your mind. If you’re not ready to reset your Chromebook, simply click on the cancel button. If you want to go ahead and PowerWash your Chromebook, left-click on the restart button.
    PowerWash a Chromebook - Final step

That’s it, your Chromebook will now restart. Simply follow the instructions shown on the screen to complete the factory reset process.

Take a look at more How-To guides for your Chromebook