Should you factory reset your Chromebook every year?

So if you’ve ever used a Microsoft Windows computer you’ll know that it deteriorates rapidly over time. It does not matter how much you try and keep your files clean.

The only way you can ever make your Windows computer work like it once did from new is to reinstall Windows from fresh. The problem with this is that it means you’ll lose all the local files and any programs will need to be reinstalled. This means most people never do and just put up with a slow operating system.

So is it the same for the Chromebook? Well, it may seem like a strange question, but I read an article on another website, which suggests you do need to reset your Chromebook on a yearly basis. Is this true? Well, of course, it’s not and I’ll explain why.


I must admit when I read an article from a well-known website stating you should factory reset your Chromebook. It really frustrated me because it simply is not true and is giving such bad advice to its readers.

This is the problem when you listen to advise from a website that is not strictly dedicated to a specific operating system. They overstretch the writers who are not always very well informed.

One of the great benefits of Chrome OS and Chromebooks is that the operating system is not cluttered with installed programs. Sure, you can now install Android Apps, but you can easily remove these and it does not impact the operating system.

This is because Linux based systems, which Chrome OS is based on do not suffer from fragmentation like MS windows. This is one of the reasons why MS Windows becomes so slow over time. One of the reasons, there are many more.

Chrome OS is smart when it comes to saving files
Chrome OS is much smarter when saving files


It may sound pretty technical, but fragmentation is easy to understand. On an MS Windows computer when you save a file it stores it on the hard disk. Say, it’s a word document.

You then install a few programs and these files are stored next to your word document. This is all fine. You then add a few extra pages to your word document and save it as normal.

This is where the problem starts. There will not be enough space to store the extra information in the same place on the hard disk. This is because space right next to it was used to install those additional programs.

When this happens the word document is stored in two different locations on the hard disk. This means whenever you need to access the document two different locations need to be accessed. This is one of the reasons why an MS Windows computer deteriorates over time.

Every time you save more information to that word document. The more locations scattered around the hard disk will need to be used. Luckily, this is not how Chrome OS works.


So you can see how fragmentation over time would cause a computer running MS Windows to slow down. You’ll not come across this problem as much with Chrome OS because it stores files in a smarter way than this.

When you save files on Chrome OS it stores them randomly and leaves enough space between each file. This means if that particular file needs to be increased at a later date there is enough space for this to happen.

This drastically decreased the risk of fragmentation. However, it’s true that an SDD can have fragmentation issues if the disk is used to near capacity. This is why you should always try and keep some available space. Anything above 85% capacity could cause fragmentation.


This is another reason why it makes sense to store most of your files in the cloud. Chromebooks have been created to work seamlessly with Google One, previously known as Google Drive.

The integration between Chrome OS and Google One makes saving files in the cloud easy. In fact, the experience is exactly the same as storing files locally.

Although the risk of fragmentation on Chome OS is greatly reduced compared to MS Windows. If you save your files such as Google Sheets and Google Docs in the cloud. You reduce this risk even further.

By doing this you’ll keep your local storage free for Android Apps. Android Apps do not have an issue with fragmentation. This is because the file size of the app should never really increase or decrease in size, not dramatically anyway.


You don’t need to worry about your Chromebook getting slower over time. It’s highly unlikely you would ever experience this problem due to fragmentation.

The good news is. If you do ever need to factory reset your device it’s a very easy process. Find out how to factory reset your Chromebook.

If you do end up power-washing your Chromebook. You need to ensure any files stored locally are backed up. This is another reason why saving your files in the cloud makes sense.

If you get into the habit of saving your files in the cloud instead of locally. If you do ever get in a situation where you need to Powerwash. You don’t need to be worried about losing any files.

Also, you don’t need to worry about your Android Apps either. They will automatically download and install onto your Chromebook once the Powerwash is complete.

So the answer to the question is no. You do not need to Powerwash or Factory reset your Chromebook yearly to keep it in top condition. Only ever do it if you come across problems where you might think it will help.