How to Change the Owner on a Chromebook

Learn how to update the ownership of your Chrome OS laptop

You should know how to change the owner on a Chromebook before you sell it or give it away. If you don't, the new user could access your personal files or information. There's really only one way to do change the owner on a Chromebook, but there are also a few things you may want to keep in mind before you change owners.

Information in this article applies to all Chrome OS devices regardless of the manufacturer (Acer, Dell, Google, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba, etc.).

Who Is a Chromebook's Owner?

When you set up your Chromebook, you must create a new Google account or log in with an existing one. The account you first log in with becomes the owner account, or administrator account. Only the owner can access certain system settings and manage other users. For example, the Chromebook owner can:

  • Enable and disable guest browsing
  • Manage Wi-Fi networks
  • Change the time zone
  • View crash reports

All of your personal files and information are available to anyone who can access your owner account, which is why it's important to perform a Powerwash before selling your Chromebook.

If you're using a school or work computer, you may not be able to change the owner. Ask the IT administrator to reset your Chromebook.

A Google Chromebook on a desk beside a person using an Android phone

What to Do Before You Change Owners on a Chromebook

Before powerwashing and parting with your Chromebook, make sure Chrome OS is set to sync with your Google account so that all of your app data will be backed up to the cloud. To enable syncing:

  1. Log in to your Chromebook as the current owner and select the clock in the Chromebook shelf, then select the Settings gear.

    Log in to your Chromebook as the current owner and select the clock in the Chromebook shelf, then select the Settings gear.
  2. Select Sync and Google services under the People section.

    Select Sync and Google services under the People section.
  3. Select Manage Sync.

    Select Manage Sync.
  4. Choose which settings you want to sync, or select Sync Everything.

    Choose which settings you want to sync, or select Sync Everything.

Make sure the backup was successful, then Powerwash your Chromebook. Everything saved to your Google account will be accessible the next time you log in to any Chrome OS device.

How to Change the Owner on a Chromebook

The only way to remove the owner from a Chromebook is to perform a factory reset. To Powerwash your Chromebook:

  1. Log in to your Chromebook as the current owner and select the clock in the Chromebook shelf, then select the Settings gear.

    Log in to your Chromebook as the current owner and select the clock in the Chromebook shelf, then select the Settings gear.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the settings page and select Advanced.

    Scroll to the bottom of the settings page and select Advanced.
  3. Scroll down to the Reset Settings section and select Reset under Powerwash.

    Scroll down to the Reset Settings section and select Reset under Powerwash.

    Everything on your hard drive will be wiped, so save any files you want to keep to a USB stick or your Google Drive.

You will be prompted to restart the computer. Any files stored on the hard drive will be deleted, and the Chromebook will be restored to its original state. When the new owner creates an account or signs in to their Google account, they will be designated as the new owner.

It's also possible to Powerwash your Chromebook using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R on the login screen.