How to Reset (Powerwash) a Chromebook to Factory Settings

Restore your Chromebook to its original state

chromebook powerwash

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If you've been unable to fix a problem, or you want to change the owner of your device, use a feature in Chrome OS called Powerwash to reset your Chromebook to its factory state with just a few mouse clicks.

Instructions in this article apply to Chromebook computers using Chrome OS.

Things to Know Before You Begin

Due to the fact that a Powerwashed Chromebook cannot recover deleted files and settings, it is important to understand how it works before going through with it.

While the majority of your Chrome OS files and user-specific settings are stored in the cloud, with settings tied to your user account and files saved on Google Drive, there are locally stored items that are permanently deleted when a Powerwash is performed.

When you save a file to your Chromebook's hard drive as opposed to Google's servers, it is stored in the Downloads folder. Before you perform a Powerwash, back up the contents of the Downloads folder and other important files to Google Drive or to an external storage device.

User accounts stored on your Chromebook are also deleted during a Powerwash, along with the settings associated with them. These accounts and settings can be synced with your device after a Powerwash, assuming you have the required usernames and passwords.

Perform a Powerwash in the Chrome Browser

To restore your Chromebook to its default factory settings:

  1. Open the Chrome browser.

  2. Select the three vertically-aligned dots located in the upper-right corner of the browser window and choose Settings.

    Select the three vertically-aligned dots located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window and choose Settings from the drop-down menu.

    The Chrome Settings can also be accessed from the Chromebook Taskbar menu located in the lower-right corner of the screen.

  3. In the Settings window, scroll down to the bottom and select Advanced.

    In the Settings interface, scroll down to the bottom and select Advanced.
  4. Scroll down and select Powerwash.

    Scroll down and select Powerwash.
  5. Select Restart to proceed.

    Select Restart to proceed.

    Running a Powerwash on a Chromebook deletes all files, settings, and user accounts on the device; this process is not reversible. Back up important files and other data before you begin.

  6. After the Chromebook restarts, sign in with your Google Account and follow the on-screen prompts to set up your newly restored Chromebook.

Perform a Powerwash From the Login Screen

You can also initiate the Powerwash process from the Chromebook login screen using a keyboard shortcut:

  1. At the login screen, press Shift+Ctrl+Alt+R.

  2. Select Restart.

  3. Select Powerwash.

  4. Select Continue.

  5. Sign in with your Google Account and follow the on-screen prompts to setup your newly restored Chromebook.

The account you sign in with after resetting your Chromebook becomes the new owner account.