How to Factory Reset Your Chromebook


If you have a Chromebook that you wish to give away or sell, then it’s typically a good idea to perform a factory reset on your device to clear your data before passing it on. Likewise, if you’re experiencing bugs, glitches, or other software-related performance issues with your Chromebook, then a factory reset should help resolve the problem and give you a fresh start.

Perhaps you’ve never done a factory reset on your Chromebook before, however. In that case, you may be wondering how it’s done. If so, you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, we’ll give you simple, step-by-step instructions for factory resetting a Chromebook so that you can easily start anew with your device. 

How to factory reset your Chromebook 

There are three different methods you can use to factory reset your Chromebook, depending on your situation. We’ll go through each, starting with the simplest.

Method 1 – Factory reset via device settings

Since all Chromebooks run ChromeOS, the steps to factory reset your device will be the same regardless of the make. This means you can use the instructions below for Chromebooks by Acer, Dell, Lenovo, HP, Samsung, are any other major manufacturer.

To perform a factory reset via your device settings, you can do the following:

  1. Power on your Chromebook and click on the “Quick Settings” panel in the bottom-right corner of your screen.
  2. Click on the “Settings” icon to open the device settings menu.
  3. Select “Advanced” in the pane on the left-hand side, then scroll down to the bottom and select “Reset Settings”.
  4. Click “Reset” under “Powerwash”, then click  “Continue” to confirm your choice.

After this, the device will reboot, upon which you will be taken to the welcome screen, indicating that the factory reset is finished.

Method 2 – Factory reset Chromebook without password

If you’ve forgotten your long details and are unable to perform a factory reset using the steps outlined above, there’s no need to worry. You can also carry out the process by doing the following:

  1. Switch on your Chromebook and sign out of your account.
  2. Press and hold the “Ctrl”, “Alt”, and “Shift” keys together, then press the “R” key and select “Restart”.
  3. In the reset options, choose “Powerwash”.
  4. Click “Continue” to confirm the action, then follow the on-screen prompts to complete the process.

Once the device restarts and you see the welcome screen, the factory reset is complete.

Method 3 – Factory reset via recovery mode

If you’re device’s OS is malfunctioning and you can’t access the powerwash menu using the two methods outlined above, then you will need to factory reset your Chromebook via recovery mode. You can do this by following these steps:

  1. Power down your Chromebook completely and plug it into a power source.
  2. Press and hold the “Refresh” key (circular arrow, typically above the “4” key), then press the power button on your device.
  3. Hold both buttons down until the recovery screen appears. If this doesn’t work, then you may have an older device with a dedicated recovery button. This is usually located in a small hole in the underside of the device. 
  4. When you see a screen with the message “Chrome OS missing/damaged”, release all buttons.
  5. Press and hold “Ctrl”, then press “D, then follow the on-screen prompts to complete the reset.

A note on school and work Chromebooks

A note on school and work Chromebooks

If you’ve received a Chromebook to use for school or work purposes, then you may not have the permissions required to make system-level changes. This means that in order to perform a factory reset on the device, you will need to speak to the assigned admin. They will either need to wipe the device for you or unenroll it from their network for you, at which point you will able to use the options outlined above.

So, that’s all you need to know to carry out a full factory reset on your Chromebook. If you’ve correctly followed the steps we’ve outlined above, then all local data will have been cleared from your device and any performance issues should be solved.

With your Chromebook now freshly reset to factory default settings, you are free to sell it, pass it on to a friend or relative, or set it up anew to begin using it yourself.

Additional step-by-step guides to factory reset every device

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