How To Factory Reset A Google Chromebook

Whether you’ve tried every other alternative, but there’s still no change to the issue you’re experiencing with your Google Chromebook; or if you’re selling it on to a new owner and need to wipe it clean before sending it off – whatever your reason for doing so, to learn how to factory reset a Google Chromebook, look no further!

Our step-by-step tutorial shows you exactly how to factory reset a Google Chromebook. For any additional information or queries, see our FAQs at the end of this article.

Note: We highly recommend backing your files, data, and user information up to either the Cloud or an external hard drive (if at all possible) before performing a factory reset.

How to factory reset a working Google Chromebook

  1. Having booted up your Google Chromebook, first sign out of your Google account
  2. Next, on your keyboard, press and hold CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + R
  3. From the menu which appears, select ‘Restart’
  4. Next, select ‘Powerwash’ and then ‘Continue’
  5. Your Google Chromebook will now perform what it terms a ‘Powerwash’ (in other words, a factory reset). Once the Chromebook is finished, it will power back on and ask you to sign in with your Google account details. If you are wiping the Chromebook to sell it on, you can simply power down the Chromebook at this point. If you have factory reset the Chromebook for yourself, you can go ahead and log back in now
  6. Finally, follow the on-screen instructions to set-up your factory restored Chromebook

How to hard reset a non-working Google Chromebook

If your Chromebook is not even powering on, then you might need to ‘hard reset’ it – this is not a factory reset, but is the best way to get your Chromebook back up and running before you can perform a said factory reset.

  1. Disconnect the Chromebook’s power cable
    1. On newer models: press and hold together the ‘Power’ and ‘Refresh’ buttons, and wait until you see the Chromebook powering back on.
    2. On older models: remove the battery and reinsert it; and/or push a pin or paperclip gently into the ‘reset’ hole on the bottom of the device – then either attempt to power up the Chromebook, or wait for it to do so automatically
  2. Reconnect the Chromebook’s power cable
  3. Once the Chromebook has started, and you’re successfully able to log in, you can now perform the factory reset if you still wish to, by following our first tutorial in this article

And there you have it! Whatever reason you want to factory reset your Chromebook for, by following our simple step-to-step tutorials above, you can quickly learn all you need to do. 

For additional enquiries or information, see our FAQs below.

Frequently asked questions

What is a Google Chromebook?

Google Chromebooks are lightweight, typically affordable, and fast-running laptops which run Google’s Chrome operating system. They are designed to store the majority of their operational programs, files, and saved user data on the cloud (which with Google is known as Google Drive).

As such, Chromebooks don’t have much in the way of internal memory, since it’s expected that the user will use Google Drive for just about every process. This can be advantageous in some respects (typically Chromebooks run faster, are lighter, and less expensive than conventional laptops), but can prove problematic in other areas (such as if you try and download any large files onto the Chromebook).

Why would I want or need to factory reset a Google Chromebook?

There is a number of reasons for which you might desire (or need) to factory reset your Google Chromebook. Typically, conducting a factory reset is seen as a last resort, as it is the most thorough reset of your device you can carry out.

Reasons for factory resetting a Chromebook can include: wiping the device clean for future user/owner; attempting to resolve an ongoing issue with the Chromebook; Chromebook is stuck or frozen in some way that can’t be otherwise readily resolved.

What is the difference between factory reset and regular reset?

When you reset a laptop of any kind (including a Google Chromebook), all you’re effectively doing is turning it off and then turning it back on again. This can be useful when finalizing the installation of new apps or updates, or when trying to rectify a small issue (such as a glitching cursor, for example)

A factory reset, however, does exactly what it sounds like – it restores the entire device back to its factory settings and condition. In other words, once a successful factory reset has been performed, your Chromebook will be returned to the state it was in when it left the factory (i.e. no user files or information will remain on it, all default settings will be restored, etc.)

This is a pretty serious operation to conduct, and should only be considered if you feel you genuinely have no other choice.

What happens when I factory reset my Google Chromebook?

All of your information, downloaded files and non-standard applications, and all data associated with your use of your Chromebook will be permanently deleted and erased from your Google Chromebook. 

Likewise, any changes you made to default settings, any Chrome bookmarks, or saved passwords – any data caches or information pertaining to your use of the Chromebook at all will all be erased. The Chromebook will be restored to its ‘factory default’ upon completion of the factory reset.

Is there anything I should consider before factory resetting my Google Chromebook?

Absolutely. We highly recommend that you back up all of your data, files, and stored information on an external hard drive or on Google Drive (AKA the Cloud) before performing a factory reset of your Google Chromebook.

Even if you’re pretty sure all of your information is already backed up, it’s just sensible and good standard practice to make doubly sure with another manual back-up of data.

Doing so means that once you’ve factory reset your Google Chromebook, you can either reload it with all of your backed-up data, information and files or can keep them backed up for use/download onto a new, future device/laptop.