How to Factory Reset A Chromebook

Unlike Windows, Chrome OS is very light and does not slow down after a while. However, there are instances where a factory reset can speed up your Chromebook a lot.

If you’ve been working with it for years, a factory reset can make it run much faster. You can also do it when there’s an account set up on it that you either didn’t authorize or belongs to a previous owner.

Whatever your reasons, you can use three simple methods to factory reset your Chromebook.

How to Factory Reset from Quick Settings

Quick Settings is the panel that appears when you click the time or battery icons on the bottom-right corner of your Chromebook desktop. It shows up when you click the icons and serves as quick access to various functions.

Chromebook quick settings

From this panel is where you can also use the most straightforward method for wiping and resetting your Chromebook in three easy steps.

Step 1: Access settings

Click on the Quick Settings in the bottom-right corner of the screen to access the Settings menu indicated by the cogwheel icon.

Step 2: Access the advanced menu

Chromebook quick settings

From the left-hand menu, select “Advanced,” and then select “Reset Settings” from the drop-down box at the bottom.

Step 3: Use the Reset function

The “Reset” option may be found in the Powerwash menu, which you can access from this location. To use it, simply click on it and follow the on-screen directions.

Chromebook reset

It will just take a few minutes for your Chromebook to perform a complete factory reset, and you will be met with a fresh, bloat-free Chromebook. Before you begin resetting your laptop, make sure that you have at least 60% battery remaining.

How to Factory Reset without a Password

A benefit of factory resetting is being able to start fresh, including wiping the slate clean of passwords. Whether you’ve received a used Chromebook that still has a password or you’ve forgotten your own, there’s a way to factory reset without a password in two steps.

Step 1: Use a keyboard shortcut

Whether you’ve forgotten your password or the device was given to you, if you’d like to reset your Chromebook, you may do so by using a Chrome OS keyboard shortcut.

Chromebook sign in screen

Restart your device and, on the login screen, hit the Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R buttons simultaneously.

Chromebook keystrokes for post restart

Step 2: Click Reset

A Reset window will immediately appear on the screen. Once it does, click on the “Powerwash” button on the bottom right.

Chromebook powerwash post restart

This will begin the factory reset procedure on your Chromebook without requiring you to provide a password.

How to Factory Reset Using Recovery Mode

A hard reset can help if your Chromebook doesn’t start up at all or freezes during regular use. In case the above methods don’t work, you can hard reset your Chromebook this way via recovery mode.

A hard reset doesn’t just clean your Chromebook, it also reverts both the software and hardware configurations to the factory default settings. Here’s how to do it in two simple steps.

Step 1: Access the recovery screen

For starters, switch off your Chromebook and make sure it’s plugged into a power source.

Chromebook keystrokes for hard reset

After that, press and hold the ESC key, the “Refresh” key (usually above the 4 key), and the physical “Power” button at the same time.

This should start the boot-up process of your Chromebook.

Step 2: Hard reset with a physical drive or internet access

The above key combination should initiate the recovery process. Your device will have a few options for a hard reset.

Chromebook recovery mode

If you have access to the internet, you can select that option to reinstall Chrome OS. Otherwise, you may need to use an external storage device with at least 8 GB of free space to use as an installer. Google outlines how to make a recovery drive in their official help pages.

What about School Chromebooks?

Chromebooks are a popular choice for schools to give out to their students. It’s quite likely that you or your child has been given one for the purposes of doing schoolwork. Unfortunately, these devices have been linked to your institution’s administration and cannot be unlinked through a factory reset.

Even if you were to perform a hard reset, the Chromebook would still be enrolled under the school’s system. You’ll need a school admin to unenroll your laptop.

Yannis Vatis

Yannis is a veteran gamer with over 30 years of experience playing a wide spectrum of video games. When not writing about games, he's playing them, and if he's not playing them then he's definitely thinking about them.

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