Chromebooks are cheap, comfortable, and stripped of the attributes of many other laptops. Chrome OS is popular with writers and developers for its long battery life and compatibility with Android and Linux apps
Unlike most other laptops, you don’t need to completely reinstall the operating system to perform a factory reset (sometimes known as Powerwash). If you’re buying a used Chromebook or something goes wrong, you can clean your Chromebook quickly and easily.
Powerwash a Chromebook: Things to Check First
If you get a used Chromebook, you should always do a hard reset so that nothing is left of the previous owner. If you already own a Chromebook and are trying to fix crashes or strange behavior with it, there are a few steps you can take before cleaning up your Chromebook from power:
Perform a hard reset:
- Turn off your Chromebook.
- Hold the Update button (?) and enable it.
- Release the Refresh button
Disable Chrome extensions:
- Open Chrome.
- Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen.
- In the More Tools section, click Extensions.
- Disable all your extensions.
- If this solves the problem, enable the extensions one by one until you find the extension that was causing the errors.
Make sure you are in stable mode:
- Open Settings> About Chrome OS
- Open Additional Information.
- Click Edit Channel.
- Make sure you are using a stable channel.
- Restart your device.
These three methods, alone or in combination, solve most Chrome OS problems.
When to Powerwash your Chromebook?
Apart from buying a used car, there are several reasons why you should power-wash your Chromebook. The most obvious indication that you need to perform a factory reset is the “Reset this Chrome device” message on the screen.
Persistent problems that don’t go away after a restart and can’t be fixed by the steps above are another good sign that it’s time to Powerwash your Chromebook and restore it to factory settings.
How to Powerwash a Chromebook
To clear power from your Chromebook, follow these steps:
- Sign out of your Chromebook user account.
- Press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R
- Click Restart.
- When prompted, select Powerwash> Continue.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to create a new user account.
After a factory reset, you will need to set up your Chromebook again as you will lose your custom settings along with your data. If you are a Google Chrome Sync user, you will find that your browser is already configured. Any hardware settings, such as local language or keyboard layout, will need to be changed in Chrome OS settings.
What to do when your Chromebook won’t turn on
Sometimes the Chromebook can be so damaged that it won’t boot at all. If the warning “Chrome OS is missing or damaged” appears when you turn on the device, you will need to repair the operating system.
Before you start, you’ll need a USB stick with at least 8GB that you can erase. If your Chromebook has an SD or microSD slot, you can use it. You will also need another Chrome browser with Chromebook recovery software installed from the Chrome Web Store.
Starting with a working computer, do the following:
- Open the Chromebook Repair Utility.
- Click Get Started.
- Select a model from the list, or enter the model number of your Chromebook (you can find it on the “Chrome OS is missing or corrupted” error screen).
- Click Continue.
- Enter your USB drive, microSD or SD card and select it from the drop-down menu.
- Click Continue> Create Now.
- When the recovery media is ready, remove it from your Chromebook.
Now go to the Chromebook with the error and do the following:
- Remove any connected peripherals such as USB hard drives, keyboards, or mice.
- Press and hold Esc + Refresh (?) and press the power button.
- When prompted, enter a USB recovery drive or SD / microSD card.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to restore your Chromebook operating system
A new lease on life
When you wash your powered Chromebook, it feels great. Chrome OS devices are designed with frequent reboots in mind. Powerful Chromebook users take full advantage of the online-only mentality, which means their data is protected no matter what happens to their local device.
Knowing how to rescue a damaged system is an important skill, and each operating system requires different tools Creating recovery media or even booting from an external drive can help you in some tricky situations.