How to properly Powerwash your Chrome OS device

While we’d love to think our technology would work as it’s designed 100 percent of the time, there are instances where things get weird. Maybe your screen has a flicker, or your laptop trackpad stutters. A simple solution to problems like this with Chrome OS devices might be to Powerwash the unit.

What does Powerash do?

This is Google’s version of a factory reset on Chromebooks. It’s essentially re-flashing a fresh install of Chrome OS onto the computer, returning the software to its defaults much like the day you bought it. Powerwash is also a great way to prepare your Chrome OS unit for resale to make sure you don’t leave behind any personal information.

How to make it happen?

The steps for a Powerwash are fairly simple, but we will have to jump through some settings menus.

  • Open Settings from the control center in the notification shade
  • Click Advanced at the bottom of the main Settings window
  • Scroll to the bottom of the next screen and select Powerwash
  • Select Restart on the popup prompt

Fresh Chrome

Now, you should see your Chrome device reboot and complete the Powerwash process. From there, you have a fresh installation of Chrome OS. This takes your laptop back to its default settings and wipes all of your user data.

You will have to log back into all of your accounts and apps, but the best thing about Chrome OS is that most of your settings will be brought back down from the cloud. All of your wallpapers, icons, and settings will be reapplied once you log into your default Google account.

Taking it back to its bare bones removes all of the extra stuff you’ve picked up along the way. Sometimes a plugin or extension hangs things up and keeps the device from functioning properly. Be careful, as your device may look to add all of those back in immediately.

Powerwash’s recovery is one of my favorite things about Google’s desktop OS. Windows, Mac, and even Linux struggle with pain-free restoration after a fresh installation. Should things go sideways on your device, and you have to wipe it, the process is far more involved.

If you are nuking the hard drive to resell your Chromebook, it completely strips all your precious data for the next user. Easy stuff.

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