How to Hard Reset and Factory Reset (Powerwash) a Chromebook

Users can try performing a hard reset to fix persistent issues on a Chromebook. But when all else fails, a factory reset may be the only option.

A Chromebook, like any other computer, is not devoid of problems, and sometimes the only way to fix these problems is to reset it. Chromebooks are generally easy to use, but issues can arise after a new software update. Although a fix will likely come with a later update, performing a reset may be a faster solution rather than waiting weeks for a fix to arrive.

A hard reset is usually one of the last resorts after all other preferred solutions have failed. What it does is reset the hardware of the device, like the keyboard and the trackpad. Performing a hard reset depends on the type of device. It is also important to note that a hard reset is not the same as a factory reset.


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To reset a Chromebook with a traditional laptop design, turn off the device by pressing the power button until a menu appears on the screen. Select Close and wait for the device to turn off. After confirming that the device is off, hold down the Refresh key (the key with the refresh icon on the top row of the keyboard) and press the Power button. Once the device boots up, release the Refresh key. Hard resetting is different if the Chrome OS device is a tablet such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 3. To hard reset a Chrome OS tablet, press the volume up and power buttons simultaneously for at least 10 seconds and then release them.

A hard reset is different from a factory reset

Chromebooks with keyboards have a reset key.

On some other devices, hard reset requires the user to turn off the device, unplug the power cable, plug it back in after a short while, and turn it back on. Some older Chromebooks even have a reset button underneath that needs to be pressed with a paperclip or pin. It is important to note that although a hard reset will not erase the device, it may delete some files from the Downloads folder. So, users are advised to backup their data before performing a hard reset.

For those who want a full system clean, a Powerwash, also known as a factory reset, will be required. This cleans the device (account, apps, and files) and restores it to a brand new state. Performing a Powerwash may be necessary if a hard reset does not resolve persistent issues, or if the Chromebook is going to be given to a new user or sold. To perform a Powerwash, open the Settings app and scroll to the bottom of the page. Select Advanced and scroll to Reset options. Click the button that says Reset and follow the instructions to reset the Chromebook.

NEXT: How to Enable Nightlight on Chromebooks/Chrome OS

Source: Google Support 1, 2

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