Powerwashing your Chromebook returns it to an out-of-the-box state, and it's easy to do.

If you're going to sell your Chromebook, give it to someone or just want to switch accounts, you'll want to reset it and wipe away all your user settings and data. Much like your Android, this is pretty easy and doesn't need any fancy developer tools or voodoo magic. Just Powerwash it.

Before we get into it, let's talk about what Powerwashing actually does. When you wipe your account from your Chromebook with Powerwash, every single bit and byte of data connected with every account on the Chromebook's actual storage is gone. If you just want to get rid of a single user account (not the primary user, that requires a powerwash), you can do that by finding the profile picture at the login screen and clicking the arrow in the upper right to remove the user. That removes the data associated with that particular account, without erasing everything from other accounts.

When you Powerwash, nothing on an SD card or any external storage device is erased. But all the data — pictures, search history, passwords, credit card info and everything else — that's stored securely on the Chromebook's internal storage is erased. The data that's backed up to your Google account in the cloud is not erased. You'll need to visit your account settings via a web browser to do that. But the Chromebook itself is returned to a clean version of the OS, just as it would be if it were brand new.


To Powerwash your Chromebook:

  • Make sure you're signed in as the primary user
  • Click your account picture in the status bar
  • Click Settings, then Show advanced settings
  • Under the "Powerwash" section, click the Powerwash button
  • Click Restart in the dialog box that appears

When your Chromebook restarts, it will prompt for a login. If you're transferring your Chromebook to a new home, just shut it off. The new owner will see the setup screen when he or she first turns it on, and they can sign in as the new primary user. If you are keeping your Chromebook and just wanted to refresh things, sign in again with your primary Google account.

Using Powerwash is also the easy way to make a different account be the primary or owner account on the Chromebook. It doesn't hurt anything, and all of your "stuff" — like extensions and apps, bookmarks and user account details — will automatically restore themselves once you log in.