How To Powerwash Your Chromebook Using Keyboard Commands

Like any laptop, there are times when you will want or perhaps need to reset your Chromebook.  In Chrome OS terms, that is called a Powerwash and as the name implies, it completely wipes any apps, accounts and data on the device and restores it to the factory default.

The easiest way to perform a Powerwash on a Chromebook is to go into the Settings and execute it from there.  However, if your Chromebook is corrupted and you can’t open Settings, what do you do?  Simple:  perform the wash by using keyboard commands.

Long time Chrome OS users will know this trick but for those of you who are new to the platform, this may not be known.  That’s where this How To comes into play.  I’ll outline the keystrokes you need to use in order to reset your Chromebook.

It should be noted that in this How To, I’m assuming you are not using a Chromebook tied to a corporate or education account.  In those cases, your Admin must reset the devices.

First, if you are logged into your Chromebook and are able to do so, go to your account and log out.  This is done by clicking your avatar in the lower-right corner and then clicking logout.  If you are unable to log out, press and hold the power button down on your Chromebook for 3-5 seconds. This will eventually shut it down.  You can then power up again and get to the login screen – but don’t log in.

Now that you are at the login screen, press and hold CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+R.  You will get a warning that you are going to Powerwash the device and that you cannot reverse the process.  In other words, if you have anything stored locally on your Chromebook that you don’t want deleted, get it off the device if you can.  One you press the Powerwash button, your Chromebook will reboot and will execute the Powerwash.  In Chrome 61 and higher, you will get a second prompt to start the cleaning after the reboot.

Once the process is done, your Chromebook will reboot and will bring you to the initial configuration screen to have you sign into WiFi and your Google account.

For more tips & tricks, be sure to check out the Tips & Tricks section.