Chromebooks take a beating. 

Whether a Chromebook is used by …

  • One student for a school year
  • Shared on a Chromebook cart; or
  • Kept for multiple years by one student

… a Chromebook powerwash is inevitable. 

Want to know how to powerwash a school Chromebook, and what should happen next?

No worries. After a Chromebook has been powerwashed, there’s now a hassle-free solution to ‘white-glove’ re-enroll the device — in-house. 

We share the what, why, and how’s of powerwashing Chromebooks. Plus, what to do after it’s sparkling clean again.

Table of Contents


Go-Box: Revolutionizing the Chromebook Powerwash Process

Got stacks of Chromebooks at the end of the year?

Now you can power through your school’s Chromebooks — saving time and money.

With Go-Box, you can automate the enrollment and configuration processes on large quantities (up to 16 at once) of Chromebooks.

All you have to do is:

  1. Power on.
  2. Connect to Go-Box.

There’s not really a number three. Go-Box Chrome automatically does the rest — in a flash.

And when it’s time for a Chromebook powerwash, Go-Box is there to easily re-enroll.

Perform the same while glove enrollment service on your school’s Chromebooks on her Chromebooks or powerwashed Chromebooks at just pennies per device.

What Is a Chromebook Powerwash?

Powerwash Chromebooks? No, you’re not getting out the hose for this wash.

So, what happens when you powerwash a Chromebook? 

A Chromebook powerwash effectively resets the device to a factory state. 

This is done for a few reasons:

  • To improve performance
  • To regain storage 
  • To clear away personal or private data
    • For resell, before a repair, or for a new user 

When you powerwash Chromebooks, you’re erasing all the information on the hard drive, including your:

  • Settings
  • Apps; and
  • Files. 

Performing a Chromebook powerwash is similar to performing a factory reset on an Android device or smartphone to prepare it for a new user. 

Chromebook Powerwash vs. Reset

A Chromebook powerwash is a factory reset, and fairly simple to do.

The issue arises in school Chromebooks that are enrolled in enterprise. It’s doable, and schools often need to perform a powerwash — there are just a few additional steps and will require a force wipe and putting the device into recovery mode.

We will walk you through doing this step-by-step below.

Another thing to remember is that when you powerwash Chromebooks, you’ll also need to re-enroll in enterprise.

Go-Box makes it simple to automate your force wipe resets. Check out the FAQs or click below to learn more.


When Do Chromebooks Enrolled in Enterprise Typically Need to Be Powerwashed?

Schools love Chromebooks because of their simplicity. They are easy to use for both students and teachers.

They also:

  • Can boot up and connect in seconds
  • Offer a ton of cloud storage (great when students are sharing)
  • Have a long battery life
  • Easy to protect from viruses and malware
  • Require little maintenance

However, they aren’t always maintenance-free. As we briefly touched on above, a Chromebook powerwash may be needed if the device is performing slowly or if a student is experiencing any issues.

Typically, a mass Chromebook powerwash is also performed:

  • At the end of the school year (often over the Summer)
    • This would be the case when devices are assigned to one student for the year.
  • Periodically throughout the year
    • This would be the case for students to share devices (usually on a Chromebook cart).

Why Is Mass Manual Chromebook Powerwashing Difficult?

Mass Chromebook powerwashing isn’t the difficult part. 

The problem comes after the Chromebook powerwash — when you need to re-enroll in enterprise. 

The process to enroll or re-enroll in enterprise is usually:

  • Time-consuming; or
  • Costly 

How Do You Powerwash a Chromebook?: 2 Approaches

There are two ways to powerwash your Chromebooks.

But only one way works for schools — you must perform a force wipe when in enterprise

Let’s look at performing the full process manually vs. re-enrolling with ease after a Chromebook powerwash.

Mass Chromebook Powerwashing the Hard Way: Manually

The “hard way” of Chromebook powerwashing starts with clearing everyone from the device. 

You have two options for this, but as we already discussed, the second option is the only choice for enrolled Chromebooks, which would be the case for school-issued Chromebooks. 

Google Chrome: Powerwash Option #1

Option number one for Chromebook powerwashing can only be performed on Chromebooks that are not on network, so this likely is a Chromebook that you personally own. 

You may be wanting to:

  • Reset it to improve performance
  • Re-sell it; or
  • Prepare for another user or child.

Again, this option isn’t available to network users. 

Since there’s no network to re-install, this process is fairly simple and straightforward from the device’s settings.

Using the Login Screen: Powerwash Option #2

Chromebook powerwashing for enrolled devices also begins with clearing everything, but it’s a longer process. 

You’ll need to perform a “force wipe.” 

A force wipe is done by pressing these three keys at the same time:

  • Esc
  • Refresh
  • Power 

This puts the Chromebook into recovery mode, and the screen will go black and begin to restart. 

There are a few more steps that must be done to complete the powerwash and prepare for re-enrolling. Keep reading. We’ll share detailed steps below. 

Once you’re ready to re-enroll, the manual process can be time-consuming, require a tech professional, and costly — especially if you have many Chromebooks to enroll. 

Mass Chromebook Powerwashing the Easy Way: Go-Box Chrome

Now for the no-brainer, easy way to powerwash Chromebooks. 

After you’ve manually powerwashed your Chromebooks, Go-Box makes it …

  • Simple
  • Quick; and
  • Inexpensive 

… to complete the process by automating your enrollment. 

Whether the Chromebook powerwash was due to …

  • A mass routine reset
  • An end of year mass reset; or 
  • A reset for a single Chromebook

… Go-Box has you covered. You don’t even need a tech degree. In fact, many schools have trained their media specialists to handle the worry-free way of plugging in with Go-Box. 


Chromebook Powerwash FAQs

Have questions? We’ve got you taken care of with some of the most common Chromebook powerwash questions below.

How Do You Do a Powerwash on a Chromebook?

To do a Chromebook powerwash on your school’s devices, follow these steps:

  1. Press ‘esc + refresh key + power button’ at the same time. 
  2. Wait for it to restart. 
  3. Press ‘ctrl + D’ at the same time. 
  4. Follow the prompts.
    * Usually pressing ‘enter’ then “space”
  5. Press ‘enter” again.

Now you’re ready to enroll or re-enroll.

What Happens If You Powerwash Your Chromebook?

If you powerwash your Chromebook, the device will be “like new.” It will be ready for a new user or to perform more efficiently. 

It won’t, however, be ready for school use until it’s enrolled.

Can You Powerwash a School Chromebook?

Yes, you can powerwash a school Chromebook. 

But, as we detailed above, this requires a “force wipe” and can’t be done from the Chromebook’s settings menu. 

How to Powerwash a Managed Chromebook

A managed Chromebook will be powerwashed in the same way as listed above.

It will reset to factory data settings and will need to be enrolled.

Manually enrolling a Chromebook after a powerwash is slow and can be expensive.

To manually enroll a Chromebook, follow these steps:

  1. Once it reboots, click “Let’s go.”
  2. Choose and connect to your home network.
  3. Click “Continue.”
  4. Click “Accept and continue.”
  5. You should be prompted with “Enterprise enrollment.”
  6. Click “Done.”
  7. You should now be back at the standard student sign-in screen.
  8. Continue the process with each Powerwashed Chromebook.

Following these steps should be all that’s needed if everything goes smoothly, which we know with technology isn’t always the case. “Authentication failure” is common and stressful.

Go-Box supports this process, making the process to complete (re)enrollment quick and easy — and gives you the ability to enroll up to 16 devices at once.

Check out additional FAQs to see how we can assist in simplifying your Chromebook powerwash enrollment needs.


What to Know Before You Begin a Mass Chromebook Powerwash

A Chromebook can get so corrupted that it won’t reboot at all.

If you get a warning that reads: ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged,’ you’ll need to recover the operating system.

Other things to be aware of before you begin a mass Chromebook powerwash include:

  • Some locally stored files and settings are permanently deleted.
  • Contents in the ‘Downloads’ folder should always be back up to an external device or Google Drive.
  • All Google accounts previously used are removed, including stored usernames and passwords.

Let Go-Box Assist With Your Next Mass Chromebook Powerwash

Plan ahead for your next mass Chromebook powerwash and let Go-Box do all the work.

There’s no reason to spend five minutes on manually enrolling each device. And paying for a “white glove” service is expensive — especially on a school’s budget.

Instead, you can spend just 90 seconds, while avoiding human error, and complete up to 16 devices at once with Go-Box.

Enrollment is quick and easy:

  1. Connect your Go-Box to power.
  2. Connect your Chromebooks to the Go-Box WiFi.
  3. Go to the Go-Box web application.
  4. Add your personal credentials and adjust the template.
  5. Plug in (up to 16) Chromebooks into the Go-Box.
  6. Wait a whole 90 seconds. (Don’t blink; you might miss it.)

A Go-Box pays for itself on its first deployment. Let’s get started today with a free quote.