How To Change the Owner of a Chromebook

Selling your old Chromebook? Giving it to someone and want to make sure none of your personal data goes with it? This tutorial will show you how to get a Chromebook ready for a new owner so you don’t give more away than the hardware.

How To Change the Owner of a Chromebook

If you’re anything like me, you live on your Chromebook. You have logins set to automatic, have months and months of browsing history, tons of stuff on your Google Drive and more apps than you care to mention all logged in and ready to go. While you have physical control of your Chromebook, that’s all great. But what about if you’re going to sell it or give it to someone?

Even if we trust that person completely, we need to remove as much of our personal data and settings as we can. As nice as they may be, the new owner of that Chromebook may not be as careful as us when it comes to security or managing their curiosity.

Prepare your Chromebook for its new owner

We prepare a Chromebook for its new owner the same way we would prepare any other device, phone, tablet, laptop or whatever. We perform a factory reset. In some Chromebooks, this is called a Powerwash. In other versions it is merely referred to as a Reset.

A factory reset of a Chromebook will wipe all installed apps, all data saved onto the device and all settings. It will return it to the state it arrived from the factory. That means you should save anything you don’t want to lose before doing this. Copy any installed files to a USB drive or other computer before a factory reset and you can install them on your next device.

Any data saved in Google apps such as Google Sheets, Google Drive or other online app will be fine as it will be saved online. To make sure, sync your data before proceeding.

  1. Select your account in your Chromebook.
  2. Select the Settings cog icon.
  3. Select People and then Sync.
  4. Select the files and settings you want to sync or choose Sync Everything.
  5. Allow the process to complete.

Factory reset a Chromebook

Once you have saved all your data somewhere safe, we can perform the factory reset. It is quite straightforward and won’t take all that long.

  1. Select your account in your Chromebook.
  2. Select the Settings cog icon.
  3. Select Advanced.
  4. Select Powerwash and then Continue. Some Chromebooks will say Reset instead of Powerwash, use that instead if necessary.

The Powerwash process shows an in progress window so you know it’s working. Once complete, the Chromebook will restart and request a login. Don’t add one if you are selling or disposing of it as that initial login becomes the ‘owner’ account of the Chromebook.

You can also perform a Powerwash using shortcut keys if you prefer.

  1. Sign out of your Google account on your Chromebook.
  2. Press and hold the Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R keys.
  3. Select Restart.

The same process as above will then happen. You will see a ‘Powerwash in progress’ screen while the Chromebook wipes and then it will restart. Don’t add a login when it does and your device is ready for its new owner.

Taking ownership of a new Chromebook

One significant advantage of a Chromebook over other portables is the ability to have your apps and settings follow you everywhere. Once set up, Google downloads everything you need to begin using your Chromebook right away which removes the task of setting up and getting your new device just how you like it.

If you have just taken possession of a Chromebook, here is how to set everything up.

  1. Plug your Chromebook into the mains to charge the battery.
  2. Turn it on with the power button.
  3. Select the language, keyboard settings and accessibility options.
  4. Select a network.
  5. Accept the Google terms.
  6. Log in with your main Google account. This first login sets the account as the device owner.
  7. Enable two-step verification to a little extra security.

Once logged into your Chrome account, all your bookmarks and any other synced data stored in the cloud will be downloaded to your Chromebook. Depending on whether you have used a Chromebook before, that will include device settings, favorites, files, folders and more depending on how you set things up.

That’s how to get a Chromebook ready for a new owner. It is as simple as most tasks within the Google ecosystem and makes it simple to maintain security between devices. I hope it helps!

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