When boxing up the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook I reviewed recently I ran into a minor speed bump: I couldn’t figure out how to wipe my user data from the computer. Sure, you can just sign out of your Google account and anyone who subsequently uses the laptop won’t be able to access your data without your password. But your name still shows up on the initial login screen.

So I asked Samsung for help and they let me know how to perform a system recovery on the Series 5 Chromebook. If you ever need to return your Chromebook or if you want to pass it on to another user, this is how you do it:

  1. Press and hold the power button and select the shut down option.
  2. Open the piece of plastic by the SIM card slot and you should see a little switch.
  3. Use a paperclip or pen tip to slide that developer switch.
  4. Press the power button to turn on the device.
  5. You should see a prompt to perform a system recovery.

At this point, I actually got a note saying that Chrome OS verification is turned of and I should press the spacebar to begin recovery — followed by a notification that Chrome OS is missing or damaged and that I should connect a recovery device. I didn’t actually have one, but it turns out you can make one by downloading a tool from google.com/chromeos/recovery. If you find yourself in the same position, here’s all you have to do.

First select the type of computer you have from the Google recovery web site. Interestingly only the Google Cr-48 and Samsung Chromebook Series 5 are listed at the moment, which is a pretty good indication that the Acer AC700 may not be ready for a little while.

Next you can download the Recovery Tool which will detect any 4GB or larger USB flash drive or SD card on your device and download and install the Chrome OS disc image to it. The actual download is less than 300MB, so it shouldn’t take that long to configure your recovery media if you have a reasonably fast internet connection.

Finally connect your recovery media to the Chromebook and this time it should detect the recovery media and perform a complete reset.

When you’re done, make sure to flip the developer switch again so that you can login to your Chromebook normally.


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8 replies on “How to perform a factory reset on the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook”

  1. So, thanks for this.

    I started making my recovery stick for this, but then I thought: I wonder if I just turned it off, flipped the switch back, and tried again?
    So I did.

    And it came back on and it’s working now.

    So maybe you don’t actually need to use the memory stick, at least sometimes?

  2. Wow! My way is even easier unless I just got lucky.

    After step 5 I also received the Chrome OS verification message.

    Not knowing what to do I started to read the comments below.

    Less than a minute later I looked back it automatically began wiping my system.

    Oh, you should add Step 6. Put switch back.

  3. Ah yes, the developer switch. I wonder how long before big media throws a hissy fit over that.

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