So, you want to learn how to reset a school or enterprise Chromebook.
Why would anyone want to do this?
Perhaps you’ve purchased a used laptop that’s still enrolled in a managed domain because it was never unenrolled properly.
Or maybe you had a user sign in to their account without enrolling their laptop properly.
This guide will help you troubleshoot and resolve the issue.
Ready to fix it up? Let’s roll.
But first, some legal matters.
Last updated: 1/12/21. Updated for 2021.
An important legal notice
Please, don’t use this guide for any illegitimate purposes. Stay legal.
You should know that’s it’s questionably illegal to unenroll your device from any managed domain without consent.
If you’re doing this and you’re not sure if it’s okay with your school, business, enterprise, or any other form of management, you need to get permission or else you could face some serious consequences.
You should also know that it was set into a managed mode by your school’s or business’s tech team. By resetting a managed Chromebook, you’ll be unlocking it from its own network. This could get you in a lot of trouble if you don’t have proper consent.
Be sure to get the permission(s) you need from the proper authority before attempting any of this.
Don’t attempt to unenroll your device if you’re not allowed to.
You may only use this guide only for legal and educational purposes with consent.
But even then, I assume no responsibility for any consequences that may occur (should you void your warranty or damage your device.). This guide may only be used for those who have express consent to unmanage a school or business device.
And lastly, think of the consequences before you proceed. Don’t use this tutorial if you don’t have consent to unenroll your Chromebook.
By utilizing this guide in any way, you agree that you won’t use it for illegal purposes.
Phew. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get onto the tutorial.
So, why would you want to unenroll your Chromebook?
There are a few legitimate reasons why you’d want to unenroll a managed device.
Maybe you bought one used and you found out it was a laptop that used to be managed by a school district or locked in an enterprise enrollment. (Believe it or not, it happens.) The school or business could’ve sold it to you but forgot to unenroll it.
Sometimes, they’re sold as used or refurbished and haven’t been properly unenrolled from their networks. If you’ve purchased a used Chromebook that hasn’t been properly unenrolled, be sure to verify that it wasn’t stolen.
If you’ve been sold a legitimate laptop but it happens to be locked, it’s basically a brick and is rendered useless. That’s where this guide can come in handy.
You’d want to contact the seller you bought it from, as I’ve read many reports from readers here that they’ve received an enrolled device that was listed as “manufacture refurbished” or “used.”
In reality, they’re just locked Chromebooks that need be unmanaged by the previous network admin. They’re not functional and will require some work to be unenrolled.
A lot of people are also buying used Chromebooks because their work environment has changed to work from home or students now distance learning. So they buy these cheap Chromebooks and they’re locked from a previous owner or enterprise because they didn’t unenroll it first.
Did you (or someone else) sign in before the device was properly enrolled?
It’s also possible you want to re-enroll a Chromebook as well.
If a user signs into it before it’s enrolled into your network, it’ll log in without any of your Google enrollment policies.
You need to enroll it before any user logs in to their account for your G Suite preferences to take place. Therefore, you have to delete the entire Chromebook so you can start over and enroll it properly.
So that’s why I wrote this tutorial. Hopefully, it’ll you solve any enrollment issues you may have.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Some precautions to note before unenrolling your device
There are just three things you should be aware of before we get started.
This process will wipe everything on your laptop
First, you should know that the following steps will completely wipe your laptop’s drive. That means everything that’s saved on your laptop’s local disk will be deleted.
This includes (but not limited to):
- All images, videos, files, and other media saved in your “Downloads”
- Anything downloaded from the Internet
- Any other files you have saved in custom folders you’ve created
- Saved wireless networks and passwords
- Chrome OS settings for that particular Chromebook
Your laptop will pretty much be reset to factory settings like when it was brand new.
However, all your other personal settings and data that are saved with your Google Account remains untouched. This includes your preferences saved in your Google Account, stuff saved in your Google Drive, and everything else that’s saved on Google’s servers. Your apps, extensions, and other Google Account data will remain safe. In other words, your laptop will Powerwash itself.
Only the local user data you have saved on your laptop will be erased.
(Worried about getting your data erased? See a list of what will get deleted during a Powerwash.)
If you’ve purchased a used Chromebook and you don’t really care about wiping it, then go ahead and proceed. Who cares what’s on there anyway, right? You just want to get your laptop up and running.
If you’re using a school or personal Chromebook, you may want to back up your data to a cloud provider or external storage device.
(Don’t know how? Here’s a tutorial about how to connect and back up your data to an external hard drive, flash drive, or SD card.)
You’ll need access credentials for re-enrollment
Second, you should know is that re-enrolling it under management again may be difficult if you don’t have the admin credentials. So be sure that you have this information handy, or you have an IT admin on standby.
If you plan to re-enroll it, you’ll need admin access to the network.
If you’re a school admin and you’re trying to enroll a student’s device, you’ll need access to the domain account. The same goes for enterprises- if you’re in a business and you’re trying to enroll an employee’s device. You’ll need access to the domain management console.
This tutorial works for schools, businesses, and any other industry
This guide works for both Chromebooks enrolled in schools and businesses (or anything else). It’ll unenroll both of them. The process is the same.
So if you’re using a device that’s been enrolled into some business enterprise group, you can unroll it and remove it from that group. This happens to some people who buy used or reconditioned Chromebooks.
Or if you’re trying to unmanage it, and then enroll it again, this guide will work as well. Sometimes there are errors when enrolling devices into a domain, or someone just signed in before it was enrolled.
Thankfully, it’s easy to remove enterprise enrollment and it only takes just a few steps to do so. You’ll have an unlocked, unmanaged, and unenrolled device all yours for the taking.
Okay, that’s all of the precautions.
Let’s get to the gritty part.
How to reset a school or enterprise Chromebook
It’s pretty easy. You can reset and unmanage a Chromebook in just a few steps and reset it so you can unlock it from any network or re-enroll it again.
The following steps apply to the majority of models on the market.
However, some specific models require specific instructions to be reset.
- Samsung Series 5
- Lenovo X131E
- Samsung Series 5 550
If you happen to own one of these models, look for the additional sections below on this page for detailed instructions catered to each of these models.
If not, let’s get started already.
Step 1: Switch to Developer Mode
You’ll have to switch to Developer Mode in order to reset a managed Chromebook.
You should know this is where all your personal data saved on your device will get deleted, so make sure you’ve already backed up your stuff.
Press the “ESC + Refresh + Power” keys at the same time and you’ll get a warning screen. It’ll pop up and take over your screen. It states a bunch of scary text about the possible damage you could do your device if you proceed.
Don’t worry. This is normal. It’s supposed to be kind of intimidating- especially with the big exclamation mark.
But be sure to actually read the text so you know what you’re getting yourself into and all the possible risks of switching to Developer Mode.
When you’re ready, move onto the next step.
(If you need more help, I wrote a complete guide to turning on Developer Mode you can check out.)
Step 2: Enter Developer Mode
After you’ve read the warnings and acknowledged all of them, go ahead and press “CTRL + D” and then press Enter.
Chrome OS will boot you into Developer Mode and you’ll get another warning.
Again, read all of the text and proceed when you’re ready.
Step 3: Reset your Chromebook
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.
Go ahead and press “CTRL + D” again.
This is the point of no return. Your laptop will automatically Powerwash itself, which means all local data such as images, videos, and files saved on it will get deleted.
It’ll restore to factory conditions as if it were brand new- before it was ever enrolled into any school or enterprise domain.
(By the way, you saved your stuff, right?)
Note: If your school or enterprise has enabled “forced re-enrollment,” you won’t be able to unenroll it.
By default, this option is turned on by Chrome OS and the majority of tech admins leave it on. You may also get a message saying that Developer Mode is blocked by your administrator.
For instance, if you’re trying to reset your device from your school’s network but “forced re-enrollment” is turned on, you won’t be able to reset it from your school’s domain.
Your laptop will automatically reboot and then you’ll be greeted by a screen that asks for enrollment. You can’t use it without enrolling it first. You won’t be able to access the login screen, browse as a Guest screen, or do anything without being enrolled.
Chrome OS has very tight and secure security settings, so it’s unlikely that you’ll get around it. These are settings used by large businesses and educational districts, so it’s pretty much impossible to bypass them. You’ll need to contact the admin team for permission. And chances are, they probably turned on re-enrollment.
These settings may be extremely annoying to deal with, but at the same time, it’s what protects Chromebooks from viruses and other nasty malware.
If they left this option on, it’s questionably illegal for you to unenroll it. And you should probably contact your school’s or enterprise’s IT team to get express consent to unmanage it.
Lastly, if you received this laptop and it’s still enrolled in a domain, you may have to contact the tech team behind the domain. A lot of these laptops are sold as refurbished and haven’t been unenrolled correctly from their domains.
If you don’t know who to contact, you’ll have to contact the party you obtained it from and go from there. If “forced re-enrollment” is turned on, there’s no easy way to disable it without having the admin deprovision your Chromebook or unenroll it.
Step 4: Wait
This is the easiest step. Grab a cup of your favorite drink and wait. It’ll take about 20 minutes to complete the erasure of everything. Be patient.
You’re probably reading this guide on your phone or another computer.
Or you could check out some super secret Chrome OS Easter eggs.
Step 5: Enable system verification
After your laptop has reset itself, it’ll reboot and you’ll see a warning screen again.
Go ahead and press Enter to enable system verification and return to the default mode.
Congrats. Your Chromebook has now reset itself, and it should no longer be enrolled into any school or enterprise domain. Your laptop should be completely unmanaged at this point and you should be free to use it without any management.
Samsung Series 5
Here’s detailed instructions on unmanaging a Samsung Series 5:
Note: Be sure there’s at least a good hour of battery time remaining before you being. If not, charge it first.
Step 1: Completely power off your laptop.
Step 2: With your laptop right-side up, look on the right side of the frame for the USB port.
Step 3: To the left of it, there’s a small rectangular cover. Prop this open and you’ll see a tiny switch on the left-hand side.
Step 4: Use a paperclip, pen, or tweezer and push the switch towards the right. This is towards the USB port, in case you’re confused.
Step 5: Boot up the laptop and you’ll be in Developer Mode instantly and be greeted with an unhappy icon.
Step 6: Press “CTRL + D” to start the wipe. If you don’t press anything within 20 seconds of seeing the warning screen, it’ll begin automatically. After you press the keys, it’ll start deleting everything and resetting itself via Powerwash. It’s important that you keep the device on during this process. You can use the power cable and plug it in if needed.
Step 7: After it’s complete, you’ll see the warning screen again (unhappy icon)
Step 8: Press “CTRL + D” again to complete the erasure. If you don’t do anything within 20 seconds, it’ll complete the task automatically.
Step 9: After it’s done, power off the device again.
Step 10: Push the switch back to its original position. Close the access port cover.
Step 11: Power up the laptop. It’s now not managed by any domain and ready to be enrolled again(if you please).
Here’s detailed instructions for unenrolling a Lenovo x131e:
Step 1: Completely power down your Chromebook and remove any connected peripherals and the power cable. Take out the battery for about 10 seconds, and then plug it back in.
Step 2: The device should still be off. Press “ESC + Refresh + Power” and hold it. It’ll then boot into the warning screen for entering Developer Mode after a few seconds and show a yellow exclamation point.
Step 3: Press “CTRL + D” and then press Enter. The screen will then show a red exclamation point.
Step 4: Press “CTRL + D” followed by Enter. Your laptop will now begin Powerwashing itself. This will take about 20 minutes.
Step 5: After it’s done, press the Spacebar and then the Enter key. This will turn system verification back on.
Step 6: It’s now unlocked from any management. You can now use it as you please, or re-enroll it.
Samsung Series 5 550
Here’s detailed instructions on resetting a Samsung Series 5 550:
Note: Be sure you have at least an hour of battery left before proceeding.
Step 1: Power down the laptop completely.
Step 2: Find the Kensington lock port. It’s located on the right side of the frame to the right of the USB port right next to display (with the laptop right-side up).
Step 3: Use a paperclip, pen, or tweezer and toggle the switch inside the Kensington lock port. Push it towards the right. If you’re confused, this is the opposite direction from the USB port and towards the display. This will boot the laptop in Developer Mode.
Step 4: Power up the laptop and you’ll be greeted with an unhappy icon right away. Press “CTRL +D” when you see this screen. If you don’t do anything within 20 seconds, it’ll start automatically by itself. This will take about 5 minutes to complete the reset. It’s important that you keep the laptop on during the wipe, or else it could go awry during the wipe. You can plug in the power cable if you need to.
Step 5: After it’s complete, you’ll see the same screen with the unhappy icon. Press “CTRL + D” to complete it. If you wait 20 seconds, it’ll automatically complete the process.
Step 6: Power down the laptop. Push the switch in the Kensington lock port back to its default position. This would be towards the USB port.
Step 7: Power up the laptop. It’s now free and unlocked from any domain management. You can now re-enroll it if you’d like.
Re-enrolling a Chromebook to a managed domain
If you want to re-enroll it again, this is where you do it (after performing Step 5 in the main guide).
Be sure to enroll it before you sign in to it with any Google Account. If you sign in before properly enrolling it, it none of your G Suite settings will apply to the device, and it won’t be enrolled correctly.
This applies to any user, even the admin. It needs to be enrolled into the domain properly before anyone signs in.
If you or someone else does so by accident, you’ll have to start over at Step 1.
To enroll your device again, you can check out Google’s official guide.
And if you need more detailed steps, here’s a video you can check out:
Did you successfully resolve the issue?
And, that’s about it.
Unenrolling a Chromebook from a network is pretty simple and straightforward.
This guide should be able to solve any troubleshooting issues you have with unmanaging and managing enrollment. Whether you need to remove enterprise enrollment for your business, unmanage a school Chromebook, or re-enroll one into a domain, the steps are all the same.
Unenrolling a device is quite common. This usually happens when you need to re-enroll it again because of an error or it needs be deprovisioned from the network because the device is no longer needed. Schools may need to do this to recycle Chromebooks for new students.
It’s also possible that you purchase a used Chromebook- it could still be part of a network and you need to reset it.
If you happen to have a device that’s automatically re-enrolling itself after you perform the steps, it’s because it has the “forced re-enrollment” option enabled. You need to contact the IT admin to get unenrolled and unmanaged from your school or enterprise network.
And again, if you’re not sure what you’re doing or if you know you shouldn’t be managing your device, don’t do it. It’s probably illegal and you could face fines or other consequences. By accessing this guide, you agree that you’ll only use it for legal purposes with express consent. I assume no responsibility for whatever you do or whatever happens.
If you have any questions or need help, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
If you’ve found this guide useful, let me know as well.
Thanks for reading.