By default a Chromebook will remember multiple accounts or user profiles. These profiles are shown on the Chromebook’s sign on screen. There are times when you want to remove user profiles from a Google Chromebook sign in screen such as the end of a quarter, semester, or year.
There are times when a new student or group of students will be assigned the Chromebook. Other times you may get an error saying your Chromebook profile could not be opened correctly and it needs to be removed.
Sometimes you just need to remove just one user account. Other times you need to remove the accounts from 500 or more Chromebooks.
Here are 3 different ways to delete an account from a Chromebook. Some are more of a manual process than others and and I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each.
1. Reset The Chromebook
Resetting a Chromebook can often help clear up any “weirdness” a Chromebook may be having. The process also removes all of the profile accounts. If you have just a few user profiles cached, this would not be faster than the manual removal way. However, if you have 12+ user profiles, it may be faster.
Tip: If you have a lot of user profiles on your Chromebooks, you may not want to cache user profiles going forward. I’ll explain how to configure this in option 3.
The process of resetting a Chromebook returns it to its out-of-the-box state with two exceptions:
- It will still be running its current Chrome OS version
- If your Google Admin has enabled Forced Re-enrollment (and they should), the Chromebook will re-enroll in your domain the next time a domain user logs on. This is both a convenience and theft deterrent.
I explain how to reset a Chromebook in my post cleverly entitled How To Wipe or Factory Reset a Chromebook.
2. Manually Remove User Profile
Manually removing user profiles on a Chromebook is easy to do, but can be time consuming if it has to be done on a lot of Chromebooks. One quick option is to have students remove them from the Chromebook they are using right before they turn it in. This would be one of the easiest ways in a 1:1 environment.
To remove a profile:
- Logout of the Chromebook
- Click the on the profile you want to remove
- Click the down arrow next to the profile name
- Click Remove this user
- Click Remove this user again
Repeat these steps until all of the user profiles are removed. If the Chromebooks are not managed in the Google Admin Console, there will be one profile that cannot be removed. It is considered the owner. This is the first account to login into the Chromebook. To remove the owner you have to do step two.
If your school system has your Chromebooks enrolled in our domain (manages them) there will not be an owner account.
Users will not lose any files saved in their Google Drive by removing their profile. If your Google Admin is not forcing users to save to Google Drive, they may have files saved in their Chromebook’s Downloads folder. These need to move if the user wants to keep them, before removing the profile.
Tip: You never know when a Chromebook may be misplaced or broken. Also, another student could delete profiles. Therefore, I recommend teaching students to always save in Google Drive and never rely on the Chromebook’s local storage.
3. Use The Google Admin Console
It is possible to tell your managed Chromebooks to forget their cached profiles by using the Google Admin Console. In fact, if your Chromebooks are not assigned to specific students, this is the way I recommend leaving your Chromebooks configured.
Configure Chromebooks not to save user profile information
Note: This has to be done by someone with Google Admin Console rights to modify Device Settings for the OU in which the Chromebooks are located.
- Go to admin.google.com
- Navigate to Device Management > Chrome Management > Device Settings.
- Find the Sign-in Settings section
- Scroll down to User Data
- From the drop-down choose Erase all local user data
- Click Save
Now every time a user logs out of a Chromebook, their profile will be forgotten. Again, this setup works great long term for Chromebook carts and other scenarios where a user may use a specific Chromebook once or infrequently. All of the apps, extensions, and settings applied to the user are installed each time they login.
Use Option 3 for End of the Year Profile Removal
You can use the Google Admin Console settings to remove profiles, but that’s only half of the process. Once you have configured your settings, the Chromebooks need to receive the new settings. This means they need to be turned on.
By default, Chromebooks look for new settings every 30 minutes. The also check for new settings on boot up. The following steps will result in your Chromebook profiles being removed.
- Configure your Google Admin Console settings as described in section 3 above.
Tip: Make sure you are modifying the Device Settings for the OU containing your Chromebooks.
- Boot up your Chromebook(s)
- Verify that they are connected to your wireless network
- Let your Chromebook sit for 1-2 minutes just to make sure they received their new settings
- Power off your Chromebooks
- Turn them back on to verify all of the profile have been removed
If the user profiles are not removed from one here’s three things to check.
- The simplest thing to do is just reboot the Chromebook and see if it clears the user profiles the second time
- Make sure the Chromebook is connected to Wi-Fi.
- Make sure that the Chromebook is in the correct OU
Once you have removed the user profiles from all of your Chromebooks, restore your Google Admin Console settings back to their original configuration.
While you are cleaning up your Chromebooks, now would be a good time to setup a custom background featuring a custom school logo, mascot, or color scheme for all of your Chromebooks? I show you how in my Deploy a Custom Wallpaper Background to Chromebook Login Screen post.
Thanks for reading and sharing!