How to Remove Profiles from a Chromebook

There are times when you want to remove profiles from a Chromebook such as the end of a quarter, semester, or year. Times when a new student or group of students will be assigned the Chromebook. Sometimes you just need to do this on just one. Other times you need to remove the profiles from 500 or more Chromebooks. Here are 3 different ways to do this. Some are more of a manual process than others and and I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each.

1. Manual Removal

Manually removing 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:

  1. Logout of the Chromebook
  2. Click the on the profile you want to remove
  3. Click the down arrow next to the profile name
  4. Click Remove this user
  5. Click Remove this user again

Repeat these steps until all of the 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.

2. Reset The Chromebook

Reseting a Chromebook can often help clear up any “weirdness” a Chromebook may be having. The process also removes all of the profiles. If you have just a few profiles cached, this would not be faster than the manual removal way. However, if you have 12+ profiles, it may be faster.

TipIf you have a lot of profiles on your Chromebooks, you may not want to cache 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.

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.

To configure your Chromebooks not to save profiles:
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.

  1. Go to admin.google.com
  2. Navigate to Device Management > Chrome Management > Device Settings.
  3. Find the Sign-in Settings section
  4. Scroll down to User Data
  5. From the drop-down choose Erase all local user data
  6. 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.

What I Use >>

 

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Boot up your Chromebook(s)
  3. Verify that they are connected to your wireless network
  4. Let your Chromebook sit for 1-2 minutes just to make sure they received their new settings
  5. Power off your Chromebooks
  6. Turn them back on to verify all of the profile have been removed

If the 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 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 profiles from all of your Chromebooks, restore your Google Admin Console settings back to their original configuration.

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