Unmanage A Managed Chromebook (School, Work, or Enterprise) [2023]

Unmanage A Managed Chromebook (School, Work, or Enterprise)

Are you struggling with how to unmanage a Chromebook?

We understand this might be stressful as we’ve experienced the same.

With comprehensive research, we’ve come up with various steps to solve your problem of unbinding from device management.

This blog post will guide you on de-provisioningresetting, or power washing the Chromebook and finally unenrolling it from Enterprise Enrollment.

Read on as we provide detailed information and instructions for the successful management of your Chromebook!

Understanding Chromebook Management

Unmanage School Chromebook

Chromebooks can be managed through Chrome Education, Enterprise, or Kiosk & Signage programs and these can be set at the level of the user’s account, device, or both.

What Is Managed Account vs. Managed Device?

When it comes to Chromebooks, there are two levels of device management – managed account and managed device.

With a managed account, the user’s access to certain websites or activities can be blocked and monitored by an administrator.

This makes for enhanced safety online since the admin has control over which apps and websites users can have access to.

On the other hand, a managed device is controlled by an admin on an operating system level.

This means that all activity on the device will be monitored by the administrator as well as any changes made to settings or applications must go through them first. The main implication here is that while it may seem less secure at times, a managed device offers much more control from IT staff in terms of customization and maintenance tasks for your Chromebook.

How to Check if Your Chromebook Is Managed?

 Fortunately, there are several ways to check if your Chromebook is managed or not.

  1. Indicator of Managed Device: The presence of the managed device icon, usually displayed in the status bar, indicates that a Chromebook is managed.
  2. Managed Account vs. Managed Device: Different levels of management apply to Chromebooks, either a managed account or a managed device (or both). A managed account controls online access and activities while a managed device is under the control of an admin who can configure settings and restrictions based on corporate policies.
  3. Check Your Account Settings: Login to your account and navigate to Settings then Accounts & Sync and look for the ‘Sign in with your organization’s policy’ marker which would indicate that this account is connected with an organization’s policy (and therefore managed) from an administrator end.
  4. Look Out for Restrictions: Check out for restricted settings or permissions such as blocks on certain websites or send/receive options in terms of emails pdf attachments etc which could indicate that the system may be locked down due to organizational policies imposed by administrators on those devices
  5. Have a Look at Updates: Observe your Chrome OS version, which can be done via Help > About Google Chrome (on Windows/Mac/Linux), Menu > Help > About Chrome OS (on Chrome OS devices). If the updates arrive automatically without prompting, then that indicates the system might be enforced with a policy from an administrative end keeping it locked down within similar boundaries dictated by them.

Deprovisioning a Chromebook

1. Contact Your Admin To Deprovision It

If you want to deprovision a Chromebook, one of the first steps is to ask your admin or organization.

After correctly identifying if your device is managed, contact someone at your organization such as the tech support team or IT department, and explain why you need to de-provision the Chromebook.

Some organizations have their policies in place for this process so you must understand them before proceeding any further. Asking an admin also helps ensure that no user data remaining on the device will be accessible after deprovisioning.

Furthermore, unenrolling a Chromebook without proper consent may violate local regulations and potentially lead to fines or penalties – even if done with good intentions – whereas going through authorized channels offers protection from any potential risks associated with unenrollment.

2. Resetting or Powerwashing the Chromebook

To de-provision a Chromebook, it is necessary to unenroll or de-provision the device through the admin.

Disabling a Chromebook is also another process used for lost or stolen devices.

Factory resetting or a powerwash can be used to completely remove admin access from a Chromebook.

An unmanaged account should be used afterward when logging into the device after performing these actions.

How To Powerwash Your Chromebook

So, first thing first, you need to sign out and head to the locked screen.

Now, here comes the techy part! You’ll want to press Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R all together and keep ’em pressed until you see a ‘Reset’ prompt.

Alternatively, if you fancy a different route, you can head over to your Chromebook’s settings and find the ‘power wash’ option for a total system reboot.

Before you hit ‘Restart’ on the ‘Reset this Chromebook’ prompt that will appear, you’ve got to remember to save any important data. Save it to an external hard drive, or a USB stick, or maybe even upload it to your Google Drive. You don’t want to lose all those precious files in the factory reset, do you?

Once that’s all done, you just follow the steps shown, and eventually sign back into your freshly cleaned Chromebook using your personal Google account. This account will be the new boss – the owner account for your ‘power washed’ Chromebook. And from there, you just set up your device as you like it.

Now, it’s important to note that a power wash and a hard reset are not the same thing for Chromebooks. A hard reset sort of wakes up your hardware – think keyboard, touchpad, and so on. But it doesn’t do a complete system wipe, like removing all data.

Keep in mind though, if the power wash feature is disabled by your admin, you won’t be able to do a factory reset. And if your Chromebook is managed, it might automatically re-enroll itself after you’ve done a power wash. There are controls in place for admins to make sure wiped ChromeOS devices can re-enroll when you log in next.

So, to avoid your Chromebook being managed again, you’ll need to pick one of three possible solutions that I’ll be explaining next.

3. Enable Developer Mode

Switching your Chromebook to developer mode is an effective way to stop it from being managed by an administrator.

This mode offers you more control over the device and ensures that all of your actions are unhindered by any imposed restrictions or policies.

Here’s how you can switch your Chromebook to developer mode:

  1. Sign out of your account on the Chromebook, then press and hold the Esc + Refresh + Power keys simultaneously for at least 10 seconds until you see a message that says “Chrome OS is missing or damaged”.
  2. Press Ctrl+D on the keyboard to reach Developer Mode.
  3. You will be prompted with a confirmation screen displaying a warning about Service Disruption, acceptance of data deletion, and requirements for enabling Recovery Mode; click Done once you have read this information carefully.
  4. The system will then reboot into Developer Mode and erase all user data from your Chromebook before allowing you full access to the operating system; press Enter when prompted to continue with startup in Developer Mode.
  5. Your Chromebook will now be in Developer Mode; your address bar may display “OS Verification is OFF” to confirm this change.

4. “Unbrick” the Chromebook

Alright, let’s dive a little deeper into what you can do with a tightly controlled Chromebook, especially when the power wash function or the developer mode isn’t accessible.

Unbricking, in a nutshell, is a complete wipe-out and redo. It’s like a digital scrubbing brush, cleaning off everything, even the Chrome OS.

Once your Chromebook has been ‘unbricked’, you can load a brand new operating system onto the device – keeping in mind what your device can handle. A few possibilities are Chrome OS Flex, Linux, or even Windows.

Chromebooks with a SOIC-8 SPI flash chip on their baseboard can be unbricked. It’s a bit like a digital jigsaw puzzle, you’ll need to open up the case, unscrew the baseboard, and flip it over to get to the SPI chip. But this might not be so easy with Chromebooks with a WSON-8 SPI flash chip. And for those Chromebooks with a unibody? Reaching the baseboard might not be possible. Remember, unbricking depends on the type of baseboard your Chromebook has.

The make, model, or any other hardware specs like the CPU don’t play a part in determining if the ROM can be flashed. And the beauty of it all is that this process isn’t affected by any admin device management settings.

If you’re thinking about unbricking your Chromebook, here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Know your Chromebook baseboard name and if the ROM can be flashed.
  2. Unbricking hardware, which includes a CH341A USB flash programmer kit with a clip, adapter, and so on.
  3. Flashing software for the USB programmer and a flash ROM image for your baseboard.
  4. A desktop or laptop (either Linux or Windows) to do the actual flashing and unbricking of your Chromebook.

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to unbrick a Chromebook using a Windows machine:

  1. Turn the Chromebook over, take off the case, and unscrew the baseboard. Flip the main board to find the 8-pin SPI chip.
  2. Assemble your USB programmer kit and set up the driver on your Windows machine. Remember the type of baseboard you have and download the firmware utility script or system image from an online flashrom repository.
  3. Connect the USB programmer’s clip to the SPI flash chip. There’s a small dot on the SPI flash chip that marks where the first pin is. The USB programmer should have its pins labeled or marked too. Connect pin 1 on the programmer to pin 1 on the SPI flash chip.
  4. Launch the USB programmer software on your Windows machine, select the SPI chip, and flash the ROM with the downloaded script or system image. The exact instructions might differ depending on the flashing programmer and software you use.

So, that’s the lowdown on unbricking a Chromebook using Windows, it should be unlocked for use!

5. Install A New Baseboard

To do this, there are a few steps that should be taken.

  1. Power off the Chromebook and remove all peripherals and cables to access the bottom cover screws of the device.
  2. Once the screws have been removed, carefully open up the device so that you can access the baseboard inside your Chromebook.
  3. Unscrew each of the small screws located around the edge of your processor to release it from its mountings. The baseboard should now be able to move freely with the processor still attached.
  4. Carefully detach the antennas from their mounting points which will disconnect them from their cabling connectors underneath.
  5. Disconnect any other connectors such as USB connections or memory cards before finally lifting out of or sliding away, whichever is applicable for your model, your existing baseboard from its mountings in your laptop’s chassis.
  6. Inserting a brand new Chromebook baseboard requires these steps to be done in reverse order: connecting any relevant cables and antennas back into place; reattaching any other ports such as USB connections; screwing down your processor onto its mountings before finally putting into place and securely screwing down your new baseboard into its original slot where appropriate within your laptop’s casing – making sure not to overtighten any screws!
  7. Close up and power on your Chromebook again, updating any system-specific drivers, while also checking that all of your external connectivity features are fully functional again too – if they were present before removing them earlier on in this process!

What Is Enterprise Enrollment on Chromebook?

Enterprise Enrollment is an administrative service used to set up and manage a Google Chrome OS device, such as a Chromebook.

It allows for the implementation of Admin policies, restrictions, settings, and even features on Chromebooks.

This can be done through Chrome Education or Enterprise, Kiosk & Signage services which are synced with managed user accounts and devices across all networks to provide tailored experiences.

With enterprises enrolling their devices, users are granted basic access limitations while there is also the added ability for admins to remotely manage these devices ensuring compliance security using various settings such as backup data encryption.

In addition to managing these networked entities from afar, administrators have full control over device usage whilst equipping staff members with seamless mobile productivity advantages where relevant applications are available at the click of a button without any manual downloads or installation procedures being required.

Users will often notice that when they initially set up their brand new Enterprise enrolled Chromebook it begins life with several pre-set policies already enabled providing them with instant safety strategies versus malicious actors living out on public networks within the connected world we live in today.

How to Know If Chromebook Is Enterprise Enrolled?

  • Check if your Chromebook shows a managed device icon which is typically displayed in the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • Look for additional enterprise or school settings added to existing Chrome OS options, such as ‘Device Management’.
  • In some cases, logging into a Chromebook could prompt for an organization username and password instead of a usual Google account.
  • If “Google Admin Console” displays on the login page of your device then it confirms that your Chromebook is enrolled in the Enterprise Management program.
  • The sign-in credentials also indicate whether the device has been enrolled by a school or workplace through G Suite domain authentication

Why Remove Enterprise Enrollment on Your Chromebook?

Removing Enterprise Enrollment from your Chromebook can offer several advantages to users who want greater control over their devices. It can give them more freedom when it comes to customizing settings, playing games, or downloading apps of their choice.

It also allows them access to personal Google Drive files without going through the extra step of logging in with a managed user account each time they use the Chromebook. Additionally, greater autonomy for user devices is important for institutional privacy and security concerns, as having too much IT oversight may create unnecessary complications with compliance standards or local regulations.

However, removing enterprise enrollment should not be done lightly; since users will no longer have access to certain administrative controls and features – including automatic updates from Chrome OS which might close loopholes or patch potential vulnerabilities – that are beneficial in many cases.

When deprovisioning a device from an organization’s fleet of machines, all relevant data must be backed up ahead of time so that those resources won’t be lost during the process of disenrollment.

Is It Secure to Remove Enterprise Enrollment?

Removing enterprise enrollment from a Chromebook is a complicated procedure that comes with some security implications. Depending on the organization, the settings an admin has put in place may remain intact after unenrolling, so there’s always the potential for still having restrictions imposed and data collected through third-party apps.

On the other hand, if you have no intention of using your device for work or school purposes and want to switch back to a regular consumer-level account, removing enterprise enrollment will give access to additional apps and features via Google Play Store that wasn’t available before.

That said, users should be sure to take extra precautions such as regularly updating their system software versions and taking proactive measures against malware by running anti-virus scans often.

In addition, it’s also important to set strong passwords for enhanced protection of personal accounts linked to the device along with enabling two-factor authentication wherever possible.

Read more about back to school IT security tips.

Unenrolling a Chromebook from Enterprise Enrollment

Precautions to Note

It is important to note that disabling Chromebook management may have serious implications and risks.

If you remove enterprise enrollment or disable device management, your organization would not be able to monitor the device anymore as they will no longer be able to tell who is using it, if changes are being made without permission, or even track its location.

Additionally, resetting a managed Chromebook without first contacting the admin can lead to data loss because of manual enforcement policies in place by organizations. Furthermore, attempting a factory reset or power wash on a Chromebook without admin access may cause it to become unresponsive (bricked), making it unusable until restored with special software by an IT administrator on Windows PC.

It is, therefore, necessary for users to contact their organization before trying any de-provisioning techniques and follow any instructions provided by them.

1. Contacting Your Organization

To safely and efficiently remove Enterprise Enrollment on a Chromebook, it’s important to contact the organization that granted access. It may be an employer, school district, or other enterprise that enrolled the device in their domain.

This is essential for deprovisioning a managed Chromebook as they will need to unenroll the device from further management.

It’s also important to note that deprovisioning a Chromebook should only be done if manual resetting or power washing has failed. Resetting or powerwashing can remove administrative control but leaves certain aspects of management still enabled, such as automatic updates and tracking with G Suite admin policies still in effect; so contacting your organization should occur before attempting these methods.

2. Removing Enterprise Enrollment on School Chromebooks

Just a heads up before we dive in: tampering with a Chromebook owned by your school or organization can lead to consequences.

This is because you’re essentially trying to bypass a lock set by the folks who own the device. So, make sure you have proper authorization before proceeding.

Okay, now that the important disclaimer is out of the way, let’s talk about how to remove the enterprise enrollment on a school Chromebook.

Step 1: Protect your data.

Before we start, make sure you back up any files that you want to keep. Copy them to an external storage device, because they’ll disappear once you proceed with these steps.

Step 2: Let’s turn off your Chromebook.

Power down your device. Simple enough, right?

Step 3: Time to reboot with a twist.

Next, you’ll want to press and hold the “Esc + Refresh” keys, and while keeping them pressed, hit the “Power” button. Your Chromebook will take a few minutes to restart and it will flash a scary message saying ChromeOS is damaged. But don’t worry, this is part of the plan.

Step 4: Ignore the warning.

Now press “Ctrl + d”. This will let you skip the warning message.

Step 5: Let’s get into developer mode.

Press “Enter” or “Space”. This will restart your device in developer mode. Doing this will wipe all data from the device and unenroll it from the enterprise enrollment.

Step 6: Set up your account.

The final step is to set up your Chromebook again, but this time with your account. Try to avoid using the G-Suite account that was used before as it could flag that the device has been unenrolled.

And there you have it!

What Happens When You Deprovision A Chromebook?

When a Chromebook is deprovisioned, it ceases being managed by an organization. This means any settings or policies that were previously in place will be reset to their default values and the device effectively becomes an unmanaged device.

As such, all limitations imposed before de-provisioning are removed and users have unrestricted access to their own Chromebooks. Any restrictions on usage before de-provisioning – such as limiting certain features or websites – will no longer apply so they can access content freely with minimal restrictions from their IT admin.

All of the data stored on the device does not get affected when it is de-provisioned but it might become harder for users to recover lost files if their accounts are disassociated from management services after this process has been completed.

Ultimately, de-provisioning gives users full control of their machines while simultaneously removing enterprise enforcement capabilities from them – making sure there’s no risk posed to other devices in shared environments where user PCs may be connected through a common network link.

Conclusion

Unmanaging a Chromebook from being managed can be done in various ways, but it must be done carefully and with caution.

By understanding the different types of management options available for Chromebooks—Enterprise or Education ManagementManaged Device vs Managed Account—and taking steps to properly deprovision or power wash a device before attempting to unmanage it, users will have greater success with their attempts.

Users should also remember that disabling school restrictions on a Chromebook usually involves Enterprise Enrollment removal which may revoke the warranty on some devices, so they should check their terms of service agreements first.

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...