Recover your Chromebook
Recovering your Chromebook lets you remove and reinstall the Chrome operating system (OS). While recovery can resolve most serious issues, it will also permanently erase all information on your Chromebook's hard drive.
Fix the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" error
What this error means
If this error appears, your Chromebook's operating system might not be working properly. Try turning your Chromebook off, then back on again, to see if that fixes the error. If it doesn't, you need to recover your Chromebook.
Note: Recovery permanently erases everything on your Chromebook's hard drive, including your downloaded files.
What you need to get started
- The Chromebook with the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" error
- A different computer with the Google Chrome browser installed (Windows, Mac, or another Chromebook)
- An SD card or USB drive that you don't mind erasing
- The Chromebook recovery app (details below)
To recover your Chromebook:
- On the working computer (not the Chromebook with the error), install the recovery app.
- Open the app and follow the on-screen instructions to create the recovery media.
- Open the Chromebook you want to recover.
- If you have anything connected to this Chromebook (such as a mouse, SD card, or external hard drive), remove it.
- Enter recovery mode:
- On a Chromebook: Press and hold Esc + Refresh , then press Power . Let go of Power. When a message shows on the screen, let go of the other keys.
- On a Chromebox: Turn it off. Using a paper clip or similar object, press and hold the recovery button. Press the Power button to turn the Chromebox back on. When you see a message on screen, release the recovery button.
- On a Chromebit: Unplug it from power. Using a paper clip or similar object, press and hold the recovery button. Plug the Chromebit back in to power. When you see a message on screen, release the recovery button.
- You'll see one of these messages:
- "Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card."
- "Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card."
- Insert the recovery media you've created (SD card or USB drive).
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
Fix recovery error messages
First, make sure you've inserted the correct device (USB drive or SD card) that you used to create recovery media.
If you're using the correct device, but still see this error, the device might not be working properly. Try to create the recovery media again using a different USB flash drive or SD card.
If you're still having problems, contact our support team.
Troubleshoot Chromebook recovery
Other ways to recover a Chromebook
Even if your Chromebook doesn't have a critical error, you can recover it by following the steps above.
To recover your Chromebook using a Linux computer:
Step 1: Create recovery media
- On the Linux computer, download the Recovery Tool here: https://dl.google.com/dl/edgedl/chromeos/recovery/linux_recovery.sh
- Change the script permissions to allow execution with the following command:
$ sudo chmod 755 linux_recovery.sh
- Run the script with root privileges with the following command:
$ sudo bash linux_recovery.sh
- Follow the on-screen instructions to create the recovery media.
Step 2: Recover your Chromebook
Continue recovering your Chromebook by following the steps above.
Casey is a Chromebook expert and author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.