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If you're having problems, but are able to see the login screen, try resetting your Chromebook first. This is easier than the full recovery process and may be enough to help.

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.

Important: Make sure to back up your files on Google Drive, an external hard drive, or another cloud file system before you restore your Chromebook.

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

You'll need:

  • 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)

What you need to do

To recover your Chromebook:

  1. On the working computer (not the Chromebook with the error), install the recovery app.
  2. Open the app and follow the on-screen instructions to create the recovery media.
  3. Open the Chromebook you want to recover.
  4. If you have anything connected to this Chromebook (such as a mouse, SD card, or external hard drive), remove it.
  5. Enter recovery mode:
    • If you have a Chromebook with a keyboard, press and hold Esc + Refresh Refresh, then press Power Power. Let go of Power. When a message shows on the screen, let go of the other keys.
    • If you have a Chromebox or Chromebit, turn it off, press its recovery button, then press the Power button to turn it back on. To find the location of the recovery button, see the user manual.
  6. 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."
  7. Insert the recovery media you've created (SD card or USB drive).
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Fix recovery error messages

"An unexpected error has occurred"

There may be a problem with the USB flash drive or the SD card. Try using a different USB flash drive or SD card with the Chromebook Recovery app.

If you're still having problems, contact our support team.

"The device you inserted does not contain Chrome OS"

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.

"Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please remove all connected devices and start recovery."

First, remove anything that's connected to your Chromebook, such as a mouse, SD card, or external hard drive. Then follow the steps to enter recovery mode.

If you're still having problems, contact our support team.

Troubleshoot Chromebook recovery

I followed the steps, but I can't restore my Chromebook

If you created your recovery media a while ago, it might contain an older version of Chrome OS. Try creating new recovery media using the Chromebook Recovery app.

If you're still having problems, contact our support team.

I restored my Chromebook, but now I can't use my USB flash drive or SD card anymore

Use the Chromebook Recovery app to erase your USB flash drive or SD card so you can reformat it.

If you're still having problems, contact our support team.

Other ways to recover a Chromebook

I don't have an error, but I want to recover my Chromebook

Even if your Chromebook doesn't have a critical error, you can recover it by following the steps above.

I want to use a Linux computer to recover my Chromebook

To recover your Chromebook using a Linux computer:

Step 1: Create recovery media

  1. On the Linux computer, download the Recovery Tool here: https://dl.google.com/dl/edgedl/chromeos/recovery/linux_recovery.sh
  2. Change the script permissions to allow execution with the following command: $ sudo chmod 755 linux_recovery.sh
  3. Run the script with root privileges with the following command: $ sudo bash linux_recovery.sh
  4. 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.

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