Recover your Pixelbook

When your Pixelbook's operating system (OS) isn't working properly, you can recover it. Recovery is removing and reinstalling the OS.

Note: If you're using your device at work or school, ask your administrator for help. Administrators: For more help, contact Google support.

When to recover

You might want to recover if:

  • You see this error message: "Chrome OS is missing or damaged"
  • You've tried other troubleshooting steps and nothing has fixed your issue
  • You've asked the experts in our help forum for help fixing your issue, and they recommend recovery. To get to the help forum, select Community in the top left of any page in this Help Center.

What you need to get started

  • The device with the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" error
  • Another Chrome OS device, or a Windows or Mac computer with Chrome installed
  • A USB flash drive that can hold at least 8 GB, and that you don't mind erasing.

Important: Recovery permanently erases everything on your device's hard drive, including your downloaded files. If possible, back up your files before you recover your device. For more information, see Related articles.

What you need to do

Step 1: Try less invasive steps

If you can sign in to your device, try these steps first:

  1. Turn your device off, then back on again.
  2. If your device still has an error, reset to factory settings.

For more information on resetting to factory settings, see Related articles.

If neither of those steps fix the error, continue to Step 2.

Step 2: Download a new copy of the OS

On the working computer (not the device with the error):

  1. If you're using a Mac or PC:
    1. If you haven't yet, install Chrome.
    2. Open Chrome Chrome
    3. Install the recovery app.
  2. Open the recovery app.
  3. Choose Select a model from a list, or type in the model number of the device you want to recover. To find this number, look at the bottom of the error message on your device screen.
  4. Select Continue.
  5. Insert your USB flash drive into one of the ports on your device.
  6. Select Create now.
  7. When you see a message saying that your recovery media is ready, remove the USB flash drive from the device.
Step 3: Enter recovery mode

On the device with the error:

  1. If you have anything connected to this device (such as a mouse or external hard drive), remove it.
  2. Enter recovery mode:
    • On 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.
    • On a tablet: Press and hold the Volume Up, Volume Down, and Power buttons for at least 10 seconds, then release them.
  3. 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."
  4. Insert the USB flash drive that you used to create recovery media.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.
Optional: Reuse your USB flash drive or SD card

If you want to reuse your USB flash drive to store other files, after recovering your device, you'll need to erase the recovery media.

To erase the recovery media:

  1. Open the recovery app.
  2. Select Settings Settings.
  3. Select Erase recovery media.
  4. From the dropdown menu, select the USB drive or SD card you'd like to erase.
  5. Select Continue.
  6. Make sure the storage device you used for recovery is listed.
  7. Select Erase now.
  8. The tool will erase everything on your USB drive or SD card. When you see the message "Your recovery media has been erased," select Done.
  9. Remove the USB flash drive or SD card from the device.
  10. Format the storage device using a tool provided by your operating system.

Fix problems with recovery

"An unexpected error has occurred"
  1. Erase the storage device, then try recovery again.
  2. Try using a different USB flash drive to recover. Some USB flash drives don't work well with recovery.

If you're still having problems, contact customer support by selecting "Contact us" in the top right corner of any Help Center page.

"Please remove all connected devices and start recovery"

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

"The device you inserted does not contain Chrome OS"

First, make sure that you inserted the USB drive or SD card that you used to create recovery media.

If you're using the correct storage device, but still see this error, the storage device might not be working properly.

  1. Erase the storage device, then try recovery again.
  2. Try using a different USB flash drive to recover. Some USB flash drives don't work well with recovery.

If you're still having problems, contact customer support by selecting "Contact us" in the top right corner of any Help Center page.

"The security module on this device is not working"

First, ask our experts for help:

  • If you use your device at work or school, contact your administrator. Administrators: contact Google support.
  • Chat with experts on the help forum by clicking "Community" in the top left corner of any Help Center page.

If you're still having problems, contact customer support by selecting "Contact us" in the top right corner of any Help Center page.

Other ways to recover your device

Use a Linux computer
  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 recovery media.
  5. Continue recovering your device by following the steps above.

Related articles

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