Chromebook Won’t Enter Recovery Mode – What to DO

Setting up a recovery drive for your Chromebook is always a good idea. It works the same way as on Windows 10. You should create a recovery drive in case you encounter issues that require a powerwash or system recovery. The only problem is that it’s easier said than done. Chromebook’s Recovery Utility is not perfect. It doesn’t work every time, and you will probably have to repeat the process a few times before you resolve the issue.

Chromebook Won't Enter Recovery Mode - What to DO

Recovery Mode Isn’t Working

If you can’t get into the recovery mode with the standard key combination, it might be due to a bug or a glitch. Many users that faced this problem in the past were able to fix things was by reinstalling the operating system.

If you can’t open the recovery mode, you should first try every option at your disposal before reinstalling your Chromebook completely.

recovery mode

Restart Your Chromebook

The first thing you should try when a device stops working is restart it. Many people disregard that solution thinking that it won’t make a change, but it often does. Power down your Chromebook and let it cool off for a few minutes. Turn it back on and try entering the recovery mode again. If it’s still not working, move on to the next method.

Reset Your Chromebook to Default Settings

If the restart didn’t yield any results, you should try resetting your Chromebook to its original state. You can find more info on the factory reset here. After that, start up your Chromebook, sign in, and try holding Esc + Refresh + Power button to enter the recovery mode. If you’re still getting the “Chrome OS is missing or damaged” message, you should reinstall Chrome OS. You will first have to set up a Chrome Recovery USB drive.

Setting up the Recovery Drive

You will need to create the Chromebook Recovery Utility on a different device. Any working Windows PC or Mac laptop will do. It may not work straight away, but if you try it a few times, it will work eventually. Here is what you have to do:

  1. Open the Chrome browser on your computer. Go to the Chrome Web Store and download the Chromebook Recovery Utility.
  2. Run the program and select “Get Started.”
  3. The setup will ask you for the model number of your Chromebook. Type in the number and click “Continue.”
  4. Insert a blank USB drive. Find it in the drop-down menu and hit “Continue” again.
  5. Make sure that everything is as it should be and select “Create now.”
  6. The Recovery Utility will then download a new version of ChromeOS. It will unpack the OS installation bundle and make a bootable USB drive automatically.
  7. When the process is finished, Chrome Recovery Utility will inform you that your recovery media is ready.
  8. Unplug the USB drive, and you are ready to recover your Chromebook OS.

Recovering a Chromebook with a USB Stick

Again, you might experience problems while setting up your USB recovery stick, so keep trying until you get it done. Here is how to recover your Chromebook with a USB stick.

  1. Disconnect all peripherals from your Chromebook. That includes the mouse, keyboard, speakers, and so on.
  2. Hit the Esc + Refresh + Power button keys to enter the recovery mode. If you own a Chromebox or a Chromebit, you will find a tiny button on the bottom that does the same thing.
  3. Insert the USB stick with the recovery files and follow the instructions.
  4. The process will start automatically as soon as you plug in the USB. It will take some time until the image is verified. If you get an error that means that the recovery media isn’t working correctly. Repeat the setup process again and try it one more time. That should fix the issue.
  5. When it finally starts installing, you will see a progress bar in the middle of the screen.
  6. Then, a new screen will appear after about 5 minutes. It will say, “System recovery is in progress.” Wait for the process to finish.
  7. When you get the “System recovery is complete” message, you can remove the recovery USB stick, and your Chromebook will restart automatically.

The next time you run your Chromebook, it will be in the same shape it was when you bought it. That means that you will have to reinstall all apps from the ground up.

enter recovery mode

Things to Know

Chromebook Recovery Utility isn’t working as smooth as one would expect. It can cause issues and you might need some patience to make it work. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when trying to recover your Chromebook:

  1. Recovery utility doesn’t work with all media. Some USB brands won’t work at all. SanDisk SD cards and USB sticks are the safest bet, but others might work too.
  2. If you can’t access the recovery utility, it’s best that you format the USB stick before copying recovery files again.
  3. Disable your antivirus when downloading the Chromebook Recovery Utility to prevent other issues.
  4. Set up the utility on a Windows or Mac computer before attempting to reinstall the ChromeOS.

Plenty of Room for Improvement

Chromebooks run on the ChromeOS, which is much lighter and easier to use than most other operating systems. However, ChromeOS has still got a long way to go until it can challenge Windows, macOS and other big operating systems.

The developer mode allows users to correct the mistakes and fix bugs, but if you’re not careful, you might create other bugs and issues, causing the ChromeOS to become even more unstable. If you ever need to reinstall operating system on your Chromebook, don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work on the first try.

Do you know an easier fix to this problem? How did you manage to get the recovery utility working on your Chromebook? Tell us how you did it in the comment section below.

3 thoughts on “Chromebook Won’t Enter Recovery Mode – What to DO”

Fadi says:
Thank you so much! After a lot of reading and video-watching on YouTube, nothing solved my problem. I followed all the steps others suggested but wasn’t able to get my device to enter recovery mode. It was so simple yet ignored by every other blogger or uploader. As soon as I hit the esc + refresh + power button, my device entered recovery mode and began reading the USB drive. You saved me a lot of headache and frustration.
Steve Larner says:
Glad to hear it, and thanks!
Gene says:
i used the chromebook recovery utility to restore my box but now i cant do anything with it because everything is read only. cant get to recovery mode . if i try rhe esc-refresh-power thind i have to restore all over again. what can i do?

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