How to Fix a Chromebook that Won’t Enter Recovery Mode

Chromebooks are relatively easy to use and maintain. However, there are times when they refuse to cooperate and start acting up. Being unable to boot into Recovery Mode when you’re trying to update the operating systems is one of the most inconvenient situations for a Chromebook user.

How to Fix a Chromebook that Won’t Enter Recovery Mode

Luckily, there are ways to bring it around, with restart and factory reset being your strongest allies. Let’s see what to do and how to save a Chromebook that won’t boot into Recovery Mode.


The first line of defense when the Chromebook refuses to enter Recovery Mode should be the good old restart or hard reset. Let’s see how it’s done.

The Standard Way

The standard way to perform a hard reset on a Chromebook is to turn it off and then on again. Follow these steps to restart your device.

  1. Turn the Chromebook off.
  2. Press the Refresh button and hold it. Simultaneously, tap the Power button.
  3. When the Chromebook boots up, you can release the Refresh button.
  4. Try to boot into Recovery Mode once more.


On a Chromebook tablet, the procedure looks like this.

  1. Press together the Power and Volume Up buttons. Hold them for about 10 seconds and then release both.
  2. The tablet will turn off and turn on again.
  3. Try to enter Recovery Mode again.

Other Ways

Some Chromebook models can be reset in other ways. For example, some models have special Reset buttons. Alternatively, you can unplug the power cord of your Chromebook. Removing and inserting the battery again can also do the trick, assuming that the battery is removable.

Reset to Factory Settings

If the manual reset of the device brought no result and you’re still unable to enter Recovery Mode, you might want to try and perform a factory reset. Have in mind that this will wipe all your user data, apps, files, and settings from the device and that it is strongly recommended to back up your data first.

Back Up the Data

Since Chromebook devices are tied to the Google accounts of their owners, you can easily save all the important info to the account. Here’s how to do it.

  1. On the Home screen, click or tap on the time (bottom-right corner of the screen).
  2. Select the Settings option from the menu.
  3. Go to the People section.
  4. Choose the Sync tab.
  5. Here, select what you want to synchronize with your Google account. If you want to save all the data, settings, and files, select the Sync Everything option.
  6. Optionally, you can select to encrypt the synchronized data and protect it with a password. You can set the password under the Encryption Options tab.

Have in mind that if you’re not the administrator of your Chromebook, you might not be able to synchronize the data. For example, if you’re on a company or university Chromebook, your boss or teacher might have turned synchronization off.

Saving data and files to Google Drive might also be a good idea. To save a file to Google Drive, find the file you’d like to save and press together the Ctrl and S keys. Name the file and, if needed, choose its file type. Next, select My Drive under Google Drive as the destination. Finally, select Save.

Save to Google Drive

Alternatively, you can save important files to an external hard drive if you don’t have access to Google account synchronization.

Factory Reset

Once you’ve backed up all the data you want, it is time to reset your Chromebook to the factory settings. Here, we’ll cover both ways to factory reset a Chromebook device.

Method 1

Here is the first method for factory resetting a Chromebook. Follow these steps.

  1. Sign out of the Chromebook if you’re still signed in.
  2. Press together and hold the following buttons: Shift, Alt, Ctrl, and R.
  3. Next, select to restart the device.
  4. A dialog box will appear. There, select the Powerwash option.
  5. To confirm your choice, select Continue.
    Select Powerwash Again
  6. After that, you should follow the onscreen instructions.
  7. When the factory reset is done and the device fully boots up, sign in to your Google Account.
  8. Follow the instructions you see on the screen and set up the device.
  9. Finally, try to reset and boot your Chromebook in Recovery Mode.

Method 2

Here are the steps that cover the alternative way to factory reset a Chromebook device. All measures and precautions that applied to the first method, apply here too. Let’s start.

  1. If you’re still signed in, sign out.
  2. Go to the bottom-right corner of the Home screen and select time.
  3. Next, click or tap on the Settings icon (it’s a small cog).
  4. Go to the bottom of the menu that appears and select the Advanced option.
  5. Enter the Powerwash section of the menu.
  6. Select the Powerwash option.
    Select the Powerwash Option
  7. Next, select Restart.
  8. A dialog box will appear on the screen, identical to the one in the previous method. You should select Powerwash once more.
  9. Select Continue to confirm your choice.
  10. The device will then perform the factory reset. Once it’s done and it boots up, you should sign in to your Google Account.
  11. Follow the instructions of the setup wizard to properly set up your device.
  12. When you make sure everything’s working as it should, try and boot into Recovery Mode.

Bring the Prodigal Chromebook Home

Most of the time, a simple reboot is enough to fix the issue. If not, a factory reset should be enough to sort out a rebellious Chromebook. However, if neither brings any result, posting a question on Google’s Chromebook support page might be in order.

Has your Chromebook refused to boot into Recovery Mode when you tried to update the system? If yes, how did you solve the problem? If we’ve missed a way to fix this issue, feel free to post your solution in the comments section below.

One thought on “How to Fix a Chromebook that Won’t Enter Recovery Mode”

Smart says:
When i press powerwash on my chromebook,it shows a dialog to restart,when i click on restart nothing happens,i click again nothing again.

I’ve tried ESC Refresh button and power button but it just restarts normal,can’t get into developer mode

Help ME Please

Lenovo Thinkpad 11e chromebook

Comments are closed.

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