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How to use the Chromebook Recovery Utility

Start from zero and take care of your Chromebook issues from the root!

Published onJune 8, 2022

Is your Chromebook having issues? There are simple ways to troubleshoot most problems, but sometimes Chrome OS data can get corrupted and turn your computer into an expensive paperweight. This is when the Chromebook Recovery Utility comes to the rescue to get your computer up and running again.

Buyer’s guide: What is a Chromebook, what can and can’t it do?


To use Chromebook Recovery Utility, you'll need to download it from the Chrome Web Store onto a spare Chromebook, Mac, or PC. You can then use it to create a recovery USB drive using the utility, and boot into recovery mode by pressing Esc + Refresh + Power or Volume Up + Volume Down + Power for tablets.


What is Chromebook Recovery Utility?

Samsung Chromebook 4 open tilt back
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Chromebook Recovery Utility is a tool that will help you recover ChromeOS. Using Chrome Recovery Utility will pretty much reinstall a fresh copy of ChromeOS on your Chromebook. This is the equivalent of reinstalling Windows, macOS, or a Linux OS.

Try restarting or performing a factory data reset instead

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 side profie 5
David Imel / Android Authority

Using the Chromebook Recovery Utility can be a long, inconvenient process, so only use it if you must. The Chrome OS recovery tool is recommended only when the software is corrupted, or you get a “Chrome OS is missing or damaged” error message.

If you can still use the computer and have a software issue, we recommend resetting your Chromebook to factory settings instead. You can also turn the computer on and off to see if that fixes minor issues.

Related: How to update your Chromebook

Requirements for using the Chromebook Recovery Utility

MicroSD card slot for Chromebook Recovery Utility
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

There are some things you will need. Here they are.

  • The Chromebook with the damaged operating system/software.
  • Another Chromebook. Alternatively, you can also use a Windows or macOS computer with Chrome installed. Download Chrome here.
  • A USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage. You can also use an SD card if your Chromebook has an SD card slot. You will need to format it, so make sure you back up any important files you may have in the storage unit.

It’s also important to mention your Chromebook will be erased. If there is any way to do so, back up your files. If you are trying to use the Chrome OS recovery tool, you probably can’t use your computer at all, but it’s important to let you know what will happen during the process. The good thing is most Chromebook data is stored in the cloud.

Also: The best USB flash drives | The best microSD cards

How to download Chrome OS Recovery Utility

Home office Desk and laptop 1 - Chromebook Recovery Utility
David Imel / Android Authority

If you absolutely need to do this, you must first take care of the Chromebook Recovery Utility download.

Turn on the working computer and follow these steps.

  • Launch the Chrome browser.
  • Download and install the Chromebook Recovery Utility from the Chrome Web Store.
  • Open the Chromebook Recovery Utility app.
  • Click on Get Started.
  • Pick either Select a model from a list or type the model number of the Chromebook you want to recover.
  • Hit Continue.
  • Insert the USB flash drive or SD card.
  • Click on the drop-down menu and select the USB flash drive or SD card.
  • Select Continue.
  • Hit Create now.
  • Remove the flash drive or SD card when the process is finished.

Next: The best cheap Chromebook deals around

How to use Chromebook Recovery Utility on a damaged Chromebook

Google Pixelbook Go Review front view open - Chromebook Recovery Utility
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

You now have a USB flash drive or SD card with everything needed to install Chrome OS on your damaged computer. Now it’s time to get the Chromebook with the damaged OS back up and running.

  • Remove all USB accessories and other products from your damaged Chromebook.
  • Make sure the computer is off.
  • Enter Recovery Mode by pressing Esc + Refresh + Power buttons. Use Volume Up + Volume Down + Power buttons if you are using a tablet.
  • You will get a message telling you the OS is missing and that you must insert a Chromebook Recovery Utility USB flash drive or SD card.
  • Insert the USB drive or the SD card.
  • Follow on-screen instructions.
  • Let the computer do its thing.

You should be good to go now! You can reuse the USB flash drive or SD card. Alternatively, it can be formatted and used as a regular storage device.

Also read: The best Chromebooks you can buy

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