Chromebooks rarely have errors. If you see the error message “Chrome OS is missing or damaged” it may be necessary to reinstall the Chrome operating system. If you have these errors, you might need to reinstall ChromeOS. If you see more error messages on your Chromebook, it may mean there is a serious hardware error. A simple “ChromeOS is missing or damaged” message typically means that it is a software error.
Troubleshoot your Chromebook Quick reset
When your Chromebook’s operating system (OS) isn’t working properly, you can recover it. Recovery is removing and reinstalling the OS.
- Sign out of your Chromebook.
- When the sign-in screen appears, press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R.
- When the box for “Reset this Chrome device” opens, press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift + R again.
- Click Powerwash and Revert, then follow the instructions that appear.
ChromeOS Startup Error
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.
Recovery permanently erases everything on your Chromebook’s hard drive, so make sure to back up your files before you recover your Chromebook.
How to Reinstall ChromeOS
Performing a recovery on your computer reinstalls the operating system and restores the original factory settings, removing all associated Google Accounts (including the owner) and clearing all local data from the hard drive. Locally saved files and saved networks are deleted for all accounts. The Google Accounts themselves, and any data synced to the web through your Google Drive, are not affected by a system recovery.
How to Recover Your Chromebook
- On the working computer (not the Chromebook with the error), install the recovery app.
- Open the app and follow the on-screen instructions to create the recovery media.
- Open the Chromebook you want to recover.
- If you have anything connected to this Chromebook (such as a mouse, SD card, or external hard drive), remove it.
- Enter recovery mode:
- If you have a Chromebook with a keyboard, press and hold Esc + Refresh , then press 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.
- 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.”
- Insert the recovery media you’ve created (SD card or USB drive).
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
Chromebook Recovery Utility is an app from the Chrome Web Store that you can install on any Chromebook or Chromebox, or a computer running Windows or Mac OS. Follow the steps in this section to download and install Chromebook Recovery Utility.
Creating Recovery Media for Chromebook
During the process of creating recovery media, the USB drive or SD card is formatted for use as a recovery tool. After you recover your Chromebook or Chromebox, the recovery media must be erased and reformatted before the full amount of space on the storage device is available for use. Use the steps in this section to erase the recovery media using the Chromebook Recovery Utility.
Resetting Chromebook to Factory Settings
Again, remember that resetting a Chromebook is serious. Performing a factory reset on a Chromebook will wipe all local data stored on your Chromebook — for example, files stored in the Downloads folder. Most data on your Chromebook syncs online, so you can get it back by signing in with your Google account.
Important: Recovery permanently erases everything on your Chromebook’s hard drive, including your downloaded files. If possible, back up your files before you recover your Chromebook.