Reinstall Chrome OS on Google Chromebook
How to reinstall Chrome OS on your Chromebook Getty Images

If you are getting error messages saying "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" on your Chromebook, it means the operating system may not the working properly. In such situations simply turn off the Chromebook and after some time turn it on again to see if the issue has been resolved. If it still exists, then you need to recover your Chromebook.

Recovering the tablet would remove and the reinstall the Chrome OS. You might use the recovery method to deal with the most serious issues on your Chromebook, but note the process will erase all the important information from the hard drive. Therefore, create a backup of all important data on the Google Drive, external hard drive or on any other cloud file system.


  • The Chromebook with Chrome OS missing or damaged error
  • A computer with Google Chrome browser on it
  • An SD card or USB drive
  • Chromebook recovery app

How to recover and reinstall operating system on your Chromebook

  • Install Chromebook recovery utility on your PC (not the Chromebook with error)
  • Launch the app and follow on-screen instructions to create recovery media
  • Open your Chromebook
  • In case mouse, SD card or external drive or anything else is connected to the Chromebook, remove them first
  • Place the Chromebook in recovery mode. For this perform the following steps;
  1. Press and hold Esc + Refresh then press Power key. Now first release the Power key, following which release other keys (The instructions is for Chromebook with a keyboard)
  2. If you have Chromebox or Chromebit, switch it off, pres the recovery button then press Power button to turn it on.
  • You would be presented with the following messages
  1. Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card.
  2. Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card.
  • Now insert the recovery media you have created and follow the on-screen instructions

Alternative method to recover Chromebook

You can still go ahead and recover your Chromebook, even when your device is not facing any critical error. Just check out the above steps to re-install Chrome OS.

However, there is another way if you want to recover your Chromebook using a Linux computer.

To create recovery media

  • On your Linux PC download Recovery tool
  • Use the following command to change the script permissions to allow execution

$ sudo chmod 755

  • Run the script with root privileges by typing in the following command

$ sudo bash

  • Now just follow the on-screen instructions to create recovery media
  • Once you have created the recovery media, follow the above instructions to recovery your Chromebook.

Troubleshoot recovery error messages

During recovery of the Chromebook, you might experience issues with the USB flash drive or the SD card. Try out a different USB flash or SD card with the Chromebook recovery app. Google advises users who are still facing the problem to contact the support team for additional help.

First ensure that you have inserted the correct device that is used to create recovery media. If you are getting error messages, despite using the correct device, note that the device may not be functioning properly. Try creating recovery media using a different USB drive. Most importantly, remove all the connected devices such as mouse, SD card or any external hard drive before you go ahead with the recovery process.