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How To Create a Chromebook Recovery Image

When Google set out to create Chrome OS, it was designed to be very stable and require no maintenance from the user, however, nothing is flawless.

In this tutorial we’ll show you how to create a recovery disk for your Chrome device.

“Just Works”

Google’s Chrome OS has been designed to be stable, secure and to “just work”. Users should not need to update software, troubleshoot issues and make sure their computer is virus-free; Chrome OS is design to handle all the maintenance.

Chrome OS cant boot, requires recovery.

Chrome OS cant boot, requires recovery.

However, Google has implemented a recovery tool into Chrome OS incase something does go wrong.

A Chrome OS Recovery Disk is used to wipe and restore your Chrome device back to a factory state. You may switch on your Chrome device to find out that it will not boot, and will ask you to restore Chrome OS from a recovery image.

But there are other reasons why you may want to restore including:

  • You plan on selling or giving away your Chrome device
  • You want to toll back to a stable release of Chrome OS

To do it, all your need is a USB Flash Drive or an SD Card that is at least 4GB in size.

Creating a Recovery Disk

There are two ways to create a recovery disk: using your Chrome device or a traditional desktop computer.

The easiest way to create a recovery disk is on your Chrome device; since the recovery tool will download the correct disk image for your Chrome device automatically, while if you create the recovery disk on your computer you will have manually select the correct recovery image, you may select the wrong image.

If you rather create the recovery disk on your computer, you can find the download links for the recovery tool on the Chrome OS help site.

Plug your USB Flash Drive or SD card into your Chrome device. Navigate to chrome://imageburner. Start the recovery tool and follow the on-screen instructions. The process will wipe your USB Flash Drive/SD Card and download the latest image. Once its completed, your recovery disk is ready to go.


Forcing a Recovery

If you want to wipe your Chromebook and restore to a clean stable state, you first need to reset your Chrome device.

A small button can be found underneath your Chrome device, you will need a pin or a paper clip to press the button. Hold the button down, and turn on your Chrome device. You should see the Chrome OS recovery error message appear.

Insert your recovery disk, and it should start recovering Chrome OS to factory state.


  • I just had to use this. It worked fantastic!

  • Shouldn’t a Chrome device not just use a into the Firmware build Internet Recovery like on modern Apple Macs?

  • Kathleen N

    Can more than one recovery image be stored on a single drive? I have 18 Chromebooks coming and I do not have 18 dedicated flash drives available!

    • Leo Green

      You’ll only need one recovery image

  • Peter Frazier

    Anyone know how big of a card do you need? i have a variety of sizes..

    • oldrocker99

      4 GB will do it.

  • Scott H

    Is there any way to simply check and repair the file system on Chrome OS? Something like fsck? And how would I run it without the root file system being mounted?

  • Luis

    Hi, the link “chrome://imageburner” is not available. Please, how I can do to recover my Acer Chrome c710-2847???

    • Denver Devil

      I can’t even get the recovery tool to completely download the image. That machine and platform both suck.

  • wirelessjohn

    where is the reset button on the CR48 please? (Hardware version Mario Pony)

  • Dork Knight

    I’m using an acer c7 chromebook. I installed Chrubuntu onto the device and partitioned 146GB of the 350GB HDD that came with it. When I run the system recovery image on the chromebook, will this completely wipe out the partitions for the Linux side of the chromebook? I would like to know any info you can provide in the event that I ever decide to default to Chrome OS and uninstall Linux.

    • oldrocker99

      It will completely wipe the disc so far as I can tell. I have had to restore both Chrome OS and then Chrubuntu several times on my C7, to the point that the hard drive is going south. I may replace it with a SSD. We’ll see if it works.

  • LisIris Bleuet

    Thank you :)

  • ysabel

    if i didn’t made a recovery usb, can i still repair my chromebook acer 7?

    • Byron Johnson

      I’d like to know too!!!!!

      • Byron Johnson

        It would seem that you would have to make a recovery stick on another chromebook to put in that one……..maybe one that is already preloaded with your particular model image could be ordered somewhere…………but I’ve searched forever and called tech support and everything i can think of and no results…..let us know how you are doing at it.

        • verlaine tuieta

          agree ! it’s too F.complicated !!!! Seems to me,that closed minded zombies are the only one who ”always know everything ” like comrade – lermdoodles – overhere !!!!

  • Elaine McCrorie

    my chromebook has crashed , before I do the recovery procedure , is there anyway to save data?

  • Dave

    After creating the new boot tool on a 16 gb flash drive, can I use that flash drive for backing up other data? Or is it now only to be used for Chromebook recovery?

    • Vhincent Sj

      I think you can still use it if the File System is still readable by windows/Linux (Fat32/NTFS,etc.)
      I created a multi-boot USB flash drive to carry different bootable OS and repairing/cloning tools in my 16GB flash Drive, I just create a new folder and name it whatever you want “My Files” then put your files in there.

      Just dont mess around the files that created in making the USB drive a bootable installer.

      NOTE: I haven’t created one of this yet and upon writing this, my Acer C720p still downloading the image.

  • Jeffreylee Kaminski

    Chromebook HP 14 just hacked. Bots&gov..#mindscare…too much to list…my question is, anyone know off hand…software to extract the chromeOS from the exe downloaded burner tool and if”apk” to create bootable flash drive after making android phone into host mode via OTG cable?… I can’t go near my Chromebook book..they will know…I need to create image from android s4 running cm11 snapshot..cwm custom recovery, su, fully rooted with busy box and root tools pro..any replys will be greatly appreciated.. Thank you

  • lermdoodles

    When buying a Chromebook, remember to have a copy of Windows on a USB stick, a USB keyboard and mouse, a USB hub, and an SSD upgrade handy. Also, you will need to have knowledge on bootloaders, backing up your data, and partitioning. No hassle? Yeah right, Google! Also, all that extra stuff would be about $550, plus the cost of your shiny new Chromebook. No matter what price that Chromebook is, a Windows laptop would have been cheaper or better.

    • verlaine tuieta

      lermdoodles @ – You must have been Saddam Hussein advisor ? right !? That’s why he lost the war ! How the people supposedly know, perhaps telepathy ?! They have to have a copy of Windows on a USB ” shtick ” before they buy Chrommy !? huh ? R U some kind of NSA,KGB or SEE I A dude,or perhaps u do too much meth or something else ?! what a crap ! or u live in psychiatric ward ??? go back to your hospital,they are looking for U !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or you must be the ” smartest psychopat ” on this planet ?????!!!!!!!

  • shonangreg

    This says creating the recovery image downloads the latest image and writes that to your flash memory device, but this leaves one question unanswered: will local files on the SSD be saved?

    This is especially important for anyone using crouton who has 10GB-plus of their SSD filled with linux system files.

    Can I:
    1) make an initial recovery image to a 4GB flash memory device
    2) set up a variety of linux on my device using crouton
    3) make a second recovery image on another flash memory device, presumably 4GB plus how much of the SSD you’re using for linux/crouton (so for a Chromebook with a 16GB SSD, a 32GB flash drive would be sufficient, and maybe a 16GB flash drive would do IF you keep 4GB free on your system’s 16GB SSD…)
    4) Be able to recover either the initial setup or the setup with crouton/linux running?

    My plan is to do the above with a DELL Chromebook 11 (16GB SSD, crouton, Cinnamon) while keeping a copy of dropbox and media files on a 32 or 64GB SDXC card semi-permanently mounted in the SD card slot. I would save some* google docs files to that dropbox folder and then either ChromeOS or linux would sync it when it ran. This gives me a Plan B to google’s universe allowing me to use another PC, MS Office or LibreOffice, and dropbox only to get everything done.

    And if all the above is correct, then this means I could occasionally create a new recovery image as my linux system is being updated and recover to a newer version if need be, right?

    * “some documents” means documents I’ll be using for a class or presentation and need a backup plan.

  • verlaine tuieta

    There is no such thing as – Recovery button on my C710 Acer Chromebook ! Can anybody explain me that ?

    • Helper

      If there is not recovery button, hold refresh and power

  • Pretty Flacko

    Whenever I try to download the recovery image onto my flash drive it gets stuck in the writing stage. it just says “writing, 0% completed”

    • Roy Trost-Rekich

      yes I have same problem- any solutions yet?

  • Augustine Robert


    Does anyone know how to retrieve files from a USB stick that keeps asking to be formatted. I am writing my thesis, all my sources along with my draft, and other personal documents are on this drive. Formatting this flash drive is not an option. I have tried to download many recovery software; however, they only work on Windows> :-(

    Please help.

    • goutham

      use ease us data recovery wizard 9.0 software…you need to upgrade to full version to recover all files

  • Valerie Fleming

    l added a guest user….now l can only log on through my guess password