How to RESTORE ChromeBook C7 to Stock

RESTORE ChromeBook

ChromeBook RecoveryThis article describes the process of creating a boot device that will restore ChromeBook C7 to the original Stock  Factory configuration.

Why would you restore Chromebook? This may be necessary if you are having errors on the device – or, if you have installed Ubuntu and now wish to remove it for some reason.


This process will erase everything on the ChromeBook’s hard drive and restore the Chrome OS to factory default. If you have any data on the device, be sure to back up that data to another device before you proceed!

Here is a video of the process:


This guide was developed from the process that Google provides. However, I have tried to simplify it and and add relevant comments where appropriate. Also, some of the original steps on the Google site are for older versions of the ChromeBook. Consequently, the data is incorrect for the C7. If you want to use the actual Google page, please visit:

What you’ll need

Before starting this process, you’ll need the following:

  • Your ChromeBook.
  • A Windows, Mac, or Linux computer with administrative rights.

Note: You CAN use the ChromeBook (without a computer) to complete the process.  However, I have not tried this method. If you wish to try it, please visit the original Google Support article here:

  • An 8 GB or larger USB flash drive or SD card that you don’t mind clearing. You MAY be able to use a 4GB but the image was too large for the 4GB card that I had.

Step 1: Check for the “Chrome OS is missing or damaged” message

If you see this message when starting your computer, please proceed to Step 2.

If you don’t see the message above but still want to recover your Chrome device, trigger the screen:

To trigger recovery mode,

  1. Turn on your ChromeBook
  2. Sign on to your WiFi (if you have not previously signed in)- but do not log in to Chrome Desktop
  3. Press the <esc> <F3> & <power> buttons at the same time.
  4. Release the power button when the device goes black – but continue to hold the other buttons until the chrome error screen (“Chrome OS is missing or damaged”) appears and then release them also. This is the “Recovery Mode” screen. 

Note: There is a BIG difference between “Recovery mode” and “RECOVER.” You must enter “Recovery Mode” before you can RECOVER your ChromeBook. Although you will use “Recovery Mode”, it is NOT necessary to RECOVER your ChromeBook prior to installing Ubuntu on the device. You WILL be required to RECOVER, if you decide to remove Ubuntu after installation.

Step 2: Create the recovery USB flash drive or SD card

Insert a USB flash drive or SD card into your computer and follow the instructions below:

Regardless of which computer OS you have, after you recover your Chrome device, you must format your USB flash drive or SD card using the Recovery Tool if you want to use the USB device for other purposes. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use all the storage space on the USB device. Additionally, your USB flash drive or SD card may not be recognizable by Windows. See instructions for reformatting your USB flash drive or SD card.

Windows instructions

Create a recovery flash drive by using the Recovery Tool. The tool may not be available in all languages.

  1. Click this link to download the Recovery Tool
  2. Run the tool and follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

Mac instructions

Create a recovery flash drive by using the Recovery Tool. The tool may not be available in all languages.

  1. Click this link to download the Recovery Tool
  2. Run the tool and follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

After the process is complete, you might see an alert saying your USB drive or SD card is unreadable. If this fails, try removing and reinserting your USB drive or SD card. Your USB drive or SD card should now be ready to use for recovery.

Linux instructions

Create a recovery flash drive by using the Recovery Tool. The tool may not be available in all languages.

  1. Click this link to download the Recovery Tool
  2. Modify the script permissions to allow execution with the following command: $ sudo chmod 755
  3. Run the script with root privileges with the following command: $ sudo bash
  4. Follow the prompts from the tool to complete building the operating system image.

Step 3: Reinstall the Chrome operating system

  1. Power on your Chrome device.
  2. When the “Chrome OS is missing or damaged” screen appears, insert the USB flash drive or SD card you created into the USB port or SD card slot on your Chrome device.
  3. Wait for the Chrome device to boot up from the flash drive.
  4. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen.
  5. On successful installation of the Chrome operating system, you will be prompted to remove the USB flash drive or SD card.
  6. Remove the USB flash drive or SD card when prompted, and your Chrome device will automatically restart.

You should now be able to start your Chrome device as normal. Because the data stored on your Chrome device has been cleared, you’ll need to go through the initial setup again. Make sure you sign in with your primary Google Account, because this account will be set as the owner account.

Troubleshooting tips

(Links will lead to the relevant Google Support pages.)

If you see the error message “An unexpected error has occurred.”

Try the following steps:

  1. Confirm that you successfully completed all instructions exactly as specified in step 2.
  2. Try using a different USB stick or SD card.

If you see the error message “You are using an out-of-date Chrome OS recovery image.”

You should download an up-to date recovery image. Simply follow all the instructions exactly as specified in Step 2 above.

If you successfully recovered your Chrome device but now you can’t use your USB or SD card with Windows.

After you’ve completed recovery, you need to format your USB or SD card using the recovery tool. See instructions for reformatting your USB flash drive or SD card.

If you have successfully recovered your Chrome device but now Windows doesn’t recognize the whole size of the USB or SD card used for recovery.

After you’ve completed recovery, you need to format your USB or SD card using the recovery tool. See instructions for reformatting your USB flash drive or SD card.


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41 Responses to How to RESTORE ChromeBook C7 to Stock

  1. Jerry L says:

    I have a Samsung Chromebook 303C, but it said Chrome OS is missing or damaged and i followed the steps with creating a recovery USB with many different USBs. The problem is the verification of my recovery USB would be interrupted with “unexpected error has occurred during recovery.” Everywere I go tells me to try a different USB… do you have any ideas?

    • ray says:

      It sounds like the recovery image that you are placing on the USB drive is for a different machine. I don’t know anything about the 303c but be VERY certain that you download the correct image for that device. Or, it could be that the image you downloaded got corrupted in the transfer. Download a fresh copy.

  2. Ramon says:

    I have an acer c710 and friend borrowed it. It has 320gb hdd. Now I can only see 1.5gb. Tried Recovery but cannot extrract it. Keeps getting error encountered extracting to machine. The model is Parrot Tinamou A-C 5379 which not recognized by the recovery tool utility.

    • ray says:

      Either you or the friend probably installed CroBuntu onto the disk. If so, then the only effective way to recover the full disk size is to clear all partitions and format the disk.
      (Be sure to backup any data that you can access)
      1. Flip the computer so that the bottom is facing up.
      2. Remove the screen in the center of the front edge (opposite the hinge).
      3. Slide the bottom cover off.
      4. CAREFULLY remove the ribbon cable connecting the drive to the computer (at the top of the HD).
      5. Lift the HD (with the cable) out and then remove the two screws (on either edge) holding the connector to the HD. Remove the connector.
      6. Attach the HD to a different computer (powered down).
      7. Use GPARTED (on a LINUX computer) or Partition Manager (on Windows) to delete all partitions. Then add a single partition and format it to FAT32.
      8. Reverse the 1st 5 steps to re-install the HD.
      9. Run the RESTORE tool to return the ChromeBook to the factory standard.
      10. Use our guide for installing Linux via the CROuTON tool.

  3. John Doe says:

    Hello, I followed this guide: to install chrUbuntu and it didn’t work on my C710-2847. The error I would get was something about it couldn’t read the kernel, so I tried to remove it by using the chrome os reboot guide and the guide on this site with 3 different usb sticks. Neither worked, and my chrome book is stuck in recovery mode. What should I do?

    • Ray says:

      Sorry but I can’t troubleshoot the problems on someone else’s guide. My advice is to reformat the hard drive and start fresh (as if you had replaced the drive.)

  4. If you’re having troubles with recovery and get this message (“An unexpected error has occurred.”), try opening up to the inside of your chromebook (remove the back cover), and see if the hard drive is connected to the mobo via a little white ribbon.

    My brother had apparently dropped his chromebook a lot, cause his ribbon was loose. I secured the ribbon into it’s slot (didn’t go back in easily, had to really push it), and now his chromebook is as good as new.

  5. kaye says:

    Hi Ray. I need model no. I have C710-2457 MODEL NO.(Chinese language)Q1VZC Thank you very much if u can help.

  6. Al says:

    Hi Ray,

    System Specs
    Chromebook Model : Acer C710-2847 (Refurbished by Acer)
    OS Model : PARROT

    I’ve installed ChrUbuntu 12.04, however due to the various issues it has I’ve been trying to remove it and restore the Chromebook to stock. I first tried with an SD card of 8GB using Chrome and the command “chrome://imageburner”, however this causes an issue when it tries to extract the recovery image (Basically the SD card did not work for me) I then tried with a 16GB SAN Disk USB which worked and the recovery image was downloaded and extracted (This only worked when I used the USB slot closest to the 3.5mm jack slot, in all the other slots the recovery extract failed.)

    I then tried starting up in recovery mode using the + + key sequence, it then asks to insert the USB device with the recovery software on it, which I do, however nothing happens, it just stays on the Please Insert USB screen. (I left it alone for 10 mins)

    I then tried your method of inserting the USB with the unit powered off and using the + U key sequence after booting the unit in DEV mode, however the unit beeps twice the screen goes black and it returns to the OS Verification Screen.

    I also entered the DEV console and entered the command “sudo bash”; “crossystem dev_boot_usb=1”; When I rebooted and inserted the USB and used the + U sequence again there was 2 beeps and I was returned to the OS Verification Screen

    Any help on this would be great (been trolling through posts trying to find a solution to no avail)

  7. mohammad arfan says:

    Hi I had to reset my chrome account so i rest my acer cb to start up with Google and now want to make ubuntu active again how do I get ubuntu back on again.

  8. abdirahman says:

    telme how to install windows fot chtomebook plz

    • Ray says:

      I am sorry but to my knowledge, it is not possible to install Windows on the Chromebook. Even if it were possible, because of M$’s expensive licensing, the cost would be prohibitive.
      Ubuntu Linux is completely free, it is more secure than Windows, as easy to use (or maybe easier), almost all the software for Linux is free, all the support is free (via the web), almost all Windows-based software either works on Linux or has a compatible substitute, and documents (such as Word or Excel) are exchanged easily with users on any other platform (Windows, Mac, etc). Why would you want to PAY for Windows?

  9. Mark says:

    Does this format the partitions as well and restore back to 320 gb

    • Ray says:

      I doubt it. User Sheri reported that it does not. You could try.
      I suspect that, if you want to remove Ubuntu entirely, you would need to use a tool like gparted to repartition the drive and THEN use this tool.

      • Mark says:

        My son took it out of developer mode What’s the best way to reinstall it ?

        • Ray says:

          I have not done that, so I never tried to go back. However, user Sheri posted a comment (couple weeks ago) that she had figured it out. I didn’t want to break my c7 in order to test it. Search the comments here (I don’t recall which article but it was in the c7 series).

      • Stephen Moss says:

        How would I get gparted to work. I’ve been using Linux for quite some time and have used gparted many times. You can’t run it within the Ubuntu you have installed and it won’t boot a live USB to run it, or can you? What other way can you use gparted before or after you remove Ubuntu. ( I’m doing this for my son who wants to sell his ) Does Chrome have a gparted program?

        • Ray says:

          The easiest way (to clean up the C7’s HD) is probably to remove the drive and connect it to another (Linux) computer with GParted installed. If you don’t have a Linux computer, just use the Ubuntu (or other distro) Live Disk. It is distributed as an ISO file that you can write to DVD or USB thumb drive.
          After the drive has been cleaned, you will need to do the RESTORE function to return it to stock.

          • Stephen Moss says:

            I did not think of that, I’ve used Linux since 2000. I have a couple of laptops that the hard drive might be compatible, otherwise I’ll pick up a USB Drive enclosure. Format it and reinstall.
            P.S. I use Linux Mint Debian Edition and Windows 7 Ultimate, Mint can handle it.

          • Ray says:

            Sounds like a plan! 🙂

  10. Janie Nieman says:

    I tried many times with a USB flash drive 8gb then a 16 GB SD card. I followed ALL the directions and keep getting “an unexpected error occurred.” I have the samsung chromebook so I cannot remove the battery. What do I do? I purchased it last week and it’s from January 2013.

    • Ray says:

      I am sorry, Janie. Since I do not have a Samsung device, I can’t help. I do know that it is not well suited for installing Ubuntu since the drive is so small.

  11. Ravi says:

    My usb worked on chromebook but isnt recognized by windows or chrome recovery creator.

    • Ray says:

      I don’t understand your question but it sounds like you are having issues with Windows and the usb drivers. I don’t do much in support of Windows.

  12. peace wagbé says:

    ok i was saying that when i downloaded chromeos recovery and i swich on the chromebook it apear “an unexperted error has occured” and i went on /recovery but i don’t have satisfaction. my computer is parrot petrel A-C 6559 , c7 please i need your help

    • Ray says:

      I have seen an error (on each boot) ever since I installed Ubuntu. It does not seem to cause any problems. I just ignore it.

  13. peace wagbé says:

    j’ai crée la clé de restauration pour acer parrot petrel A-C 6559 ,C7 mais après l’avoir inseré dans le chromebook ça affiche an unexperted error has occured j’ai suivitles instruction mais ça persiste aidez moi svp

    • Ray says:

      The official – and required – language of this site is English. Posts in other languages will be deleted. Sorry.

  14. PLease… help me. I do download chromeos parrot recovery but don’t work ! I don’t know what do now… I try install Cr_OS_Linux too. But nothing work !

  15. james orta says:

    I am using a SD card approach…. The Ctrl+U doesn’t work. Any idea why?

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