Chrome OS Is Missing or Damaged: How to Fix This Error

You may need to reset or reinstall your Chromebook's operating system

Perhaps no error message is more frightening to Chromebook users than "Chrome OS is missing or damaged." Fortunately, there are number of way to address this dreaded startup error.

Instructions in this article apply to laptops running Chrome OS regardless of who made your device.

Causes of the "Chrome OS Is Missing or Damaged" Error

The "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" error appears when your machine encounters problems loading the operating system. The problem is usually encountered during startup, but it can also appear at random while you're using your computer. The error screen looks slightly different depending on the device's model, but the potential solutions are the same for all Chromebooks.

How to Fix the "Chrome OS Is Missing or Damaged" Error on Chromebooks

Try these steps in order until your Chromebook can boot successfully:

  1. Power your Chromebook off and on. Hold down the power button until your device turns off, then wait a few seconds and press the power button again to turn it back on.

  2. Reset your Chromebook to factory settings. If you're able to log in to your Chromebook, you can powerwash Chrome OS to return your machine to its original state.

    Performing a factory reset will erase all of your locally stored files, so make sure you back up everything to your Google Drive.

    The Powerwash option in Chromebook Advanced settings
  3. Reinstall Chrome OS. If your computer is still stuck at the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" screen, then your only option is to perform a fresh install of the operating system.

Reinstalling Chrome OS in recovery mode will completely wipe your hard drive including your downloads and personal files.

The Chromebook Recovery Utility

How to Reinstall Chrome OS

To reinstall your Chromebook's operating system, you will need another working computer running Chrome OS, macOS, or Windows, as well as a formatted USB flash drive or SD card with a minimum of 4 GB of space.

  1. Using the Google Chrome browser on a working computer, download and install the Chromebook Recovery Utility by selecting Add to Chrome in Chrome Web Store.

    Install the Chromebook Recovery Utility by selecting Add to Chrome in Chrome Web Store.
  2. Launch the program, provide your Chromebook's model number, then follow the on-screen prompts to download Chrome OS to your removable media. Once complete, remove the USB drive or SD card. 

    If prompted to grant your OS permission to make changes to your USB drive or SD card, select Yes or Allow

    The Chromebook Recovery Utility
  3. With your Chromebook powered on, hold Esc + Refresh on the keyboard, then press the power button to reboot in recovery mode.

  4. At the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" screen, insert the SD card or USB drive containing Chrome OS. You'll then be taken through the operating system's installation process.

    At the

Once complete, your Chromebook should function as it did when you first purchased it. If the problem still isn't fixed, then you may have a hardware issue and should contact Google or your device's manufacturer for further assistance.