How to fix Chrome OS is missing or damaged error

Chrome OS has made its ground in the market due to the basic principles they follow. These principles include being a good stable system and working at a good speed. Moreover, Chrome OS follows a security policy that is uncompromising and is, therefore, highly appreciated. Resolving errors related to system-related issues can be tough in general. But Chrome OS doesn’t run other well-known operating systems like Windows or macOS. Thus, it remains error-free most of the time.

However, some errors might still peek into the operating system. Why does this happen? This happens when the device fails to start during boot-up. You will be prompted with the message ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’. No matter how many times you try at that moment, you will encounter the same error message repeatedly. This is surely irritating and a matter of concern as well. The error screen may vary a bit from model to model. You might increase your Chromebook’s security, but it won’t suffice much in this particular aspect.

How to fix Chrome OS is missing or damaged error
How to fix Chrome OS is missing or damaged error

To ease you out, we will provide you with all the probable solutions to this issue. So, just sit back and rest assured. The method just brings results in a few steps. But before that, let us learn about the root cause of this problem in a bit. Understanding the fundamentals will benefit you in the latter part. So without further talk, let’s get started right away.

What causes this ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’ error

Chromebooks generally don’t contain too complex technicalities. Being an operating system that holds lesser processes, the probability of it expecting error is narrowly slim. But this error- ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’, is a serious error and requires immediate attention.

As said earlier, this error occurs when the chrome OS fails to boot itself up at the start. The message ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’ is most likely to appear on the screen at that time. The root of this error message can be a faulty system update. The developer might be held responsible for this or it might be possible that the program itself was downloaded improperly.

Now, you have to just check if this error message appears on the start-up screen itself. Sometimes the user also encounters it between random roundabouts within the Chromebook. Now, if the latter is the case, your worries need to be lessened as the fix to this is not much tedious. Treat it as something trifle. You just need reinstallation and nothing more. Let’s go through the method now.

Ways to fix the ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’ error message

Some error messages occur due to bugs slipping into the OS. Those errors are auto-fixed i.e resolve themselves once the operation causing the glitch is terminated. On the other hand ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’ error requires manual fixation. The potential solutions range from basic to advanced. Read them carefully and apply them cautiously. 

Method 1: Hard reset your Chromebook

Hard resetting anything is the first thing you should try out when facing any form of error. A Hard reset means the proper shutdown of the machine and force-stopping all the currently running background processes. This will turn down the entire thing and give it a fresh start. All the processes will start fresh. The hardware part of the device will start work with a new tone and will enhance the proper booting of all the applications. 

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The steps to perform a Hard Reset on your device is very simple. How will you perform a Hard Reset on your Chromebook? You just have to press the ‘Power’ and the ‘Refresh’ keys simultaneously to perform a Hard Reset. You will see a semi-circle icon ending with an arrow on your keyboard. It is similar to that you find at the top-left corner of your Chrome browser. You should give it a press. This will start the Hard Reset. 

After the Hard Reset is done, the Chromebook will be reloaded swiftly. But sometimes the problem will look to persist only if the error message ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’ appears right after the screen turns on. This is another scenario and the solution to it is different. Otherwise, you should consider that the issue is fixed and it should work fine. 

However, if the error message again starts to appear randomly in between works, you can follow the techniques coming up next to sort it out. 

Method 2: Powerwash the Chromebook

Let’s get you a brief understanding of the ‘Powerwash’ technicality. It is mainly a factory reset on the Chrome OS driven by Google itself. In plain terms, a factory reset just resets everything temporarily and force stops all the currently occurring operations. The local files, cache data, etc. are deleted for the time being. The entire software gets a fresh start after this. 

The Powerwash method is only possible if you are working on a Chromebook. If you randomly get the error message ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’, you should afford to try out this method once. The steps to perform this are as follows:-

  1. Access the ‘Settings’ area of your device.
  2. Go to the ‘Advanced’ tab. 
  3. Tap on the ‘Reset settings’ option.
  4. You will be directly taken to the ‘Powerwash’ section.
  5. Hover through it by following the on-screen instructions given. This should precisely Powerwash your Chromebook. 

Before performing a Powerwash, you can ensure that the locally stored data is not lost. This can be done by setting up a separate cloud-storage mechanism. However, if the error pops in the start-up screen itself, you can’t perform the Powerwash. 

Method 3: Recover your Chrome OS

To be specific, the above methods were kinda basic. If the above methods won’t work out, you can move to the advanced part. This is a bit of a lengthy method, so just keep patience and dive into the topic. You have to take the help of a specialized tool and form a Chromebook Recovery image. This tool will refresh the Chromebook’s firmware. Everything inside it gets a fresh start. The steps are a bit detailed and intricate and need careful attention. Follow the steps described below to get your Chrome OS working just fine. 

Before starting with the recovery steps, your system should fulfill the following conditions:-

  • A Windows PC
  • A USB having at least 8 GB of free space
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After making sure that you can afford the items as mentioned in the above criteria, go through these steps:-

  1. Get the PC with Windows 10. A Windows 11 PC will also suffice. From that PC, open the ‘Chrome Web Store’ and download the ‘Chromebook Recovery Utility’. You need to download and install this on that device.
  1. When you try to download it, a prompt will appear asking for your confirmation. Look for the ‘Add app’ option and the Chromebook Recovery Utility application will start installing. You are supposed to get an extension for the same. Just launch it and create a Chrome OS recovery image. When the extension fires up, click on ‘Get Started’ to get on to the next step. 
  1. In this step, you are required to provide the Chromebook model number you are working on. If you were doing this on your own device, the system would receive it automatically and would have been much easier as well. But now, you have to flip over the Chromebook and look for the model number engraved somewhere on the device. You can also check the model number online in this aspect. By any means, find the model number of the Chromebook and enter it. Wait for some time till the system identifies your device. Click on ‘Continue’ to carry on with the next step. 
  1. Now, you need to get an external USB drive having at least 8 GB of free space. Insert this into the PC and let the system detect the external device. Once the USB is detected, you can access its files. It would be best if the USB device is completely new and doesn’t contain any other file or document. This is because once this method is done, all the confidential files will be completely deleted. If you don’t want to remove the files from the drive, just create a backup or a copy of them in separate storage. 
  1. In this step, you have to form the image of the Chrome OS currently you are working on. Before carrying on, you will receive a warning saying that all the present data and files on the drive will be erased entirely. You should click on the ‘Create now’ option to start the recovery image formation process. 
  1. Now just wait for a few minutes. When the recovery process is complete, click on ‘Done’ to terminate the window. Once the recovery media is loaded, you can safely remove the USB drive from the system. 
  1. Now go back to the device on which the Chromebook was showing the message ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’. No more worries as you are having the recovery image in your hands. Open the Chromebook and wait until the screen with the error message pops up. Now, insert the USB containing the recovery image into that device. 
  1. Press the three keys dedicated to booting your device into ‘Recovery Mode’. The keys for this are the- ‘Esc’, ‘Refresh’, and ‘Power’ keys. Press them simultaneously. This will start the Chrome OS installation on your Chromebook. Wait a while until the device boots up. 
  1. As soon as the device boots up, a message will appear on the screen telling ‘You are about to recover your device. First, please make sure it is plugged into a power source’. Agree to it and sit back. The rest of the installation part will automatically take place by itself. 
  1.  The installation process will be complete after some time. When it does, the Chromebook will boot automatically. You can see the ‘Welcome’ screen in front. Now, you have to fill up the empty fields with all the credentials. This will initialize your Chromebook so that you can work on it perfectly.  
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After performing this entire method, you should not encounter any kind of error message like ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’ at any point in time. Try the basic methods first. If the issue doesn’t get rectified, then try the advanced method. 


As told previously, Chromebooks don’t generally fall into erroneous situations. They are known to deliver high throughputs most of the time. It is always recommended to use a Chromebook since it edges over others in multiple aspects. However, Chromebook errors like ‘Chrome OS is missing or damaged’ made many users disappointed. For them, we have provided all the possible fixes to rectify this issue. If followed, you do not need your Chromebook to render inactive. It will work as if it was just taken out of the box.

The only worst-case scenario will be even after trying out all the methods, the erroneous message still persists. In that case, you might have to consider it as some hardware issue and take it to the ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer’. Check the warranty period and ask them to fix it or provide an alternative at once. We hope this piece of article helps in the long run. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a way to fix privacy errors in Chrome?

Privacy errors only appear if that particular site holds an expired SSL certificate or some other problem related to the SSL certificate. In that case, these errors can’t be fixed. But you can make sure that the problem’s root is not from your end by refreshing the site, clearing the cache and cookies, or disabling the antivirus program.

How can I fix a 403 forbidden error on Google Chrome?

403 forbidden error is a type of URL error. Check if you have entered a valid website. Clear the cookies and cached data or try to access the site in incognito mode.

How can I get rid of the Google Chrome critical error red screen?

To be honest, this error is known as a type of scam. Just don’t dial up the number given ever. To fix this, access Chrome’s menu. Click ‘More Tools’. Then click ‘Extensions’. Remove all the suspicious or useless extensions. Now go to ‘Settings’ and then click ‘Manage Search Engines and delete suspicious search engines and URLs. If it doesn’t fix, reset the Chrome settings to default.

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