As reliable as Chromebooks are, life happens. When things go awry, you’ll want to be able to get back up and running quickly. Naturally, your data is already safe and secure on your Google Drive (that’s part of the beauty of working with a Chromebook). But if your device starts misbehaving, and a powerwash isn’t doing the trick, or you decide to try installing Linux on that hardware and opt to go back, you’ll need a recovery drive to return it to a usable state.

Fortunately, the Chrome OS developers have made this process incredibly simple. Let me walk you through the process.

Creating the recovery drive

In earlier iterations of Chrome OS, all you had to do was insert the flash drive, open up chrome, go to chrome://imageburner, and follow the instructions. Now, however, there’s an app for the process. The app is called Chromebook Recovery Utility. You must install that app to create the Chromebook recovery image.

On your Chromebook, go to app page and click ADD TO CHROME and then, when prompted, click Add App. Once the app is installed, insert a USB flash drive (minimum 4 GB) and click on the Recovery icon. In the new window, click Get Started.

You will then be required to enter the model number of your Chromebook (Figure A) and then click Continue.

Figure A

Recovering an Acer C720 Chromebook.

Now select your USB flash drive (or SD card) from the drop-down and then click Continue. To complete the steps, click Create Now and the recovery drive will be created. The process can take some time (10-15 minutes, depending on the speed of the device). When complete, click Done.

Using the recovery drive

To recover your device, all you do is plug the USB drive into the USB port and boot said device, hit [Esc][Refresh][Power] until the Google logo appears. Once the logo appears, release the buttons and the recovery process will begin.

Although chances are you’ll never use it, creating a recovery drive for your Chromebook should be something you do. Why? Life happens… especial in a very mobile world.

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