A Chromebook Crashed

The Chromebook Recovery Utility makes light work of restoring a laptop to working order.

A few days ago, my family had to work through a disagreement. It got so tense that my elder daughter didn’t want to go to school. I tried to talk her into staying at school, but she was not that interested. We do have remote learning hardware in place, so I thought she could just use her Chromebook and reconnect to school.

But I still had appointments to keep at work. I still had my day job to do. And when I booted her Chromebook, it booted to a white screen with the Chrome logo on it. It would go no further. No mas.

So I looked up the procedure for fixing a broken Chromebook. I ran searches to see what I could find to help out. The top article returned from Google was this one: My Samsung Chromebook stops at Chrome logo on white screen. Please help. Tried click mouse, no use.

That article led me to this one, Recover your Chromebook. Here I learned about the Chromebook Recovery Utility. I learned that I needed a fresh USB drive with at least 8GB of memory. Out came my bag of USB drives. I had a really old one with 256 MB. I had a few with 2 GB, and I had one with 4GB. I had an SD card with 8GB, but I had a Pixelbook Go to work with and no SD card slot. I was kind of stuck. I recalled that older USB drives tend to fail when used as boot drives or disk images for operating systems. Better to get a new one.

So I shopped around. I found a 16GB USB drive for $6 at Target. Mind blown. I had no idea they had become so cheap. I remember paying something like $60 for a 64MB drive back when they first came out. That is a huge advance in technology and price over a couple of decades. My wife was out shopping so I sent her a link to pick up one of those $6 drives, and I continued to work my day job while I waited. I found some way to keep my daughter busy while I worked.

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I got the drive and then realized that my laptop had USB-C ports. They are tiny little ports for USB-C cables.

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The drive had a USB-A connector. Hmm. I know. I could use the little docking station I got from Amazon a few weeks ago. I was hoping to use it to connect to a keyboard, monitor, and mouse, but it drains the battery big time. It looks like this:

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And on the sides, were USB-A ports:

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Everything was starting to fall into place. I had my drive, the docking station, and the software on my working Chromebook to get the job done. Then it was a matter of time and effort. I plugged the docking station into my laptop. Then I plugged the USB drive into my docking station. Then I launched the Chromebook Recovery Utility:

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I followed the prompts for the model number of the Chromebook I wanted to recover and the recovery utility did the rest. In about 15 minutes, I had a disk image installed on the USB drive. In another half hour, I had the image installed on the broken Chromebook, and had my daughter up and running again. This despite the drama that took place earlier and while I was working my day job. Where there was a pause, I was working on the recovery of my daughter’s laptop.

I think back to the times I had to recover or rebuild a Windows machine. If I include the time required to recover the files on the disk, wipe the disk near the first sector to clear out any possible virii in the boot sector, install Windows, install updates, and then put the files back, that’s an 8-hour job.

I’d much rather work on a Chromebook. Recovery is much, much easier. And since most apps run in a browser on Chromebooks, and most files are stored on Google Drive, it’s much easier to get up and running again. This was by far, the easiest computer recovery I’ve ever done.

Write on.

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