Chromebook not Updating?

There are two common causes for a Chromebook not updating when it should be:

1. Your Chromebook is connected to a cellular network (will explain later)
2. Your Chromebook sat on a shelf at Best Buy for a year before you bought it, and it’s firmware is so old it can’t upgrade to the latest version

Chromebook connected to cellular network:

If your Chromebook is connected to a cellular network, it won’t update. This is because you usually have a limited amount of data on cellular networks, and going over your limit is expensive. So, rather than waste precious (expensive) data on a firmware update, the Chromebook blocks updates until you connect to a WiFi or ethernet network.

If you absolutely can’t connect to a WiFi or ethernet network, then there’s a way to force an update on a cellular network.

Press ctrl alt t to open a crosh window
Type update_over_cellular enable
Press enter
Go to Settings > About Chrome OS (blue link at very top of settings window) and click Check for and apply updates.

Chromebook on super old firmware version not updating:

If your Chromebook is so old that it just refuses to update to the latest version, before you do anything, REPORT FEEDBACK. Press ALT + SHIFT + I to open the feedback box.  Describe your issue, add @adlr to the end of the description (that’s a particular Googler that is interested in these cases that wants to be tagged so he can troubleshoot this) and submit the feedback.

Once you’ve done that, try switching to the Beta channel, then switch back to Stable. Then check for updates. (THIS WIPES YOUR LOCAL DATA. BACK UP ANY IMPORTANT FILES IN YOUR DOWNLOADS FOLDER FIRST.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Click on About Chrome OS (blue link towards top middle of settings window)
  3. Click on More Info… underneath the Check for and Apply Updates button
  4. Click Change Channel
  5. Select Beta and click Change Channel and Powerwash button (THIS WIPES YOUR LOCAL DATA)

If that doesn’t work, you’re going to have to do a full install of the latest Chrome OS image. Luckily, this is a pretty simple task that should only take 5 or 10 minutes of your time.

Things you’ll need:

  • Computer (you should be able to use your outdated Chromebook for this)
  • USB stick or SD card with at least 4GB of space, formatted and empty
  • About 5-10 minutes of your time

That’s it! Let’s get started.

If you’re a Windows user, you’re probably used to just sticking in a CD with the latest version of Windows on it, booting up and following the instructions. That’s basically what we’re doing, but we’re using a USB stick, or SD card instead of a CD.

So first things first, we need to download the latest Chrome OS image onto our USB/SD card. You can use a Chromebook for this, or a Windows machine, Mac, or even a Linux machine.

  1. If using a Chrome OS device, Windows machine, or Mac:
    • Download the Chromebook Recovery Utility Chrome app (download link)
    • Open the Chromebook Recovery Utility Chrome app
    • Click blue “Get Started” button
    • Click link that says “Select a model from a list”
    • Select your Manufacturer, and Product (ex. Acer: Acer C720P)
    • Click blue “Continue” button
    • Insert your USB/SD card into an open port on your Chromebook, and the tool will automatically detect the media.
    • Use the dropdown menu to select the appropriate storage media.
    • Click the Continue button.
      • All of the data on the recovery media will be deleted.
    • Make sure the media you’d like to use for your recovery is listed.
    • Click the Create now button.
  2. If using a Linux machine:
    • Download the recovery tool by clicking here.
    • Modify the script permissions to allow execution with the following command: $ sudo chmod 755
    • Run the script with root privileges with the following command: $ sudo bash
    • Follow the prompts from the tool to complete building the operating system image.

Now that you’ve created your USB/SD recovery image, it’s time to use it to install the image on your Chromebook. To do this, your Chromebook will need to be in Recovery Mode.

  1. Put your Chromebook into Recovery mode:
    • For the following devices, you’ll want to power your device off, press and hold the recovery button, then power on the device while holding the recovery button.
      • LG Chromebase
      • Asus Chromebox
      • Acer AC700
      • CR-48
      • Samsung Series 5
      • Samsung Series 5 550
      • Samsung Series 3 Chromebox
    • For all other devices, Press Esc+Refresh then hold down the Power button while the unit is powered ON.
  2. Insert your USB flash drive or SD card
  3. Follow the prompts.
  4. When prompted, remove the USB flash drive or SD card, and your Chromebook should automatically restart

You should now be on the latest Chrome OS version, and your Chromebook should now update like it’s supposed to.

3 thoughts on “Chromebook not Updating?

  1. Bought a new lenovo N23 chromebook and was stuck on Version 57 and got very frustrated over the past week.
    I am overjoyed that option 1 fixed it.

    Many thanks,

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