ChromeBook Recovery Hacks and Tricks

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A Chromebook can be a great purchase even if you never step outside of Google’s trusted environment. They are some of the best web machines ever built, require almost no software maintenance, and come in a myriad of different styles and price points. Now that the latest models also come with Google Play Store and support thousands of apps where are some amazing devices.

But like anything electronic, sometimes it’s fun to push the envelope and do things a little outside of the intended use. Sometimes that means hidden features in the software, sometimes it means altering the software, and sometimes it means replacing the software entirely. We’re familiar with people doing just that with Android, but it’s also pretty easy to do with your Chromebook. The best part is that it’s also very easy to go back.

Create a Chromebook recovery image

Before you start doing anything it’s always a good idea to have a path back to a time when everything worked. Luckily, that’s fairly easy when we’re talking about a Chromebook. Google has an official tool that will install the factory-issued software to your Chrome device on a 4GB or larger USB stick or SD card. You can then use this media to restore your Chromebook just like it was fresh out of the box. Thanks Google.

Directions

 

Step 1: Install the Chromebook Recovery Utility app

  1. On the working computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) and (not the Chromebook with the error), install the recovery app.
  2. Open the app.

  1. In the screen that appears, type in the model number of the Chromebook you want to recover. Note While in recovery your device will display the model see picture below for details.
    You can find this number at the bottom of the error message on your Chromebook.
  2. Click Continue.

Important: All the information on the USB drive or SD card will be deleted. Make sure you’ve backed up those files.

  1. On the working computer, insert your USB drive or SD card into an open port. The recovery app will show all storage devices connected to your computer.
  2. Use the dropdown menu in the app to select the correct storage device.
  3. Click Continue.

To create a recovery image:

  1. Click Create now.
  2. The tool will create the recovery image on your USB drive or SD card. Don’t remove the storage device yet.
  3. When you see a message saying that your recovery media is ready, remove the storage device from your computer.

Open the Chromebook you want to recover.

If you have anything connected to this Chromebook (such as a mouse, SD card, or external hard drive), remove it.

Enter recovery mode:

  • On a Chromebook: Press and hold Esc + Refresh Refresh, then press Power Power. Let go of Power. When a message shows on the screen, let go of the other keys.
  • On a Chromebox: Turn it off. Using a paper clip or similar object, press and hold the recovery button. Press the Power button to turn the Chromebox back on. When you see a message on screen, release the recovery button.
  • On a Chromebit: Unplug it from power. Using a paper clip or similar object, press and hold the recovery button. Plug the Chromebit back in to power. When you see a message on screen, release the recovery button.

You’ll see one of these messages:

  • “Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card.”
  • “Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card.”

Insert the recovery media you’ve created (SD card or USB drive).

Follow the on-screen instructions.

Reboot and enjoy your factory-fresh software!

STOP WRITE HERE AND CREATE THE RECOVERY IMAGE NOW BEFORE CONTINUING.  

If you are still having problems check out this info HERE

Change to the beta or dev channel

This is really simple and something I recommend. By default, your Chromebook runs on the stable release channel for your model. This means everything has been tested, things run pretty smoothly, and there usually aren’t any critical bugs to trip you up.

That’s absolutely no fun.

The good news is that we all can be testers by switching the software channel in the settings. Click the Chrome OS wrench icon in the lower right and open the settings. Choose About Chrome OS > More Info. Click the Change Channel button and choose between Stable, Beta and Dev – Unstable channels in the popover window that appears.

 

Both the beta and the dev channel give you access to upcoming (both default and experimental settings — see below) features that aren’t in the stable channel just yet. I’ve always found the beta channel to work pretty well, but expect issues and glitches on the dev channel along with the latest features.

If you just want everything to work, switching back to the stable channel is just as easy — choose it from the same list!

Tweaking the settings

Chrome — both the operating system and the stand alone browser for Windows Mac and Linux — has an entire page filled with “experimental” settings. Some will absolutely break things, others might improve your experience. Find them is simple.

Fire up the browser and enter chrome://flags into the Omnibox (a fancy name for the URL bar in Chrome) then hit enter.

You’ll be faced with a huge list of features that you can enable or disable at will. All of them are experimental, some are serious security holes, others are potential oh-crap-I-need-to-reload-EVERYTHING bringers of doom. We don’t recommend you just jump in and start enabling things. Instead, talk to people who are using the same model of Chromebook that you are and find out what works and what doesn’t.

It’s also worth remembering that these experimental flags can disappear at any time. Some may be merged into the OS, others will just up and disappear. If you do enable something, lets say for example, GPU compositing, and it breaks everything (yeah, I’ve been there), you have your recovery media you made earlier to save your bacon.

Install Linux

One of those complicated things that has been made simple by the work of great developers, installing Linux on your Chromebook is a great way expand its capabilities. Chrome OS is a flavor of Linux, but it’s been trimmed down and many features have been removed. We’re going to look at the simple (and in my opinion the best) way to build a dual-boot environment so you have both Chrome OS and Ubuntu LTS using David Schneider’s excellent tool called crouton (Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment).

You’ll need to enable developer mode on your Chromebook, and the method varies from device to device. You may need to flip a hidden switch, or enter a key combination during boot. You can find exactly how to enable developer mode for your Chromebook on Google, and once you’ve done that everything else is the same no matter which model you use.

Once you’re a developer (or at least in dev mode) you’ll need to head to the crouton project page at github and download the script from the top of the page. Save it to your Downloads folder and you’re ready to get started.

Open a terminal (I told you Chrome OS was Linux) by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and enter the word shell to open a shell.

Next, run crouton to see all the help text and examples like this:

sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton-master

Read everything you find there, as these are your options and tell crouton what to install. If you don’t understand an option, ask someone. Also, read the help section at the crouton github page for examples and hints.

Once you have crouton set up, you’ll be able to swap between Chrome OS and a full fledged install of Linux (Ubuntu LTS) at will.

While I like the flexibility of having both Chrome OS and Ubuntu on the same machine, you may want to be rid of Chrome OS completely. If you’re interested in replacing Chrome OS with Ubuntu, have a look at the ChrUbuntu project here. If you want to replace Chrome OS on your Pixel with Debian Wheezy, grab a beverage and have a look here.

These are just a few of the neat hackery tricks you can do with your new Chromebook. And like everything else, it may turn out that none of it is for you and you prefer things that just work as intended. That’s cool, and sometimes when I’m staring at the screen of a device that won’t boot, I’m right there with ya.

If you do want to dive in and have a go at Chrome OS, this is how I do it. Tell me how you do it in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!

RootJunky

R1 HD Amazon Bootloader unlock

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R1 HD Amazon Bootloader unlock

BOOTLOADER UNLOCK METHOD 1

Hi Guys thanks to a team effort the Amazon R1 HD has root access with SP Flash Tool and TWRP recovery image.
I went ahead with the help of jcase and unlocked the bootloader because i wanted full access.

What i did is put together this script that will walk you through the steps to unlocking your Amazon R1 HD bootloader.
Steps are simple you just download this script that i created and click on the batch file once you have extracted it to your desktop. Follow the script it will walk you through everything.
Note Root access is required to use the script and you can watch a video on how to root the device below. My Script as been updated to work on Linux Mac or Windows

Download Files Here
BLU-R1-HD-Amazon-Bootloader-Unlock.zip

How to unlock the bootloader video

How to root and install twrp recovery video

Here are the steps to check if your bootloader is unlocked since people are asking. With the device turned on and adb debugging working. Run these commands in terminal or command window
adb reboot bootloader
Once in fastboot mode run this command to check if unlocked.
fastboot getvar all
It will return yes for unlock and no for locked.

BOOTLOADER UNLOCK METHOD 2

Steps
1. Download SP-Flash-Tool-bootloader-unlock.zip
2. Extract the SP-Flash-Tool-bootloader-unlock.zip to your desktop. Note 7zip is great to extract files.
3. lauch Flash_tool.exe
4. select scatter-loading and browser to load MT6735_Android_scatter_R1_Unlock.txt
5. click download button to start.
6. now plug your phone into the computer. to boot the device to preloader and start the flash. You can do it two ways: 1. power off the phone and flash will start or 2. From a powered off stat power on the device while plugged into the computer. either way will start the sp flash tool.
7. once the flash is complete which should take seconds you can unplug the device and reboot it. Congrats you can now unlock the bootloader like any normal device now.

WARNING UNLOCKING YOUR BOOTLOADER WILL WIPE DATA FACTORY RESET THE DEVICE
How to unlock the bootloader now that you have turned on this feature.
1. power off the device
2. holder volume up and power until you are at the boot menu with recovery fastboot and normal as options scroll with volume up to fastboot then press power button to select
3. once in fastboot mode you will need to option a command window on your computer and make sure you have your adb and fastboot files
4. cd to the folder with your adb and fastboot files then run these commands
5. to maks sure your devices are working correctly
fastboot devices
6. to unlock the bootloader
fastboot oem unlock
7. follow the directions on your device screen. once it is finished unlocking you can check it with
fastboot getvar all
8. Next to reboot the device use
fastboot reboot
thats it your bootloader is unlocked
Note: if you have twrp recovery install and unlock your bootloader with METHOD 2 the device will try and boot to recovery and wipe data which will fail because you and twrp installed.
The only way to fix this is to boot to fastboot mode and run this command
fastboot format userdata
then just reboot out of fastboot mode and the device will boot up.
fastboot reboot

Need help with these commands check out this video jump ahead to 6min 45sec to see commands above

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