Your Device Is Up To Date! Or is it…?

A fellow Chromebook Central Top Contributor, Jim Dantin recently pointed out to me that there is a large number of users complaining about Chromebooks that are not up to date, and won’t update. This naturally leaves the user quite frustrated, understandably. Everybody wants to be on the latest and greatest software, and security updates are very important.

So what do you do when you have a device that refuses to update to the latest and greatest Chrome OS firmware?

Before we even get started, what makes you think your Chromebook is not up to date? Take a second to check this website: Find your device on that list, and check the “Stable” version. That’s the version that your device should be on right now.

If your device is not on the version that list says it should be, go to Settings > About Chrome OS and click on Check for and apply updates. If it just keeps saying Your Device is Up to Date, continue reading.

The first and easiest thing you should do is make sure you’re not connected to any kind of cellular network. Chrome OS detects if you’re on a cell network, and blocks updates if you are. This is because if you’re on a cell network, chances are you have a limited amount of data, and you probably don’t want to waste your precious (expensive) date on a Chrome OS update. So it will wait until you’re connected to a true WiFi network (or Ethernet, if you have a device with an Ethernet port) before it downloads the update.

So connect to a WiFi/Ethernet network, and click Check for and apply updates again.

If you absolutely cannot access a WiFi/Ethernet network, and you want to update on the cell network, there is a way to force your Chrome OS device to update on a cell network. It involves opening a terminal window, but it’s really not hard.

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 check for updates again

That should take care of that.

Not on a Cell Network?

But what if you’re not on a cell network, and your device STILL refuses to update? This happens occasionally when someone buys a device that’s been sitting on the shelf at Best Buy for a year.

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 the Change Channel and Powerwash button (THIS WIPES YOUR LOCAL DATA)

If your Chromebook STILL won’t update, you’ll need to do a USB Restore. This is pretty easy, and only takes about 5-10 minutes of your time (way better than reinstalling Windows, right?).

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 get 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.

  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

That’s it. You should now be on the latest version of Chrome OS, and your device will update like normal from now on.

2 responses

  1. I have a large number of apps in my chromebook library, How can I sort them alphabetically, I dont see any logic to how they are displaced in each of my library windows ….


    1. Hey Dawson! There’s no way to automatically organize the apps in any way. You can drag and drop them and manually organize them. Might be a lot of work at first to organize all the apps you already have, then after that it’s just a matter of organizing them as you install them.

      You can also create folders by dragging an app on top of another app.

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