Update: Shortly after publishing this article, the release server for Chrome OS has updated again and it looks like Chrome OS 80 has returned. Whatever the problem was, I presume Google has addressed it and the update contains a fix.
Shortly after posing the question “What happened to Chrome OS 80?“, the long-overdue update to our favorite operating system began rolling out to a large number of devices. While it is still unclear what caused the delay, the number of changes under the hood of Chrome OS 80 likely played a part in developers holding back the release. Unfortunately, it appears that Chrome OS 80 wasn’t ready for prime time after all.
Less than twelve hours after its release, the server responsible for Chrome OS updates has been rolled back to version 79.0.3945.123 for all eligible devices including those that had previously been on 80. Again, no response from Google as to what’s going on but it does appear that Chrome OS 80 has caused some ill effects for some users. As Kevin Tofel reports, one such person on Twitter reported that he was having serious video playback issues on his Chromebox after the update to Chrome OS 80. Checking the CR Bug tracker, it also appears that there is at least one “release blocking” bug that is affecting video calls on Hangouts.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a Chrome OS version rolled back on the release server and honestly, I wouldn’t expect any official word from Google as to what’s caused the hangup. So, the question we now have to ask is “What do I do if Chrome OS 80 is causing issues?” Well, if you haven’t updated to Chrome OS 80, there’s nothing for you to do at this point. Version 79 is working fine and you can just sit back and be content that you don’t have to deal with any unforeseen headaches. If you have moved to Chrome OS 80 and you aren’t experiencing any problems, my personal recommendation is to stay where you’re at and wait for Google to issue another update that fixes whatever issue came along with 80.
If you are having problems after updating to Chrome OS 80, you can downgrade back to version 79 if you really feel it’s necessary. I can’t speak for you as a user but I understand that the moment a device feels buggy it makes using it a nightmare and that may be worth moving back to 79. Sadly, the update server reverting to 79 does not mean that your Chromebook will automatically rollback. Instead, you will need to manually download 79 and install it on your device. To do this, you will first need to install the Chromebook Recovery Utility on your device and you’ll need a flash drive to download the OS image. Preferably, you should do this from another Chromebook, Windows or Mac device you can use the device you want to downgrade if you must. Install the extension here.
Once installed, click the recovery tool to begin the process. Then, you will need to find the image for your device. Start by typing the name of your Chromebook or Chrome device and the recovery tool should show you the matching device. If you can’t find yours by the consumer model name, you can find the board name on the list here and use it instead. Once you’ve found your device, click continue and you will be prompted to insert your flash drive or SD card. You should see the drive in the drop-down menu in the recovery tool. Select it and click continue and “create now” to download your image. Next, you will need to put the device you want to downgrade into recovery mode. Depending on the device, the method may vary. See below for how to enter recovery mode base on the form-factor of your device.
- Chromebook: Press and hold Esc + Refresh , then press Power . Let go of Power. When a message shows on the screen, let go of the other keys.
- Chromebox: First, 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.
- Chromebit: First, 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.
- Chromebook tablet: Press and hold the Volume Up, Volume Down, and Power buttons for at least 10 seconds, then release them.
Now that you’re in recovery mode, you should see Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card” or Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card.” Insert the flash drive with your downloaded image and follow the instructions to complete the installation. Since the release server is currently on 79, you won’t have to worry about updating back to 80 once you’ve downgraded. Again, downgrading is probably not a necessity unless your device is absolutely borked and I would suspect that Google will have a fix rolled out very soon and we’ll all be back to Chrome OS 80 without any hiccups.