It has been less than a week since Google re-rolled out version 91.0.4472.147 of Chrome OS. When the incremental version was initially released, it contained a CPU-crippling bug that left many devices all but useless with processing power maxed out at 100% for no explicable reason. As critical as this bug was, a new problem has arisen in yet another incremental update to Chrome OS, and this time, users have been completely locked out of their devices. The Chromebook Support Forum is riddled with users that have updated their devices to version 91.0.4472.165 of Chrome OS and subsequently, are being denied access when trying to log in with their account password.
Oddly enough, this update never showed up on the official Chrome release website and now, Google appears to have halted the update entirely. According to a report from Android Central, one Reddit user has stated that they believe Google is aware of the issue. I suspect, with all the support forum posts, that is the case and that has prompted the pause to the Chrome OS update server. If you look at cros.tech, you will see that most devices are still showing the latest version as 91.0.4472.147 which was the update that rolled out last week.
The Good News
The good news is that it didn’t appear that a larger number of devices received the borked update before it was pulled. Additionally, if you haven’t taken the update, you can avoid the headache by keeping your Chromebook powered on. This will prevent the update from installing the next time your power it on. You can leave the device open and plugged in or make sure that your power settings are set to “sleep when the cover is closed.” Seeing that Google has paused the update server, you should be safe if your Chromebook hasn’t downloaded the buggy update in the past 24 hours.
The Bad News
If you are one of the unlucky ones and you’ve installed the broken update, you’re probably wondering how to regain access to your Chromebook. Well, you aren’t going to like the answer. I did receive a message from one user that said he was able to log into his Chromebook with another Google account as a secondary login. This will work if you are okay working from a different account temporarily while Google irons out a fix. If not, it appears that the only way to repair our Chromebook is to do a powerwash and revert back to the bug-free version of Chrome OS. You can do this by creating a recovery image for your specific model using the Chrome OS Recovery tool. You’ll need another device and an 8GB or larger flash drive.to do this. To learn more about using the Recovery Tool, check out our how-to video.
If you don’t have another device or the tools needed or the patience, you can also attempt to revert your device. The process is relatively simple. Check out Robby’s video below to get started but before you do, here’s the bad news. Both of these methods are going to powerwash your device. Any data that is saved locally will be wiped and the Chromebook will boot to the out-of-the-box experience just like it did when it was brand new. If you have important files on your device that haven’t been backed up, you will want to avoid resetting your device unless you have no other options.
Obviously, Google never intends to roll out a software update that breaks things for its users but it is disconcerting that this is the second time in under two weeks that a seeming minor update has wreaked havoc for so many. Chrome OS has come so far in such a short time but now, there are so many users dependant on the platform and these types of bugs need to be squashed before they ever make it out into the wild. Hopefully, Google will have a quick fix for this. We will update this post as soon as we know more.