Chrome OS 86 has been out in the wild for a couple of weeks now but it appears that our beloved operating system has a hitch in its giddyup. At the time of its initial release, a large section of devices was left off of the update list for reasons that are still unclear. A few days later, more Chromebooks started receiving the update. Unfortunately, before the rollout could reach everyone, it was halted abruptly. If your device has already updated to Chrome OS 86, you won’t see the effects of this freeze but most users on 85 shouldn’t expect to see an update for the time being.
Recently, a vulnerability in Chrome’s memory systems was discovered in version 86 of the browser that affected not only PC users but Chromebooks as well. A subsequent update was released to patch the security bug which leads me to believe that this reversion of Chrome OS is not related to that particular bug. Instead, I would point to the official Chromebook Support Forum where you can find a laundry list of issues being reported ranging from Family Link login errors to display crashing and everything in between. It is unclear which, if any of these reports are at the root of the halted update but we’re digging deeper to see if Google will provide an update since Chrome OS 87 is just a little over a month out. Currently, the list below contains the only devices still actively receiving the update to Chrome OS 86.
- Acer Chromebase 24
- Samsung Chromebook 3 (2015 model)
- Acer Chromebook R11 (CB5-132T, C738T)
- Dell Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise
- Acer Chromebook 315 (CB315-2H)
- HP Chromebook 11A G6 EE
- HP Chromebook 11A G8 EE
- HP Chromebook 14 db0000-db0999
- HP Chromebook 14A G5
- Acer Chromebook 311 (C721)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (R721T)
- Lenovo 14e Chromebook
- Lenovo Chromebook S345-14
- NEC Chromebook Y1 Gen2A
- HP Chromebook 11A G6 EE
- HP Chromebook 11A G8 EE
- Lenovo 100e 2nd Gen AMD
- Lenovo 300e 2nd Gen AMD
- Acer Chromebook Spin 311 (CP311-3H)
- HP Chromebook 11a
- Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet
- Lenovo Chromebook Duet
- HP Chromebook 11 G5 EE
- Positivo Chromebook C216B\
- Mecer V2 Chromebook
- Edxis Education Chromebook (NL6D)\
- CTL NL61 Chromebook
- Acer Chromebook 11 N7 (C731, C731T)
- HP Chromebook x2
- Acer Chromebook 15 (CB5-571, C910)
So, what do you do if you’ve already updated to Chrome OS 86? Well, if you aren’t experiencing any issues with your device, I suggest just rolling with your current software version. Google issues a patch for the vulnerability found in the initial release so there aren’t any concerns with security. If you are having problems with 86, I recommend looking for a resolution in the Chromebook Support Forum. If you can’t find a resolution for your specific issue, you can revert your Chromebook back to Chrome OS 85. 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 but you can use the device you want to downgrade if you must. Install the extension here.
Revert your device
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 into 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 update to 86 has been paused and the update server is on 85, you won’t have to worry about your Chromebook updating again until Google relaunches Chrome OS 86. While I don’t think the issues with 86 are severe enough to revert, there may be users that are experiencing instabilities that demand the rollback. We’ll keep a close watch on what’s going on with Chrome OS 86 and hopefully, Google will provide us with some insight on why this release has been paused.