Thanks, Google, this explains everything

ChromeOS Recovery Tool Error and Workaround

I love Google, but sometimes their method of dealing with documentation and end-users can be obtuse.  And this is coming from a long-time supporter of their products and ChromeOS.

I recently obtained a Samsung Series 5 Chromebook on Craigslist. The seller didn’t know how to reset the device to factory default, but after some research I found a Google support article with directions to download a recovery tool and create a bootable SD card to restore the Series 5. Cool.

At least, until I got to the point during the recovery creation process where the tool needs to write to the SD card, and utterly fails with the following “Internal error” message:

Thanks, Google, this explains everything

If you look at the log file it points you to, you will see that the final two lines contain errors about dismounting the drive, similar to the following:

8:20:02 PM ERROR: Failed to open volume \\?\Volume{d1498052-5136-11e1-bc10-5404a68a5748} for dismounting (-2147024891)
8:20:02 PM ERROR: Failed to dismount USB volumes (-2147024891)

No matter what I did, despite using a couple of different card readers and futzing with running the app in compatibility mode / as administrator / making blood sacrifices, my Windows 7 64-bit system wasn’t having any part of this recovery disk creation process.

The annoying thing is this was documented back in March of this year but still occurs with the tool Google links to. This may not happen to everyone, but some searches showed others running into similar issues.  So when I figured out how to work around this, I figured that I’d share it.

What I wound up doing was:

  • Download WinImage and install it.
  • See that path that the above error message points you to? That directory also contains the recovery image file that the tool downloaded but never applied to the SD card. It will be several hundred MBs in size and have a .tmp file extension. Make a note of its location (or move it, your choice).
  • Launch WinImage (use the shortcut that has “Administrator” appended to it if running under Vista / 7).  On the menu, go to DiskRestore Virtual Hard Disk image on physical drive…
  • In the dialog box that comes up, select the removable drive that contains the SD card.
  • Then you’ll be presented with a File Open dialog box. In the drop-down in the lower-right corner, select “All Files”. Then browse to where the recovery image TMP file is located. Select it.
  • WinImage will ask you if you’re sure that you want to overwrite the disk. Confirm this and it will begin writing the ChromeOS recovery image to your SD card.

After performing this procedure, I was able to use my SD card to return the Chromebook to the default factory settings and set it up under my account.

I hope that this helps.

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19 thoughts on “ChromeOS Recovery Tool Error and Workaround”

  1. hello, thanks for the tutorial but im having a really frustrating problem…
    everytime i get to the last box where it asks me to format my usb and i confirm it, nothing happens. winimage just stays at its regular startup window.

  2. This method worked but now I get an almost identical error when trying to recover my flash drive back to its normal data amount using the Google recovery tool:(

    1. now this is the problem that i’m having. i used my 32GB card from my DSLR thinking, “its cool, i’ll get it all back when i’m done”. But so far, not so. Now this is frustrating!

      1. Found a solution that worked for me:

        Try using this: HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool: http://download.cnet.com/HP-USB-Disk-Storage-Format-Tool/3000-2094_4-10974082.html

        I used that program to get it back to FAT32 and its original capacity. If you get “the media is write-protected” just re-insert it or uncheck “Quick format” in the HP tool.

        Courtesy of: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/chromebook-central/Fnbi1IoAqmk%5B1-25-true%5D

  3. I can’t find the document; the file tree it’s pointing me to doesn’t exist! I’ve even tried the ‘search’ file function for it- nada. Help?

  4. I did this and put it in my chromebook Acer C7 and nothing happened. absolutely nothing. My SD card is now write protected for some reason and I can’t do anything about it. It can’t be formatted even in Disk Mgmt, because inexplicably the file can’t be found. I assume I did something wrong in this process but I don’t know how. I would like to take this opportunity to say: Thank you Google for doing absolutely nothing.

  5. Really people like you are the heroes of the internet as far as I am concerned. I am an experienced software professional, but I never ever contribute enough back in the form of helpful error workarounds and stuff that people will use. I resolve to do more of that in the future. This was very useful to me in resolving my chromebook issue thanks.

  6. This is literally the best thing I found today. I am a huge Google fan but they really screwed up the Chrome recovery tool. It took me way to long to find this procedure. It should be at the top of every Chromebook search. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  7. I got the same error, but my error file listed this as the issue:

    12:20:47 PM INFO: Starting verify media
    12:20:47 PM ERROR: Verify media failed, media data does not match image data.

    I ultimately returned the CB, tonight actually after spending all weekend trying to do it. I plan on purchasing another one, and will try your method.

    Have you encountered this issue: When my CB was working, I created 8 recovery disk using 8 different flash drives. At that point, I forced my CB into recovery by presing esc+refresh+power button. At this point, I had to insert my recovery disk, but it failed, all 8 of them. I don’t think the CB was making a functional recovery disk. Have you seen or head of this issue?

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