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How to create a recovery image
As solid as Chrome OS may be, like any platform there's always the chance something goes wrong and the Chromebook will not boot. It's never happened to me but I've heard from others who've had to recover their device.
The first step in recovering a Chromebook that will not boot is to create a recovery image when the device is running properly. This is a simple process built into the Chrome OS.
Enter chrome://imageburner into the URL bar in the browser. This takes you to a utility for burning a working system image on a USB flash drive or SD card. The drive and SD card should have at least 4GB of space for the image. Note that the image burning will wipe the drive or card so make sure there's nothing you want to save.
The image burning utility recognizes the flash drive or SD card once it's inserted and the image is downloaded and burned. That's it, store the image in a safe place.
To restore your system from the image just insert it in the Chromebook when the system is on the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" screen when it fails to boot. The device will boot from the image saved and then prompt you through the simple steps to recreate a working Chromebook.
Interactive keyboard map to discover key shortcuts
Google is famous for adding key shortcuts to apps to make it easy to get to most system functions. Chrome OS is no exception as this keyboard map makes clear.
The keyboard map is accessed by hitting Ctrl-Alt-? which shows the one-key shortcuts. From the default screen you can tap the Ctrl, Alt, or Shift key (on the physical keyboard) to see additional shortcuts accessible by hitting one of those keys in addition to the indicated key on the map.
This map is very useful and it's wise to visit it from time to time to avoid overlooking useful key commands.
Chrome OS version channels
The way Google develops Chrome is through three channels: Stable, Beta, and Developer. Stable is the standard version of Chrome, Beta is the channel where experimental features are incorporated before making the Stable channel, and the Developer channel is where alpha features are tested.
I use the Beta channel as I find it a fairly stable implementation that gives me an advance look at new features. I rarely have problems using the Beta version of Chrome.
To access one of the advanced versions of Chrome, access the Settings through the system panel on the lower right of the desktop. Select Help on the settings page and look for the Change Channel button. Once you choose a channel other than the one you are currently using, that version will download and install.
Once the installation completes you restart the system to run the new channel.