Chromebook warning, new Chrome OS update locking some owners out

Don't update your machine, and avoid restarting it until this is fixed

Lenovo Chromebook Duet review
(Image credit: Lenovo)

Chromebooks are enormously popular, with good reason. They offer affordable computing and access to the undeniably popular Google ecosystem. But sometimes things go wrong, and it appears that update 91.0.4472.165 might be one of those buggy updates that causes problems. 

According to Android Central some Chromebook owners are finding that the update locks them out of their laptop and the only way to get back in to it is to powerwash it back to its shipping state. Of course this may not be a problem for many who store everything in the cloud, but if you do have local files a bug like this could be problematic. 

Advice is, therefore, to avoid updating until Google patches this bug. If you do so, and the machine asks you to reboot, you can avoid problems by not allowing it to do so. Then, when Google issues a fix you might be able to apply that and save yourself the heartache. Of course for some, with auto-update, this may not help and your machine may lock you out. 

Google is apparently aware of the problem and is working on a fix. Android Central said it hadn’t yet pulled it from the live servers yet though, which could ensnare more people before a new version is launched in the Google Chromebook stable channel. Even if you’re affected, you can enter guest mode though, although files for other uses may not be visible. 

While this is irksome, it does at least play into Google’s message about Chromebooks being backed up, and largely cloud-based. The pain of doing this on a Windows or Mac computer would be much worse, but unless you’re using Linux files on your Chromebook, you should be able to recover most of your work. 

A couple of weeks ago some users noted that a Google Chromebook update also caused performance problems with CPU use pegged at 100%. This affected a smaller number of machines though, but did include big name devices from Samsung, HP and Acer. 

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited about how tech can make your life better.