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When one is using a Chromebook, they can forcefully get it into recovery mode by pressing Esc+Refresh+Power. This will then display a recovery screen.

I’ve had a couple of friends tell me that I can boot from a USB flash drive, in recovery mode, as long as I have the disk image (.iso) of the operating system on the USB flash drive. Is this true? If so, does it do any "damage" of sorts to the operating system?

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No this will not work out of the box on Chromebooks to my knowledge, you can only boot ChromeOS recovery media unless you set specific flags in developer mode (search for dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1 dev_boot_signed=0).

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