technology

One-letter Google typo locked Chrome users out of their devices


Google’s Chrome OS runs on devices like Chromebooks (Credit: Amazon)

A one-letter typo in a line of code has locked some devices running Google’s Chrome operating system.

A new version of Chrome OS containing the error was briefly released this week, locking out users who rebooted their devices, Ars Technica reports.

Chromecasts automatically download system updates when they become available, installing them after a user restarts their device.

But this latest update (Chrome OS 91.0.4472.165) affected the ability to verify passwords, leaving affected users unable to log in.

The problem appears to be have been caused by a missed ‘&’ symbol from a line of code in the new update, according to reports.

The tech giant issued a fix for the problem in the form of a new software update (Chrome Version 91.0.4472.167) released on Wednesday evening.

But it may take a few days for this to reach all devices running Chrome OS.

Google says affected users can log in to their devices via guest mode, or on an account that isn’t already signed in to the device, to install the update.

In the meantime, affected users can restore previous versions of their system, or ‘Powerwash’ their Chromebook. But both fixes will delete locally stored data.

Unaffected users can avoid effectively bricking their devices by keeping them switched on until the latest update has been downloaded.

Predominantly cloud-based devices, Chromebook laptops were released in 2011.

The highly successful devices are commonly used in schools in countries including the USA.

In recent years, tech firms have developed other devices like tablets that can run the Linux-based Chrome OS software.


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