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How to Fix Error: Cannot load recovery.img

In this tutorial, we will show you how to fix the “cannot load recovery.img error”. There exists a countless number of tweaks that could be carried out on an Android device. Well, we aren’t just talking about installing custom launchers or themes from Play Store. This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you unlock your device’s bootloader, then you have literally unlocked the floodgates to the customization world. From installing custom ROMs to flashing Magisk Modules and Xposed Framework and Substratum Themes, there is no limit up to which you could carry out these customizations.

But for most of these modifications (apart from unlocking the bootloader), you need a working custom recovery like TWRP in the first place. It doesn’t really matter whether it is the official build, an unofficial one, or modified ones that make use of TWRP’s source code. If you have TRWP, you have the keys to the customizations. Although every Android device does come up with its own stock recovery, its functionality is highly limited. You could only carry out activities that are possible on a locked bootloader.

This is because OEMs are against the practice of unlocking the bootloader and they only want the stock OS that they ship with the device to be used by one and all. But since we are living in an open-source ecosystem, such restrictions are easily bypassed by one and all. So a custom recovery is the major prerequisites for the aforementioned tweaks. Unfortunately flashing it in the first place might prove to be a little challenging for some users. We are seeing countless users getting stuck at the initial flashing/booting screen itself.

They get greeted with the message that spells out as Error: Cannot load recovery.img.  In this tutorial, we will look at all the possible reasons as to why you might be facing this issue. Furthermore, we will also list out all the possible fixes for this issue. Overall, we will be mentioning three different types of fixes for Error: Cannot load recovery.img. We guarantee you that any of the three methods will surely fix this error. So without further ado here are all the required instructions in this regard. Follow along.

Important Updates related to Flashing of TWRP

Up until a few years back, there was just a single command to install TWRP onto your device. But with Android Oreo 8.1, Google introduced the concept of Project Treble, which then gave rise to A/B partition devices. Subsequently, this gave rise to one more command to flash the TWRP Recovery. During the initial phases, we only used the below command to install TWRP:

fastboot flash recovery recovery.img

This would directly flash the recovery into the recovery partition of your device without any issue. However, with Project Treble, device partitions underwent major changes. There is no longer the recovery partition. The role of that partition has now been assigned to the boot partition. So now we cannot directly use the above command to flash the recovery to the recovery partition, but we rather use the below command to boot the device to the boot partition:

fastboot boot recovery.img

After the device boots to TWRP, you then flash the twrp.zip file to permanently install the TWRP or use the Ramdisk functionality of TWRP. So this was one of the major changes that pertain to how we deal with TWRP Recovery. Although this ain’t any fix as such, we thought to make yourself aware of important information.  With the explanation now clear, here are all the three methods to fix the cannot load recovery.img error. Don’t Miss: How to Flash a Custom ROM without TWRP Recovery

Cannot load recovery.img Fix 1: Android SDK Platform Tools

We need the Android SDK Platform Tools installed onto the PC for the successful execution of ADB and Fastboot commands. Although there exist many other third-party tools, yet we would recommend you to only for this one created by Google. This is because other tools might have missing binaries. With that said, the biggest mistake that many users end up committing is that they forget to transfer the downloaded TWRP Recovery inside the Android SDK Platform Tools folder.

  1. In other words, you have to transfer the TWRP Recovery inside the platform-tools folder.
  2. Once that is done, head over to the platform-tools folder’s address bar, type in CMD in the address bar, and hit Enter. This will launch the Command Prompt.
  3. Now boot the device to fastboot mode and then connect it to PC. For that enable USB Debugging on your device and enter the below command:
    adb reboot bootloader

    fastboot mode xiaomi device
    Fastboot Mode in Xiaomi
  4. Your device will now boot to Fastboot/Bootloader mode. Use thje below command to boot your device to TWRP:
    fastboot boot recovery.img
  5. Likewise, you may also directly flash the TWRP to the boot partition. This could be done via the following command:
    fastboot flash boot recovery.img
  6. On executing any of the two above commands, your device will boot to TWRP. But it might be just a temporary install. To permanently install it, there are two different approaches. Some devices have both the TWRP ZIP and TWRP IMG files. However other devices only have the TWRP IMG File.
  7. If your device has a TWRP ZIP file a well, then transfer it to your device. On the other hand, if it only has an IMG file, then transfer that TWRP IMG file to your device. For file transfer, you may use the ADB Sideload method, Mount your device via TWRP, or use a USB-OTG. All these have been explained in depth here: [3 METHODS] How To Transfer or Install Files via TWRP Recovery.
  8. Once the file has been flashed, let’s proceed ahead, If you have transferred the TWRP ZIP file, then go to Install, select the TWRP.ZIP and perform a right swipe to flash it.
  9. On the other hand, if you have transferred the TWRP IMG file, then you would have to install it to the Ramdisk partition. For that, go to Advanced > Install Recovery Ramdisk > Select TWRP IMG file > Perform a right swipe to flash it.
    install twrp recovery ramdisk fix cannot load recovery.img file

That is it. This was the first method to fix the cannot load recovery.img error. For most of the readers, this method might have fixed this issue. However, if you don’t belong to that group, not an issue. There are two more fixes waiting for you, give them a try!

Cannot load recovery.img Fix 2: Check the Name of Recovery

While booting the TWRP Recovery, we usually use the fastboot boot twrp.img command. Similarly, for flashing, users make use of the  fastboot flash recovery twrp.img command. But here is the thing. Most of the time, the recovery isn’t named just named as TWRP. The complete name of the recovery is something along the lines that include the twrp keyword followed by the version name and then the device codename.

For example, the complete name of the recovery for the OnePlus 7 Pro is twrp-3.4.0-0-guacamole.img. In this instance, if you try out the fastboot boot twrp.img command, the CMD window wouldn’t be able to recognize this file type. So to fix this issue, make sure to rename the custom recovery to twrp. After this, execute the fastboot flash recovery twrp.img or fastboot boot twrp.img command and the cannot load recovery.img issue would no longer be there.

However, if you don’t wish to for the rename route, there is another way of dealing with this issue. You could just write the “fastboot flash recovery” or “fastboot boot” command and then drag the TWRP Recovery file next to that command. The Command Window will automatically pick up the rest of the recovery name. But even for that, you will have to move that TWRP to the platform-tools folder. Once that is done, here is what needs to be done:

  1. Launch the Command Prompt window inside the platform-tools folder by typing in CMD in the address bar and hitting Enter.
    command prompt twrp
  2. Now type in fastboot flash recovery or fastboot boot command as per the need and drag the twrp recovery next to it (see below image). Suppose we are using the OnePlus 7 Pro TWRP file, and have placed the twrp.img file inside D:\platform-tools\, then the command will automatically transform to fastboot boot D:\platform-tools\twrp-3.4.0-0-guacamole.img.
    fastboot boot twrp fix cannot load twrp.img
  3. Once the command gets automatically populated, hit the Enter key to execute the command. That is it. You have successfully flashed the TWRP Recovery and also fixed the cannot load recovery.img error.

Cannot load recovery.img Fix 3: The Naming Extension Issue

The first-timers usually end up looking for guides across the web for flashing instructions. And although the steps are mentioned well and good, there is just one issue that I have seen across countless many blogs. Most of these guides tell the users to rename the recovery to twrp.img or recovery.img. And they end this sentence. But this is where the problem lies.

The .img part is not the name of the recovery but is rather the extension. However, judging by the above rule, many users end up naming the downloaded recovery as twrp.img or recovery.img, which in turn makes the complete name as twrp.img.img or recovery.img.img. Yes, you might have unknowingly added two .img, one for the naming convention, and the other as part of the extension.

And while writing the commands, we always write the extension of the file as well. This is one reason why you might be greeted with the cannot load recovery.img error. So to correct this issue, simply rename the recovery to twrp or recovery. The complete name would then be twrp.img or recovery.img, and with this, the issue will be rectified as well.


With this, we conclude the guide on how to fix the cannot load recovery.img error. We have mentioned three different fixes for the same, any one of which will definitely rectify this issue. But if you still end up facing this issue (chances of which are quite rare) then do let us know in the comments. Apart from that, if there is any other Android rooting, unlocking, or TWRP issues, you may ask us that as well. You own the comments section 🙂 Don’t Miss: Download Google Camera GCam Port for all Android Devices.

  • Mridul chakraborty

    when i type “fastboot boot recovery.img”
    then its shows…

    sending ‘boot.img’ (65536 kb) OKAY[ 2.266s]
    booting FAILED (status read failed (too many links))
    fastboot error: command failed

    How to fix it please help…..

    if i try “fastboot flash recovery recovery.img” <— this comand and if my device would not boot then what i can do?
    please reply…..

    • Sadique Hassan

      Hi Mridul, apologies for the late reply. First off, could you let me know whether the device is A/B or just A (single slot)? As far as the reason for the” booting FAILED (status read failed (too many links))” it usually happens if you are not using the correct TWRP or if the right ADB and Fastboot drivers are not installed. So reverify the TWRP Recovery, and install the Android SDK Platform Tools provided by Google. Don’t go for any other ADB tools. Likewise, you could also try using another USB cable or switch to a USB 2.0 Port from 3.0. As far as fastboot flash recovery recovery.img, I would reply to this question only after I’m able to know the device model, so will be waiting for your reply.