Thursday, 11 January 2018


Chromebooks are meant to be easy to use, and that is exactly where Chrome OS shines. However, Chrome OS isn’t as functional as compared to other operating systems like Linux. So, if you are someone who loves to tinker, you might have wondered if you could install another operating system, such as Ubuntu, on your Chromebook. So, here is how to install Linux on a Chromebook:

Install Ubuntu on Chromebook with Crouton

In order to install Ubuntu on a Chromebook, you will first have to download Crouton. Crouton – an acronym for “Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment” – is a bundle of scripts that allow the easy installation of Linux systems such as Ubuntu, and Debian. We will use Crouton to install Ubuntu on our Chromebook. Just follow the steps below:
1. First, you will have to enable Developer Mode in Chrome OS.  (press hold the Esc and Refresh button simultaneously and then, press the Power button. Your Chromebook should then boot with a message saying “Chrome OS is missing or damaged”. Don’t be scared, as this is a general message one gets while playing around with Chrome OS settings. To move further, press Ctrl+D.In the next page, press Enter to “turn OS verification off”.Then, your Chromebook will restart and you will see a screen reminding you that you have turned OS verification off. You can press Ctrl+D to start the process or wait for the OS to start things itself after a beep. Enable debugging mode. Ctrl+Alt+T and enter a command like “Shell”. )
2. Once you have enabled Developer Mode on your Chromebook, download Crouton onto your Chromebook. It will be saved in the “Downloads” directory.
3. On your Chromebook, press “Ctrl + Alt + T” to launch the Crosh Terminal. Here, type “shell“, and hit Enter.
4. You will now get access to a command line, and with the help of this command line, we’ll install Ubuntu on our Chromebook. In the Terminal, type “sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -e -t lxde“.
5. Once that is done, you will have to wait, while Crouton downloads Ubuntu for you, and installs it on your Chromebook. This step usually takes quite some time, so be patient.
6. When the installation is finished, simply type “sudo startlxde” to start the Linux desktop. You will be asked for the encryption passphrase you created while installing Ubuntu, just key it in, and you’re ready to go.

Switch Back to Chrome OS from Linux

If you want to get back to Chrome OS from Ubuntu, you can simply log out of Ubuntu in the normal way, and you’ll immediately be taken back to Chrome OS.
You can restart Linux, by opening a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T), and typing “sudo startlxde“.
You should be able to switch between Linux, and Chrome OS, on the fly, by using Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Forward, and Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Back (on ARM Chromebooks), and Ctrl + Alt + Forward, and Ctrl + Alt + Back, followed by Ctrl + Alt + Refresh (on Intel Chromebooks), but unfortunately, that didn’t work for me on LXDE on my Asus Chromebook Flip.

Linux on a Chromebook: The Experience

Ubuntu works very well on a Chromebook. However, since the XFCE, and Unity Desktop Environments aren’t working, as yet, you’re stuck with using LXDE – a Desktop Environment not many people like. The only problem I noticed with LXDE, is the fact that if you own a touch enabled Chromebook, like the Asus Chromebook Flip, the touch doesn’t work very predictably in LXDE, and the UI is a tad too small. However, at least the latter can be fixed by adjusting the screen resolution for Linux.

Install Linux on Chromebook to Unlock Its Potential

You can use this method to easily install Linux/Ubuntu on a Chromebook, and unlock its true power. When you’re running Linux on a Chromebook, you can install Linux apps in the same way as you would install them on a normal Linux computer, by using apt-get. However, if you’re using an ARM Chromebook, some apps might not work properly for you. Chances of apps working are much better on an Chromebook with an Intel processor.
As always, we’d like to know your thoughts on installing Linux on Chromebook, and your experience with using Linux on a Chromebook. Also, if you know of another (preferably easier) method to install Linux on Chromebooks, do let us know in the comments section below.

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