Did you know you can run Linux on your Chromebook? By installing a traditional Linux environment on your Chromebook, you can quickly and easily unlock the true potential of your computer and improve its functionality.
Since Chrome OS is a Linux-based operating system, users can install an alternative Linux environment and install a full-fledged Linux desktop on their Chromebooks. Before you start, please note that some Linux apps will not work on an ARM-based computer as they are only designed to run with Intel architecture.
Here's how to install Linux on your Chromebook.
How to install Linux on a Chromebook
There are two main options you can use to install Linux on your Chromebook. You can either create a dual-boot environment with chrx, an open source project that replaces the now defunct ChrUbuntu project, or in a chroot environment with Crouton.
There is also a third option that Crostini uses, Google's Linux virtual machine container project, that lets you run Linux apps on Chrome OS. Crostini is similar to chroot in that it allows you to create an environment where you can run Linux programs. The difference between the two is that Crostini doesn't require you to switch to Chromebook developer mode.
Each option has advantages and disadvantages. Read on to get a simple step-by-step installation guide while considering the pros and cons.
Create a Chromebook recovery
Before you change your Chromebook with a Linux installation, you should use the Chromebook Recovery Utility to create a Chromebook recovery drive. If something terrible happens to your Chromebook during Linux installation, you can use the drive to restore your Chromebook.
You need a USB flash drive with at least 8 GB of space that you can easily format during the process.
- Download Chromebook Recovery Utility from the Chrome Web Store.
- Use the app to download a copy of Chrome OS to removable media with 4 GB of storage.
If you're encountering difficulties and encountering the dreaded "Chrome OS missing or damaged" message, you're prepared for the worst. Follow our instructions to reinstall Chrome OS
Here’s how to completely reinstall Chrome OS on your Chromebook
to bring your Chromebook back to life.
Here’s how to put your Chromebook in developer mode
You need to use your Chromebook for the chrx dual-boot method and the chroot installation method Developer mode. Chromebook developer mode is a special built-in feature
Everything you need to know about Chromebook developer mode
Among other things, you can use it to start an unapproved operating system.
A few words of caution before proceeding.
When you put your device in developer mode, all locally saved data is deleted first. Therefore, make sure that you have properly backed up all important backups.
Second, remove an important level of security from Chromebook because the computer no longer verifies or authenticates the Chrome OS when it starts, which may expose you to potential attacks.
Finally, keep in mind that any changes you make will not be supported by Google and your warranty may become invalid.
The method of putting your Chromebook into developer mode depends on the make and model of the computer. Much older Chromebooks have a simple physical switch under the battery. Newer versions do not have a removable battery and therefore require the following steps:
- Hold it down Esc + RefreshPress and hold the power button.
- Once the computer has restarted, you will type Recovery mode.
- Press Ctrl + D.You will then be asked if you want to switch to developer mode. Press Enter Continue.
- The Chromebook begins initializing developer mode. This may take some time.
- When setup is complete, you will see a screen with an exclamation point and the phrase The operating system check is OFF. From now on, this screen will appear every time you turn on your Chromebook. If you wait 30 seconds, your Chromebook will start automatically or you can press Ctrl + D. boot immediately.
How to boot a Linux on a Chromebook with chrx dual
Chrx is an open source project that allows you to install a Linux distribution alongside Chrome OS. There are several Linux distributions to choose from. This includes the full Ubuntu installation or GalliumOS, which is derived from Xubuntu and specifically designed to maximize performance on Chromebook hardware.
Before you proceed, there is one important thing to consider. The chrx dual boot method is not compatible with Chromebooks that use ARM hardware. You can check the compatibility list before continuing with the tutorial.
Intel Skylake, Apollo Lake and Kaby Lake models offer different levels of support and testing. The Intel Amber Lake, Gemini Lake and Whiskey Lake models are new and offer little support.
The chrx installation is a two-part process. Phase one partitions your storage. In phase two, the Linux distribution will be installed and your system configured.
Use chrx to install Linux
Here is your step-by-step guide to installing Linux on your Chromebook with chrx. Before proceeding, check your compatibility, make sure that developer mode is enabled and that you have an active internet connection.
- First press CTRL + ALT + T. Open and enter the Chrome OS terminal Bowl
- You now need to update the Chromebook firmware to allow legacy files to boot. Input cd; curl -LO https://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh && sudo bash firmware-util.sh. When the firmware update script loads, press 1, then Enter to Install / update the RW_Legacy firmware.
- After completing your firmware update, insert the CD. curl -Os https://chrx.org/go && sh go. Press N. install on your system storage.
- Enter the memory size for the Linux partition, then press Enter. The standard GalliumOS installation option requires at least 3 GB of storage space. When installation is complete, press Enter to restart your system.
- After restarting your system, you will see a message that your system is repairing itself. Wait a minute. "As alarming as it sounds, it's perfectly normal. Wait for this to finish. The time it takes depends on your hard drive. For example, I have a 128 GB hard drive in my Chromebook, and the process took almost 20 minutes.
- When you arrive on your desktop, open the Chrome OS terminal and type Bowlthen cd; curl -Os https://chrx.org/go && sh is the second phase of the installation. When the installation is complete, press Enter.
- Press on the home screen CTRL + L. to boot into Gallium OS (or an alternative Linux distribution).
The chrx installation process is a bit lengthy. Nevertheless, the result is excellent and offers you a stable dual-boot environment.
How to install Linux as a chroot with crouton
An alternative to the chrx method is to use Crouton, an open source project that Linux installs in a chroot environment.
In practice, this means that you can switch seamlessly between the two operating systems using a simple keyboard shortcut, and there is no need to restart the computer.
Other advantages are the sharing of / Downloads Folders on both systems. This means that you can easily access files from both environments. In addition, removing a Linux operating system installed with Crouton does not require a full system restore.
The software itself was developed by a former Google employee and is therefore optimized so that it can be executed extremely quickly even on older computers. The two environments also share drivers, so they should work immediately and without problems.
Install Linux with Crouton
The installation of Crouton is very easy. Please check that you are connected to a Wi-Fi network and that you have activated developer mode. Now follow the steps below to install Ubuntu with Crouton.
- Download the latest version of Crouton to your Chromebook hard drive
Download: Crouton (free)
- Press CTRL + ALT + T. to open the terminal, then type Bowl
- Type sudo install -Dt / usr / local / bin -m 755 ~ / Downloads / crouton to convert the installer to an executable
- Now run the installation program with sudo crouton -t xfce
- At the end of the installation you will receive a prompt as well as a user name and a password for your Linux installation. Choose something suitable, press Enterand the installation will compete.
Once the installation is complete, go back to the Chromebook shell (from your desktop press) Ctrl + Alt + T., Art Bowl, Press Enter), Then type sudo startxfce4 and press Enter. Once you do this, the new operating system will continue to run until you either turn off your computer or log off from the Linux desktop environment.
The standard installation option as above installs Ubuntu 16.04, which is now somewhat out of date. Crouton supports other Linux distributions. If you want to see the other Linux distributions supported by Crouton, run sh -e ~ / Downloads / crouton -r list before starting the installation. Swap the name of the Linux distribution you want to install in step 4 of the tutorial.
Control and customize your Linux Crouton environment
Use the following keyboard shortcuts to switch between the original Chrome OS and your new Linux environment:
- ARM-based machines: Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Forward and Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Back
- Intel-based machines: Ctrl + Alt + Back and Ctrl + Alt + Forward then Ctrl + Alt + Refresh
After successfully installing your new environment, there are a few things you should do to improve your experience.
- Activate the brightness and volume keys on your keyboard to work in the new operating system. To do this, access the Chrome OS shell (press on the Chrome OS desktop Ctrl + Alt + T., Art Bowl, and press Enter).
- Next, type sudo sh -e ~ / Downloads / crouton -r precise -t keyboard –u and press Enter.
- Remove the screensaver from the new environment as it is known to cause graphics errors. You can do this from the terminal in Linux by typing sudo apt-get remove xscreensaver and then pressing Enter.
- Install Ubuntu Software Center and Synaptic (both for installing additional apps). To do this, enter the terminal in your new Linux installation, enter sudo apt-get install software-center synaptic and press Enter.
How to remove a Crouton installation
There are two ways to remove a Linux environment installed with Crouton.
The first is to go to the shell on your Chrome OS (press Ctrl + Alt + T., Enter shell, press Enter) and do the following.
- Enter cd / usr / local / chroots and press Enter
- Enter sudo delete-chroot * and press Enter
- Enter rm -rf / usr / local / bin and press Enter
The alternative is to restart and press your Chromebook room when you see the initial The operating system check is OFF Screen. This will remove your device from developer mode and delete all local data, including all newly installed environments.
As always, make sure you have backed up important data before performing this step. If you want to switch back to developer mode after this point in time, you have to repeat the above procedure.
How to install Linux apps with Crostini
Now for the third and final method of running Linux apps on your Chromebook. With Crostini you can create a virtual container for a Linux app. The Linux app runs on your existing Chrome OS installation, so you don't have to switch to developer mode or make changes to your existing operating system.
The only downside is that Crostini isn't available on many Chromebook models. At least not many at the time of writing – and none that I currently have. Check the full compatibility list to see if your Chromebook model can do that Linux (beta) and again Crostini.
If you want to wait for Crostini to get your Chromebook, owners of certain models should consider one of the alternative methods. The list of Chromebook models that Crostini doesn't get is long.
How to use Linux apps on your Chromebook with Crostini
Loading and using Crostini on a compatible Chromebook is easy. On your Chromebook:
- Open the Settings menu
- Scroll down to find Linux (beta)Then activate the option
- Follow the instructions on the screen. The setup process can take up to 10 minutes.
- As soon as Linux has completed the installation, a Linux terminal is displayed. Update the Linux installation with the sudo apt update command and then with the sudo apt update upgrade.
- When you're done, open your Chrome browser and type chrome: // flags. Art Crostini Search for that in the flags search bar Crostini GPU support
- Turn it on activated.
After you have finished installing Linux (Beta) and Crostini, you can install Linux packages on your Chromebook. Your Chrome OS file menu also has a new Linux app option that lets you launch Linux apps like a Chromebook app.
3 ways to install Linux on a Chromebook
There are three ways to use Linux on your Chromebook. The main limitations in choosing a method depend on your hardware type and compatibility. ARM-based Chromebook models should choose Crouton, while Intel-based Chromebook models offer a wider range of options.
Are you getting into the Chrome OS terminal? Check out our list of the main Crosh commands
18 Crosh Terminal commands all Chromebook users should know
Every user should know.