How to Install Linux on a Chromebook

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How to Install Linux on a Chromebook

Did you know your Chromebook can run Linux? Installing a standard Linux environment on your Chromebook is a fast and simple method to unleash the actual potential of your system and increase its usefulness.

Because Chrome OS is a Linux-based operating system, users may install an alternative Linux environment on their Chromebooks to receive a full-fledged Linux desktop. Before you begin, please keep in mind that certain Linux software will not operate on an ARM-based system since they are only meant to run on Intel architecture.

So, here’s how you install Linux on your Chromebook.

How to Install Linux on a Chromebook

You have two basic choices for installing Linux on your Chromebook. You may either use chrx, an open-source project that replaces the now-defunct ChrUbuntu project, or Crouton to build a dual-boot environment.

A third alternative is to utilize Crostini, Google’s Linux virtual machine container project that lets you run Linux programs on top of Chrome OS. Crostini, like chroot, enables you to create an environment in which you can execute Linux applications. Crostini, on the other hand, does not need you to activate Chromebook Developer Mode.

Each choice has advantages and disadvantages. Continue reading for a straightforward step-by-step installation tutorial, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.

Create a Chromebook Recovery

Before you begin modifying your Chromebook with a Linux installation, you should use the Chromebook Recovery Utility to create a Chromebook recovery disk. If anything terrible occurs to your Chromebook during the Linux installation, you may use the disk to recover it.

You’ll need a USB flash drive with at least 8GB of storage capacity that you’re willing to format throughout the procedure.

  1. Chromebook Recovery Utility may be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Download a copy of Chrome OS onto a removable device with 4GB of storage using the software.

That’s it!

If you run into problems and see the dreaded “Chrome OS Is Missing or Damaged” notice, brace yourself for the worst. To bring your Chromebook back to life, follow our reinstalling Chrome OS tutorial.

How to Put Your Chromebook into Developer Mode

The chrx dual-boot and chroot installation techniques need entering your Chromebook into Developer Mode. Developer Mode on a Chromebook is a specific inbuilt capability that, among other things, enables you to boot into an unapproved operating system.

A few words of caution before progressing.

To begin, entering Developer Mode on your device will erase all locally stored data, so make sure you have appropriate backups of anything crucial.

Second, you are losing a crucial layer of protection from your Chromebook, as the machine will no longer validate or authenticate the Chrome OS on startup, thus leaving you vulnerable to assaults.

Finally, keep in mind that any changes you make are not endorsed by Google and may invalidate your warranty.

The procedure for entering Developer Mode on your Chromebook differs based on its make and model. Much earlier Chromebooks feature a straightforward hardware switch behind the battery. Because newer models lack a replaceable battery, you must do the following steps:

  1. Hold down Esc and Refresh, then push the power button while still holding them down.
  2. You will be in Recovery Mode once the machine restarts.
  3. When you press Ctrl + D, a popup will appear asking whether you wish to enter Developer Mode. To continue, press Enter.
  4. The Chromebook will begin to load Developer Mode, which may take some time.
  5. When the installation is finished, you will see a screen with an exclamation point and the text OS verification is OFF. This screen will now appear every time you switch on your Chromebook. If you wait 30 seconds, your Chromebook will start automatically, or you may boot instantly by pressing Ctrl + D.
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How to Dual-Boot a Linux on a Chromebook Using chrx

Chrx is an open-source project for installing a Linux distribution alongside Chrome OS. There are several Linux distributions to select from. These include the entire Ubuntu installation or GalliumOS, a Xubuntu derivative designed primarily for optimizing performance on Chromebook hardware.

Before we continue, there is one thing you should know. The chrx dual-boot approach is incompatible with ARM-powered Chromebooks. Before proceeding with the lesson, you may verify the compatibility list.

Support and testing for Intel Skylake, Apollo Lake, and Kaby Lake devices varies. Intel Amber Lake, Gemini Lake, and Whiskey Lake processors are new and have limited support.

The chrx installation consists of two steps. Phase one divides your storage. The second phase involves installing the Linux distribution and configuring your machine.

Using chrx to Install Linux

Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for installing Linux on your Chromebook using chrx. Before you begin, double-check your compatibility, turn on Developer Mode, and make sure you have an active internet connection.

  1. First, open the Chrome OS terminal by pressing CTRL + ALT + T, then enter shell.
  2. To enable legacy booting, you must now upgrade the Chromebook firmware. Input cd followed by curl -LO and sudo bash When the firmware update script appears, press 1 followed by Enter to install/upgrade RW Legacy Firmware.
  3. When your firmware update has finished, type cd ; curl -Os && sh go. To install to your system storage, press N.
  4. Enter the size of the Linux partition’s storage, then press Enter. GalliumOS, the default installation option, needs at least 3GB of storage. When the installation is finished, hit Enter to restart your computer.
  5. When your system reboots, you will get a notification that says, “Your system is now repairing itself. Please be patient.” As frightening as this may seem, it is very natural. Wait for this to finish. The time it takes is determined on the size of your hard disk. For example, my Chromebook has a 128GB hard drive, and the operation took approximately 20 minutes.
  6. When you get to your desktop, open the Chrome OS terminal, type shell, and then cd ; curl -Os && sh go to begin the second step of the installation. When the installation is complete, hit Enter.
  7. To enter Gallium OS, use CTRL + L at the boot screen (or an alternative Linux distro).

The chrx installation procedure is rather extensive. Nonetheless, the outcome is good and offers you with a reliable dual-boot system.

How to Install Linux as a Chroot Using Crouton

Crouton, an open-source project that installs Linux in a chroot environment, is an alternative to the chrx approach.

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In fact, this means that you may switch between the two operating systems with a single keyboard command without having to restart the computer.

Sharing the/Downloadsfolder across both computers is another advantage. This implies that files from both contexts are readily accessible. Furthermore, deleting a Crouton-installed Linux operating system does not need a complete system recovery.

The program was created by a former Google employee and is therefore tuned to operate exceptionally fast, even on older computers. Because the two environments share drivers, they should function quickly and without issue.

Installing Linux With Crouton

Crouton installation is quite straightforward. Please ensure that you are connected to a Wi-Fi network and that Developer Mode is active. Now, to install Ubuntu with Crouton, follow the instructions below.

  1. Crouton’s current version may be downloaded to your Chromebook’s hard drive. Crouton (Download) (Free)
  2. To open the terminal, press CTRL + ALT + T, then enter shell.
  3. To make the installation executable, run sudo install -Dt /usr/local/bin -m 755 /Downloads/crouton.
  4. Now, execute the installation using sudo crouton -t xfce.
  5. You will be prompted to establish a username and password for your Linux installation at the conclusion of the installation. Choose anything appropriate, hit Enter, and the installation will begin.

When the installation is finished, return to the Chromebook shell (from your desktop, click Ctrl+Alt+T, type shell, and press Enter), then type

sudo startxfce4

and then hit Enter. Once you’ve done this, the new OS will run until you either switch off your computer or log out of the Linux desktop environment.

As previously stated, the default installation option installs Ubuntu 16.04, which is now rather out of date. Other Linux distributions are supported by Crouton. If you wish to see what other Linux distributions Crouton supports, go here.

sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -r list

before beginning the installation In step 4, change the name of the Linux distribution you wish to install.

Controlling and Customizing Your Linux Crouton Environment

The keyboard shortcuts listed below allow you to move between the old Chrome OS and your new Linux environment:

  • Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Forward and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Back on ARM-based devices
  • Ctrl+Alt+Back and Ctrl+Alt+Forward, then Ctrl+Alt+Refresh on Intel-based PCs

After successfully installing your new environment, there are a few steps you should perform to optimize your experience.

  1. Allow your keyboard’s brightness and volume controls to function under the new OS. Access the Chrome OS shell to do so (from the Chrome OS desktop, click Ctrl+Alt+T, type shell, then press Enter).
  2. Enter sudo sh -e /Downloads/crouton -r precise -t keyboard -u after that.
  3. The screensaver in the new environment has been known to create graphical issues. You may do this in Linux by entering sudo apt-get delete xscreensaver and then hitting Enter.
  4. Install Ubuntu Software Center and Synaptic Package Manager (both used for installing additional apps).Enter the terminal from inside your fresh Linux installation, type sudo apt-get install software-center synaptic, and press Enter.

How to Remove a Crouton Installation

There are two primary methods for removing a Crouton-installed Linux system.

The first step is to launch the shell on your Chrome OS (click Ctrl+Alt+T, type shell, and press Enter) and do the following actions.

  1. Enter the command cd /usr/local/chroots.
  2. Enter the command sudo delete-chroot *
  3. Enter the command rm -rf /usr/local/bin.
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Another option is to restart your Chromebook and hit Space when the first OS verification is OFF screen appears. This will exit Developer Mode on your device and delete all local data, including any new environments you have loaded.

Before proceeding, make sure you have made backups of any vital data. If you wish to return to Developer Mode beyond this point, you must follow the steps outlined above.

How to Install Linux Apps Using Crostini

The third and last technique for launching Linux programs on your Chromebook is now available. Crostini lets you construct a virtual container for a Linux application. Because the Linux software runs on top of your current Chrome OS installation, there is no need to enter Developer Mode or make changes to the operating system.

The main drawback is that Crostini isn’t accessible on all Chromebooks. At the time of writing, there weren’t many, and none that I owned. Check the entire compatibility list to check whether your Chromebook model is capable of running Linux (Beta) and, hence, Crostini.

If you’re considering waiting for Crostini to visit your Chromebook, owners of specific models might consider one of the alternatives. Crostini will not be available for a long range of Chromebook models.

How to Use Linux Apps on Your Chromebook With Crostini

Crostini is easy to install and use on a compatible Chromebook. On your Google Chromebook:

  1. Open the Settings menu
  2. Scroll down to locate Linux (Beta), then enable it.
  3. Follow the directions on the screen. The installation procedure might take up to ten minutes.
  4. A Linux terminal will display after Linux has finished installing. Use the sudo apt update command to update the Linux installation, followed by sudo apt update upgrade.
  5. After that, open your Chrome browser and go to chrome:/flags. In the Flags search box, type crostini, then look for the Crostini GPU Support.
  6. Switch it to Enabled.

After installing Linux (Beta) and Crostini, you may install Linux packages on your Chromebook. You’ll also notice a new option for Linux programs in the Chrome OS file menu, enabling you to open Linux software as if they were Chromebook apps.

3 Ways to Install Linux on a Chromebook

You have three choices for getting started with Linux on your Chromebook. The primary limits of choosing a technique are the kind of hardware and its compatibility. Crouton is the best choice for ARM-based Chromebook models, whereas Intel-based Chromebook devices offer other possibilities.

Are you able to access the Chrome OS terminal? Check out our list of the most critical Crosh commands that every user should be familiar with.

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