Install Linux on Chromebook

Tired of Chrome OS? Do you want to play games like Minecraft or Steam Games on your Chromebook? Luckily, Linux allows you to accomplish some of that. To install Linux on Chromebook, we are going to use the crouton script. The script takes care of all of the downloading and configuration. All you need to do is run a couple of commands.

You need to make sure that you have developer mode enabled on your chromebook before attempting this.

Get Started

To install Linux on Chromebook, you first need to download the crouton file. You can either direct download the file or check out the Github Page for more information. Then open up the Chrome browser on your Chromebook. Hold down the following keys to open up the console window.

CRTL + ALT + T

Inside of the console window type in:

shell

Now you have access to the Chrome OS shell. If you don’t care about customization and you just want to install Linux on your chromebook, type in the following:

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton

This will download and install Ubuntu 12.04 with the Unity desktop environment. That’s sufficient for most people, but not ideal. Ubuntu 12.04 is quite old and Unity is very resource heavy. So instead, you should check out other distributions. To see a list of what’s available type in the following:

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r list

This will return to you a list of all of the available distributions. I recommend that you use trusty (Ubuntu 14.04). You can try the latest version (Ubuntu 16.04) if you’re daring, but you might encounter a lot of bugs. Finally, let’s choose a different desktop environment. I recommended xfce because it’s lightweight. So now type in the following:

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r trusty -t xfce

The -r specifies that distribution and the -t specifies the desktop environment. This will begin downloading and installing Ubuntu trusty. It’s going to take a few minutes so use this time to snack on that spare donut you have laying around. Before it finishes, it will ask you to create a username and password for the Linux system.

Post Install

To launch the Linux operating system that you just installed you need to type the following in the console:

sudo startunity

Basically, type in start followed by your chosen desktop environment. The above command is for those of you who stuck with the default configuration. If you followed my configuration, you would type in the following:

sudo startxfce4

Alternatively, if you wish to start Ubuntu without the GUI you would type in the following:

sudo enter-chroot trusty

Switching between Chrome OS and Linux

The cool thing about using the crouton installer is that it allows you to switch back and forth between Chrome OS and Ubuntu. To switch, hold down the following keys:

CRTL + ALT + SHIFT + Back-Arrow

or to go the other way:

CRTL + ALT + SHIFT + Forward-Arrow

Logging in and Out

Whenever you are done with Linux, make sure to properly log out so that the operating system can release resources back into Chrome OS. Whenever you want to get back into Linux, open up a shell window (CRTL + ALT + T) and typing in sudo startxfce4 or sudo startunity