How To Install Ubuntu On A Chromebook

So you bought a Chromebook to see if they lived up to the hype, but you found that having a 100% online OS isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Or maybe you’ve just decided that you want a ‘normal’ OS instead of ChromeOS. Well, maybe this article can help.

Chromebooks are not bad machines. They mostly have pretty good technical specifications, but the mistake for some users is probably the OS, which does not allow you to perform som of the traditional tasks that a “normal” OS can. In addition, the fact that they can only be used via the web makes them less effective…What if you were ever in an area without WiFi and you need to complete some work, here is How to Install Ubuntu on a Chromebook and Unlock Its Full Potential.

We will use Crouton to perform the tasks. It uses the -chroot command to install and run Ubuntu, on top of ChromeOS. The operation is simple, and you don’t need to restart the computer to access Ubuntu! You can access it directly via keystrokes. Finally, remember that today’s operations was performed on the Chromebook Pixel, but don’t worry, it should work on all Chromebooks.

First, enable Developer Mode

Two ways to do so. First, you can switch the tiny button above the SD slot, but this method is more appropriate for older Chromebooks. Regarding the most recent (more precisely the Chromebook Pixel), hold down the Esc and Refresh buttons, then press the Power button while keeping the two others pressed.

The computer will boot into Recovery mode, but don’t touch anything, we are not going to restore the machine. Wait and the computer will boot into ChromeOS normally. Then press CTRL+D to pass this screen. This will bring a prompt asking if you want to turn on developer Mode. Just press Enter to continue, and wait. A new screen will appear for a few minutes, the machine will reboot and enter in Developer mode. When it’s done, it will return to the screen with a red exclamation point, just like this:

Developper Mode II

Enabling developer mode will delete all local data from the Chromebook, so please ensure this is backed up if needed. Synced data like email, contacts, and bookmarks are unaffected.

Second, Install Crouton

Once your machine is at the ChromeOS desktop, open the web browser, and download Crouton (Mirror). Done?! Well, press Ctrl + Alt + T to call a shell. Then enter the following commands:

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce -e

But if you are doing this on a Chromebook Pixel, use this command:

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t touch,xfce -e

Something like this should appear:

Shell Prompt

The -e option at the end is used to encrypt Crouton. And touch, allows to get touch screen support. You’ll understand that the window manager is xfce. However, you can change it if you want unity, through the end of your newly installed Linux, or by adding -u option (for update) or changing instances of “xfce” to “unity” (no quotes) in the above commands. Now, go and get a coffe as this part may take some time. You will next be asked to create a user name and password for Ubuntu. Enter them, and once installation is complete, run this command:

sudo startxfce4 (or "sudo startunity" if isntalled)

Third, customization and cohabitation

Now Ubuntu installed, it must be personalized! Well, everything happens as in a normal machine with the OS. Thanks to sudo, you can install, uninstall, upgrade, and update your applications. Also you can carry all your other activities without worry. However, regarding the management of the start of the OS, you will need some key combinations. This will depend on your CPU.

If you have an ARM CPU, you can switch back and forth between Chrome OS and Ubuntu using Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Back and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Forward. If you have an Intel CPU, you should use Ctrl+Alt+Back and Ctrl+Alt+Forward.

You now know how to install Ubuntu on a ChromeBook…How about telling us about your experiences with your new Chrome-Linux Computer?

How To Install Ubuntu On A Chromebook
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Kevin François is a student of Medicine in Cameroon. He is a geek, and is passionate about everything related directly or indirectly to Opensource. You can find him on Google+, and on Linux Mint Social Network.