How to Install a Linux OS on Your Chromebook





Introduction: How to Install a Linux OS on Your Chromebook

Hello, everyone. My name is Insector. No, really. That's my honest Linux username. Don't mock. Anyway, I have seen some good Instructables on how to install Linux on your Chromebook, but each one was missing something helpful. So, since I have high ambitions, I decided that my first Instructable would be on how to install Linux on your Chromebook, if the title or earlier parts of this introduction didn't give that away. So, without further ado, let's get to it.

Step 1: Opening Your ChromeOS Developer Shell

Before you do anything, you will have to put your Chromebook into Developer Mode *cue pretentious music*. Don't worry, because this is incredibly simple. Simply press and hold the esc and refresh keys, and tap the power button. After it turns off and reboots (this should happen near instantly), you will be met by a screen saying something along the lines of, "ChromeOS is missing or damaged." Don't fret, your computer is fine. When you get this screen, press ctrl+d. You will then be greeted with a screen saying something like, "To turn OS Verification off press enter." At this point, press enter. Eventually your computer will reboot, and you will be asked to go through the initial setup process. After you do this, say hello to Developer Mode.

Now it is time to open Crosh. Simply press ctrl+alt+t. Crosh will open and greet you. Now, type in shell and press enter. You should now see the words chronos@localhost / $. Congratulations, you have reached the shell.


From now on, whenever you turn your Chromebook on, a warning screen will pop up. Just press ctrl+d.

Step 2: Getting Crouton on Your Chromebook

* Edit: It has come to my attention that most people will need to get Scribe from the Chrome Web Store in order for this to work. *

You are now ready to install Crouton. No, this is not a little piece of deliciously stale bread. Crouton is an extension thingamajig that was developed by a Google employee, and it is the reason that we can use Linux on our Chromebooks. Just click this link: crouton. After you click on it, Crouton should automatically download. You are now ready for the next step.

Step 3: Find Your Target

Now it is time to choose a desktop environment. This is simple; just type:

sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t help

This will give a list of desktops, among other things. Just choose one and remember it; you are going to need this. Personally, I like KDE.

Step 4: Choose Your Distro

It is now time to choose the Linux distro that you want to use. Type:

sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r list

You will be greeted by a list of Linux releases that you can choose. I was given the choice between a bunch of the Debian distros, a bunch of Ubuntu distros, or Kali. Choose the distro that you want, and remember it. Personally, I'm partial to Debian Wheezy, but I know a lot of people prefer the Ubuntu distros.

Step 5: Install Your Distro and Desktop

The time has come; you are finally installing Linux. Type in:

sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r (distro) -t (desktop) -n (distro)

where (distro) is replaced by the distro that you want and (desktop) is replaced by the desktop you want. For example, if I wanted Debian Wheezy with the KDE desktop, I would type:

sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r wheezy -t kde -n wheezy

Your Chromebook will now start printing out hundreds of lines of code and it will take about an hour to complete. Sit back and watch those pretty lines fly by.

Step 6: Username and Password

After a long time of anxious waiting, you will finally be asked to give a username and password. After doing this, you should be provided with some tips and the startup command, which should look like:

sudo start(distro)

Step 7: You Did It!

Congratulations. You now have Linux on your Chromebook. Your training is now complete. Go forth and Linux your heart out. Remember though, you must be in your shell to run the start command. I showed you how to do that earlier.

Thank you for being patient with me on this my first Instructable. Hopefully, it won't be my last. See you guys!

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49 Discussions

I've done everything exactly like everyone has been telling me to but it wont work, i put shell and then

chronos@localhost / $ sudo sh -e ~Downloads/crouton -t xfce

And then this message pops up

sh: Can't open ~Downloads/crouton

19 replies

You seem to have left out a slash. Try

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton

Well... that worked amazingly! Buuut it crashed and so i restarted it and it promted me with this

/usr/local/chroots/precise already has stuff in it!
Either delete it, specify a different name (-n), or specify -u to update it.

That may have something to do with the -e command that you put in. Honestly, I have no idea what -e does, so try running the command without it and tell me what happens.

I tried that and it said the same thing

Are you certain you have crouton in your downloads folder?

almost done

I tried to use the comand sudo startxfce4 and it said server error and more

what do i do

Instead of

sudo startxfce4


sudo startxfce

Send me some screenshots of the commands and the output.

this is the screenshot, but i don't know what the output is.

Screenshot 2016-09-08 at 1.05.24 PM.pngScreenshot 2016-09-08 at 1.07.22 PM.png

Ok so I tried it out on my machine.


sudo delete-chroot precise

Then run

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

Then the command to start it is

sudo startxfce4

All the coding works till sudo startxfce4


I know this is probably a bit frustrating, but thank you so much for being patient. We'll get it working!

Ok, I have 2 possible fixes. Cross your fingers!

First, try running

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -u -n precise -t xiwi

And then see if you can start it.

If that doesn't work for you, try

sudo rm /dev/dri/card0

and then

sudo mv /dev/dri/card1 /dev/dri/card0

Tell me how that does for you!

Note: If you copy and paste what I have typed, it will help make sure you don't accidentally mistype.

when i typed

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -u -n precise -t ximi

it said un able to correct problems, you have held broken packages

then when i tried

sudo mv /dev/dri/card1 /dev/dri/card0

it said cannot stat ' /dev/dri/card1' : No such file or directory

then i tried

sudo mv /dev/dri/card1 /dev/dri/card0

cannot stat ‘/dev/dri/card1’: No such file or directory

PS: Thank you for helping me all the way through

Alright, well then.

Held broken packages?

Seems it's time to nuke it.

Restart your computer, and when it says something like

"ChromeOS is missing or damaged"

hit the spacebar, and it should take your computer out of Developer Mode. This will destroy the broken packages keeping stuff from working. Then, retry this entire Instructible. It may not work, in which case you should retry my previous suggestions.

I was going over it and it said the samething

then i did developer mode and now it's saying

chronos@localhost / $ sudo startxfce4
sudo: startxfce4: command not found



sudo edit-chroot -a

and send me a screenshot of what it says.