ChromeBook Developer Mode

ChromeBook Developer Mode

This article shows how to set the Acer C7 into the ChromeBook Developer Mode. 

It is necessary to enter Developer mode in order to install Ubuntu! [warning]-BEWARE- This process will erase everything on the ChromeBook’s hard drive and restore the Chrome OS to factory default. If you have any data on the device, be sure to back up that data to another device before you proceed! I am sorry but I know of no alternative – you will lose all the data stored on the ChromeBook if you proceed![/warning]

ChromeBook Developer Mode

ChromeBook Developer Mode

The general process is:

  1. Boot into RECOVERY mode
  2. Enable DEVELOPER mode
  3. Update the firmware
  4. Install UBUNTU

When finished, you can DUAL-BOOT. That means that you can select whether you want to boot into the stock CHROME operating system (OS) or the UBUNTU (version 12.04) OS. Here is a video of the process:

Recovery Mode

To trigger recovery mode,

  1. Turn on your ChromeBook – but do not log in.
  2. Sign on to your WiFi (if you have not previously signed in)
  3. Press the <esc> <F3> & <power> buttons at the same time.
  4. Release the power button when the device goes black – but continue to hold the other buttons until the chrome error screen appears and then release them also.
  5. When the ChromeBook displays the error screen (“Chrome OS is missing or damaged“) it is in “Recovery Mode”

Developer Mode (turn OS verification OFF)

  1. When the ChromeBook is in the Recovery Mode, press <ctrl> <d> & the device will present a screen that says “To turn OS verification OFF, press ENTER.
  2. Go ahead and press <Enter>.
  3. The device will reboot and return with a screen that says, “OS verification is OFF, Press SPACE to re-enable”.
  4. DO NOT PRESS THE SPACE KEY (each time you switch verification on/off, it will erase the hard disk!)
  5. Let the ChromeBook sit, it will beep twice and then reboot. The screen will then say, “System is transitioning into Developer Mode. All data will be cleared.” This is normal. However, it WILL erase all of your data unless you turn off the Chromebook NOW!
  6. After about 5-6 minutes (note the progress bar at the top of the screen), the ChromeBook will reboot and return to the “OS verification is OFF” screen. Either leave the device alone and (after about 25-30 seconds) it will boot into the initial Chrome OS desktop – or, you can press <ctrl> <d> to speed up the process.
  7. The normal Chrome OS desktop appears with a dialog box asking you to connect to a network.

DO NOT STOP HERE!  You must complete the next phase and update the firmware!

Developer Mode (update the firmware)

  1. Sign in to your network (WiFi or wired) but do not log into the Chrome destop
  2. Enter TERMINAL Mode (AKA “Command” or “Command Line Interface” or “CLI” ) by pressing <ctrl><alt><F2>
  3. At the “LocalHost login:” prompt, type “chronos” (without the quotes) and press <enter>
  4. At the “chronos @ LocalHost $” prompt, type “sudo bash” (again without the quotes) and press <enter>
  5. At the “localhost user #” prompt, type “chromeos-firmwareupdate -m todev” (without quotes) and press <enter>. NOTE: I do not recall how long this takes. On the video, my device’s firmware was already updated so it immediately returned with a “completed” message. Your device will probably take a bit longer.
  6. When the process is finished, it will report “Firmware update (todev) completed
  7. To return to the Chrome desktop, press <crtl><alt><F1>.

Note: At this point, the ChromeBook will operate exactly as before EXCEPT that when you first boot up, it will present the “OS verification is OFF” warning screen. This screen will display for about 25 seconds. You can skip that delay by pressing <ctrl><d> and the device will immediately boot into the normal Chrome OS desktop.

Update 24 Oct 13: I recommend that you use this guide ( rather than the “Installing Ubuntu” guide below.

The final step is in the next article, “Installing Ubuntu“. Some of this information was copied from the Google Chrome Support page. However, the information found there is not updated for the C7 and consequently is incorrect.

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21 Responses to ChromeBook Developer Mode

  1. Jeffrey Cabrera says:

    how to you install guest by rebooting the system ?

  2. Alan says:

    I used these instructions to get my Chromebook to stop going to sleep and it worked like a charm. All the other blogs left out critical steps. To get your Chromebook to NOT go to sleep, once you login as ‘chronos’, look at the selections immediately above the login; one of the instructions will tell you how to disable the power save mode.


  3. Mike says:

    Hello Ray,

    Mike here, I followed your very clear instructions and everything worked well up until the second time I was entering the wget http:// sequence my Samsung chromebook C500 went to the 100%[==========9,299
    but then I got tnyga : line 1: syntax error near unexpected token ‘<'
    tnygo : '<meta http-equiv="refresh" content=0;url= ecttttt ect…what do I do is there something wrong with the location it is trying to download unbunto from I noticed the responses are a little old please help I need to know what to do

    • Ray says:

      Hey Mike: I afraid I don’t have a clue what is happening with your Chromebook. I have never tried it with a Samsung but I read that it should work? I don’t create or develop these works. I only create the guides that use the programs developed by others.
      If I were you, I would restart the process. If youe are unable to restart, then you will need to follow the instructions for RECOVERY (see our article to get started.

  4. Pingback: 5 Steps to Install Linux on ChromeBook - Bishop of Technology

  5. Hello Ray , Quick question . Can we install Windows 7 or XP on it ? Do we have any article on that ? And can we keep both Chrome OS and Windows in dual boot ?
    I am not sure if anybody wants to run .exe file can Chrome OS allowed that ? For e.g. if I want to run a C program or VC++ program can I install that software in Chrome OS ? or Can we get the DOS mode ?

    • Ray says:

      I know of no way to install any os other than Linux.
      Even if it were possible, why would you want to? 😉
      Seriously, the hardware would not support Windows heavy requirements. Also, there is an issue with the bootloader on the computer. Even Linux must boot under Chrome and then it can take control of the device and load the Linux os.
      Linux can run c++ but (without Wine emulator) not a windows compiled version. Read about Ubuntu at and try it. It is a beautiful os. And it is free, more secure than Windows, updated every 6mo (next due on Oct 17), works on lighter hardware and is faster. What is not to like?

  6. Amber says:

    How do you leave Developer Mode? I’ve been trying to figure it out for months, it’s starting to mess up my computer.

    • Ray says:

      Just hit the space bar on boot up. There is a warning on screen each time. But be aware that it will stop you from using Ubuntu. It is unclear whether it will reformat the drive but I believe that it will restore the device to the factory default.

      • IanD says:


        I;m interested to know if there is a way to avoid someone pressing the right there at system startup during the “scary message” and potentially erasing the entire Chromebook ? I would prefer if it can be password locked.

        Reason being: like many, I have spent hours setting up my developer mode Chromebook with Ubuntu tweaks and packages just the way I like it.

        … Then one day I lent out my Chomebook, not knowing the potential danger. The user I lent it to pressed the spacebar at the scary message prompt and erased my Chomebook.

        From that day on I vowed never lend out my Chromebook for this reason, but still don’t like the potential of being seconds from disaster !

        TL;DR can exiting from developer mode be password protected? Could potentially save many from loosing their system configs!

        • Ray says:

          Your comment was being held for your email response. If you did not receive an email from my website, check your spam filter.

          Sorry, I do not know of any way to avoid the issue. There are ways to reduce the time that the screen is visible to a couple seconds, however.

          If you set up your device using Crouton, it is very easy to make a backup and then copy that to another device. The setup is considerably easier and (IMHO) much more flexible. Switching from Chrome to Linux (and back) is just a keystroke away.

          Your policy of not lending the device is likely the best solution of all! 🙂

  7. paul says:

    hi ray, awesome wor and I had ubuntu up and runnig until my wife went ahead and accidently hit the space bar on the screen, seems to have wiped everything and went back to chrome…not really an issue i figured since i would just install again but I noticed the drive is still partitioned, when I check my drive space in chrome it only what I left there after installing ubuntu, im afraid if i install again will i need to use more drive space? how can i recover that space? thanks.

    • Ray says:

      I have not done that so I don’t know. I would just try the same procedure and see what happens. During the install, you will be asked about how to partition the disk. That may fix it. If not, install DiskPart and use it to partition the disk properly.

    • harold says:

      I think my daughter did the same as my acer chromebook now boots to chrome. Control/Alt/F2 doesn’t do anything. Does this mean that I got switched out of dev mode? Do I have to say goodbye to the files and reinstall Ubuntu? OR is there some way to get back. Thanks for your help.

  8. Dylan says:

    how do u configure it so u can boot in to ubuntu after u hav installed it

  9. Ray says:

    Sorry about that. I have been having some physical issues and I have not worked on these articles lately. I have now fixed the sequence problem and I will try to complete the articles soon.
    Thanks for your comment.

  10. geor says:

    why start with part 3 of 4?

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