HowTo: Ubuntu on ChromeBook

Ubuntu on ChromeBook

Ubuntu on Chrome

Ubuntu on Chromebook

To read our overall review of the Acer C7 ChromeBook, visit our article ChromeBook Runs Ubuntu (including video).


Update (12/10/14)

I no longer recommend this option. A far better option (IMHO) is to use Crouton. Our guide to Crouton can be found here:

One of the primary reasons is that this version does NOT clean up the disk and after the first install, you may not be able to reinstall on the same partition (at least it will be difficult). In order to clean up the disk and remove the old Ubuntu partitions, you will need to do some MANUAL cleaning. I have included a brief tutorial in the Crouton guide (linked above).

This article includes instructions for loading Ubuntu 12.04 on the Acer C7 Chromebook. It also includes instructions for upgrading to the most recent version of Ubuntu (now at 13.04).

BEFORE you begin… You must have enabled “Developer Mode” on your ChromeBook. If you have NOT done this, visit our article here:

The entire process is completed using only the ChromeBook and your Internet connection. It will take about an hour to complete.

Phase 1

  1. Power on the ChromeBook & allow it to boot into the Chrome OS desktop but do NOT log in to Chrome.
  2. Sign in to your network (WiFi or wired) but do not log into the Chrome desktop
  3. Enter TERMINAL Mode (AKA “Command” or “Command Line Interface” or “CLI” ) by pressing <ctrl><alt><F2>
  4. At the “LocalHost login:” prompt, type “chronos” (without the quotes) and press <enter>
  5. At the “chronos @ LocalHost $” prompt, type “wget; sudo bash tnyga” (without the quotes) and press <enter>.
  6. The system will respond that “This version of Chrom OS isn’t 64-bit.” Disregard, press <enter> and continue to the next step.
  7. The system will ask the “size in gigabytes you want to reserve for Ubuntu” and gives you the acceptable range. It is your choice but I recommend to reserve 290 GB for Ubuntu (which leaves a bit over 30 GB for the stock Chrome OS) – which you will probably never use again. Enter the number you decide and press <enter>.
  8. Your ChromeBook will reboot and report “Your system is repairing itself.” After about 6-10 minutes, it will reboot and display the “OS verification is OFF” screen. DO NOT press the <ctrl><d> sequence – Instead, allow the ChromeBook to boot into the Chrome OS desktop.

Phase 2 (in this phase, you will repeat steps 2-5 of the previous phase)

  1. Sign in to your network (WiFi or wired) but do not log into the Chrome desktop
  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 “wget; sudo bash tnyga” (without the quotes) and press <enter>.
  5. The system will again respond with a dialog, “This version of Chrome OS isn’t 64-bit…” IGNORE the notice. Just press <enter> to continue.
  6. The ChromeBook will begin downloading and installing the Ubuntu files. There are 52 files and each is named with a part of the file name “aa.bz2” through “bz.bz2”. The entire process will take approximately 25 minutes on a fast Internet connection – longer if your have a slow connection. No interaction is required.
  7. After all the files are downloaded, the system will install them. Do not touch the device until it reboots and you see the dialog described in the next step.
  8. When it is finished installing, it will reboot and 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 Ubuntu. NEVER PRESS “ENTER”! Doing so will erase everything on the device and return you to the ChromeOS – just as it was when you first received the device.

This completes the process of installing Ubuntu.

UPGRADE to current version of Ubuntu:

  1. Sign in to your network so that you will have Internet access.
  2. Click on the Dash Home icon (top of the stack of icons). In the dialog box, type “update” and press enter. Click on the “Update Manager” (or, “Software Updater”) icon.
  3. If the system tries to update the current version, just go ahead and allow it to do so, then proceed to the next step. If you are asked for the password, type “user”.
  4. Click on the SETTINGS button.
  5. On the Software Services (or Software Sources) page, click on the UPDATES tab
  6. At the bottom of the page click on the “Notify me of a new Ubuntu Version” field
  7. Change from “Long-term Support Versions” to “Any New Version”
  8. Click [Close] and [Close] again.

When the system checks for updates again, if there are new versions, you will be alerted and given an option to install the upgrade. NOTICE: The Upgrade will take at least an hour and if you have a slow connection, even longer. (You will need to download almost 1GB of data.) You will also be required to respond to several dialogs before the upgrade will progress. My advice: accept all options and press “Forward” when given an option.

Switching between Chrome & Ubuntu:

Switching between the two operating systems requires a bit more work. Although the system will – at this first boot – boot into Ubuntu, the next time you reboot, it will return to the Chrome OS (it defaults to Chrome – unless you change it).

To set the default OS to Ubuntu:

  1. Enter TERMINAL Mode (AKA “Command” or “Command Line Interface” or “CLI” ) by pressing <ctrl><alt><F2>
  2. At the “LocalHost login:” prompt, type “chronos” (without the quotes) and press <enter>
  3. At the “chronos @ LocalHost $” prompt, type “sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 5 -S 1 /dev/sda” (without quotes) and press <enter>  Note: Be VERY careful about each character, case, and spaces. Note that the character after the “add” is a lower case “i” (not a “1″) and the last character is a “1″ and not an “i”. Keep all the characters in the case as shown.

To set the default OS to Chrome:

  1. Enter TERMINAL Mode (AKA “Command” or “Command Line Interface” or “CLI” ) by pressing <ctrl><alt><F2>
  2. At the “LocalHost login:” prompt, type “chronos” (without the quotes) and press <enter>
  3. At the “chronos @ LocalHost $” prompt, type “sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 0 -S 1 /dev/sda” (without quotes) and press <enter> Note: upper/lower case is important. Also, the character after the upper case P is the number zero.

The wikispaces site has provided a bit of a short cut for switching between the two operating systems. Here is the link to that site: 

Create Shortcuts to Easily Switch Between Chrome OS and Ubuntu


After completing these steps you will be able to switch to Ubuntu from Chrome OS by simply entering the command ubuntu in the terminal.

You will be able to switch to Chrome OS from Ubuntu by entering the command chromeos in the terminal.

  1. Install Ubuntu using the instructions here

  2. Boot into Ubuntu and navigate to the Home folder

  3. Press ctrl + h

  4. Double-click the file .bashrc

  5. Scroll to the bottom of the file and add this command: alias chromeos=’sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 0 -S 0 /dev/sda;sudo reboot’

  6. Save the file and close it

  7. Open a terminal by selecting Applications > Accessories > Terminal and type chromeos

  8. After entering your password (the default password is ‘user’), the computer should reboot into Chrome OS

  9. Log in to Chrome OS and press ctrl + alt + → (→ is the forward arrow where the F2 key would normally be)

  10. Type chronos and press enter

  11. Type sudo vim .profile and press enter (to see a complete list of vim editor commands go here)

  12. Press the letter a to begin ‘insert mode’

  13. Type alias ubuntu=’sudo cgpt add -i 6 -P 5 -S 1 /dev/sda;sudo reboot’

  14. Press esc to return to ‘command mode’

  15. Press shift + z then shift + z again to save the file and return to the terminal

  16. Type exit and press enter

  17. Type chronos to log in again and press enter

  18. Type ubuntu and press enter

  19. The computer should reboot into Ubuntu

User/Password: The Ubuntu system will automatically log in as user “user” with password “user”. It probably will never ask for the user name (“user”) but it may ask for the password, which is “user” (without quotes) unless and until you change it.

How to use Ubuntu: This guide does not pretend to offer any guidance in the operation of Ubuntu Linux. However, it is pretty intuitive and there are many helps on the Internet. If an error presents onscreen, just enter the error into the search box in Google, such as ” Ubuntu ‘how to change password’  ” (without the double-quotes or the spaces just inside them).

Here is a video of the entire process:


This guide was developed with the help of the following sites. We are indebted to each of them.

  1. offers their guide but I found it a bit incomplete:

  2. Jay Lee is the actual developer but his process is for the CR-48 (instead of the C7):

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136 Responses to HowTo: Ubuntu on ChromeBook

  1. Randy says:

    i went to downlaod ubuntu and it doenst ask how much i want to reserve for Ubuntu. i downloaded it 3 times already and i never have enough space to download anything at all. whats going on?

  2. Pingback: ChromeBook Developer Mode - Bishop of Technology

  3. sam says:

    hello ray and an opportunity install ubuntu 12.0 and everything was a success, but today accidentally press enter and returned to the default state of chrome and am reinstalling ubuntu as I do this in this tutorial and now does not recognize the internet do not know if you will have to do the sudo P 6-5-S 1 / dev / sda command CGPT as add-i to install ubuntu started directly. I’m sorry for the Spanish drafting and am using the translator

  4. brendan says:

    Hi there. I have a problem with it after installed. Ubuntu will not allow me to Connect to wifi or other. I made sure every thing was right. Only thing to was off about the install part was it never ask about the GBs and what to put like you did. And it went straight to down loading all 52 file and by past the step were i renter the wget;sudo bash tnyga . Not sure why but maybe you know and can help?

    • Ray says:

      I do not know what went wrong but it is clear that you did not get a complete install.

      You either need to repeat the instructions and see if that works or (preferred) use the Crouton method that I recommend at the top of the article.

      In either case, you will probably notice that the NEW system will only have a small amount of disk space available. That is a problem with this script. It is very difficult (and technical) to clear the old (partial) install of Ubuntu from the disk.

      The best bet to clear off the old partitions is to remove the hard drive and attach it to a different computer (Linux or Mac) and re-partition the disk to a single partition. At that point, return the HD to the Chromebook and start a fresh install (restore) of ChromeOS. THEN, use the Crouton script to install Ubuntu.

      • Dave Carrillo says:

        Hi Ray,
        I successfully downloaded Crouton and Ubuntu on my HP Chromebook 14. Ubuntu’s Unity desktop pulled up just fine. However, I noticed that when I typed CTRL+ALT+BKWD it wouldn’t return to Chrome OS, but instead wen to the Developer Console. So, I logged out of Ubuntu and restarted the computer as well. After it restarted, Ubuntu would not pull up. Now I can only switch between Chrome OS and the Developer Console, which is requiring a localhost login. I’m reluctant to repeat the download process because I made sure not to press the space bar (which would remove linux completely). So, I’m at a loss on how to retrieve my Ubuntu deskop again! Any suggestions? Regards, Dave

        • Ray says:

          Each time you reboot, you must use the crosh shell command “sudo startunity” to get back to Ubuntu.

          • Dave Carrillo says:

            Thanks for such a quick reply! I just got home and tried that. I typed: sudo startunity and pressed enter, but no change. I guess worse case scenario is I wipe Linux out completely and start again. But it seems like a simple problem. I just don’t know what the solution is.

          • Dave Carrillo says:

            Quick update. I went back in and got it figured out. I had to type ¨chronos¨ first. And then I typed ¨sudo startunity¨ and got in just fine. Thanks again. Dave

          • Ray says:

            Hey, that is why I write these articles – to help others. Glad you got it working.
            Now, you can help us. Check this page:

          • Dave says:

            Hi Ray,
            Last night my chromebook stopped playing videos on websites. It’s running Ubuntu 12.04. I’ve installed both Firefox and Chrome as browsers. Neither browser is working. I’ve tried resetting, installing, and re-installing the browsers, but still no improvement. Internet speed seems fine and websites load good, but when I click on a video it stops just after the beginning. Any suggestions? Thanks. -Dave

          • Ray says:

            First, this is an OLD PROCESS that I no longer recommend. I suggest the “5 steps…” procedure. Although, you will probably need to reformat your hard drive to get rid of the current version.
            Second, Flash (video) is a dying technology. All newer US-based Android devices have stopped supporting it (iOS never supported it). Likewise, it is very difficult to get it to work on Linux. I have an article here explaining how to get it to work – off and on 🙁 – see the list of articles in the box above “Flash for Chromebook”).
            It is not easy and it is not guaranteed.

  5. Hi Ray,
    I am a high schooler and I successfully had Ubuntu running on my stock chromebook. A teacher has challenged me to replace the stock hard drive with a SSD 128Gb. After installing the new hardware and going through all of the steps above nothing is different except 2 things;
    1) instead of saying “This version of Chrome OS isn’t 64-bit” it says that it is 64-bit.
    2) After all the steps are completed and the machine reboots, it goes directly into chrome and I cannot figure out how to get my acer running Ubuntu correctly again. I was wondering if you had any ideas on how to fix this problem, as I am sure it is possible to run ubuntu on a SSD 128Gb hard drive.

    • Ray says:

      First, you left three identical comments. You only need to respond to the email that my system sent, in order to have your comment approved. You might need to check your spam folder. (I deleted the other two.)
      Second. I don’t have an SSD but there is no reason (AFAIK) that an SSD should respond any differently than a standard Hard Disk.
      Third. From all that I have read, there is little advantage in using the SSD on the ChromeBook (especially when running Ubuntu) over the standard Hard Disk. Even under Chrome, drive access speed is hardly an issue, neither is there a great need for storage space since everything is done online. But with Ubuntu, local storage is used for standard (local) computing, so storage space is important. Ubuntu is fast enough with either SSD or HD.
      Bottom Line: I would just return the HD to the device and enjoy it.

  6. Hello! Can I still use the ChrUbuntu method? Does this method still work even though it is not recommended? Thanks.

  7. Kristin says:

    It keeps loading forever and it never ends. Is it supposed to take long or reboot after you do those steps?

  8. jury says:

    i did everything step by step and my pc wont do anything after it rebooted.. the screen just when dark

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