5 Steps to Install Linux on ChromeBook


Using the Chroot:

  • To start the Linux environment from the terminal (if you followed my instructions above), type “sudo startlxde” and press enter.
  • To switch between the Linux environment and the ChromeOS, press <Shift><Ctl><Alt> & <F1>. You can then use the same command to (almost instantly) switch back into Linux.
  • If you wish to turn off the Linux environment entirely, Just use the “Log out” function from within Linux.
  • If you shut down the device, when you boot again, it will start at the ChromeOS login screen.
  • To return to the linux environment (after a reboot), hold the <Ctrl><Alt><T> buttons to start the terminal. Then, type “shell” and press <Enter>.  At the Crosh window, enter the “sudo startlxde” command.

Additional tips

  • Delete: Sometimes, it is necessary to delete a crouton installed environment. From the CROSH terminal, use the command, “sudo edit-chroot -d trusty” and change the “trusty” part to whatever version of Linux you installed.
  • Crosh Window: There is no need to keep the Crosh window open. If you close it, you can still use the <Shift><Ctl><Alt> & <F1> shortcut to switch between Chrome and Linux.
  • Targets: To update or add targets:  The following command includes some additional targets – remember, they are always separated by commas. (For a list of “targets”, use the command “sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t help”.) Example: “sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -u -n trusty -t e17,touch”

Crouton Updates:

  1. Check for updates, download the latest version, and see what’s new by running “croutonversion -u -d -c" from the chroot (in other words, inside Linux).  You can run “croutonversion -h" to see what those parameters actually do).
  2. Exit the chroot and in the ChromeOS Crosh window run “sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -u -n trusty". It will update all installed targets.

Backup or Restore:

  1. "sudo edit-chroot -b trusty" backs up your chroot to a timestamped tarball in the current directory. Chroots are named either via the -n parameter when created or by the release name if -n was not specified.
  2. "sudo edit-chroot -r trusty" restores the chroot from the most recent timestamped tarball. You can explicitly specify the tarball with -f

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127 Responses to 5 Steps to Install Linux on ChromeBook

  1. Bill says:


    I have an Acer C7 and installed the lxde desktop. Problem: No sound device found. Is there a fix?

  2. Nikita says:

    When I install Ubuntu, where are my files stored? In downloads folder? or elsewhere? Can I access them even after I uninstall Ubuntu?

    • Ray says:

      In Ubuntu, you can save the files almost any place you want. By default, they will share the downloads folder with the ChromeOS. When / if you delete the Crouton Environment, the files will remain. They can be used in ChromeOS as long as you saved them in a folder that ChromeOS allows you to use.

  3. Karel Michielsen says:

    Hi Ray, I initially tried to upgrade to 14.04 LTSvia the promt I got in Unbuntu, after down loading 900 Mb it left me with a blank/dark screen.Somehow managed to turn computer off and the rebooted back into Chrome. Then thought I’d go back to your site and follow instructions, which I did but it comes up with

    Be aware that dev mode is inherently insecure, even if you have a strong
    password in your chroot! Anyone can simply switch VTs and gain root access
    unless you’ve permanently assigned a Chromium OS root password. Encrypted
    chroots require you to set a Chromium OS root password, but are still only as
    secure as the passphrases you assign to them.

    after hitting “enter”
    How do I get it to do it’s thing.
    thanks, Karel

    • Karel Michielsen says:

      played around some more
      entered sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -u -r trusty -t audio, etc.
      this started but hung up part of the way through, tried a few more times, sane result
      then I tried;
      sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -u -n trusty
      this hung up once, restarted it and it finished the installation succesfully.
      started with sudo startlxde
      The only app I’ve got is Chrome which works fine (even have sound, which I didn’t have before) but there is no Thunderbird or any of the other apps I had, can you tell me how to go about getting applications. Also if possible how to recover my saved emails from my Unity Thunderbird.
      Thanks, Karel

      • Ray says:

        With Linux, you get full computer programs (called packages in Linux). Check the bottom of the guide (above) for a list of the packages that I like and how to install them.
        I stopped using TB for mail a LONG time ago. I much prefer to use the cloud-based GMail. However, you can use the above guide for installing any available package. Whether your mail will still be available is doubtful. If TB was storing the data locally, it is probably gone now – if you did not MANUALLY back up the data. That is what is so good about GMail. All the mail is kept in the cloud and can be accessed via phone, tablet, or computer. Google takes care of the backups and it is all free. With a computer, you access it via a browser. In iOS or Android, use the app.

    • Ray says:

      That is a standard warning that everyone gets.

    • Mac says:

      maybe illigal but i must ask :), the linux under crouton uses the drivers from the chrome os, thus meaning crouton its a some kind of a virtual box, is it possible to install other Unix OS, lets say MAC OS X :), it will be illigal but rly cool, can you try this or it is “undoable”

      • Ray says:

        Other versions of Linux are possible but I am not the developer so I don’t know much about it. You could visit the Crouton Wiki (link at the bottom of the article).

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