5 Steps to Install Linux on ChromeBook

Using Linux:


  • The LXDE desktop is similar to the Windows XP desktop with the “Start” button replaced by a “Menu” button. It is an icon that looks like a bird of some kind (lower left hand corner). Just click on the icon to open the menus and select a program to run.
  • The File Manager icon is just to the right of the “Menu” button. Use it to browse the files on your computer.
  • If you prefer to Single-Click items on the desktop, open File Manager icon (or, on the menu, choose ACCESSORIES – FILE MANAGER.) In the program, click EDIT – PREFERENCES and tick the box “Open files with single click.”
  • To change the desktop wallpaper (or make other visual changes), right-click on a blank space of the desktop and select “Desktop Preferences.”

SDCard reader

  • To activate the SDCard reader, see the Crouton WIKI page here.

Additional Software: 

There are an almost unlimited number of free software packages (programs) available for Ubuntu. I strongly recommend a few additional packages.

HOW: Execute a terminal <ctrl><alt><t> and type each command in the lines below (one at a time, followed by <enter>. (After the first issue of the “sudo” command, you will be asked for your password.)

The first call should be “sudo apt-get update” (to refresh the software catalogue)

  1. sudo apt-get install synaptic
  2. sudo apt-get install gparted
  3. sudo apt-get install gwenview
  4. sudo apt-get install gedit
  5. sudo apt-get install chromium-browser (if you did not install CHROME during initial install)
  6. sudo apt-get install libreoffice
  7. sudo apt-get install cups

You CAN add the calls together on a single line. Example:

“sudo apt-get install synaptic gparted gwenview gedit libreoffice cups”


  1. Synaptic is a program to allow you to add repositories and search / install new packages. (Use the installed GDebi package to install any downloaded packages.)
  2. GParted is a POWERFUL partition manager. Use it with respect and caution!
  3. Gwenview is an excellent graphic viewer. To enable Flash player support visit this site for a simple guide.
  4. Gedit is a very nice (graphical) text editor. You can use the menu to select it, or use the terminal to run it as root: “Sudo gedit /<folder>/<filename>”
  5. Chromium is the Linux (GPL) version of Google’s Chrome browser.
  6. LibreOffice is the most powerful Free & Open Source Office suite on the market: Writer, Calc, Draw, Base, , and Math (available for Windows, Mac, and Linux). Reads & writes in MS Office compatible formats.
  7. Cups is the print server for Linux (visit this link for information help setting it up.)

CUPS can be configured and monitored using a web interface, which by default is available at http://localhost:631/admin. The web interface can be used to perform all printer management tasks.

In order to perform administrative tasks via the web interface, you must either have the root account enabled on your server, or authenticate as a user in the lpadmin group. For security reasons, CUPS won’t authenticate a user that doesn’t have a password.

To add a user to the lpadmin group, run at the terminal prompt:

sudo usermod -aG lpadmin <yourusername>

After each change in the Cups configuration, restart the service with the command:

sudo /etc/init.d/cups restart

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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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