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The easy way to install Ubuntu and replace Chrome OS on your Chromebook


Message added by SirMadsen,

DISCLAIMER: I used this on a ASUS Chromebook Flip C434. I am not responsible for you bricking your device or in any other way breaking your device. It's also worth mentioning that sound is not working on the C434 (you can use BT speakers or headphones though) and most likely won't on newer Chromebooks either due to kernel/driver/alsa/dsp firmware compatibility, unless they are 100% compatible with Linux.

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Prepare by downloading the Ubuntu flavour of choice from the official Ubuntu website. Make a bootable Ubuntu USB with Rufus following this tutorial.

Enabling Developer Mode

Entering Developer Mode requires you to first boot into Recovery Mode. For Chromebooks, this means pressing [ESC+Refresh+Power]; On Chromeboxes, there is usually a physical recovery button (often a small hole above the SD card reader) which must be depressed when powering on. Once at the recovery screen, press [CTRL+D] to enable developer mode, then confirm when prompted. As a security measure, transitioning to/from Developer Mode will wipe out all ChromeOS user data, essentially powerwashing (resetting) the device.

Exiting Developer Mode is as simple as following the instructions on the Developer Mode boot screen (usually pressing [SPACE]), but may require resetting the firmware boot flags if you've changed them. As with entering developer mode, exiting will wipe all ChromeOS user data, so if you plan on keeping your device in developer mode, it's a good idea to set the firmware boot flags to prevent accidental exiting and loss of data.

Getting a (Root-capable) Shell

Once in developer mode, there are two ways to get a root-capable shell, which is required for doing anything useful:

  • On the login screen, press [Ctrl+Alt+F2] (F2 is right-arrow on ChromeOS keyboards), then login with user 'chronos' (no password is required, nor should one be set)
  • When logged in (as a guest is ok) and with a browser window open, press [Ctrl+Alt+T], then type shell and press [ENTER]

Once you have a root-capable shell, you can do things like install Linux (via crouton or chrx), update the firmware, etc.

Installing the Firmware and Boot From USB

Then follow the steps below or go here. In this tutorial we will be installing the RW_LEGACY Firmware which allows us to boot from USB and Try/Install Ubuntu (or any other flavor). It is also the only option that works without removing read/write protection from you Chromebook.

  • Logged into your Chromebox, press Ctrl+Alt+T to open the terminal.
  • In the terminal, write 'shell'.
  • Then run the next three commands one by one.
    • cd; curl -LO mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh
    • sudo install -Dt /usr/local/bin -m 755 firmware-util.sh
    • sudo firmware-util.sh
  • After the commands you should be presented with this
    • fwutil_cros_wp-on.png
  • Press '1' on your keyboard.
    • You will be presented with a message that says "If N, always boot from internal storage unless selected from boot menu".
    • We want to press 'y' here. This makes your Chromebook always boot into Ubuntu when starting up.
  • Let the firmware install. Once done, a green message should appear saying "RW_LEGACY firmware successfully installed/updated."
  • Press 'Enter'
  • Power off your Chromebook and power it on again
  • This time, instead of pressing 'Ctrl+D', press 'Ctrl+L' and then press '1' followed by 'Esc' to enter the boot menu.
  • Select your USB

From here on it's pretty straight forward. Try Ubuntu, make sure things work. Then you can install, completely replacing Chrome OS or install it on another USB/Memory card.

It's all good ❤️

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Also worth mentioning is that I got the screen up side down in Ubuntu at first start up. This is easily fixed and can be done without standing on your head. Simple press 'Ctrl+Alt+T' and enter to open the terminal.

xrandr -o normal


It's all good ❤️

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