How to install Linux on a Chromebook; An Easy Guide

how to install linux on chromebook

If you’re deep in the world of computing, you’d have owned, or heard about a Chromebook. They’re pretty cool computers that run on Google’s ChromeOS.

The ChromeOS simulates the Chrome browser environment. You can do just anything possible from the Chrome dashboard on ChromeOS.

Reviewing ChromeOS, one couldn’t call it a full operating system, and it’s just too amazing to be classified as “just another operating system.”

It’s just like Google’s entry desktop lightweight operating system for computers. Surely, the ChromeOS isn’t going to be Google’s mainstream desktop operating system. For now however, it’s still the only OS Google wants us to use.

If you’re a computer enthusiast like me, it won’t be a lot of time before you start to hate ChromeOS. It’s just too basic for an advanced computer user. It’s justifiable though, as Chromebook are real budget computers.

Google took an Apple-like approach to the OS. This means, it can only run on certain hardware. The difference between Google’s policy and Apple’s policy is that MacBook computers only run on Apple hardware while ChromeOS can run on any computer pre-approved on Google.

Currently, Asus produces ChromeOS-supported computers. Although they’re blazing fast, they have that one limitation, -installing an additional OS is as hard as f*ck.

Several Linux distro has been tried by many, and it has been positive reviews mostly. If you want to see why I even tried Linux on my machine, read the first paragraph of my article on the comparison of Linux and Windows. It looks biased, but I’m telling you, it’s completely true.

In this article, I’ll be showing you how you can install the Linux operating system on your Chromebook. You’ll have to follow the steps chronologically, so as not to run into any errors. Whether the process gets erratic or not, you’ve almost surely busted your warranty.

How to recover deleted WhatsApp messages on iPhone.

How to install Ubuntu on a Chromebook

As we’re installing the Linux as a major OS, we’ll have to choose an excellent distro, (and not Slax like I did in this guide about dual-booting Linux and Windows without an installation disk). I’m not suggesting Slax Linux isn’t excellent though.

For this guide, we’ll be choosing Ubuntu. Ubuntu is arguably the best Linux distro, and it’s completely free (like every other Linux distro). It offers you an option to test-run the OS before installing it on your machine, and you can even test it online for free.

I ran Ubuntu online and I’ll confess it’s a great OS. Almost as good as Windows 7 (better in some people’s opinion), with LibreOffice and Firefox preinstalled. I tried accessing The Tech Ninjas website from the Firefox browser. Guess what, it loaded intelligently.

So, learning how to install Ubuntu on a Chromebook will definitely not be a bad idea.

1.Enable developer mode on your Chromebook

We’re not reviewing Ubuntu here, you just want to know how to install Linux on Chromebook. To get started, you’ll have to enable developer mode in ChromeOS.

If you’re an advanced Google Chrome user, you’d have discovered the developer mode option in the Chrome browser. Yes, -it’s on ChromeOS too, which shows you how much Google Chrome is like ChromeOS.

Be aware that enabling developer mode on your Chromebook will delete all of its local data. However, most of your local data should be stored in the cloud when you use a Chromebook. To be so sure, back up your data to an external computer and back it up in the cloud.

Once you’re done backing up your data, follow these steps to enable developer mode on ChromeOS.

 Turn on your Chromebook. Hold the Esc+Refresh keys and tap on the power button. This forces a reboot. Once the reboot begins, release the keys.
 When the reboot completes. A message appears with a yellow exclamation mark, notifying you that ChromeOS is missing or damaged. When you see this message, press Ctrl+D to enter Developer Mode.
 A message appears, “To turn OS verification off, press Enter”. Press the Enter key at this point.
 A message appears, notifying you that OS verification is off. Don’t press or click anything at this point. After some time, you’re notified that the Chromebook is switching to Developer Mode. You don’t have to do anything here either.
 After some time and multiple reboots, the transition to Developer Mode will be complete and you’ll be greeted with the “OS verification is off” message, with a scary red exclamation mark.
 Don’t touch anything at this point and wait until you see the ChromeOS welcome screen. You’ll have to enter your network details and much other info as all your data were all deleted as you switched to Developer mode.

Voila, that’s the first step if you will install Linux on Chromebook.

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Now let’s continue with how to install Linux on Chromebook. Just follow me.

2.Installing Ubuntu using Crouton


Yes, Crouton. Crouton was (or is) a project by a Google employee that enables you to directly install Ubuntu inside of ChromeOS. When you install Ubuntu using Crouton, you can directly switch between Ubuntu and ChromeOS without having to shut down your computer.

Your Chromebook shares the hard disk with Ubuntu and everything appears as though your Chromebook was created to work with Ubuntu out of the box. How great does that sound?

Isn’t that how to install Ubuntu on a Chromebook?

Although you might be excited and you’ll want to try out Crouton right away, you might never get it right if you don’t read a guide, and this is the best guide you can find out there.

Here are the exact steps you should take to ensure that you successfully use Crouton to install Ubuntu on Chromebook.

 Go to the Crouton GitHub repository. Developers store their codes on GitHub, so you’ll most probably find the source code for any open source project there. The creator of the Crouton project saw no need in moving it out of GitHub, so the only viable option is getting to GitHub and downloading it from there.

      Here’s the link to the Crouton GitHub repo.

 When you get there, you’ll find a link to a script. You’ll have to download this script to continue to install Linux on Chromebook. Make sure the file is saved in your Downloads folder, as that’s where it should be for the success of this mission.
 Open the ChromeOS terminal; crosh. The crosh terminal can be opened by pressing the combination of CTRL+ALT+T keys. For an advanced Linux user, this is exactly the same command that opens the Ubuntu terminal. The crosh terminal can only open inside the Chrome browser (and not as a stand-alone program).
 Enter the “shell” command into the terminal. By default, crosh is unable to run most Linux terminal commands, but by typing “shell” into the crosh terminal, it becomes capable of running most Linux commands.
 Type the below line into the crosh terminal if the Crouton script is already in the Chromebook’s download folder.

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton –t xfce

 The above command can be altered depending on how you want to install Ubuntu. Instead of using xfce, you can as well use:


touch,kde (for touch-enabled Chromebooks)

touch,xfce (for touch-enabled Chromebooks)

touch,unity (for touch-enabled Chromebooks)


Of all these installation types, XFCE is the one I’ll truly recommend for a Chromebook. Chromebooks are low-end PCs, so installing operating systems with high requirements won’t be recommended.

Once you’ve entered the installation command, you’ll have to wait for some time before the OS installs. This time may vary according to your internet speed. At most, it should take up to thirty minutes.

If you have anything to do on your Chromebook, you can continue with it as you can install Linux on Chromebook and continue with everything else you’re doing.

At the end of the installation, you’ll be given the command to start Ubuntu. If you’ve installed xfce, the command will be sudo startxfce4. This varies with other Ubuntu variants, note the commands you’re given after the installation.

When you’ve identified the correct command for running your version of Ubuntu, start it and enjoy the Ubuntu environment, right inside your Chromebook.

Note that the Downloads folder will be shared by both ChromeOS and Ubuntu. You can also switch between Ubuntu and ChromeOS by using a combination of Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Back and Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Back keys.

Congratulations, you now know how to install Linux on Chromebook.



Ubuntu Linux is a great OS, but it runs on pretty capable computers. Prior to this time, there is almost no possible solution on how to install Linux on Chromebook.

Thanks to a Google employee who wrote the code. Voila!, we can now install Ubuntu on Chromebook without much any stress.

Thanks for making it down here.

About Raji Ridwan 188 Articles
I'm a tech geek, marketing prodigy, and poetry enthusiast with years of blogging experience. When I'm not writing, I'm trying to catch up with the latest episode of Boruto. I'm still in Naruto by the way! I do freelance writing.