Installing Ubuntu Linux on a Google Chromebook

Installing Ubuntu Linux on a Google Chromebook
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Enabling Developer Mode

To install and run an alternate operating system on a Chromebook you must first enable Developer Mode, which does the following:

  • Disables an important level of the Chromebook’s security; the Chromebook will no longer verify or authenticate Chrome OS on start-up, which could leave you open to potential attacks.
  • Wipes all locally stored data; make sure you have backed up everything that is important to you before going any further!
  • You are not supported by Google, and may void your warranty.

However, it is also very easy to restore your Chromebook back to factory defaults if needed, automatically removing Ubuntu and disabling Developer Mode. If you are not put off, continue reading!

Enabling Developer Mode on previous Chromebook models was a physical switch – usually located underneath or around the battery, however, current model Chromebooks (which no longer have a removable battery) all now use a simple key press combination.

  1. With the Chromebook turned off, press the Esc+Refresh+Power keys.
    Chromebook Keyboard Esc+Refresh+Power

    Esc+Refresh+Power

    The Chromebook will turn on and boot into Recovery Mode. The Chrome OS is missing or damaged warning will be displayed on the screen:

    Chrome OS Recovery Mode

    Recovery Mode

  2. Press the Ctrl+D keys.
    Chromebook Keyboard Ctrl+D

    Ctrl+D

    The following prompt will be displayed asking if you want to turn OS verification off.

    To turn OS verification OFF, press ENTER.
    Your system will reboot and local data will be cleared.
    
    To go back, press ESC.
  3. Press Enter. The following warning that OS verification is OFF will be displayed on the screen:
    Chrome OS Verification is OFF

    OS Verification is OFF

    After 30 seconds the Chromebook will beep and this screen will disappear. A final warning about Developer Mode will be displayed.

    Your system is transitioning to Developer Mode.
    Local data has been cleared.
    
    Modifications you make to the system are not supported by Google,
    may cause hardware issues and may void warranty.
    
    To cancel, turn your computer off now.
  4. After a few seconds this message will disappear and the automated transition to Developer Mode will begin. A basic progress bar is displayed on the top line of the screen.
    0:04:38 [===================>                               ] 32% ETA 0:02:23
    
              Preparing system for Developer Mode.
              This may take a while.
              Do not turn your computer off until it has restarted.
  5. When complete, the Chromebook will automatically restart and display the OS verification is OFF warning screen.
    Chrome OS Verification is OFF

    OS Verification is OFF

    This screen will appear each and every time the Chromebook is now booted.
    Do not press SPACE to re-enable!

  6. Press the Ctrl+D keys, or wait 30 seconds, to continue booting normally into Chrome OS.

We are now ready to install Ubuntu!


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