How to Install ubuntu on Chromebooks

Chromebooks have been increasing in sales, mostly due to their inexpensive price, app ecosystem and running a linux-driven Chrome OS, they make running a computer much simpler than their windowss and mac counterpart, plus they are free! Some users may want to install a full linux OS like ubuntu, in this article we’re going to show you how to install ubuntu on your chromebook using the Crouton (Chromium OS Universal Chroot Enviroment), they are an easy to use chroot generator, they currently support Ubuntu and Debian, after we’re finished, you’ll be able to switch between your two operating systems without even restarting your chromebook!

What you’ll need:

-A USB drive (4gb atleast)


-Your Chromebook.

We’ll first start by backing up your data, since most of your data is synced to your google account then you’ll only need to make a backup of your “Download” folder, once you’re done its probably best to make a backup of your ChromeOS in your USB, this is just a security measure in case something goes wrong in the installation, go to the Chrome web store and install the Chromebook recovery utility, after it installs enter the model number of your chromebook, insert the USB drive and follow the instructions.

Once it’s done, unplug your USB. To download a different OS, you will need to get your chromebook into developer mode, to do that there is two methods, if you are on an old chromebook then there is a physical button for this, search the location of that button for your model and press it, if you are on a new chromebook then you need to press a combination of keys, press Esc + Refresh keys then push the power button, you’ll find a recovery screen, let it wipe your data, this process can take up to 15 minutes so do not worry about it and let it reboot. Keep in mind that you will see this screen everytime you boot until you disable developer mode, however it will not wipe your data each time. You can click Ctrl+d to reboot quickly into ChromeOS.

After you chromebook reboots, open your chromebook and go to this link , this will download Crouton to your chromebook, next open the terminal by hitting Alt+Ctrl+t , and type “shell” and press enter, now to install ubuntu you will need to type this into your shell

This will download ubuntu for you, so depending on your BroadBand speed this might take a few minutes or a while, once the install finishes Crouton will ask you to enter your username and password, these will be used to perform adminsitrative tasks. Now you can run Plasma by typing in your command shell:   sudo startkde

This ubuntu installation is a minimal installation and won’t come with a lot of applications but you can easily install any application like chrome browser, VLC using your command line, if you don’t know how you can search on google for the command line script of your desired program, this for example is for chrome.

You can now switch between chrome OS and your ubuntu installation, use Alt+Ctrl+Shift+Back to go to chrome OS and the same combination but with Front instead of Back to return to Ubuntu from chrome, when you log out of KDE you can start another session by typing in: sudo startkde  in your command prompt.

If you decided than ubuntu is not your style and you want to roll back to your verified ChromeOS then while booting press your space bar, on older chromebooks you will need to flip back the physical switch, and chrome OS will restore to the verified State. And you can use your USB backup anytime anything goes wrong.

Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.
Back to top button