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How to Install Linux on Your Chromebook

Linux is an open source, free operating system you can load onto a Chromebook. Like Chrome OS it is a lightweight system with little to no bloatware depending on which distribution you decided to choose. Not only are there different distributions but they also have many different versions of a single distribution, it is recommended to use a stable version if this is your first experience with Linux.

Why Install Linux on a Chromebook:

  • If you have an older Chromebook that is no longer receiving updates, and your hardware is fine, then you can switch over to Linux and get the latest updates.

  • You also get a metric shitload of more functionality out of your Chromebook. You are no longer limited to Chrome extensions, you can actually install programs.

  • There's more customization. You have a library of themes, icons, and widgets that are getting updated by the community.

  • Many of the programs for Linux are completely free to Install and use.

  • Personally my Chromebook is not my daily driver. Loading the OS onto my device allows me to dip my tippy toes in risk free.

  • Street cred. Tell your friends you use Linux and they will see you as the ultimate nerd.

Linux vs Windows10/11:

  • Linux does not come with telemetry services. This means your device isn't constantly pinging Microsoft, letting them know what programs you are using and how they are running.

  • Linux is a free OS and has free word processing programs. My current favorite is Libre Office which is compatible with Office documents 2003-O365.

  • Linux does not come loaded with bloatware. When was the last time you loaded up Xbox companion on your Windows PC?

  • Linux does not require a TPM 2.0 chip. They say this is for security but anyone who wants to get around TPM 2.0 can easily bypass it.

How to Install:

To install Linux onto a Chrome book we will:

FYI: Some Chromebooks have a screw that is used to complete a circut enabling write protection. This screw is usually labeled with a WP next to the screw. If you get an error, when installing the UEFI bios later in the guide then you will have to remove this screw.

  1. Enabled Developer Mode.

  2. Create a USB with a Linux IMG.

  3. Install a UEFI BIOS.

  4. Flash the IMG onto the Chromebook.

Enable Developer Mode:

  • First turn on your Chromebook.

  • Press and hold the Esc key, refresh key, and the power button at the same time.

  • When the Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert USB stick message shows up, press and hold the Ctrl and D keys at the same time.

  • Press Enter (when prompted).

  • Wait for the device to restart and go through the Chromebook setup process.

  • You’ll get an odd screen saying that OS verification is off. Keep in mind this screen will happen every single time you boot up, Until we load Linux onto it.

  • Press Ctrl and D to restart successfully.

Create a Bootable USB Drive:

  • Download a IMG file of Linux EX: (Kail, Debian, Manjaro, Arch)

  • Install Rufus or HDD Raw Copy Tool.

  • Plug in Flash Drive.

  • Open Rufus/HDD Raw Copy Tool and follow prompts.

  • Wait for File to be written to drive.

Install a UEFI BIOS:

The UEFI BIOS is provided from MRChromeBox linked here: If you run into issues while installing this check out their website.

  • Turn on Chromebook.

  • Open Google Chrome.

  • Press ctrl+alt+t at the same time.

  • In the Terminal enter the command below.

  • cd; curl -LO sudo install -Dt /usr/local/bin -m 755 sudo

  • Select Install\Update UEFI (Full ROM) Firmware.

  • Create Recovery IMG of ChromeOS if you want to.

Flash IMG onto Chromebook:

When you first boot to the flash drive you will enter a temporary desktop environment. This is the OS running off the Flash Drive and not the SSD. Make sure you use the installer on the desktop because any changes you make before this will not be saved.

  • Plug in your Linux USB.

  • Boot up Chromebook.

  • Hit ESC and select boot menu.

  • Arrow down to your Flash Drive.

  • On the Desktop there will be an Install Icon.

  • Open this Icon and follow on screen prompts.


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