The first Chromebooks were not designed to run desktop software. Heck, they were never meant to support Android apps, but now you can run both. Most modern Chromebooks provide integrated tools to toggle on Linux and / or Android.
In this guide, we show you how to enable Linux Beta. If your Chromebook does not have a Linux beta toggle, then we tell you how to install Ubuntu XFCE instead.
Keep in mind that Chromebooks are not known for large storage capacity, so you’ll be limited to the number of programs you can install. Most Chromebooks also have low-end hardware, so don’t expect this to be your portable Linux gaming machine. Google’s integrated Linux tool is really intended for developers, but if you’re using terminal commands you can use it to install any Linux-based software.
People with more ambitions can install Windows on a Chromebook, but the process is far more complex.
Use linux (beta)
So far, most Chromebooks include Linux (beta) mode. Linux is essentially installed within a container from which you can run Linux-based desktop software inside Chrome OS – Play Store and the Android apps associated with it work in the same way.
If you’re not sure if your Chromebook supports Linux Beta, check out Google’s official list. If it does not, then your next option is to use Crouton and install Ubuntu XFCE, which we discuss in the second part of this guide.
This section is based on Chrome OS 89, which has made some significant changes since version 88, including how you access the Linux beta. Keep in mind that there is no built-in Linux store, so all software must be obtained using terminal commands.
step 1: Click on the Self System Clock and then select the Cog icon displayed on the menu. This opens the Chrome OS settings.
Phase 2: Choose The developers Listed on the left.
step 3: Press Turn on Button displayed next to Linux Development Environment (Beta) Is listed on the right.
Once Linux is installed on your Chromebook, a Debian-based terminal window should appear on the screen. This allows you to use the command to install desktop software and other Linux-based tools.
step 4: with Linux Development Environment (Beta) The section is still open, click on the toggle next to Allow linux to access your microphone If you need to use the built-in microphone in the desktop software of your Chromebook.
Step 5: With the terminal still open, type the following:
sudo apt-get update- & sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
It updates all packages with new versions when available.
Step 6: Restart your Chromebook when prompted.
As always, the beta version of this mode is susceptible to bugs and other issues. If you experience problems, you can try to run the update command again and reboot to see if that fixes your issues. Additionally, since all the Linux apps you have installed will be running in the same container, it is important that you verify that there are no security issues that you have installed.
Install Ubuntu XFCE
In this section, we switch Chromebook to developer mode and install Ubuntu XFCE using Krauton (short for Chromium OS Universal Cherot environment) developed by Google hardware engineer David Schneider. We chose Ubuntu XFCE as our Linux distribution because it is lightweight and functional, perfect for preserving the long battery life and portability of a Chromebook.
If you have any files stored on the local storage of the Chromebook that you do not want to lose, return them to the cloud, to an installed SD card or to another computer. Zipping a group of files can help you put them back where they are supposed to be after installation.
You will also want to have a recovery image in hand just in case something goes wrong. You can download software directly from Google that makes this process easy, and then you need a flash drive or SD card depending on the connectivity of your Chromebook.
Enter developer mode
step 1: Press and hold Esc + Refresh Key and then press power button.
Phase 2: The Chromebook restarts and enters recovery mode. Squeeze Ctrl + D Key to open the OS verification screen.
step 3: Squeeze Enter Key to enter developer mode. It deletes all local data (if not on SD card if inserted).
pay attention: Later, you have to step back Ctrl + D Every time Chromebook reboots.
step 4: The Chromebook deletes all data, boots back into developer mode, and resets Chrome OS. When prompted, reconfigure Chrome OS as if you first purchased the device.
With Chrome OS Reset, you can now use Crouton to install Ubuntu XFCE.
Use Crouton to install Ubuntu XFCE
step 1: Download the Crouton file from the Crouton GitHub page. There you will also find detailed instructions, troubleshooting tips, and forums that discuss issues and tricks to keep everything running smoothly.
If you are not really sure what you are about to download, click on the link Experiment Section under the main directory. A crouton file will be downloaded to the download folder of your Chromebook.
pay attention: According to the notes, it has been suggested to install the Crouton extension, which “provides much better integration with Chromium OS.”
Phase 2: Squeeze Ctrl + Alt + T The chambers. This opens the chrome shell terminal (Crosh).
step 3: type Shell.
step 4: Type the following command and press Enter Key:
sudo sh ~ / download / crouton -t xfce
If you have installed the extension, use this command:
sudo sh ~ / download / crouton -t xfce, extension
Step 5: Wait for Ubuntu XFCE to download and install it on your machine. Note that you will have to launch Ubuntu XFCE later.
Launch ubuntu xfce
step 1: Squeeze Ctrl + Alt + T The chambers. This opens the chrome shell terminal (Crosh).
Phase 2: Type the following command and then press Enter Key:
Sudo enter-cherot startxfce4
The system will display a black screen for a minute and then boot into the Linux desktop. If you are not familiar with Linux, keep in mind that it takes a little more effort than Windows or MacOS, especially the first time you boot it.
Example Linux Software
There are a lot of advantages of installing Linux on your system, but there are some that are particularly relevant to Chrome OS users. The following programs provide functionality that your Chromebook can handle but do not fall under the Chrome OS ecosystem, or provide functionality that you were using your Chromebook offline.
Steam: Valve’s digital storefront and the community around it is awesome, and, thankfully, you can use your Chromebook to play any game in your library that natively supports Linux. However, as always, check the system requirements because the Chromebook hardware is at the bottom end. See our separate guide on how to get Steam on a Chromebook.
Vlc: The VideoLan client is connected to dozens of audio and video formats as well as features useful for network streaming and playback. It may not be easy to install – it is also packed with some large distributions – and is open source, if you want to try your hand at compiling the software yourself.
Stringed tape: The GNU Image Manipulation Project (GIMP) is free image-editing software that provides a large number of tools typically reserved for Photoshop and other premium software. In addition, the active user base is continuously working to help solve problems and develop new tools and features.