Get Crouton on your Chromebook – Complete Guide and Tutorial

By | 04/12/2016

So, you want to get a copy of Crouton on your Chromebook. You’re probably trying to install some familiar program and you’ve read that you need Ubuntu to run it. Or maybe you’re trying to install a copy of Linux so you can run it simultaneously with Chrome OS. Maybe you want a full-blown desktop rather than a stripped-down Chrome OS. Or maybe you just want to play Minecraft on your Chromebook and you’ve read you need Crouton. Whatever the case, here’s our complete guide to installing Crouton on your Chromebook.

 

First, you should know what Crouton does. Crouton is basically a program that makes it easy to install a copy of Linux on your Chromebook. It’s more like a group of scripts. Currently Crouton supports Debian and Ubuntu. You have a choice of desktop environments such as Xfce, Unity, and KDE.

Crouton on your Chromebook

You won’t really be using Crouton itself to run your computer, but rather using it to install the OS, which will run your Chromebook.

Here’s how install Crouton on your Chromebook

Step 1: Make a backup of all your important data. You can use the freebies Google provides you with your Chromebook purchase. Use the Drive storage, or back up your stuff to a USB-enabled drive. Make sure you backup your files in the “Downloads” folder, as these will be deleted. You may want to backup Chrome OS as well, if you’re paranoid about that kind of thing.

Step 2: Enable developer mode. We have a full guide dedicated to doing this, so check it out. In brief, press “Esc + Refresh + Power” in order and follow the on-screen prompts. A warning will pop up. Go ahead and wipe the data. You’ve backed up your stuff, right?

Step 3: Install Crouton. After your Chromebook restarts, log in and launch the Chrome web browser. Go here and download the newest Crouton version. It should show up in your downloads folder. If not, try again from Step 2.

Technically, you’ve now installed Crouton on your Chromebook. But getting this far really doesn’t do anything. Let’s continue and install Ubuntu:

Step 4: Press Alt + Ctrl + T to open the command prompt. Type:

“shell” (without the quotation marks).

Now we can finally install Ubuntu.

Step 5: You can install a few versions of Ubuntu, but only 2 will really work. Here’s a brief review of each Ubuntu environment:

Unity: Probably offers the most features, but will lag most Chromebooks.

Xfce: Fast and basic. Minimalistic design.

KDE: A mixture between the two.

So, we’re going to go with the monkey in the middle and go with KDE Plasma.

You have a few different options depending on what you want to install, whether you have a touchscreen Chromebook, and whether or not you want to encrypt your install:

If you don’t have a touchscreen Chromebook, and you don’t want to encrypt your installation, type this:

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t kde

If you don’t have a touchscreen Chromebook, and want to encrypt it, type this instead:

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t kde

If you have a touchscreen Chromebook, and you don’t want to encrypt your installation, type:

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t touch,kde

If you have a touchscreen Chromebook, and you want to encrypt it, type this instead:

sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t touch,kde

If you want to install Xfce or Unity, replace “kde” with “xfce” or “unity”  in any line of code above instead.

Now, Crouton will fetch and download your selected installation into your Chromebook. This may take a while depending on your internet speed. Sit back and watch some Simpsons.

Step 6: After the installation is complete, you’ll be prompted to type a username and password. Go ahead and fill in these fields. Your password field will appear to be blank. This is normal.

Step 7: Open up the command prompt again and type the following to start it:

sudo startkde

If you’ve installed xfce, type:

sudo startxfce4

The splash screen will show up and you’re now officially able to play around.

You’ve just installed KDE by Ubuntu using Crouton on your Chromebook!

 

Next, we recommend that you update KDE on your Chromebook. Type the following:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade sudo apt-get install

How to install programs with KDE on Chromebook

We recommend that you install some additional programs since what you have now is basic. You can install applications by using the Konsole. Just follow the on-screen prompts to search for whatever applications you want- Sublime Text, GIMP, VLC, or even Chrome web browser.

How to switch to Chrome OS from Ubuntu


To go back to Chrome, you don’t need to dual-boot. Just press “Alt + Ctrl + Shift + Back Arrow” to switch to Chrome OS, and the same combination but with Forward Arrow to switch to Ubuntu. You can do this whenever you want, instantly.

How to uninstall Ubuntu on your Chromebook

If you don’t like the new setup or there’s something wrong and you need to start over, just press the spacebar when your system boots up and it prompts you to install the verified version of Chrome. On some models, you’ll have to physically flip a switch on your laptop to do so. If your Chrome OS is corrupt, use that backup USB you made in Step 1. This will basically install a fresh version of Chrome OS as if you just purchased the laptop.

So there you have it. You can install Ubuntu to do many things you couldn’t previously do on a Chromebook. Most applications work offline as well, so you don’t have that limitation. To be honest, a Chromebook keeps it simple and will do most of your tasks required. But for some people, they made need programs that a Chromebook simply can’t run or doesn’t offer in the store. The solution is to use Ubuntu to run these programs. For most people, Chrome OS will suffice. However, using Crouton, you’ll be able to quickly switch between the two operating systems with a breeze. This is what makes Crouton especially useful and user-friendly. Compared to Windows, Chromebook runs Ubuntu much faster in our experience. So, if you just wanted to use Linux, Chromebook may even be your ideal choice over a Windows computer.


 

 

 

 

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

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2 comments on "Get Crouton on your Chromebook – Complete Guide and Tutorial"

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JackD
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I’d like to install Ubuntu on a Asus Chromebook C300MA-DB01. Esc + Refresh + Power does not boot into Recovery mode so I can’t get into Developer mode. It simply boots normally, asking for password. I’ve tried from a POWER OFF state(which I understand to be the correct way, and a from a power on state, same result. I’ve Powerwashed. I’ve changed to both Dev, and Stable channels. no difference. I bought it used, and I’ve verified it is not a “managed’ machine. Note: “ctrl + alt + shift + r” enters a *different* Recovery Mode with the option to… Read more »
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