How to get Linux (Beta) on your Chromebook

So, you want to learn how to use the built-in Linux (Beta) feature on your Chromebook.

Well, you’ve come to the right place!

This comprehensive tutorial will cover everything you could possibly want to know about the new Linux (beta) feature and what you can do with it- broken down into super easy to understand wording.

With the Linux feature built right into Chrome OS, you can do things like get Windows native programs, use Linux features, and even play games built for Windows or Mac (or Linux) straight on your Chromebook.

And I’ll teach you how to do all of it.

How does that sound?

Let’s roll!

Last updated: 1/4/22. This page has been checked for accuracy and updated accordingly. The process remains the same. Linux is still a beta feature and continues to work as it should. I still recommend the old-school Croton method for best compatibility with Linux games and software.

Getting Linux (Beta) on your Chromebook

Enable Linux Beta on Chromebook.
Want to enable Linux on your Chromebook? Read on!

Chrome OS now has built-in Linux- as you probably know.

Ever since Chrome 69, users can now use Linux directly on their Chromebook without having to install it using Crouton and typing in code.

You also now don’t have to toggle back and forth between Chrome OS and your Linux distro (Xfce, KDE, etc.). The OS (or kernel, rather) exists right there within a tab on your Chrome Browser.

One thing to note is that Chrome 69 does bring Linux support, but some users have reported difficulties in using it. If you don’t see the feature, you may have to update your Chromebook to the latest version of Chrome.

Update: The majority of devices out there now support Linux (Beta). But if you’re using a school or work managed Chromebook, this feature will be disabled by default. You’ll need to get permission from your admin team to unenroll your managed Chromebook.

It’s as easy as toggling a switch in your settings page. Seriously.

Check your Chrome version

You can check what version you’re running by doing the following:

  • Log in to your Chromebook. Be sure you’re connected to WiFi.
  • Launch the Chrome Browser.
  • Type in “chrome://version” and hit Enter.
  • You’ll see immediately at the top the current version of Chrome OS you’re running.

Note: You need to be at least on version 69 or higher.

Update your Chromebook

You can easily update your Chromebook to the latest version by doing the following:

  • Click on the Menu at the top-right corner of the Chrome Browser.
  • Hover over “Help”
  • Click on “About Google Chrome”
  • You’ll see a new window pop up. Click on “Update Google Chrome”
  • Restart your Chromebook.

Congrats. You should now have the latest version of Chrome OS with Linux beta!

Still can’t get Linux on your Chromebook?

Even if you have the latest version of Chrome OS, the feature is still in beta- as the name says.

Not all Chromebooks will be able to run Linux directly yet, as it’s still rolling out slowly. There’s no current list of Chromebooks that have Linux beta built-in, so you’ll need to be patient until Google rolls out the update to your particular model.

From my experience, all newer Chromebooks made in 2018 and 2019 have the feature built-in already. Older Chromebooks may be pending for an update. There’s no way to really predict when the feature will reach 100% of the Chromebooks at this time.

If you really need Linux on your Chromebook, you can always do it the tried-and-true old fashioned way by using Crouton to install the operating system.

I’ve written a ton of tutorials on the subject, and if you don’t want to browse through a ton of guides, all you need is this one.

It’s a comprehensive guide that covers everything you’d want to know about installing Linux on your Chromebook. And if you run into difficulties or have trouble, you can just leave a comment here (or there) and I’ll try to respond ASAP and help you out.

Switch to the Beta Channel

Another option you can try is switching to the Beta Channel.

By default, you’re on the Stable Channel, which is where everything is tried and tested for production environments and should be working (or mostly working)

There’s also a Beta Channel, which is exactly what it sounds like- for testing out new features, releases, updates, and other goodies which have left a development environment (which is what the Developer Channel is for) and are ready for a select group of public testers.

Note that you should definitely back up your Chromebook before switching to the Beta Channel.

You can switch to the Beta Channel easily by doing the following:

Step 1: Launch Chrome Browser.

Step 2: Click on the menu button.

Step 3: Go to “Help” and then “About Google Chrome.”

Step 4: Look for the option to switch channels, and select the Beta Channel.

Step 5: Confirm your selection.

Step 6: Restart your Chromebook.

Having problems switching?

I wrote detailed instructions on how to switch to the Beta Channel previously in another article. Just skip directly to the part that covers switching channels- it should be straightforward. Should you get stuck, leave a comment here or there and I’ll get back you ASAP.

You’ll now be in the Beta Channel of your Chromebook. You can switch back at any time by just going back to the Stable Channel by repeating the same steps above.

If you broke something, don’t worry. Just do a Powerwash and it’ll revert everything back to normal.

How to use the Linux (beta) feature on your Chromebook

How to use Linux on Chromebook.
Learn how to use Linux on your Chromebook!

Getting Linux enabled on your Chromebook is super easy. If you already have Chrome 69 or higher, you likely already have the update.

You can quickly get started by getting into your Chromebook’s Settings screen by launching the Chrome Browser and then typing in “chrome://settings” and hitting Enter.

This will bring you to your Chromebook settings.

As soon as you’re there, just scroll down (or just hit “CTRL + F” and type in “linux”).

You’ll find an option for Linux (beta) that you can toggle by hitting the “Turn on” button to enable! So hit that button!

Then you’ll see a nice little splash screen that reads something like “Set up Linux (Beta) on your Chromebook.” This is good.

Just hit the big blue “Install” button in the corner.

For max compatibility, like if you’re going to be gaming or using Linux as your main OS, you’re more suited to just get the full desktop version.

Be patient as Linux downloads and installs to your device

After this, your Chromebook will take about 2-7 minutes to install Linux. This will vary depending on your hardware and connection speed.

When it’s done, you’ll be greeted with a command prompt (the small window with the black background and a single line asking for a command in green text). At this point, you’ve officially enabled Linux on your laptop! Congrats!

What you choose to do at this point is your choice. You can browse the Linux beginner guides to see some cool things you can do with Linux on your Chromebook, or you can start installing some games like:

Or you can just use the search bar on this page and type in whatever game you’re looking for. Chances are, there’s a guide for it if it’s a popular game.

Using the command prompt

So now you see this unfamiliar screen with a blinking cursor.

What are you going to do? The first thing you should always do is update to the newest version of everything. To do this, try your first Linux command.


“sudo apt-get update” and hit Enter.

You’ll see Linux spit out some lines telling you exactly what it’s doing and it’ll update the system automatically. You just updated to the latest packages with a single line of code. Wasn’t that awesome? It’s even easier than updating a Chromebook!

Next, you’ll probably want to install something to make your life a little easier. I mean, installing stuff with commands is always fun, but what about if you want to look at pictures and browse programs to install- like the way you’re probably used to on Windows or Mac (or even on your current Chromebook?).

Download the Gnome Software Center to make your installations easier!

We can get a software center called the Gnome Software Center. And we can install it like this:

“sudo apt-get install gnome-software gnome-packagekit”

After you punch that in and hit Enter, you’ll be prompted with a warning confirming if you want to install, just hit the “y” key and it’ll do its thing.

After it’s done, you’ll see a new icon appear on your Shelf (i.e. Taskbar) that reads “Software.” go ahead and click on it. This will automatically the Gnome Software Center directly on your Chromebook.

You’ll see a nice library of programs you can install without having to use commands. You’re probably already familiar with this, as it works the same way as the Play Store or Chrome Web Store.

Get all the programs you want! Experiment! You now have Linux activated on your Chromebook!

Here’s a nice video that shows off the GSC:

What can you do with Linux on your Chromebook?

Well, a lot of things.

First of all, you now have a complete kernel that you can run pretty much any program in existence- all on your Chromebook. You can play games, edit videos, get word processors, browse the net, and pretty much do everything you could ever want on a computer.

This will get you pretty much anything you could ever want directly onto your laptop that could once do only browser-based stuff. This unlocks a whole new world of possibilities of things you can do with your Chromebook!

Get some awesome Linux software to get you started

Here’s a random list of Linux programs that you can use right away. They’re all free and do wonderful things:

  • Google Chrome/Firefox (needs no explanation)
  • Dropbox (2GB of free cloud storage)
  • Pidgin (messenger client that supports Google Talk, Yahoo, and IRC)
  • LibreOffice (complete office suite)
  • Atom/Sublime Text (text editors/notepads)
  • Synapse (application database and launcher)
  • GIMP (free and robust image editor)
  • VLC media player (for playing movies, videos, and music)
  • Vim (command line/coding)
  • uGet (download UI/manager)
  • Thunderbird (email client)
  • Skype (video/audio calling)
  • Audacity (audio editor/recorder)
  • Lollypop (audio player)

You can search for these in the Gnome Software Center or download them with command lines if you’re feeling awesome.

Should you want to install something that doesn’t exist in the Gnome Software Center, you can directly install the .deb file of the program.

For example, if you wanted to install Minecraft, you can go here and download the minecraft.deb file. With that, you should be able to just double-click the file and it’ll work just like Windows!

If it doesn’t, you can get something like gdebi to execute .deb files.

But remember, Linux is still entirely in beta as dictated by the name “Linux (Beta),” so don’t expect everything to work properly.

Over time, this integration will be ironed out and updated so that it becomes more productive and practical for usage. Right now, it’s still early in its release.

Update: The majority of models out there now have the ability to use Linux Beta. If you still don’t have it, you probably won’t get it.

Did you get Linux on your Chromebook?

What can you do with Linux on Chromebook?
Congrats on getting Linux on your Chromebook!

Well, that’s about it.

I hope this quick tutorial provided you a way to easily get Linux running on your Chromebook without having to use Crouton and going through the old-fashioned way.

But if you need Linux and you don’t have access to Linux Beta, you can the older, alternative technique to get it up and running!

And if you have any questions or get stuck, please leave a comment here and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP.

Also, if you’ve found this guide to be helpful, let me know as well. Consider telling a friend =]!

Thanks for reading!

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 (check the "Contact Us" page).

44 thoughts on “How to get Linux (Beta) on your Chromebook”

  1. I have an Acer C424(manufactured in 2021) but I cannot seem to get Linux Beta . I’ve done countless updates and have spent hours following tutorials to download the latest version but to no avail. What do I do?

  2. How do I install the old-fashioned way using Crouton ? is there a tutorial for this ?
    My chromebook does not have the Linux (beta) option (OS v76), I am in Beta mode, and developer mode, but the option is not under settings.

  3. so im attempting to run the linux beta channel, and I got it to work (yay :)) but then I installed gnome, and there were no applications at all…? all that would show up is an OS update in the updates tab, nothing else… help…?

    (minor update) i tried to install the update that it showed, but there was an error for that too…

  4. Hi Andy, could you help me? I can’t turn on the Linux beta. I hit the “install” button, then the downloading starts. After several minutes, the installing widow tells “Error installing Linux…”,”Error mounting Linux files. Please try again”. I tried again and again, but always got the same error.

    My Chromebook is an Asus C202XA test model: HANA TEST 5855
    Chrome version:78.0.3904.73


  5. Please help. I am trying to install minecraft on brand new chromebook (version 84). I can’t tell if it has the Linux beta. I can’t find it anywhere in the settings. Downloaded .deb file but it won’t run. Could this be because my son’s account is managed by family link?

  6. Hello: I have tried to configure a printer, so far I have not been able to configure it, has anyone done it in Linux beta?

  7. There is no such thing as linux on my chromebook its and acer chromebook 11 but thanks for trying to help any way

    • Same issue. Verified Chrome Version (83), changed to the Beta channel, restarted; and, Linux (Beta) is still not an option… Just bought this chromebook for my son but he can’t play minecraft on it 🙁

  8. I keep getting this error at the bottom of the script every time I try and update Linux. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Ign:1 stretch InRelease
    Get:2 stretch Release [3,114 B]
    Ign:3 stretch InRelease
    Hit:4 stretch/updates InRelease
    Get:5 stretch Release.gpg [819 B]
    Hit:6 stretch-backports InRelease
    Hit:7 stretch Release
    Hit:8 llvm-toolchain-stretch-7 InRelease
    Ign:5 stretch Release.gpg
    Hit:9 stretch/main amd64 Packages
    Fetched 3,933 B in 3s (1,073 B/s)
    Reading package lists… Done
    W: GPG error: stretch Release: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY 78BD65473CB3BD13
    W: The repository ‘ stretch Release’ is not signed.
    N: Data from such a repository can’t be authenticated and is therefore potentially dangerous to use.
    N: See apt-secure(8) manpage for repository creation and user configuration details.

  9. Hi- Thanks fa lot or all the advice, it’s super clear and helpful. Everything’s working great, I can finally play my games on steam.

  10. Hi – I’ve got a newer Chromebook with Linux(beta) on it and I followed the direction to enable. Success! I want to play WoW on this device and am wondering where to pick up the instruction on your other very helpful ‘How to Play WoW’ guide. Also I have Gnome on now is that in place of Ubuntu or Lutris?

  11. Is there way to get league of legends on this new linux beta?? I’ve seen your other article but it doesn’t reference the built in linux we have. Thanks!

  12. Hi,
    I want to run a program called Ledger Live, which requires either Windows 8 or Linux Ubuntu 16.10. I installed Linux beta on my Chromebook in order to run the program. Do I need to install Ubuntu “on top”, or how do I proceed?

    Regards, Trond

    • Hey Trond,

      16.10 was live some time ago and is now considered outdated and is no longer Ubuntu LTS. Do you know if Ledger Live works with modern software? Or is it legacy software that only runs on older setups?

      If you plan to install software, I’d always suggest getting the “fully-loaded” Linux setup, just to be safe.


      • Hi Andy,

        I contacted Ledger support, and they say that Ledger Live should work with more recent versions of Ubuntu too.
        (I also have to add “udev rules” when connecting to Ledger Live on Linux.)

        Cheers, Trond

      • Hi Andy,

        I contacted Ledger support, and they say that Ledger Live should work with more recent versions of Ubuntu too.
        (I also have to add “udev rules” when connecting to Ledger Live on Linux.)

        Resending this for the fourth time – bad Internet connection today. I hope it doesn’t show up four times.

        Cheers, Trond

      • Hi Andy,
        I contacted Ledger support, and they say that Ledger Live should work with more recent versions of Ubuntu too.
        (I have to add “udev rules” when connecting to Ledger Live on Linux…?)


        • Hey Trond,

          I just took a peek at their official page, and their requirements for the OS reads:
          “A computer with at least macOS 10.9, Windows 8 (64-bit) or Linux Ubuntu 16.10 (64-bit).”

          So that would align with the advice you received from earlier. It should work on your Chromebook in theory- however the part regarding the “udev rules” may be an issue. The rules basically allow you to create/remove devices on the system’s boot level. Depending on your knowledge of code, this could be a breeze or a very complicated solution.

          Installing the software shouldn’t be an issue, but I can’t promise this as Chromebooks have been known to function unexpectedly even for software that’s built for Linux. So it really could go either way at this point.

          However, getting the Chromebook to recognize the hardware (the physical wallet in this case) may be a challenge.

          If you’re willing to risk it, you could start by backing up all your data (assuming you have anything you want to save) and proceeding with the Ubuntu installation. By “risk,” you’ll basically have to use some time/energy to go through the process. Pretty much just a learning experience if it all fails. Here’s a tutorial on backing up your stuff.

          After that’s done, grab the software. Then you’ll have to write the rules to recognize the device (pretty much assuming here depending Ledger’s software). You can scour the web, post in a few forums, or contact Ledger directly to see if they have a template for you to use.

          If all fails, you can restore your Chromebook by doing a Powerwash, then importing your backed up data. I have a guide for that also. That’s probably the worst that could happen. Or you can just keep Linux on your machine. Completely up to you.

          If you’re still wary, I’d definitely do more research online just to see if anyone has this running on a Chromebook first. If not, then fire away and see what happens!

          Let me know if you have any other questions.

  13. Hi Andy
    I followed the tuto and after upgrade my HpChromebook and I don’t see the linux option in chrome://settings. So I am unable to choice linux.

    I am in
    12371.22.0 (Official Build) beta-channel kip
    Version actuelle : développeur

    Do you have any ideas?

    Thanks for your help.

  14. So I get this error where I try to update the Package Updater:
    “Failed to process update”
    I click on “More details” and it shows this:
    “Failed to obtain authentication”

    There’s 25 updates that need to be installed and I already restarted and shut off and on both Chrome OS and Linux (via terminal). Any suggestions as to how to fix this?

    I ran Linux beta for a week and at first it was only 5 updates pending. Today Chrome OS uninstalled Linux Beta and I had to do it all over again. Now there’s more updates… Help!

    • Sooooo…. Just did a research and it’s best to actually do an update via terminal. I was just missing some steps. So the first thing to do is to do the following via terminal (do not do this via GUI since this just not work in the current beta mode) :

      sudo apt-get update

      sudo apt-get upgrade

      (optional) :

      sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

      You’ll see that you will no longer have any pending updates on the Package Updater.

  15. I followed this guide . But then I open the Gnome Software Center, there is no software to be seen.
    What do I have to do to fix this?

    • Hey Fairlane73,

      Can you confirm that the software center has been updated? You may have to manually update the GSC with the newest packages to see anything show up in the software center.

      Any chance you can check the version/release number?


  16. If I were to put linux on my Chromebook, is there any way to get it back to Chrome without completely resetting the thing? I use my Chromebook for school and I have some kinda important stuff on it and i just want to make sure I will still have that stuff. Thanks in advance.

  17. Great Info! Did Apt get install synaptic then went to the Linux Apps / Packages and searched for XFCE.
    Installed that and all the apps appear now in the chrome linux window.

    • Hey Gimpy0215,

      Stoked that you got it working! This is why I write!

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  18. Wanted to point a minor mistake in your tutorial. When you mention to use

    sudo apt-get update – you mention that it updates the everything, this is only true to updating the software package database to reflect the latest software packages available.

    To update or upgrade all the packages that are currently installed you would enter-

    sudo apt-get upgrade

    this command will upgrade all available packages with an upgrade flag set. if you are interested in upgrading only select packages you can run

    sudo apt-get upgrade where package name is enter t he name of the package for example sudo apt-get upgrade libreoffice – this would upgrade only the libre office package and leave any other packages set for upgrade alone.

  19. Hi, I was here for the minecraft tutorial, then found this, I have the linux beta program, but I can’t open minecraft.deb, before, it opened another app so I deleted it, now, it doesn’t open at all. help?

    • Hey WIZARDGUY40415,

      You’ll need to run a command in order to get the file to launch. Launch the command prompt, and punch in the following command:
      “sudo apt install ~games/minecraft/Minecraft.deb -f”

      I saw your other comment also, you shouldn’t need to install Crouton/Linux since you already have it by default. Though if it doesn’t work, you can always try getting Linux the old-fasioned way.

      Let me know if that works for you.


      • When i tried downloading this with that command, it came up with this : Unsupported file /usr/games/minecraft/Minecraft.deb given on commandline

        • I was looking to do that same wizardguy40415, but I have an understanding of Linux, albeit from years ago. Anyway, this should help you, as it worked for me: Open up the Files app (Chromebook app) and locate where you downloaded Minecraft.deb. Then drag that into the folder in the sidebar called LinuxFiles. It’ll copy it there. Then run the following command from the Terminal app.
          “sudo apt install ~/Minecraft.deb -f”

          That should get you in! Cheers!

          • hi. ive been following this and ive gotten to the point where wizardguy has gotten with the unsupported file thing and ive followed what blobabee said and its still not working. send help?

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