So, you wanna jailbreak your Chromebook.
Jailbreaking (rooting) will let your CB do things you never thought possible. It removes restrictions that are put in place by Chrome so you can go crazy with it.
If you’re the type that likes hacking your devices, this guide is for you. It’s time to unleash the beast within!
Jailbreaking, also known as rooting, resetting, or bypassing, is a way to disable a lot of restrictions that are built in by default on Chrome OS.
If you want to get more from your Chromebook, rooting it will unlock it to its full potential. Chrome OS is the software that powers your Chromebook.
It’s designed to be extremely secure from viruses, hacks, or other malware.
This is why virus programs don’t exist for Chromebooks – any you find are unnecessary or scams.
But because it’s such a secure, locked down system comes with some limitations. For instance, you can’t install third-party programs other than apps on the Chrome Web Store or Google Play Store.
By rooting your device, you’ll be able to bypass these restrictions so you can install programs, install Linux or Windows, get Firefox, run .EXE files, or even play games like World of Warcraft.
If you’ve ever jailbroken your phone, then you know how much more you can do by unlocking customization options, bypassing restrictions, and downloading jailbroken apps. The same goes for your Chromebook.
It bypasses the rules that are set by the admin of the device so you realize its full potential. Then you can get crazy.
You’ll be able to do things that normally Chrome OS would block:
- What can you do with a jailbroken Chromebook
- With an unlocked Chromebook, you can do the following:
- Install other operating systems
- Install games
- Install Steam games
- Run PC programs
- Install Firefox, Opera, Safari, Brave, Edge, etc.
- Install third-party programs
- Run .exe files
What are the drawbacks of rooting your Chromebook?
Before you go root happy, here are some precautions you should be
Files are deleted
You’ll instantly lose everything you have saved on your disk once you root your device.
But you can make a backup to external media or cloud services if you wish. If you’ve got hoards of files, pics, or other data on your local disk (this includes your Downloads folder), you’ll lose them.
The warranty will be voided
Rooting your Chromebook will void the warranty of your device. All new Chromebooks come with a warranty from Google or from the manufacturer (usually 1-3 years). If you root your Chromebook, this will instantly void the remaining warranty.
So if it breaks in the future, you won’t be able to file a claim. This is especially important if you decide rooting isn’t for you so you restore it but then it malfunctions for some other reason.
You’ll be out of warranty at this point. S you may want to consider using an older device that’s out of warranty already or purchasing a used Chromebook.
If you do brick it, you can always sell your Chromebook. There are plenty of cheap used Chromebooks you can find online.
Potential security issues
By jailbreaking it, you’ll remove the security measures that Chrome OS is built with, so it’ll be vulnerable to a lot more malware, bugs, exploits, and other nasties.
While it’s still relatively safe if you know what you’re doing (while practicing common sense), you should note the risks tied to it. You’re removing the training wheels!
Schools generally block it
If you’re using a borrowed Chromebook from your school or workplace, you won’t be able to root it.
By default, if it’s enrolled into the management system, it’ll automatically block jailbreaking attempts.
You can only do this on your personal Chromebook. It makes sense though- schools wouldn’t want people rooting their Chromebooks because it can lead to theft or damage.
It also probably violates some kind of policy with your school too. So don’t bother because it ain’t gonna work on a borrowed CB.
You can brick your Chromebook
If you’re not careful, you can potentially brick your CB. This means completely breaking it to where it doesn’t work anymore.
So be careful about what you do online. This means not installing shady programs or weird .exes.
How to root your Chromebook
Now that you know the warnings, we can go ahead and get started!
You’ll need about 30 minutes of time, your Chromebook, a WiFi connection, and some patience in case you screw up.
It may also not be a bad idea if you plug in your Chromebook to the charger so it doesn’t shut off during the process.
Make a backup
First, you’ll want to back up your stuff. Jailbreaking your Chromebook will wipe your drive, so you’ll lose everything on it.
This basically means starting with a fresh CB. Your settings, files, downloads, apps, etc. will all be gone. Media on external storage, like SD cards or flash drives, will remain intact.
If you don’t know how to back up your files, here’s a guide.
OK, so now that we’ve gotten past the boring things, let’s move on to the actual guide.
- Power on your Chromebook
- Sign in to the admin account
- Ensure it’s connected to WiFi
- Press ESC (Escape) + F3 (Refresh) at the same time. Hold both keys until it reboots on its own.
- Follow the prompts on the screen. When the warning dialog shows up, read it, then hit CTRL + D.
- Hit Enter.
- Your Chromebook will now jailbreak itself. This takes 10-20 minutes, depending on the speed of your device. Be patient. Don’t disturb it or hit any random keys during this time. They won’t do anything, anyway.
- When it reboots for the final time, it’ll show you another dialog warning. It says something like “OS Verification is OFF.” While this sounds alarming, it’s telling you that Chrome OS’s safety feature that verifies its own files has been shut off. This is necessary if you want to root your Chromebook. That’s the point, right? By the way, you’ll see this warning every time you turn it on, but you can disable it permanently.
- Hit CTRL + D to confirm the message. This page is TIMED. If you do nothing for 30 seconds, it’ll boot on its own.
Congrats. You’ve now rooted your Chromebook.
Things to consider before unlocking your Chromebook
Here are some things you should know before you root your system..
Is it illegal to root?
That depends. If you’re jailbreaking a personal Chromebook (i.e. yours), it’s not illegal.
While it does void the warranty, it’s completely OK to root it as far as Google is concerned.
But if you’re rooting a school or work device, then it’s illegal. You can’t root a borrowed device because it’s probably prohibited by the admin because they don’t want you breaking out of enrollment.
Otherwise, you have nothing to worry about other than losing your files.
Does it void the warranty?
Yes, rooting your Chromebook will void the warranty. So only do this if you’re comfortable with it.
Given that Chromebooks are resilient, you can restore them easily so that’s not really an issue. Or do it if your Chromebook is already past the warranty period. The process is completely reversible if you do something wrong.
But the warranty isn’t. Don’t do it if you actually plan to use the warranty!
Schools, work, and loaner Chromebooks
Remember that you can’t do this on loaner Chromebooks. Even if you try, you probably won’t be able to. It’s likely blocked by the settings so you won’t get that far regardless.
Can you remove school restrictions?
If you purchased a used Chromebook that was once enrolled in a school network and it wasn’t enrolled properly, you may be able to remove the school enrollment.
Otherwise, you’ll need to return it because there’s no other way to use it.
Can I remove the admin of the Chromebook?
The admin of the device can be removed. If you bought a used device and it still has the previous user on it, you can change the Chromebook administrator.
This way, you can root it because only the admin can do it.
What if I have a Samsung Chromebook?
Whatever model of Chromebook you have, it doesn’t matter. They all root the same.
This means it doesn’t matter if you have a Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, or HP. The process to jailbreak is the same as above.
How to jailbreak without developer mode
You can’t jailbreak without entering developer mode. Why? Because jailbreaking is developer mode.
Is there a jailbreak download?
There is no need to download or install software to root your Chromebook. All of this is already built into ChromeOS.
So don’t go install random files because they’re not needed.
Can you jailbreak a managed Chromebook?
You can’t jailbreak managed Chromebooks. Sorry, it’s blocked by default by the settings. You’ll need permission to get it to work.
Is it unsafe to use rooted Chromebooks?
It’s definitely not as safe as a locked Chromebook.
Why? Because ChromeOS security features are disabled when you root it. They have no security measures to protect them from threats online.
Third-party programs (exe files) can also be downloaded/installed, which can screw up your CB. But if you use common sense, you should be OK. Learn how to protect yourself online.
Use WINE if you can’t jailbreak
The last option is to use WINE. WINE will let you emulate Windows programs on your Chromebook without having to root it.
You can also try Parallels, which is software that works the same.
Lastly, you can use a remote desktop to view your desktop through your CB. The latter option is the easiest and free to do.
Enjoy your unlocked Chromebook
Now that you’ve jailbroken your Chromebook, you can really unleash the beast!
Whenever you get bored and want to revert it, hit the Spacebar on the OS verification page, or do a factory reset to exit developer mode.
If you have any questions, feel free to post them below.
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