How to Play RuneScape on Your Chromebook (Complete Tutorial) – Updated for 2021

If you’re a RuneScape fan, you’re probably itching like crazy to play it on your Chromebook.

So, you go to their site, attempt to load RuneScape, and you’ll notice that your Chromebook can’t even run the Java environment required to play the game in the first place.

This is because of the way Chrome OS was built, and you’re about to see why it’s a good thing.

Don’t be disappointed. You’ll soon be able to grind all day and level up your skills in just a bit.

Last updated: 1/23/21. This guide will constantly be updated when needed to provide an accurate installation process. Did you find an error? Is there a missing step? Please leave a comment and I’ll update this page promptly when a solution is found. (You can leave comments after the article.)

Why doesn’t RuneScape work with Chrome OS?

Chrome was built without Java support for a reason- and that reason is security.

Third-party software and installations are disabled. Java is disabled. Flash is disabled. All of these are safety measures to make Chrome OS nearly invulnerable to attacks.

This is why you don’t need antivirus or any other special software. Your laptop is pretty much bulletproof from the start.

But, this is also why Chromebooks can’t play Minecraft or RuneScape out-of-the-box. Chrome OS is locked down for security and this is a contributing factor to why it’s one of the safest operating systems around.

Of course, being so restrictive can be very limiting in terms of functionality such as installing software, compatibility, and in this scenario playing games.

But thankfully, there’s a pretty easy workaround to get the game running on your device. And that’s what this tutorial will help you accomplish.

Before we get started, there are a few things you should know:

  • You should know that you need to have some idea of using the command prompt (terminal) to do this. It’s not difficult, but it’s easy to make a mistake. If you’ve never used the command prompt before, it’s okay. Just follow the steps below and make sure you type in each line of code exactly as stated here otherwise your laptop will throw an error.
  • Setting your Chromebook up for RuneScape requires that you enable Developer Mode on your laptop. This is potentially dangerous in the sense that you can screw up your laptop, but you can always do a Powerwash and reset your Chromebook to factory settings.
  • Be sure to backup all your personal files, pictures, data, images, and whatever else you have saved to your laptop before doing this. You can use cloud storage like Google Drive or use an external hard drive to easily save your stuff. The process we’re about to go through involves erasing your local storage, so it’s important you backup all your necessary stuff. Don’t blame me if you don’t. (Yes, you’ll really lose all the data on your disk.)

It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re attempting to do this on a device you don’t own (such as a school or work laptop), it may not work if your network has disabled Developer Mode. Chromebooks that are managed or enrolled in a network usually have Dev Mode and other administrative features turned off. You should consult your IT admin.

Okay, are you ready?

Let’s install RuneScape on your Chromebook. Woot.

Here’s how to do it.

Linux will let you run RuneScape

Chromebooks can run RuneScape easily with Linux and Crouton.
Chromebooks can run RuneScape. All you need to do is install Linux via Crouton.

To get around the Java-less environment of Chrome OS, we’ll have to install Linux.

Linux is an operating system (technically, it’s a kernel) just like Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS. If you’ve been playing games for any amount of time, you know what Linux is.

It’s widely used among developers and computer enthusiasts around the world.  It’s secure, free, open-source, and offers a lot of features just like Chrome OS.

For our purpose, Linux can run Java applications- which is exactly what you need to run the game.

To play RuneScape, you’ll need to be able to run Java. Linux runs Java. Therefore, you’ll need Linux. To get Linux, you’ll need Crouton.

Did you ever notice how free and open-source software happens to always be the savior? Just food for thought.

Hardware requirements

You don’t need that much power to run the game.

The game is already highly-optimized to run on any device- including low-end devices.

A basic Intel Celeron Chromebook with at least 4GB of RAM should do the trick. But that’s not set in stone. I’ve seen people online play the game with even 2GB of RAM. Although it’s noticeably laggier and framerates drop, it’s still playable.

The majority of Chromebooks have Intel HD Graphics as an integrated GPU, so you have some decent power to render the game. If you’re running Intel, you have Intel HD Graphics.

Also, note that this will only work for Intel-powered Chromebooks.

Most are powered by Intel processors, but some are ARM-based or MediaTek-based. You’ll want to avoid these because they’ll just cause headaches and probably won’t work with this tutorial.

You can easily check if you have an Intel-based CPU by just looking at your Chromebook’s stickers- this is the easiest way. If it has an Intel processor, you’ll likely find the infamous blue-and-white Intel sticker somewhere on it. If not, look at the bottom panel. There should be a label with a bunch of information on it. Scan for something that states it has an Intel processor.

With OSRS able to run on a potato, most models should be able to run it without a hitch. If you like old school RS, download the game and get Java.

Another way to check your Chromebooks hardware specifications is to use the built-in function in Chrome OS.

Here’s how:

  • Open Chrome Web Browser
  • Type in “chrome://system” (without the quotations) in the address bar and press Enter.
  • Look for “cpu” on the left and check what you have on the right.

As a last resort, you can just look up your specific model online and check the system specs.

If you don’t have an Intel CPU, don’t waste your time with this guide. It won’t work. Sorry.

But if you’re a hardcore fan of the game, consider buying an Intel-based laptop. I have a Chromebook buyer’s guide for that. You can pick one up for less than $150 that plays the games you crave.

If you do have an Intel processor, then go ahead proceed to the following steps.

So, if you have an Intel-powered Chromebook and you’re ready to play RuneScape…

Let’s go.

Enable Developer Mode

To install Linux, you’ll need to have Developer Mode switched on.

I wrote a complete step-by-step tutorial on how to enable Developer Mode on your Chromebook.

So check out the tutorial and follow the steps there, then come back here and proceed. This is also where you’ll need to make sure that you’ve backed up your stuff before proceeding (the guide covers it). So, connect that external hard drive or load up that cloud service and start backing up your stuff.

It should be fairly straightforward and easy to switch.

If you have any questions about enabling it, post them here and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Download Crouton on your Chromebook and install Linux

RuneScape can run on Chromebooks by installing Linux OS. You'll need it to play the game.
RuneScape can run on most Chromebooks with Linux installed. You’ll need it to be able to execute Java-based games. Ready for some fun?

Okay, so now you should have Developer Mode enabled.

Next, we’ll download Crouton, which is basically an installer that installs Linux on your Chromebook using a few lines of code (don’t worry, it’s easy).

For simplicity’s sake and to keep things in perspective, Crouton is just a launcher that installs Linux. Don’t get confused over the naming.

But to make things more confusing, we’ll be installing Ubuntu, which is a distro of Linux using Crouton.

And on top of that, we’ll be installing “Xfce,” which is a specific desktop environment of Ubuntu.

And lastly, we’ll be using the “Trusty” version of Xfce.

Is that too much? Don’t worry too much. It’s all pretty much done automatically. And you’ve also got the power of this tutorial to help you on your quest to chop down some trees.

Step 1: Download Crouton from the GitHub page here.

I suggest you also read over Crouton’s FAQ page as it covers important information, such as adding support for touchscreens, encryption, default browsers, and such.

If you decide to add additional features, modify the lines of code below to fit your needs.

To keep things simple, I’ll be supplying just the bare-bones code below.

Note: Be sure to save Crouton to the default “Downloads” folder or else it won’t work with the following steps. If you have a custom folder to save your stuff that you download from the Internet, you’ll have to verify that it’s saved in the default folder.

Step 2: Open up the command terminal by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + T” and you’ll get a popup box ready for your code input. Don’t panic.

At the command line, type the following lines of code (without the quotations) exactly as shown- the code is case sensitive:

Type “shell” and press Enter.

Type “sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r trusty -t xfce” and press Enter.

What this will do is install “Trusty” on the Xfce desktop environment. If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry about it.

I chose Xfce because it’s a fast and minimalist environment that’s just plain and simple. It’s easy to use as well so people who are new to Linux are less prone to errors and confusion. It’s pretty much like vanilla Linux.

For more advanced users, there are many different desktop environments of Linux and modifiers you can install and play around with.

Note: The “-trusty” command is optional, but it’s recommended to prevent errors from possibly occurring later in the process.

If you need extra help on this step, I wrote a tutorial that covers installing Linux step-by-step you can reference.

Did you get an error? If you’re getting an error that reads:

“sh: Can’t open /home/chronos/user/Downloads/crouton”

Don’t worry. It’s quite common and easily fixed.

All you need to do is delete Crouton from your disk, and then download it again. Then try typing in the code again.

You can refer this guide if you need detailed help.

For some reason, it’ll work automagically on the second try. I have no idea why this is. It’s weird.

Still not working? If Crouton is still throwing errors, there’s another way to get it running. I was informed about this method by an awesome reader (thanks, Seth!).

Here’s how:

  • Install the Crouton Integration extension from the Chrome Web Store. It’s an unlisted extension, so you’ll need to install it through the special link provided.
  • After you install it, run it. It’ll prompt to download the default Crouton file to your hard disk. This should be the basic file (no tar.gz or .zip).
  • When it’s done downloading and saved on your Chromebook, try typing in the code again. Remember to type it exactly as shown.

Step 3: Start up Ubuntu.

After the installation completes, type in:

“sudo startxfce4”

If you’re using a different desktop environment, replace “xfce4” with whatever you chose.

Step 4: Install all updates to make sure you have the newest improvements and patches.

You can do this by booting into Ubuntu, type the following commands:

“sudo apt-get update”

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade”

Then type in:

“sudo apt-get install software-center”

These steps will update your Ubuntu to the newest version, and install the software center which makes installing applications on your Chromebook via Ubuntu much easier.

Tip: You can use “Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Left/Right Arrow” to switch between Chrome OS and Ubuntu easily. So if you have issues looking up how to do something in Ubuntu, you can switch to Chrome and look it up using your familiar browser.

Download the RuneScape installer

Okay, so at this point, you should have a Chromebook with Ubuntu installed.

Next, we’ll actually install RuneScape on your Chromebook.

Step 1: Boot up your Ubuntu installation from Chrome OS.

Open up the terminal by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + T” and type the following lines of code (again, without quotes and with proper casing):

“sudo apt-add-repository ppa:hikariknight/unix-runescape-client”

“sudo apt-get update”

“sudo apt-get install unix-runescape-client”

After that, the game will install on your Chromebook. You’re almost ready to play. Congrats.

Step 2: Type in “runescape” and hit Enter. The game will boot and you’re all set.

The game will start and you’ll be presented with the login screen.

You’re done! You should now be able to play RuneScape on your Chromebook! Congrats again!

Play RuneScape on Chromebook.
This is the victory screen. Your mission was to play RuneScape on your Chromebook. You did it. Congrats.

Improving the performance of RuneScape on your Chromebook

Adjust game settings

If you have a cheap Chromebook, you may notice that the game chugs and doesn’t run too smoothly.

When I first launched RuneScape, I was getting about 12FPS on my Acer Chromebook CB3-131 (Intel Celeron, 2GB RAM).

If you’re a gamer, you know that playing at anything under 30FPS is less-than-optimal.

So what I did was switch the game over to Legacy mode, which is made to run on weaker and older computers. This alone boosted me up to about 22FPS. It’s not even close to ideal, but it’s playable.

You can also change the graphics settings within the game. Change the resolution to the lowest playable resolution for another performance boost.

You can disable any background applications you may have running to squeeze out some more performance. Playing in a smaller window also seems to help as well, along with lowering all the in-game settings.

I’ve also read that disabling audio boosts performance, but I haven’t really seen any improvement by doing so. I’d rather lose a few frames for audio. That sweet, sweet music.

I could play the game averaging about 20-22FPS. But when I enter populated towns, it drops down to a chuggable 10-12FPS. This is the only drawback. That’s why I spent most of my time questing with a friend in lower-population areas.

My friend also has this installed on his laptop. He’s running an Intel Core CPU with 4GB of RAM. He’s averaging about 50FPS with dips down to about 40FPS in populated areas. The game runs smoothly and looks amazing. His game settings are just about low-medium, so it’s still palatable enough to play.

It’s a huge world of difference. Running the game on a faster CPU with double the RAM is like night and day.

If you’re seriously a hardcore gamer and you need to play this on your Chromebook, you may want to consider getting a more powerful laptop.

Upgrade your device

If you’re thinking about upgrading your rig, there are a ton of models out now that sport plenty of power.

Modern Chromebooks often have at least 4GB of RAM and are often running newer processors, such as Intel Core CPUs.

This provides plenty of power for you to run the game like butter. A lot of them also have touchscreen support and convertible bodies. This makes playing games, in general, a lot more pleasant.

(Thinking about upgrading? Check out this list of the newest Chromebooks on the market.)

Use an extension

Some users have also suggested getting a Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store to improve performance.

This works, but it depends on your usage habits.

For instance, you can download The Great Suspender which will automatically suspend idle Chrome tabs. This, in turn, will reduce RAM usage and free it up for Runescape.

But then again, if you don’t have multiple tabs open, it won’t really boost game performance.

Update your Java version

If you’re running an older version of JRE, this could result in some serious lag when you play RS.

You should double-check that you have the latest version (JRE 8+) by typing the following commands:

Launch the command prompt (“CTRL + ALT + T”)

Type “java -version” and hit Enter.

You’ll see some text show up on your screen that displays all the Java installs you have on your device. This is the current default version you’re running. If you have a lot of them, you can select your default Java installation to run with RS.

If you’re having difficulty updating Java, check out this tutorial to install and update JRE.

Install OS Buddy

You can easily run OS Buddy alongside the game on Linux.

If you haven’t heard of OS Buddy, it’s basically an old-school toolkit for running the game with some awesome features implemented. Hardcore fans of the game see it as a must-have toolkit.

Their site is called, confusingly, RSBuddy. But don’t fret- they’re pretty much used interchangeably.

You can get all this and more with just a single download. OS Buddy runs alongside your RuneScape client on Linux and doesn’t require any changes. It comes in both a free version and a premium version. If you’ve never used it before and you’re looking to increase your gameplay experience, you should definitely install the free version.

If you like it enough, you can upgrade to OS Buddy Pro. OS Buddy Pro improves your game experience by adding a ton of nice little trackers, taggers, helpers, and even graphics options.

Some of the most useful functions include the following:

  • Use OpenGL graphics
  • Adds a combat tracker
  • Adds a clue scroll solver
  • Use bank tagging
  • Use screen markers
  • Adds skilling helpers
  • Adds a bank evaluator

If you’re interested, you can check out the full feature list here.

Personally, I just use the free version as I don’t play the game enough (too many games, too little time) to get my money’s worth of the pro features. However, I can see a hardcore fan totally taking advantage of these trackers.

Anyway, you can easily download and install OS Buddy on your Chromebook.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Download the Debian package of OS Buddy from their official site.

Be sure you download the right package or else it won’t launch!

Step 2: Launch the command terminal (“CTRL + ALT + T”).

Step 3: Navigate to the directory where you installed OS Buddy (use “cd” to change the directory).

If you’re not familiar with Linux commands, you use “cd” to change the directory. You need to navigate and specify the exact directory where you downloaded OS Buddy in.

For example, if you downloaded it to your “Downloads” folder, you’d type in something like “cd /home/user/downloads/…” in order to run it properly.

If you get an error while trying to install it, you probably have the wrong directory specified. Linux is very picky!

Step 4: Launch OS Buddy using the following command:
“Java -jar OSBuddy.jar”

The game should launch with OS Buddy as well.

If not, leave a comment and let me know and I’ll try to help you out =].

Looking for Old-School RuneScape (OSRS)?

You can choose between the two games, OSRS and RS3 at the launcher window.

This thing has changed so many times that it’s hard to keep updated on it, so you may have to do some research in order to play OSRS. It used to be available in the “Options” or “Settings” tab, but some readers have reported that it’s gone missing or that you need to punch in a few commands to switch from RS3 to OSRS.

If you’re having difficulties, please leave a comment and let me know. OSRS is possible and has been done, but the process of making it happen is extremely tedious.


The most common problem readers get is their laptop throwing an “unknown command” error after they type in their first line of code (“sudo”).

This is often because Dev Mode isn’t enabled, or they’ve enabled it but Chrome OS tends to revert back to the default mode.

After you enable it, it’ll stay active until you close the lid, shut down, or restart your Chromebook. The next time you boot it up, you’ll be prompted with a warning screen stating that OS Verification is OFF. (This pretty much means Dev Mode is still on.)

You need to press the right key in order to keep it off. If you press the wrong key, it’ll automatically go back to the system defaults (OS Verification ON). This is good for security but bad for trying to hack a game into Chrome OS.

If you let it revert, you’ll have to do this process all over again every time it resets itself. Be sure to press the right key. Read the warning prompt. It’ll tell you which key to press in order to keep Dev Mode activated.

If you’re having other issues, you can leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Lastly, if you’re a visual learner, here’s a video going over pretty much the same steps (there are slight differences, but the process is nearly identical):

Did you get it working?

Well, that’s about it.

You should now be able to run RuneScape pretty smoothly on your Chromebook, and start training your fire-starting and fishing skills ASAP. If you have any issues, please let me know in the comments below.

Note that this guide doesn’t work for every single model. Strangely enough, some work and some don’t- even if it’s the same operating system. There is no universal guide that works for all Chromebooks.

However, with minor tweaks and such, you can get RuneScape to play on most Chromebooks.

Again, if you’re having issues, leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

But first, try to tinker and see if you can figure it out yourself.

It’s always good to learn and become a Chromebook master. If you can grind for hours cutting logs, you can research for hours getting this to work. Though, it should be easy enough to get it running.

Let me know if this guide has helped you. And if it did, consider telling a friend so they can tag along with you on your epic adventure to grind some skills.

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).
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