Want to play the infamous zombie-survival game Unturned on your Chromebook?
Now you can, with this complete tutorial!
This whole process is relatively easy to do and should only take about an hour if it’s your first time doing something like this. By the end of it, you’ll have Unturned running on your Chromebook so you can play it at school, work, or even in bed!
Sound good? Let’s get started.
Last updated: 1/12/21. Unturned doesn’t nearly have as many players now, but for those looking for a free zombie game like Rust, DayZ, ARK, or The Forest, this is it.
This method still works in 2021 as long as you can successfully install Steam (covered in this tutorial).
What do I need to run Unturned?
First, let’s get the hardware/software requirements out of the way so you don’t waste your time going through this guide only to find out you can’t play the game because you don’t have the right hardware or software.
Here’s a list of things you’ll need to play Unturned on a Chromebook:
- A Chromebook with an Intel-based CPU
- 4GB of RAM (2GB works, but it’s pushing it)
- 10GB of free space on your hard drive (or an external drive – SD card recommended)
- Patience of steel
That’s about it.
Let’s go over the hardware briefly so you get an idea of why you need it. This will weed out the models that don’t work right away to save you time!
Intel fanboys only
The most important thing is the Chromebook (duh) with an Intel processor. The reason for this is because this method won’t work on ARM-based or MediaTek-based Chromebook. Sorry. Intel only.
Not because I’m an Intel fanboy, but rather because the process involves installing Linux on your Chromebook in order to download, install, run, and play Unturned. And this only works with Intel processor architecture.
If you’re not sure what kind of processor your Chromebook has, you can check by doing any of the following:
- Look for an Intel sticker near the touchpad
- Look on the bottom panel sticker for Intel logos or trademarks
- Look up your Chromebook’s model number online and check the spec sheet
Or you can launch Chrome and type in “chrome://system” and then look for “cpu” in the left-hand menu. It’ll tell you exactly what kind of processor you’re running. Just be sure it’s Intel.
Whether it’s Pentium, Celeron, m3, i3, i5, or i7, it doesn’t matter. Intel makes a variety of chipsets for Chromebooks and all you need is the Intel brand.
So, you’ve checked that you’re running the right CPU.
Readers have asked if MediaTek, ARM, or Rockchip, or other processors made by Samsung or ASUS will work.
There are some oddball processors out there like the Samsung Exynos and Rockchip RK CPUs. It needs to be Intel only. If you’re unsure of what you have, you can check out this tutorial on how to tell what Chromebook you really have.
How much RAM do I need?
Next, let’s go over the RAM requirements for Unturned.
I’d strongly suggest at least having 4GB of RAM. Unturned system requirements state that the game will with 4GB of RAM at MINIMUM. Recommended calls for 8GB of RAM.
However, the majority of Chromebooks only have 2-4GB of RAM, let alone 8GB. But there are some powerful Chromebooks out there that have a ton of RAM.
For the majority of users, you’ll either have 2 or 4GB only. 4GB is the minimum I’d recommend to run the game smoothly. If you only have 2GB, you can still give it a shot and try optimizing the game through the graphics settings in game.
Perhaps you can get it to run smoothly by adjusting the settings and turning them to the lowest possible values.
How much space do I need?
Next, let’s look at storage capacity.
Unturned only uses about 4GB of space, but when it gets updated by Steam, it reserves a huge chunk of space during the update. This is why you need to have some additional space partitioned aside in your hard drive for the game updates.
If you have just the bare minimum, you may run out of memory during the update and run into update problems. That’s why I recommend at least 6GB of disk space.
If you don’t know how much space you have, here’s how you can check free disk space on your Chromebook:
- Launch the Launcher by pressing the Search key (magnifying glass key) or clicking on the Launcher icon in the bottom-left.
- Look for the “Files” app and launch it.
- Look on the left-hand menu and find your hard disk. Click on it and check how much space you have remaining.
We need enough space to install Linux, Steam, and Unturned. So 10GB of space should be good enough.
I don’t have enough space, now what?
If you don’t have enough space, don’t fret.
You can install Steam and Unturned to an external hard drive and run them off the drive instead. Or just install Unturned on an external drive and let Steam live on your Chromebook, which is what I suggest.
I’d also strongly recommend using a USB 3.0 connection because USB 2.0 won’t be playable. It’s just too slow.
You can use anything from a thumb drive, SD card, to a traditional external hard drive. They all work. I’d suggest using an SD card because it’s the fastest and what I’ll be using in this tutorial!
If you need directions on connecting an external hard drive, thumb drive, or SD card to your Chromebook, check out this tutorial.
If you don’t have external storage, just buy some. It’s cheap. Here’s a list of Chromebook-compatible external storage drives.
And lastly, you need patience.
If this is your first time, you’ll run into errors, bugs, and other nasties. If you give up, you won’t get to play Unturned. You need some patience to do research, troubleshoot, and solve the problems that you’ll encounter. Don’t expect it to go smoothly the first time around!
And if you do run into any problems (you probably will), you can leave a comment here and I’ll try to help you out!
Sound good? Let’s get to the good stuff.
An overview of the process
The process is simple and straightforward. But it’s always easier than ti sounds.
Here’s what we’ll be doing in order:
- Backing up your data
- Enabling Developer Mode
- Getting Crouton
- Installing Linux (Ubuntu with Xfce)
- Configure the SD card
- Installing Steam
- Installing Unturned
- Playing Unturned!
As of 2021, Unturned still garners a whopping 20K players average daily. So there are still plenty of people playing and the servers are packed and you’ll never be walking around playing a waking simulator. There’s plenty to enjoy and the game is getting updates frequently.
Backing up your stuff
This is the first and probably the most important step for all data hoarders.
Installing Unturned on your Chromebook requires enabling Developer Mode, which will wipe your Chromebook of all user data. In essence, you’ll be factory restoring your laptop and everything on it will be erased so it’ll be like when you first bought it.
So it’s important to backup all your data. Everything will be wiped including the images, files, videos, documents, and everything else saved in your Downloads folder or any other custom directories you’ve created.
You’ll also lose your Chromebook settings, games, wallpapers, Chrome Web Store apps, and any Play Store apps you’ve downloaded- if your device is capable of accessing the Play Store.
How do I back up my Chromebook?
If this data is important to you, take this opportunity to back it up. You can back up your Chromebook in the following ways:
- Use an external hard drive
- Use a flash/thumb drive
- Use an SD card
- Back it up to Google Drive
- Back it up to Dropbox
- Back it up to any other cloud provider
If you need help on how to do this step-by-step, I’ve written a complete tutorial on backing up your Chromebook you can check out.
Note that data saved in your Google Account will be safe. This means your Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, etc. will all remain intact and untouched. This is because this data is saved on Google’s servers- not your Chromebook. So wiping your Chromebook won’t affect your Google Account data.
This is the only chance you’ll have to back up your data. Do it now or forever be a sad panda!
Done? Okay. Let’s go to the next step.
Enable Developer Mode
This is the first step to cracking the code. Developer Mode will let you get extended privileges so you can do other things like trying out new Chrome features, get the Play Store, or in our case, install Linux.
Thankfully, enabling it is a cinch. All you need to do is press a keyboard combination and your Chromebook will enable Dev Mode pretty much automatically.
Note that this process will wipe your Chromebook and restore it back to factory conditions. There’s no way to get around this and it’s a required step if you want to get Unturned running on your laptop!
(You’ve backed up your stuff already, right?)
Okay, so here’s how to enable Developer Mode:
Step 1: Press and hold “ESC + Refresh (F3) + Power” until your Chromebook restarts itself.
Step 2: When it boots up again, you’ll see a scary warning screen. Read it over. Press “CTRL + D.”
Step 3: You’ll then see another warning telling you that “OS Verification is off.” Read it over. Press Enter.
Step 4: Wait for your Chromebook to enter Developer Mode. This may take up to 20 minutes.
Step 5: It’ll reboot automatically and start in Developer Mode. You’ll see another warning screen. Press “CTRL + D” at this screen.
Step 6: You’ll now be brought to the login screen. Log in and you’ll be in Developer Mode.
Watch out for the restarts!
Every time you start up your Chromebook with Developer Mode enabled, it’ll show you a warning message that the OS Verification is off. You want to keep it OFF by pressing “CTRL + D” or waiting for the timer to run out.
- OS Verification OFF = Developer Mode ON.
- OS Verification ON = Developer Mode OFF.
You want Developer Mode ON, which means OS Verification OFF.
So when you boot up your machine, be sure to press “CTRL + D” and NOT the spacebar.
If you press the spacebar, it’ll take the device out of Developer Mode.
If you install Linux, Steam, and Unturned and then restart your device but forget to keep verification off, it’ll wipe your device and you’ll have to start all over again. This is because Chrome OS reverts out of Developer Mode automatically for security.
Okay, so at this point you have Dev Mode enabled on your device. We’re reading to move onto the next step.
If you get stuck or confused, check out this tutorial on how to turn on Developer Mode.
Get Crouton to install Linux
This step is easy.
All you need to do is download Crouton. Crouton is the little file we’ll be using to Install Linux. It makes it straightforward and all you need to do to is type in a few strings of code. Don’t’ worry about code.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s okay. I’ve written this guide so the total beginner can follow it- whether or not you know how to code.
But you’ll feel pro at the end of it. Imagine exploring Unturned an abandoned grocery store for that sweet, sweet loot. And then being paranoid if someone is gonna sneak up behind you.
Anyway, let’s’ get back on track.
Download Crouton here.
I also strongly suggest for you to read over the basics about Crouton here. It contains some useful information that will make the installation easier for you to understand what you’re doing. Don’t’ worry, it’s not written in some geeky coding language. It’s in plain English- like this tutorial!
So, at this point, you should have Crouton downloaded to your Downloads folder. Be sure it’s saved in that folder because the commands won’t work if it’s saved elsewhere.
Either move it to your Downloads folder or modify the code later to the right path to your specific directory where Crouton is saved.
Install Linux Ubuntu
This is the fun part.
Installing Linux is easy, but you need to be sure you’re typing in the commands correctly. If you screw up, you’ll get a nasty error thrown in your face. All the commands are case-sensitive and need to be typed exactly as shown.
We’ll be installing Ubuntu with the Xfce desktop environment. There are tons of different Linux distros with tons of different desktop environments.
I chose Ubuntu because it’s the easiest to use and well-documented. You can find literally anything about it online in case you run into problems. And Xfce is a minimalistic and simple desktop environment.
Why Ubuntu and Xfce?
Let’s be honest. Chromebooks aren’t the most powerful gaming rigs. If you have a desktop that’s full of fancy effects and eye-candy, it’ll only slow down your system and use more resources.
Going with a simple and plain-looking desktop frees up resources for Unturned resulting in smoother gameplay and better FPS. And it’s easier to use without all that clutter.
There are dozens of other distros and desktop environments you can use. If you want to use something else, you can check out this guide about different Linux distros for Chromebooks I wrote. It covers how to install a different Linux distro on your Chromebook and choose a different desktop environment. There are some pretty cool ones.
Bu for the purposes of this tutorial, let’s keep it simple.
Okay, enough talk. Show me how to install Linux already.
Here come the commands. Type them in exactly as shown, without the quotes.
So, here’s how to install Linux:
Step 1: Launch the command prompt by pressing “CTRL + ALT + T” and then hit Enter.
Step 2: Type “shell” and hit Enter.
Step 3: Type “sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r trusty -t core,cli-extra,chrome,keyboard,xfce” and hit Enter.
Note: If you want to install additional functions, read the next section before doing this step.
Step 4: Follow the on-screen prompts. Read the information. Create a username and password when prompted.
Note: When you type in your credentials, the cursor won’t move on the screen. You’re actually inputting characters but it’ll look like nothing’s happening. This is normal and a security feature.
Another note: Be sure to write down or memorize your password! If you forget, there’s no way to recover it and you’ll have to start over- from the beginning!
Step 5: Linux will now install. This can take up to 20 minutes. Watch some Unturned gameplay videos or something.
Step 6: After it’s done, type in “sudo startxfce4” and hit Enter.
Step 7: It’ll boot in Linux and prompt you for your username and password. You’re done.
Switching between Linux and Chrome OS
You can freely switch back and forth between Chrome OS and Linux at this point by using the following keyboard shortcuts:
- Switch to Linux: “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Forward Arrow.”
- Switch to Chrome OS “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Back Arrow.”
Note that the forward/back arrows on the TOP row of your keyboard- NOT the bottom arrow keypad. Look where the F1-F12 keys are on a Windows keyboard. Those are the arrow buttons to switch between Chrome OS and Linux.
What if I want to add stuff like touchscreen support on Linux?
If you want to add extra functionality to your Linux install, you can!
Be sure to type in any extra flags you want to customize your installation. If you have a touchscreen Chromebook and want to be able to use the touch functionality in Linux, you need to add the -touch flag to your input, so it looks like this:
“-r trusty -t core,cli-extra,chrome,keyboard,touch,xfce”
There are a few more flags you can use, see this tutorial on adding flags to Croton.
If you get lost at any point and need more instructions, either leave a comment here or check out this resource on getting Linux for Chromebooks.
And if you’re having issues, check out this page on troubleshooting Crouton. Follow the steps exactly and it should work with no problems!
Configuring the SD card
Next up, we’re going to configure your SD card and prep it for Steam.
If you think you have enough storage space on your disk to install Unturned, you can skip this step and go on to the next step. Just be sure you have enough because if a Steam update comes around and the game needs to be updated, you may run out of space!
If you have a standard 16GB SSD in your Chromebook, you’ll want to allocate space to an external SD card. If you’re using something else like an external hard drive or thumb drive, the directions are pretty much the same. I suggest using an SD card though. They’re cheap and fast enough to play the game off of.
Again, if you don’t already have external storage, you can check out this buyer’s guide.
Mount the SD card
The first thing we need to do is mount the card.
This is pretty easy but requires some code. Again, just type it in exactly as shown (without the quotes) and if you get stuck, leave a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP =].
Step 1: Plug in your SD card.
Step 2: Launch the command prompt with “CTRL + ALT +T.”
Step 3: Type “mkdir /home/ubuntu/Steam” and hit Enter. This will create a new directory on your computer just for Steam, which will also be a partition for Unturned.
Step 4: Type “sudo mount -t vfat -o defaults,nosuid,nodev /dev/sdb1/home/ubuntu/Steam” and hit Enter.
Linux should’ve successfully created a new directory for Steam mounted on your SD card. If you typed anything incorrectly, or if you have an SD card in a different format (fuseblk), you’ll get an error. So double-check your spelling to make sure you input the commands correctly.
If you have a card in a different format, we can change the command to suit your card.
My SD card isn’t mounting
You can check what format your SD card is by doing the following:
- Plug in your SD card.
- Launch the command prompt (“CTRL + ALT + T”).
- Type “mount | grepsdb1” and hit Enter.
You’ll see some information displayed. Look for the format after “Card type” in the readout.
For example, with my card, it says the following:
“/dev/sdb1 on /var/host/media/removable/SD Card type vfat (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,”
We’re interested in just the “vfat” part. If your card spits out something else, take note of it and replace “vfat” with your card’s format in the code above.
You may have a formatted card as “fuseblk” instead.
Replace the code with your card’s format
For example, you’d follow the same steps above, but replace “vfat” with “fuseblk” instead.
So for Step 4, you’d use the following command:
“sudo mount -t fuseblk -o defaults, nosuid,nodev /dev/sdb1/home/ubuntu/Steam”
And lastly, if that doesn’t work, triple-check your spelling once again.
After you’ve done that, try inputting the following command into the command prompt:
“sudo apt-get install -y fuse-exfat exfat-utils”
Then try the steps again with your proper card format. This should work. Because if not, it means you’re on your own.
Just kidding. Leave a comment and I’ll see if I can help.
Get Steam installed
We’re almost there. Can you smell the full set of military gear at Zavod yet?
Installing Steam is a cinch. It just takes a line of code and that’s it. Yup. A single line with our handy-dandy command prompt.
With this game being completely free to play, it’s one of the few free zombie survival games out there- compared to Rust, DayZ, or The Forest which are paid games.
The blocky, pixelated graphics are also unique (in their own way) and don’t require much to run smoothly, which makes it suitable for Chrome OS! So it’s one game that’ll run on a potato.
Here’s how to get Steam on Linux easily:
Step 1: Launch the command prompt. You should know the keyboard combination by now. (Hint: It’s “CTRL + ALT + T.”)
Step 2: Type “sudo apt-get install -y steam” and hit Enter.
Step 3: Read and agree to the terms and conditions. Or not.
Step 4: Press “Tab” to highlight the “OK” button and press Enter.
Step 5: steam will install. Wait like a good person.
Step 6: Launch Steam by going to Applications > Games > Steam.
Step 7: Steam will probably need to update itself when launching for the first time. Let it do its thing.
Step 8: Sign in to Steam with your existing login, or create a new one after updating.
That’s it! You have a working copy of Steam on your Chromebook!
The next step is the final step to getting Unturned running!
Installing Unturned on your Chromebook
Now we’re going to actually install the game. This is probably the most exciting part of the tutorial.
The first thing we need to do is configure Steam to save Unturned to the SD card we mounted earlier:
Step 1: Launch Steam if you haven’t already. Then go to View > Settings > Downloads.
Step 2: Click on “Steam Library Folders” and then click on “Add library folder.”
Step 3: Select the directory you created earlier in the drop-down menu. Look for the SD card path. In our case, it should be under “/home/ubuntu/Steam.”
Step 4: Steam will then create a “SteamApps” directory in the specified partition on your SD card.
Step 5: Find Unturned in your Library or search for it if you haven’t added it yet.
Step 6: Click “Install” and select the location “/home/ubuntu/Steam” so the game will be installed on your SD card.
Step 7: Wait for the installation to complete.
Step 8: Launch Unturned on your Chromebook!
Congrats! You’ve done it. You now have Unturned running on your Chromebook! Time to camp some other unsuspecting players and loot their goods!
Improving performance, optimizing Unturned, and getting more FPS
As I mentioned earlier, Chromebooks aren’t really made for gaming. That’s why we need to optimize it.
Go to your in-game settings. Depending on your Chromebook hardware, you can adjust the settings to your liking for the best graphics: performance ratio.
You can get the best performance in PvP Unturned with the following game settings:
- Show FPS/ping = OFF
- Play menu music = OFF
- Arena timer warning = ON
- Show blood splatters = ON (it’s useful during firefights)
- Censor text profanity = Up to you
- Show inbound text chat = ON (can you give you some useful information)
- Enable inbound voice chat = ON (useful for enemy iotel)
- Enable outbound voice chat = OFF
- Show hints = OFF
- Play day/night ambience = OFF
- Streamer mode = OFF (unless you stream)
- Field of view = 100%
- Volume = 100%
- Inbound voice gain = 100%
- NPC text animation = Instant talking
- Measurement system = Up to you
- Interface skin = BLACK (nice contrast)
- Hitmarker locking = STATIC
- Crosshair color = Your preference
- Hitmarker color = Your preference
- Critical hitmarker color = Your preference
- Cursor color, interface background/foreground color, font color = Your preference
- Fullscreen = ON (this may lag your Chromebook so be careful, but if it can handle it, it helps you see the enemy better in PvP)
- VSync = OFF
- Resolution = Adjust it to your liking (keep it as low as possible to speed up FPS)
- Nearby draw distance = 100%
- Landmarks = OFF
- Landmark draw distance = OFF
- Bloom = OFF
- Chromatic aberration = OFF
- Film grain = OFF
- Clouds = OFF
- Terrain transition = OFF
- Height fog = OFF
- Grass displacement = OFF
- Scope focus foliage = OFF
- Ragdolls = ON
- Debris = OFF
- Blast marks = ON
- Rain puddles = OFF
- Snow glitter = OFF
- Triplanar mapping = OFF
- Skybox reflection = OFF
- Anti-aliasing = OFF
- Anisotropic filtering = OFF
- Effect duration = LOW
- Grass density = OFF
- Sun shafts quality = LOW
- Lighting quality = LOW
- Ambient occlusion quality = LOW
- Reflection quality = LOW
- Water quality = LOW
- Scope quality = HIGH
- Outline quality = LOW
- Animation quality = LOW
- Terrain quality = LOW
- Wind quality = OFF
- Tree quality = OLD TREES (LEGACY)
- Render mode = OLD (LEGACY)
After playing around with the settings for a week, I found this to be the most effective combination on a Chromebook for best PvP performance without looking like crap.
It gives you a nice balance between FPS, minimizing distractions, and having an easier time taking out snipers. Feel free to adjust it to your liking.
Did you get it working?
Well, there you have it.
You can now play Unturned on your Chromebook. It’s time to storm the military base and loot those goods. Just be careful of those grassy snipers!
You can now play at school, work, or anywhere else you want. Unturned is completely mobile at this point!
If you have any other questions or if you get stuck, let me know by leaving a comment. And if this guide has helped you, consider telling a friend and letting me know as well =]!
Now go enjoy some zombie-shooting-action-survival fun and soak it all in. You earned it!
Tell a friend. Seriously. Then both of you two can dominate Scorpion-7 together. On your Chromebooks.
Thanks for reading!