So, you wanna play some Warframe on your Chromebook.
Being one of the most popular action shooters on Steam, it only makes sense that you’d want to get some Warframe action going on.
Installing it on your Chromebook means you can bring it and play it anywhere- at school, work, or even while out in public (if that’s your thing).
Readers have requested a tutorial, so here I am to deliver it. This guide will cover everything from downloading, installing, running, and playing Warframe on a Chromebook.
Note that this is a theory at this point rather than a guaranteed method. It may or may not work for you, but if you want to play the game bad enough, it’s worth a try! Plus you’ll learn a thing or two and have the ability to play other games also! All you need is some time and patience!
Sound good? Let’s roll out, Tenno!
Last updated: 1/12/21. This tutorial has been updated for 2021.
Get the right hardware (what you’ll need)
The first thing we need to cover is obviously having the right hardware requirements.
I mean, you wouldn’t want to waste your time going through this entire tutorial and then only find out you can’t run it because you don’t have enough space, power, or don’t meet the minimum requirements and the game lags so much it’s unplayable.
So that’s why it’s important to double-check that you have everything under the hood of your Chromebook to run Warframe so that it’s playable.
As of 2021, the game is STILL going strong and the playerbase ain’t dwindling anytime soon.
Here’s a brief list of what you need to get this working:
- An Intel-powered CPU
- 4GB of RAM
- At least 10 GB of SSD storage space available
- A 32GB SD card
- Willpower of a bull
If you have all of this stuff, you can skip to the next section. If you’re missing one or kind of unsure about something, I’ll go over each requirement in detail.
Warframe is a demanding game, so you’ll need a beefy machine to run it.
Intel-based Chromebooks only
Sorry to sound like an Intel fanboy, but I kinda am.
But seriously though, this tutorial will only work if you have an Intel CPU. If you’re running something like ARM or MediaTek, this guide won’t work. Don’t waste your time. Sorry.
It’s because only Intel’s architecture allows for the installation of Linux, which is actually how we’ll get the game installed and running (because Chrome OS doesn’t allow third-party installations).
If you’re not sure what kind of processor you have, you can check by doing any of the following:
- Look on your Chromebook’s frame for that infamous blue Intel sticker
- Check the rear panel of your Chromebook for a sticker that has all sorts of information on it and look for Intel markings or logos
- Look up your specific model online and look at the spec sheet
If none of those work, do this:
- Launch Chrome
- Type in “chrome://system”
- Press “CTRL + F” and type in “cpu”
- Look at the “cpu” field and see what processor you’re running
Anything goes, as long as it’s Intel
It doesn’t matter what kind of Intel CPU you have. Common ones found in Chromebooks include:
- Intel Celeron
- Intel Pentium (possibly)
- Intel m3
- Intel i3
- Intel i5
- Intel i7
- Intel Core
Any of those will work. As long as it’s Intel.
If you don’t have an Intel Chromebook, you can buy one. They’re cheap. And some are really good for gaming.
4GB of RAM
The system requirements page on Steam only requires 2GB of RAM to run Warframe.
But I still recommend getting at least 4GB of RAM on your Chromebook to run the game and make it playable. This is because we’ll be running Linux alongside Steam alongside Chrome OS all at the same time. And then add Warframe on top of all that- it’s a pretty big stack of programs to run simultaneously.
This is why I suggest having at least 4GB of RAM. You may be able to sneak away with just 2GB, but it could be extremely laggy and unplayable. It’s up to you and how bad you want to get your Warframe on.
With all the updates lately and stress on performance, I’d suggest using at least 6GB.
At least 10GB of internal storage
Most of you shouldn’t have any problem with this, as the lowest storage capacity any Chromebook model can have is 16GB at the minimum. However, even if you have a large storage, make sure that you have enough free space to install Linux and Steam.
I’d suggest at least 10GB of space, because Steam and Linux both will take a few gigs of space. And when Warframe needs to update, Steam reserves a bunch of space in order to make it possible. You’ll need a lot of extra space to accommodate this.
Update: The game vastly surpassed its original file size of 10GB. You’ll need more space dedicated just for this game if you want to play it. A 16GB drive will be used to darn near full capacity. The developers just keep adding more content.
We won’t be installing the game on the SSD, so don’t worry about allocating space for Warframe. We just need space for Steam and Linux, so 10GB should be enough.
If you don’t know how much space you have on your Chromebook, you can check by doing the following:
- Press the Launcher key (search key) or click on the launcher icon in the bottom-left
- Look for the “Files” app
- Launch it
- Click on the left-hand menu and find your Chromebook’s internal storage
- Check how much free space you have
And that’s about it. 10GB should be enough for everything you need to install Warframe on your Chromebook.
A 32GB SD card
An SD card? You’re probably thinking why you need an SD card for if you already have internal storage.
Well, the thing is that it probably won’t be enough space for Warframe. The majority of Chromebook owners only have 16GB of space, so it’s necessary to offload the game onto a separate external storage medium.
Don’t use some cheap USB 2.0 drive. It’s way too freakin’ slow to play off of. You’ll need FLASH storage at MINIMUM.
You’ll be playing Warframe on your Chromebook, but it’ll be running from external storage. This does affect performance because data transfer speeds will be a large factor in gameplay.
I chose an SD card because it’s fast, cheap, and Warframe can be played from it without too much performance issues.
If you don’t have an SD card, you can buy one that’s compatible with Chromebooks.
No SD card reader?
If your Chromebook doesn’t have an SD card reader, you can try using a flash drive/thumb drive instead. Be sure that it’s USB 3.0 and plug it into the USB 3.0 reader on your Chromebook. A 2.0 drive/port is way too slow to run the game. But I don’t guarantee that a flash drive will be fast enough.
Lastly, you could try using an external hard drive, but they’re the slowest of the bunch. If you want to play Warframe that bad, give it a shot and see what happens. Perhaps you can get away with it.
If you don’t have any of these, buy one. I wrote a buyer’s guide covering the best external storage for Chromebooks you can check out.
32GB of space should be good enough for the game and any future Steam updates since it likes to hog space. I’m not sure if it’s on your internal storage or the card itself, but it’s best to have plenty of space for both. 32GB of space also allows you to install other Steam games on your Chromebook as well for when you get bored of Warframe, like Path of Exile, Unturned, DotA 2, CS:GO, etc.
Does your Chromebook meet all the hardware requirements for Warframe?
Okay, so now you should have a Chromebook with an Intel processor, at least 4GB of RAM, 10GB of internal storage, and a 32GB SD card. I’ll be writing this guide assuming you have an SD card. If you don’t, it should work the same but you may run into some errors later on. Leave a comment if you do and I’ll try to help you out.
SD card. No USB. Please don’t risk infinite loading times.
And that’s it. You should be all set now to get your Warframe on.
Now let’s move on to the good stuff.
What we’ll be doing
This method isn’t guaranteed to get the game working. There, I said it. Rather, it’s an attempt that may work for some and not for others. It’s still getting revised constantly so eventually we may have a method that works for most.
However, if you’re a fan of the game, it doesn’t hurt to try. And even if it doesn’t work, there are tons of other games you can install once you set it up!
Here’s a brief overview of what we’ll be doing in order to get Warframe on a Chromebook.
- Back up data
- Enable Developer Mode
- Download Crouton
- Install Linux
- Configure the SD card
- Install Steam
- Download Warframe
- Play it!
Sound good? First, let’s back up your stuff because doing this process will wipe your laptop completely!
Backup your stuff
This is the most crucial step before starting off. You need to backup your stuff because doing this process will delete everything on your Chromebook and there’s no way to recover it.
This includes everything in your Downloads folder (images, videos, docs, text files, spreadsheets, games, etc.) and any other custom folders or directories you’ve created. Other things include your Chromebook settings, Chrome Web Store apps, Play Store apps, and even your wallpaper.
If you have anything you want to save, do it now. There’s no going back once you start. Seriously.
Choose your backup
You can back your data up in one of two ways:
- Backing up to an external drive (flash/thumb drive, external hard drive, SD card)
- Backing up to a cloud provider (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.)
Either one works. Use whichever one you’re more comfortable with and is more convenient for you.
Use external storage
If you have some external storage, just plug it into your Chromebook and back up everything you want to save. This works with anything from a thumb drive to an SD card to the tried-and-true external hard drive.
If you need instructions, I’ve written a complete tutorial on how to backup your Chromebook. And if you don’t have a drive handy or you’re not sure what storage work with Chromebooks, I have a buyer’s guide for that.
Use Google Drive
Or if you don’t have any storage available, use an online cloud provider like Google Drive. This is the easiest option because if you have a Chromebook, you have a Google Account already. All you need to do is activate Drive and start backing up your stuff
Your Chromebook can sync with Google Drive automatically and you can literally just drag and drop your files you want to save. Plus, you get free storage which should be enough for everything you have saved. And you get expanded storage as a freebie when you bought your laptop.
Okay, go back up your stuff. I’ll wait here.
Done? Let’s move on. There’s no going back now!
(Double-check that you’ve backed it all up!1!!1)
Enabling Developer Mode (“Dev Mode” for the cool kids – like you!)
What we need to do first is to turn on Dev Mode which will allow us to get some extra permissions like installing Linux, which is necessary in order to download and install Warframe.
Turning it on is super easy. All you need to do is the following:
Step 1: Press “ESC + Refresh + Power” until your Chromebook reboots automatically. You’ll see a scary warning prompt. Read it over.
Step 2: Press “CTRL + D” to enable Developer Mode. Go through the prompts on the screen.
Step 3: Let your Chromebook reboot itself and do its thing. When it’s done, it’ll show another warning.
Step 4: Hit “CTRL + D” again. You’re now in Developer Mode!
And that’s it!
Note: Whenever you reboot your Chromebook, you’ll see the warning show again.
Be sure to hit “CTRL + D” when you see this because if you hit the spacebar, you’ll revert out of Developer Mode. It’s a safety feature built into Chrome OS and you need to hit the right keyboard combination or else you’ll have to start over. So be careful!
If you get stuck, I have a whole guide dedicated just to turning on Dev Mode you can check out.
Okay, so now that you’re in Developer Mode, you can do a little more with your Chromebook like getting the Play Store, try out beta Chrome features, and stuff like that.
But we’re here to get Warframe, so next in the list is to get Crouton.
This step is super easy. If you’ve downloaded anything from the Internet before, you’ll have no problem.
All you need to do is go to the official Crouton GitHub and download it.
Just be sure that it’s saved to your Downloads folder and nowhere else. Since you just wiped your device, all downloads should be saved in there by default anyway.
But if you made custom folders, be sure to move the Crouton file to the Downloads folder, or modify the code later to work with the new folder you’ve created.
I also suggest that you read over the FAQ page. It gives some nice information in easy-to-read English and also is useful for troubleshooting.
Okay, now that you have Crouton installed, we can install Linux!
Installing Linux on your Chromebook
Thankfully, this step is just as easy as the previous step. It’ll get you that much closer to grabbing that Rakta Cernos.
I’ll keep things simple because I know a lot of you have never done anything like this before. Installing Linux, using commands, and typing code is overwhelming to the newbie, and I know exactly how you feel.
So I’ll keep the code easy and short so you can just copy/paste exact what’s typed here and it’ll just work like magic. How’s that sound?
If you’re an advanced user, feel free to modify the code to your liking if you want special features or options added to your Linux install.
Here’s what we’ll be doing in brief:
- Installing Linux Ubuntu LTS
- Installing Xfce desktop environment
I chose Ubuntu because it’s widely supported and probably the easiest to use in my opinion. There’s so much support for it out there that if you run into any issues, you can just search for the problem you’re having online and you’ll get tons of answers from forum posts and such.
You’ll likely never get stuck going with Ubuntu. They also have plenty of documentation for you to skim through as well. It’s also the most stable with Steam and Warframe.
As for the desktop environment, I chose Xfce because it’s bare-bones and fast. It’s also the easiest to use because it’s so minimalistic! I think it’ll also run Warframe better on your Chromebook because it’s fast and lightweight so it barely takes up your computer’s system resources so this way it’ll allocate it towards the game instead of the desktop.
We all know Chromebooks aren’t really made for gaming, unless you buy a gaming Chromebook, so we need to give it all the free resources we can give. Xfce is super simple and only has the basics of what you need.
You’re free to use another distro or desktop environment
If you want to use a desktop environment with more eye-candy, you can use something else like KDE. I wrote a whole guide dedicated to installing Linux with all the different desktop environments you can run. You can check that out if you’re interested
And one more thing, if you have a touchscreen Chromebook, you want to add a “touch” modifier to the code if you want to continue using the touchscreen feature within Linux or else it’ll only work in Chrome OS. There are also other modifiers you can use like encryption, full audio support, default browser, special Chromebook keys, and more. This is all covered in the Linux tutorial.
I’ll be only installing the basic version of Xfce, so if you want the fancy stuff, read the guide and install it from there. Then come back here and go to the next step.
If you just want the basic version, then continue reading.
Here’s how to install Linux:
Step 1: Launch the command prompt by pressing “CTRL + ALT + T.”
Step 2: Type the following command (oh geez, code!) exactly as shown:
“sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce” and hit Enter.
Step 3: Wait for your Chromebook to install Linux.
Step 4: Follow the on-screen prompts and create a username and password. It’s Important to write down your password and keep it somewhere safe! If you forget it, you’ll have to start all over again! Seriously, don’t forget your password.
Note: The cursor won’t move as you fill in your password. This is a security measure installed into Linux. As you type, you have to do it carefully because it looks like you’re not typing anything when in reality you are. So watch your typing!
You’re done. Now you’re ready to launch it.
After it’s done installing, you can jump right into Linux by launching it with the following command:
That’s it. Linux will boot up and you’ll get prompted to log in with the credentials you just created!
You’re running both Linux and Chrome OS at the same time now!
You can switch between them on-the-fly using the following commands:
- Press “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Forward Arrow” to switch to Linux
- Press “CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + Back Arrow” to switch back to Chrome OS
As you use the arrow keys, they’re the arrow on the top row of your Chromebook’s keyboard. Don’t get this confused with the arrow keypad at the bottom of your keyboard- the Up/Left/Down/Right arrows. Don’t hit the wrong pair of arrows.
That’s it. Get familiar with Linux and mess around a bit. Then let’s continue to the next step!
Configure your SD card
Next, we’ll be configuring your SD card to work with the setup. You ready to fire off some Stradavars?
As we went over earlier, you’ll need at least a 32GB card to handle this. If you have a 32GB or 16GB SSD Chromebook, you’ll need an SD card to save yourself some headache.
You could try risking it by installing everything on your Chromebook internal drive if you’re feeling risky, but I recommend installing the game to the SD card instead. If you have a 32GB internal drive (or more), you can try skipping this step and going to the next one. Just don’t blame me if you can’t install Warframe updates in the future!
Remember that Steam and Linux will be living on your SSD, while Warframe will be installed on your external storage. Whenever Steam needs to update the game, it’ll buffer some space on the card and you should be fine with any future updates.
Again, if you’re using an external hard drive, thumb/flash drive, or something else, you could still try it using the following instructions. They should all work the same way, but the only problem is that those devices are much slower than SD cards so the game may not be playable. But you can always give it a shot before you go out and have to buy an SD card.
(Need to get a compatible card? Check out the best SD cards for Chromebooks.)
Create a directory for Warframe on your SD Card
So, here’s how to set up Warframe on external storage:
The first thing we need to do is create a directory for Warframe. It’s easy using some commands (don’t worry- I’ve laid out all the code for you).
- Launch the command prompt within Linux by pressing “CTRL + ALT + T”
- Type “mkdir /home/ubuntu/Warframe”
- Type “sudo mount -t vfat -o defaults,nosuid,nodev /dev/sdb1 /home/ubuntu/Warframe”
This will then attach the card to the new path you just created, which is “Warframe.” This will show up as its own little directory where the game will be installed.
That’s it! You’ve now created a directory just for the game. Be sure that you install the game to this directory later on and not your Chromebook’s internal drive (that’d defeat the purpose of this step!).
If you’re getting errors, you can try the following methods to correct it.
Check your SD card’s format
Plug in your card and type the following command:
“mount | grep sdb1” and hit Enter.
You’ll see an output with a lot of information. Look for the format of the card which should be right after the “type” flag.
For example, mine says the following:
“/dev/sdb1 on /var/host/media/removable/SD Card type vfat (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,etc)”
The format of my card is “vfat” which is the most common one. If you have something else, like “fuseblk,” you need to modify the code to match it.
So run the code again but replace “vfat” with whatever your card’s format is.
For example, if you have “fuseblk” then you’d type the following:
“sudo mount -t fuseblk -o defaults,nosuid,nodev /dev/sdb1 /home/ubuntu/Warframe.”
Try updating the utilities
If that doesn’t work, try running this command:
“sudo apt-get install -y fuse-exfat exfat-utils”
That’s it! If you have any other questions or still can’t get it working, leave a comment with the error output you’re getting and I’ll help you out if I can!
Next, we’ll install Steam. What do you think of that Vaykor Hek?
It’s super easy and only takes a single line of code. Is that awesome or what?
- Launch the command prompt by pressing “CTRL + ALT + T” in Linux- haven’t we been over this already?
- Type “sudo apt-get install -y steam” and hit Enter.
- You’ll see a terms/conditions agreement. Read it over. Press “Tab” and select “OK” and then hit Enter.
- Wait patiently for Steam to install like a good person.
- When it’s done, you can launch Steam by clicking on it in Applications > Games > Steam.
- Update Steam if it prompts you to update- it probably will since it’s your first time launching it.
- Sign in to your Steam account like you’d normally do. If you don’t have an account, create one.
That’s it! You now have Steam on your Chromebook.
If you get stuck, I have a full Steam tutorial that goes into crazy detail you can check out.
Next, we’ll install Warframe. This is simple and straightforward. I mean, who hasn’t installed a game on Steam before? Can you smell the Lanka shots yet?
We just need to do a few simple steps to configure Steam to install the game to our new SD card instead of the internal storage.
Configure the card
Here’s how to configure Steam create a directory on the SD card:
Launch Steam and log in if you haven’t already.
Go to View > Settings > Downloads.
- Click on “STEAM LIBRARY DOWNLOADS.”
- Click on “ADD LIBRARY FOLDER.”
- Find the directory you created earlier and then click “SELECT.” It should be “/home/ubuntu/Warframe” if you followed the tutorial exactly.
The hard part’s over. (It wasn’t really that hard, was it?)
Download the game
Now it’s time to install the game:
Then just search for “warframe” in the search box, find the game, and install it.
Or you can download Warframe directly here.
If you already own the game, just go to your Steam Library and install it.
When you click “INSTALL,” look for the “Choose location for install” section and click on the dropdown box and then choose the directory you made earlier (again, it’s “/home/ubuntu/Warframe” if you followed the guide exactly).
Click “INSTALL,” and let it do its thing.
That’s it. When it’s done installing, you can launch the game and play Warframe on your Chromebook! But first, I suggest optimizing the game for best performance so you can get those frags with some decent FPS.
Here are some adjustments you can make to optimize Warframe. These work in 2018 and 2019 as far as I know and will boost your FPS significantly:
- Turn VSync OFF
- Allow max framerate – set it to the maximum your Chromebook can handle
- Use DirectX 9 or 10
- Play in Windowed mode
- Set the resolution to as low as possible (800 x 600 is good) but doesn’t make the game look like crap
That’s about it. Use the graphic sliders and settings to adjust the game to your liking and getting the best FPS possible. It’s different for every Chromeobo, so you’ll have to play around to get it optimized.
On my Acer CB3-131, I can get around 30FPS using these settings. It’s not a pro gamer MLG config, but it’s definitely playable.
Update your graphics drivers
You can also try updating your video drivers as well:
- Launch the command prompt (“CTRL + ALT + T”).
- Type “sudo apt-get update”
- Type “sudo apt-get upgrade”
- Then finally type “sudo apt-get dist-upgrade”
This will download the latest version of Linux will all packages to ensure you have the best performance possible from Linux. Other than this, you’ll have to adjust the graphic settings instead.
Didn’t work? Try Lutris.
Again, this tutorial is still a work in progress and nothing is guaranteed. If this method didn’t work for you, try using Lutris instead. It could be due to many possible reasons why it didn’t work.
After all, we’re trying to get around Chrome OS by installing another kernel to run a game it’s not made to run. Bugs, glitches, and other issues are to be expected!
Lutris is an alternative to Steam. It’s a game library, but it’s built for Linux systems. This just may work for getting Warframe to run as an alternative to the Steam installation method- especially when using a Chromebook.
You can download it here.
And instead Warframe here.
If you find anything out, leave a comment and help out the community!
Or try Chrome Remote Desktop
The last option is to use Chrome Remote Desktop (CRD) and mirror the game from another computer that can run it.
This means having the game running on your Windows PC and “mirroring” the game to your Chromebook. In other words, your laptop is like an external display for the game that lets you play it anywhere on the planet- as long as both your Windows PC and Chromebook are connected to a fast connection.
Did you get Warframe running?
Congrats! You can now play some Warframe on your Chromebook! Woot.
With Warframe being such a popular game, it’s no wonder that some people will want to play it on their Chromebooks. This allows you to play it anywhere- work, school, or even out in public to get your scrims in.
Either way, if you get stuck, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to help you out. Or if this guide has helped you, let me know as well. Consider telling a friend so you can play Warframe and dominate Kuva Fortress together and take down the Infestation- all on your Chromebooks!
Thanks for reading.