Welcome to the Crouton portion of Chromebook Guide. I’m glad you’re here!

To skip the introduction and go right to the instructions, click here.

The goal of this page is to layout some easy to read, non-intimidating instructions for some Crouton related things, and hopefully explain a few things along the way!

Are you new to Crouton? Are you here because you keep hearing people talk about Crouton and how it’s changed their lives but you’re not really sure what it even is? Great! Let me begin by explaining what Crouton is.

As you probably know, there are 2 main operating systems dominating the computer world right now: Windows and MacOS. What you may or may not know, is that there’s a third, lesser-known OS that’s been around for quite awhile called “Linux”.

Note: Nerds, before you send me hate mail, I know that Linux is not an OS, it’s a kernel upon which various OS’ are built. Get over it.

Non-nerds, what did I mean by that note? Well, Linux isn’t technically an OS. There are several OS’ that are built on what’s called the “Linux kernel”. What’s a Linux kernel? Don’t worry about it. You don’t need to know what it is. I don’t even know what it is. It’s just a thing. That does stuff.

Here’s what you DO need to know: There are many OS’ built on the Linux kernel, one of which is called “Ubuntu”. Crouton allows you to install the Ubuntu distro on your Chromebook.

Note: All OS’ built on the Linux kernel are typically referred to as a “Linux distro”. So I would say “Ubuntu is one of many Linux distros”.

Another popular Linux distro is called “Mint”. Mint is not supported by Crouton however. Crouton supports the following 3 Linux Distros:

  1. Ubuntu
  2. Kali
  3. Debian

We’re only going to talk about Ubuntu here.

So what does any of this have to do with your Chromebook? Well, as you probably have figured out, your Chromebook is really fast, and really secure. These awesome benefits come at a price however: the Chromebook does not support installing software or drivers. This means no Photoshop, no iTunes, no Office365 etc. Most people are able to find alternatives, and that’s why they buy a Chromebook, because they’ve done their research and they know the limitations. For instance, instead of Photoshop, you could use to edit your photos. Instead of iTunes, you could use Google Music to listen to/purchase music. But sometimes there isn’t a great alternative available. For instance, there isn’t a good video editor that works on Chromebooks. Also, many people find Pixlr to be lacking.

One of the biggest advantages to Linux distros, is that there are many many free softwares available. For instance, if Pixlr just isn’t robust enough for your photo editing needs, you could use a free program available for Linux called “Gimp”. There are also video editors, and audio editors available for free.

So, time for a brief summary before I move on:

Crouton allows you to install Ubuntu on your Chromebook
Ubuntu is an operating system built on the “Linux kernel”
Ubuntu allows you to take advantage of many free softwares not supported by Chrome OS

OK, so now that we know what Crouton is, and what Ubuntu is, and why we would want it on our Chromebooks, let’s get to the fun part: Installing Crouton on your Chromebook!

There are 3 phases to this project. I’ll list the 3 phases, then I’ll walk you through each one:

  1. Put Chromebook into Developer Mode
  2. Download Crouton file
  3. Install Crouton

So before you freak out, Developer Mode is not as scary as it might sound. Basically what it means is we have to kind of “root” or “jail-break” your Chromebook. Luckily it’s SUPER easy. If you’ve ever attempted to root your Android phone, this is NOTHING like that. It really is super simple. Most all devices are the same. Chromeboxes are a little different because they don’t have a power button on their keyboard, and for Chromebooks the power button is required for entering Developer Mode. So Chromeboxes have a different way of getting into Developer Mode that involves a physical button on the Chromebox itself. Here’s a list of devices, and how to enter Developer Mode. This should probably take about 1 minute, or less:

  • For the following devices, you’ll want to power your device off, find the recovery button press and hold the button, then power on the device while holding the recovery button.
    • LG Chromebase
    • Asus Chromebox
    • Acer AC700
    • CR-48
    • Samsung Series 5
    • Samsung Series 5 550
    • Samsung Series 3 Chromebox

    For all other devices, Press Esc+Refresh then hold down the Power button while the unit is powered ON. This will take you into what’s called ‘recovery mode’ and looks scary. It says “Chrome os is either missing or damaged”. On this screen, press ctrl + d. This brings up another screen that says to press enter to enable developer mode. Press enter. That’s it, just wait for it to do it’s thing.

    That was the first phase! Easy huh?

    IMPORTANT! Now that you’re in Developer Mode, everytime you start up your device you’re going to see a screen you’re not used to. It’s going to tell you that something is disabled, and to press the space bar to re-enable it. DO NOT PRESS THE SPACE BAR. Just wait. Your device will beep a couple times, then it will boot up like normal. You can press ctrl + d if you want, and that will skip the beeping part and you’ll boot up a few seconds faster, but it’s not required. Just do NOT press the space bar. If you press the space bar, it will undo everything we just did.

    The next step is pretty easy. You need to download the latest version of Crouton. You can do that by clicking here.

    After you click that link, it should automatically download something called “crouton” to your downloads folder

    That’s phase 2! MAN this is easy!

    Phase 3 is fun. You’re going to feel like SUCH a hacker when you’re done. In order to install Crouton, we’ll need to open a command terminal and type something in. Depending on how old you are, this may remind you a little of DOS. If you have no idea what DOS is, just ignore that bit =]

    Ok, so to install crouton do the following:

    • press “ctrl + alt + T”
    • type “shell” (without the quotes) and hit enter
    • type some stuff

    “What stuff do I type?” you ask? Let’s talk about that for a second.

    You know how with Windows and Mac OS you have several different versions? Like Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7 etc. Well Ubuntu is no different. There are several different versions of Ubuntu, and several different desktop environments.

    Here’s a list of the different versions of Ubuntu:

    • Trusty = 14.04
    • Saucy = 13.10
    • Raring = 13.04
    • Quantal = 12.10
    • Precise = 12.04 (LTS)

    Here’s a list of different desktop environments available for Ubuntu:

    • Cinnamon
    • e17
    • gnome
    • kde
    • lxde
    • unity
    • xfce

    I’m not going to talk about any of them. I’m simply going to tell you to install Trusty with unity, and I’m going to tell you how to do that.

    Up there where I told you to type some stuff, this is what you’re going to type:

    sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -r trusty -t unity-desktop,gtk-extra,cli-extra,extension,keyboard,xbmc,chrome -e

    If you have a touchscreen model, you’ll want to add “touch”. So for you, you would type this:

    sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -r trusty -t unity-desktop,gtk-extra,cli-extra,extension,keyboard,xbmc,chrome,touch -e

    Once you type that in exactly as it shows here, hit enter.

    Now go mow your lawn. This will take awhile. It’s going to just run a bunch of scripts and do a bunch of magic.

    When it’s done, it will ask you to create a username, and a password. Note that when you type the password, it will appear as if it’s not registering your typing. But it is. It’s weird I know, just type it slowly and carefully and hit Enter, then it will have you type it again to make sure, and again it will seem like it’s not registering, but it is I promise.

    Once you’ve chosen a username/password, it will tell you that it’s done, and that to start it, you can type “sudo startunity”. Here’s what that means:

    When you want to open Ubuntu, you will need to open that command window again by pressing “ctrl + alt + T” again. Then, type shell and hit enter again. Then type “sudo startunity” (without quotes) and hit enter.

    This will open up Ubuntu. Once you’re in, you can switch back and forth between Ubuntu and Chrome OS by pressing “ctrl + alt + shift + back button”. That’s the left arrow next to the esc button.

    That’s it! Clearly, you’ll want to read up on how to actually operate Linux now. It’s not the same as Windows or MacOS or Chromebooks or anything you’ve probably ever used (unless you’ve used Linux before).

    Now that you’ve installed Crouton, you may have some questions or issues that you need help with. Luckily for you, there’s a whole forum dedicated to such things, called Crouton Central. This forum can be found here:!forum/crouton-central

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