C720 Chromebook – Installing Ubuntu using Crouton

A quick walkthrough for installing Ubuntu on a C720 chromebook.

Please backup your Chromebook image using step 2 from this guide before attempting this.


Enable Developer Mode

  1. Hold Esc + Refresh and then press the power button. The Chromebook will restart and give a warning about the OS being missing or damaged
  2. Press Ctrl + D to bypass this message. It will now ask if you want to turn os verification off.
  3. Press Return to continue into developer mode
  4. The Chromebook will now prepare the os for developer mode. Just leave this to run for a good few minutes. It will boot backup to chrome when finished.
  5. Everytime you restart you chromebook from now on you will get an OS verification warning. you can either wait 30 seconds and the Chromebook will boot, or you can skip this message by pressing Ctrl + D


Download Crouton

  1. Go here to download the latest version of crouton http://goo.gl/fd3zc and save it to your Downloads folder


Install Ubuntu using Crouton

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + T on your chromebook to open a terminal window.
  2. Type shell and hit return. This will get you into the linux shell so you can run the crouton commands
  3. Install crouton using the following command. This will install crouton with Ubuntu 12.04 and the XFCE desktop.
    sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce
  4. You can change the ubuntu release and desktop by adding other flags to the command. This for example will install the latest version of ubuntu(14.04 trusty) with the unity desktop
    sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t unity -r trusty
  5. You can get a full list of releases and desktops available by calling the flags with the ‘list’ command. This will list all the options available to you for the install
    sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t list -r list


Start your new Linux Desktop

  1. Once installed the shell will tell you how to start your ubuntu desktop. It is usually start followed by your desktop e.g.
    sudo startxfce4   /   sudo startunity   /   sudo startgnome
  2. If you restart your Chromebook you have to open the shell again to start the Linux desktop
  3. Press Ctrl + Alt + T to open the terminal, type shell then hit return.
  4. Run the command above to start your desktop.


Hot Switching

  1. On the C720 you can hot switch between linux and chromeOS using the following shortcut
    Ctrl + Alt + Back will get you to chrome
    Ctrl + Alt + Forward > Refresh will get you back to linux. e.g press and hold Ctrl + Alt then press forward followed by refresh.


Not much comes installed with the standard version of Ubuntu so there a few things you should do after insalling it. Check out my next post Things do do after installing Ubuntu on your chromebook


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