7 min read

A few years ago, we showed you a method on how to install Minecraft, and at the same time, Linux, on a Chromebook. By their nature, Chromebooks aren’t capable of some things that Linux is, like Minecraft. Many parents or families buy these low-cost machines with the hope their children can play Minecraft on the machine, only to find out that they can’t. Others many be looking to do photo editing or run certain programs on the machine, only to find out they can’t. So, if you have a Chromebook and want it to be capable of a few more things, let’s take a look at how to install Linux and Minecraft on just about any Chromebook.

You do this at your own risk. We are not responsible for any damage to your machine. Please read this entire tutorial once before attempting it yourself. This may not work on all Chromebook models and may vary as time goes forward. This method WILL WIPE YOUR FILES and DOES NOT work on ARM powered devices (Intel only).

Installing Linux/Minecraft

The first step is to place the Chromebook in developer mode. For most Chromebooks, that means you’ll need to hit ESC + Refresh (F3) + Power. Pressing those three buttons will immediately reboot and you should see a screen that says “Chrome OS is missing or damaged.” To move on from here, hit CTRL + D. The Chromebook will ask you if you would like to transition to developer mode, which we do, so you’ll need to press Enter. At the next screen, hit CTRL + D once again and the Chromebook will transition to developer mode. Note: This process will take several minutes.

After the Chromebook has transitioned to developer mode, you’ll boot up to see a warning screen each time you boot up the Chromebook. This screen will automatically go away after 30 seconds, or you can hit CTRL + D to skip it. Note: Hitting the spacebar will wipe your files and factory reset the Chromebook. 

Now, we’ll move on to the fun stuff. There are several different methods of installing Linux on a Chromebook, but the two most popular are ChrUbuntu and Crouton. ChrUbuntu (what we’re using in this tutorial) works as a traditional dual-boot system, asking you which OS you’d like to enter at boot. Crouton, on the other hand, runs alongside Chrome OS. We will cover this method at a later date.

After ensuring your Chromebook is in developer mode, the first step to install ChrUbuntu is to open the ChromeOS Terminal. You can do so by pressing CTRL + ALT + T. After the new tab opens, enter shell.

Before moving on, we’ll need to update the firmware. If you have a Chromebook released within a year, you can probably skip this step, but it’s a good practice for any Chromebook. Note: If you are attempting this on an ARM powered device, stop immediately. This step WILL damage your device.

In a command window, enter shell followed by the command cd; curl -L -O http://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh && sudo bash firmware-util.sh and press enter. Note: -Os is a capital O, not a zero. Then hit 1 to update the firmware and enter to apply the update. It will ask if you want to default to booting from USB, in this case we do not want to do that, so hit N and Enter. More information on this process is available here. Once installation is complete, press Enter to return to the main menu, then R to reboot the Chromebook.

From here, we’ll install ChrUbuntu. To do that, open up another command window, enter shell, and type the following command: cd ; curl -Os https://chrx.org/go && sh goNote: -Os is a capital O, not a zero.

After that command is entered correctly, the chrx installer will check the information on your machine to ensure it will work with Linux. Proceed with caution if your Chromebook is unlikely to successfully install. From here, the installer will ask the about of data should be allotted for Linux. Use this to your discretion, we would recommend at least 6GB. Once you have entered that information and pressed enter, the Chromebook will reboot again, this time with a modified partition. This will clear your data again. This process may take up to 30 minutes depending on the amount of storage your Chromebook has.

After the machine reboots, you will need to repeat some of the previous steps, starting with the chrx installer. Once your Chromebook boots up and you connect it to wifi, hit CTRL + ALT + T, then enter shell. After that, type cd ; curl -Os https://chrx.org/go && sh go.

This time, the installer will actually install Linux on the machine. This includes downloading files to grab the OS which can take several minutes depending on your internet connection. By default, GalliumOS will be installed. After files have downloaded, installation will begin which can take several minutes as well. Once complete, hit enter to reboot.

After installation is complete, the Chromebook will reboot to the warning screen. To boot into Chrome OS, hit CTRL + D. To boot into Linux, hit CTRL + L. This will be available anytime you boot up the machine. In this case, we will boot into LinuxNote: You may see a mostly black screen after hitting CTRL + L. If you do, hit Enter on “Ubuntu” to launch Gallium OS.

GalliumOS will start up and ask you for a username and password. The default username is chrx and the default password is chrx. It is recommended but not required to change this. The first thing you’ll need to do in GalliumOS is enter your wifi information as seen in the video.

If you want to install Minecraft, one more step is required. Open up a command window (terminal app, as shown in the video) and type in the following commands in order. Note: Up to a few minutes may pass between steps. Press enter after each command.

First, sudo bash. After pressing enter, you should have root now. Then, type in the following command:

apt-get install default-jre

Type Y and hit enter.

Then type the following commands, pressing enter after each command.

curl -o /usr/local/bin/Minecraft.jar https://s3.amazonaws.com/Minecraft.Download/launcher/Minecraft.jar
curl -o /usr/share/pixmaps/minecraft.png https://chrx.org/minecraft.png
mkdir -p /usr/local/share/applications
cat > /usr/local/share/applications/minecraft.desktop <<EOF
[Desktop Entry]
Exec=java -jar /usr/local/bin/Minecraft.jar

After this has been completed, you can close the command window. You can then click the “start menu” and type in “Minecraft.” You should immediately see the Minecraft icon and name and it should be highlighted. If so, press enter and the game will launch. After that, you’re done! Minecraft has been installed as has Linux via GalliumOS. From here, you can also install other Linux programs such as GIMP photo editor.

Installing Other Popular Programs

GalliumOS can also handle other popular programs. To install them, enter the commands below in a command window.

– Steam

curl -O http://repo.steampowered.com/steam/archive/precise/steam_latest.deb
sudo dpkg -i steam_latest.deb

– Spotify

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv-keys BBEBDCB318AD50EC6865090613B00F1FD2C19886
echo deb http://repository.spotify.com stable non-free | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/spotify.list
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install spotify-client

– Kodi

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties pkg-config software-properties-common
sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:team-xbmc/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install kodi

– Google Chrome

curl -O https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb
sudo apt install ./google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb

Restoring Your Chromebook Back To Factory Settings

If you’re done with Linux and want your Chromebook to be a Chromebook, all you’ll need is a charged battery, a few minutes, and a flash drive. By following Google’s instructions, you can turn a flash drive into a recovery disk which will format your SSD and reinstall Chrome OS. After the process is complete, everything will be back to when you originally bought the machine.

Chrome OS Restore Instructions