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Install Ubuntu on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 in 5 Steps

A Chromebook + Linux is a powerful ultrabook.

A Chromebook + Linux is a powerful ultrabook.

For users who want more than Chrome OS, there is the option to install a more complete OS that gets rid of most of the limitations of Chrome OS.

The idea of installing Linux is nothing new but the problem up till now was this particular model. More specifically, any Chromebooks with Bay Trail processors did not have the option to boot from a USB drive.

When I first started using my new Chromebook I was pleasantly surprised with Chrome OS. It’s very user friendly and having used it for a couple of months I think it’s a great alternative to a more expensive Windows Ultrabook. For most average users Chrome OS is simple and focused on getting stuff done without lots of setting up and waiting.

Who is this hero you speak of, I hear you ask. A freelance linux system admin by the name of John Lewis, see his post on the Bay Trail release.

Thanks John for all your efforts and of course to the cyber community that have been testing and adding their thoughts. This guide is based on the info from there.

Fortunately a hero amongst the Chromebook/Linux community has been diligently toiling away finding solutions to this problem. The BIOS used in Chromebooks is open source and by tinkering and tweaking, this hero has been able to create a modified version of the BIOS that can be flashed to your Chromebook.

Once this modified version of the BIOS is installed, a normal Linux bootable USB drive can be used to wipe the Chromebook’s hard drive and install Linux.

Before we begin, you should know that this process is reversible in that you can easily revert back to Chrome OS anytime.

Update:

Whether you’re using a Baytrail Chromebook or newer Chromebook, John has created RW_LEGACY BIOS mods that means you don’t need to open up your Chromebook any more. This is a safer option that doesn’t invalidate your warranty and can’t brick your Chromebook. See my full guide on how to dual boot Linux and Chrome OS.

What you’ll need:

Step 1: Backup any data you may have on your Chromebook

I had been using my Chromebook for a while so I made sure I backed up any files that I hadn’t saved on my Google drive.

  • If yours is a brand new Chromebook, check to see if you are eligible for free storage, claim that first by going through the Chrome OS set-up (I got 100 GB free for 2 years with my Chromebook).
  • After following this guide, if you decide you want to go back to Chrome OS, you can use option 3 from John’s script to revert back. Just run it in your Linux terminal. You will also need to create a Chrome OS recovery USB drive, see here.

Step 2: Enable developer mode

This will wipe your Chromebook and allow full access to your Chromebook system files.

  • With your Chromebook turned off hold down the ESC and Refresh button and press the power button once.
  • This will take you into recovery mode. Press Ctrl + D to bypass this message.
screen with an orange exclamation mark

Don’t worry, you haven’t broken anything!

  • Press Enter at the next screen.
Turn OS verification off

This is the first step to set the chrome to developer mode

  • On the next screen press Ctrl + D to bypass this message.
  • Now wait and wait some more. Eventually the Chromebook will reboot you’ll see the screen with the red exclamation mark.
the screen with a red exclamation mark

The chromebook is now in developer mode

  • Developer mode is now enabled, power off the Chromebook.

3. Remove the back cover and disable write-protect

By default write-protect is enabled which means the installed BIOS on the Chromebook can’t be modified. On the Toshiba Chromebook 2 the write-protect is a little round sticker on the motherboard. To remove this you will need to remove the back cover. With a little care and patience you should be able to do it quite easily without scratching the casing.

When you open your Chromebook you want to avoid static electricity so don’t do this on an unsuitable surface like a carpet!

  • Remove the 8 screws on the back cover.
  • Take out the 2 rubber feet on the trackpad end of the Chromebook using a flat screwdriver and remove the 2 screws.
  • On the hinge end use your flat tool to lift the back cover carefully.
  • On lifting some more you should find the cover comes off quite easily.
  • Remove the 6 screws and carefully lift the metal shield off the motherboard.
  • Use your flat screwdriver to delicately remove the round sticker.
  • Underneath you will see two pads with a line running through them. By removing the sticker the two pads are not connected anymore and write protect is disabled.
write protect sticker chromebook

The write protect sticker is a round sticker that connects the 2 pads underneath

  • Before putting the metal shield back on, cover the bit that touches the two pads with some tape.
  • I used the extra bit of tape on one of the cables to prevent the metal shield from touching the write-protect area. You could use electrical tape if you want to.
  • Refit the metal shield back in place leaving out the screw that went into the write-protect hole.
  • Put the cover back on by pressing on the edges starting from the trackpad end.
  • Screw all 10 screws back in and re-attach the two rubber feet. The glue should be strong enough otherwise use some double sided tape.

4. Install the modified BIOS

To make things easy on us John has created an all-in-one script that covers over 25 different models of Chromebooks. I told you he’d been busy!

  • Power the Chromebook on and press Ctrl + D to bypass the red exclamation mark screen.
  • Go through the Chrome OS setup.
  • You should now be on the normal Chrome OS desktop screen.
  • Open a new Chrome tab and go to John’s website
  • At the bottom of the post (before the comments section) copy the commands.
  • Press Ctrl + Alt + T to bring up a terminal window tab.
  • Type shell and press Enter
  • Paste the commands into the terminal and press Enter (These commands remove any older versions of the script, download the latest version of the modified BIOS and flash the Chromebook with that version).
shell

This is an all-in-one script that detects your model of Chromebook and flashes the correct BIOS version for your laptop. Originally the script had the option to ‘run an alternative OS’ but now the option to choose is ‘Modify my Chromebook’s BOOT-STUB slot’. Thanks to A Davidson for pointing that out and also his other helpful comments.

  • Choose the option to run an alternative OS  Modify my Chromebook’s BOOT_STUB slot and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • When you restart you will see a black screen indicating the new BIOS version.

5. Boot into your live USB drive and install Ubuntu

The last step is the easy part, turn off your Chromebook and insert a live Ubuntu USB thumb drive into the USB port.

UPDATE: In an effort to automate these fixes, I have written a script to automatically apply sound fixes and keyboard tweaks for you. See my post on automating Chromebook fixes.

  • Turn the Chromebook on and press ESC
  • Press the number that indicates your thumb drive (should be option 1).
  • You will see the Ubuntu setup screen – setup Ubuntu in the normal way.
  • Unless you have a specific way you want to partition the internal hard drive (it’s actually a eMMC card), I recommend you use the default option to wipe the whole drive.
  • Once installed, reboot and everything should work out of the box – Yeahh!!
  • Well, maybe not everything. Please use my script to fix sound and remap keyboard keys automatically.
  •  There’s one thing that needs further attention, the sound doesn’t work, but it’s easy to fix (Getting sound to work on older versions of Ubuntu requires an extra step).
  • Download the modified sound config file (asound.state) from here
  • Open up a terminal window and type sudo alsa force-unload to kill the audio services.
  • Replace the system’s sound config file with the downloaded version:
  • Type sudo cp ~/Downloads/asound.state /var/lib/alsa
  • Reboot your Chromebook and guess what? The sound works.

That’s it, you’re done! My advice, give it a go, you can always revert back to Chrome OS if you change your mind. You’ll end up with a fully functioning ultrabook for about less than a third of the price – not bad huh?

Links

170 Comments

  1. John CG

    Excellent posting. Can’t believe I am the first person to reply.

  2. Nate

    FYI, anyone trying this with Trusty will need to pull the SST firmware from linux-firmware 1.142(Vivid) or later and put it in /lib/firmware/intel. While Trusty has the Vivid kernel in the repos, Trusty’s linux-firmware doesn’t include everything that Vivid’s does.

    • Captain

      Thanks for that Nate, that’s really helpful. If someone using Trusty could confirm it works, I will add it to this post.

  3. A Davidson

    Excellent post.

    One point: When running John Lewis’s script to flash modified BIOS, you mention choosing the option “run an alternative OS”. Since there were multiple options labeled “run an alternative OS” and since the script’s user interface has changed, I think it would be best if you mention some text uniquely identifying your choice (e.g. “update/modify BOOT_STUB”).

    Also, since Toshiba now has another version of Chromebook 2 based on the Broadwell CPU/SoC, mentioning your exact Toshiba Chromebook 2 model number would be helpful (although, since you mentioned Bay Trail, there should really be no chance of confusing between the two Toshiba chromebooks).

    • Captain

      Thanks for the suggestion. I think that the script options change depending on whether the BIOS has been modified or not. On first doing the BIOS install on a fresh Chromebook the option would still be ‘run an alternative OS’. Did you just do a fresh install and were there different options?
      I read about the Broadwell Chromebooks and plan to write a post about them with a link on this page, hopefully that should avoid any confusion.

      • A Davidson

        Thanks for your reply.

        Running the commands from John Lewis’s ROM download page (shown on your last terminal screenshot) will first remove any stale version of his flash_chromebook_rom.sh script (rm -f), then download the latest script (curl), and finally run the script itself. John’s script is a simple shell script and the code in its current version (as of 13 Oct 2015) displays the user options before doing anything else (such as checking if BIOS has been modified). So his script must have changed since you ran it, as the code in it does not have any “run an alternative OS” option now. Rather, the current options are: “1. Modify my Chromebook’s RW_LEGACY slot”, “2. Modify my Chromebook’s BOOT_STUB slot”, etc.

        Cheers.

        • Captain

          Cheers indeed! I don’t know why I didn’t think of looking at the actual script after your first comment. You are right the options have changed and I have amended the post to reflect this. Very helpful and I tip my virtual cap to you Sir!

  4. TJ

    Excellent Post! Just one question, does the battery life and general performance of the laptop still hold up when running Ubuntu? Or is it a bit shorter/slower because Ubuntu is a heavier OS? Also, how much free space do you have on the eMMC card after installing Ubuntu? Do you plan on doing a performance review of the laptop using Ubuntu at any point, that would be great!

    • Captain

      Thanks TJ! In Chrome OS the battery lasted for about 8 hours, and in Ubuntu it’s about 7 – 6.5 hours. So yes there is a difference but I’m looking into ways of optimizing the battery. I will post any improvements. I’ve got about 10GB left on the eMMC card – that’s why I recommend getting an SD card. Performance review, good idea! I am still using my Chromebook for testing other distros (normally I use Arch Linux) but at some point I will do a follow up to this post 🙂

  5. michael

    Thanks for this! I’m running Ubuntu 15.10 on an Acer CB111-C8UB — the only thing I couldn’t get working was the sound, and your post here helped with it. Much appreciated!

  6. Barnacle

    Thanks very much for this, Captain; I’ve been waiting for something like this since I bought the Toshiba CB2.

    My intent was to get Mint/Cinnamon onto this machine, and I’ve been at least partly successful, so here’s the state of play so far (if you will permit a post which will probably take longer to type than it took to install).

    1) Mint 17.2 Cinnamon will install on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (that’s for google to find!)

    2) Follow the Captain’s instructions above to enable the bios write, update the bios, and restart with a pre-prepared Mint USB stick. I tested both 17.1 and 17.2

    3a) Mint 17.1 in compatibility mode: it boots from the USB but won’t respond to the keyboard, though the mouse and (unaccelerated) screen both work fine.

    3b) Mint 17.1 in normal mode: boots from the USB but there’s a long period of uninspiring grey screen before things start to happen. However, the keyboard now works… in both versions only the 2.4GHz wireless is recognised.

    I did not attempt to install 17.1, so can’t comment what works or doesn’t after installation.

    4a) Mint 17.2 in normal mode: boots from the USB and while there is still some grey screen, the delay is not as long. Once the boot is complete, the keyboard works and both 2.4 and 5GHz wireless work.

    4b) Installed Mint from the desktop icon. Accepted the ‘erase existing system’ rather than assigning a separate home partition as I normally would due to the small flash disc size; it took about ten minutes for the complete installation which is considerably faster than it did on my other laptop with significantly more performance but spinning rust drives.

    4c) Restarted to the installed image. Boots in around twenty seconds, no issues, though it starts with a black screen for a while which is a bit disconcerting. Updated to the latest packages – around 230MB.

    5) The bad news: the touchpad doesn’t work, and the sound doesn’t work even after the Captain’s Ubuntu instructions: there is no device listed in the ‘play sound through’ device list.

    6) Hibernation works – though with only about 6GB available I can’t help feeling it’s not necessarily a wise idea to use it – but sadly not suspend either from the menu or the lid closure, and not sure what might happen if the screen times out so I’ve (hopefully) told it not to.

    So, a qualified success with some further research required; lack of sound isn’t a show-stopper for me though I appreciate it might be for many. And as to why Mint over Ubuntu – basically, I find I just can’t live with Ubuntu (at the risk of starting a religious war) – I don’t like the advertising, I don’t like the menu bars, I don’t like the window controls on the left, and I don’t like the behaviour of the launcher thingy. Basically I just find the Cinnamon interface easier to use. Your mileage may vary.

    Again, thanks.

    Neil

    • Captain

      Glad you found this post useful Neil, and wow that was a long comment!

      Mint 17.1 uses Linux Kernel 3.13 and is based on Ubuntu 14.04.
      Mint 17.2 uses Linux Kernel 3.16 and is based on Ubuntu 14.04.

      Updating the Kernel should sort out any keyboard/trackpad issues:
      uname -a (check kernel version) and sudo apt-get upgrade linux-kernel-generic (to upgrade kernel).
      See also how to fix sound in Ubuntu 14.04.

      As far as Ubuntu vs Mint vs distro1 vs distro2 vs distro3 vs you get the picture!
      I don’t want a religious war either, but between you and me, I prefer Ubuntu Gnome 🙂

  7. Barnacle

    Update regarding the sound: the HDMI output works (as does HDMI dual screen), but the loudspeaker or headphone channels are not visible.

    Neil

  8. Neil Barnes

    Thanks for that, Captain.

    I’d come to the same conclusion; there’s something very strange going on with mounting sd drives, too; they seem to be read-only to anyone except root, irrespective of permissions.

    For the time being I’ve stuck the latest Ubuntu Mate on to see how that goes and all I haven’t tested is the suspend (it doesn’t offer hibernate). All else seems to be working.

    Good lead on the sound update; I hadn’t followed that one. I’ll try it when I get home (I’m away for a week) and have more than this single computer to play with 🙂 but I think start with a kernel update. Haven’t done one of those in years!

    Thanks again. Now I need to decide which key to reconfigure as a delete…

    Neil

  9. Neil Barnes

    Yep, with the update to 4.2 the suspend and the touchpad both appear to work; with the sound services update there is replay sound though it’s sometimes a bit confused as to whether the volume control works. There is no microphone input.

    Neil (I didn’t wait 😀 )

    • Captain

      Hhhmm, you’re right in Ubuntu 15.10 the sound works but the microphone doesn’t. I’ll do some investigating, unless someone has already found a fix? You there in the back row…any ideas? 🙂

      • Ben Miller

        When you find an answer, I’d love to know.

        I have two Chromebooks (a 2013 Pixel and a ToshCB2ips) and I’d love to follow this guide and try installing the latest 64bit Elementary OS on the Tosh.

        I make use of the mic a lot so right now, it’s a show stopper for me.

        The (current) latest ElementaryOS is 0.3.1 Freya based on 14.04 LTS Ubuntu. I’m thinking the nice slim install would be ideal on a tiny 16GB SDD?

        Thanks.

  10. Allen

    Hello,
    I am about to install elementary OS 0.3.1 to my toshiba chromebook 2 . I am wondering if I could install the root partition to the 16GB eMMC and my /home partition to a 32GB usb 3.0 flash drive.

    Thanks,

    Allen

    • Captain

      Make sure the USB drive is inserted when you do the install. When you get to the disk partition stage choose to partition the drive yourself. Delete all partitions on the 16GB internal drive and setup the root and swap partitions. Set the home partition to be your USB drive. You need to be careful though, make sure the the USB drive is plugged in during boot/shutdown and software updates.

  11. icrucified

    Captain, I have the Toshiba Chromebook 2 – (CB35-C3350). The i3 with 4GB of RAM. I’ve read quite a bit on the points of installing Linux and a slightly less than intermediate knowledge of LINUX. I have successfully disables WP and I ran the John Lewis SeaBios RW_Legacy script. I made a Live USB for Ubuntu 15.10 and that is where I get stuck.

    When I reboot, I don’t immediately seem to have any option to choose a boot drive. Consequently, the boot loop moves to the HD and into ChromeOS. I force a boot into seabios and still no option to choose a boot drive other than the HD. It seems that my flash device is not being detected as a drive. I have used USB Installer from PenDriveLinux to create my Live Bootable Installation drive/disc, it seems to no avail.

    I have attempted making the USB Installer on a USB 3 128 GB Flash drive. Thinking my Chromebook may not recognize the larger capacity Flash drive, I attempted a 32GB USB 3 drive with the same non-results.

    I’m stuck. Thoughts to point me in a direction. I think I’ve done each step by the book, but no joy.

    • Captain

      It sounds like you haven’t removed Chrome OS and have not enabled developer mode. See my post here regarding the CB35-C3350 model. I suggest starting at the beginning of the guide and making sure you have followed all steps. Also if you have a smaller USB drive for the live Linux drive it’s probably a better idea. Good luck!

      • icrucified

        Thanks for the reply ‘Cap. Actually, it was something much simpler. I was in developer mode, but you’re right, the ChromeOS wasn’t removed. Late last night I was still pining away (OCD tendencies) with this issue and started to spend some time on this walk thru (http://www.pants.nu/~jmcminn/toshiba-2015-chromebook-linux.html) I found this line under the install Linux instructions, “So now, power down, and then put your USB linux installer into the USB 2.0 port.” I was like, “what???” I had not seen that instruction before. Maybe I’d missed it elsewhere, but I had been trying to install under my USB3.0 connection. Lo and behold, I put my USB3 128GB flash drive in my USB2.0 connection and voila! We have magic! I’m running a full install of Ubuntu Linux on my Toshiba ChromeBook CB35-C3350 and I’ve yet to find anything I’m unable to run. It is installed on the fully formatted KIngston 16GB drive and I have just under 4GB of usable free HD left on that drive after installation and Linux partitioning for swap space. I’ll be using the USB3.0 128GB and a MicroSD 128GB for storage, so I should be in good condition.

        Thanks for all your help, your walk thru and the accompanying articles elsewhere on your site led me to ultimately find what I was searching for that led to my success. Peace!

        • icrucified

          Another happy note, I had to double check before posting, On the same walk-thru I posted in the previous reply, the poster mentioned replacing the SSD. I had been reading that was not possible (at least with minimal technical prowess) on my model Chromebook, but this poster showed replacement was easy. I opened my CB this morning and verified the SSD is easily swappable with removal of a single screw. I found the same 256GB SSD that Josh used for $92USD and free shipping CONUS. I’ll be making that upgrade soon. It’s a great day!

  12. Martin Dörflinger

    It sounds very interesting. Have you just replaced your SSD by now? Does your Ubuntu boot very fast? Maybe I also have to purchase a CB35-C3350 😉 Does I have to press any keys during the boot like devices in the “RW_LEGACY”-Boot Mode? I currently have a HP Chromebook 14 with Full Rom 😀

    • Captain

      With the CB35-C3300 and CB35-C3350 models you can replace the 16GB internal drive with one of these. Installing RW_LEGACY means that you get automatic boot without the need to press any key combinations. See also my post on the newer versions here. 2 chromebooks are better than 1 huh Martin? 🙂

  13. DG

    Hi Captain – i’ve been reading that the microphone might not work on the CB2 – how’s that on your side?

    • Captain

      I’ve found with Ubuntu 15.10 all other sound works except the mic, for the moment an external mic or Ubuntu 14.04 is a good workaround. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a fix for the mic

  14. DG

    Wow! I’ve set up Ubuntu 14.04 on my Toshiba Chromebook 2 in just one afternoon. Microphone didn’t work on 14.04, just got white noise, but after stumbling upon this command line:

    [
    In terminal run:

    sudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

    Add these two lines to the end of alsa-base.conf :

    alias snd-card-0 snd-hda-intel

    options snd-hda-intel model=auto

    Save and reboot.
    ]

    The microphone seems to work.

    Many thanks captain for your walkthrough

    • Captain

      Thanks DG, I’ll try that mic fix as well when I get a chance.

  15. TD

    Please help! I installed Trusty and had it working well, then followed the directions to fix the audio. After turning it off to reboot (as per instructions) I am now stuck at the ”
    Booting from Hard Disk . . .
    ” What Do I do?!

  16. TD

    I found the problem: I had a USB plugged in and it was trying to boot from that.
    Thank you Captain, for a terrific tutorial!

    • Captain

      You’re welcome, glad you found it useful (BTW don’t give up with your website, persevere and you will get there!).

  17. a7omics

    please help!!
    I’m not English well
    ‘Modify my Chromebook’s BOOT_STUB slot’ choice

    INPUT REQUIRED: About to flash your swanky’s BOOT_STUB slot, repeat
    ‘If this bricks my swanky, on my head be it!’ observing exact case
    and punctuation:

    next Here’s what to do i do??
    I would like to know more.

    plz..

    • Captain

      At the prompt you need to type the exact pharse ‘If this bricks my swanky, on my head be it!’.
      John has put that in as a disclaimer and to make sure you don’t accidently choose the wrong option.

      • a7omics

        Yeahh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to solve the problems. 😉

  18. fullmoonguru

    Uh-oh, hopefully I can get out of this. I have a B3340. I followed the instructions and when I rebooted I got the new bios and it stopped at booting to kernel. So I plugged in my SD card that I had Crouton on (planning to format and install /home there) and a live USB stick and rebooted. Now all I get is s quick flash on the screen. No text or anything now. Removed the SD card and USB stick but no change.

    • fullmoonguru

      Ah, just got home after being gone for a while and when I open it I see the bios again. I guess it’s not turning off all the way when I hit the power button or something. I neglected to press esc fast enough so now I’m back in the same situation but I’ll try it later & I should be on my way.

      • Captain

        Yes, you have to keep the power button held down for at least 10 seconds to force the chromebook to shutdown, otherwise it just goes into sleep mode. Anyway good luck with your install.

  19. fullmoonguru

    Well that was the first thing that occurred to me but it didn’t work for some reason. Anyway, got it loaded with Mint 17.1 now. Time to chase down the sound & other issues. Thanks!

  20. fullmoonguru

    I have Mint 17.3 installed and I updated the kernel so I have trackpad use but when I tried updating the firmware to fix the sound I got this error:

    error: no longer provides linux firmware

    This looks like the problem at the bottom of the output:

    W: linux-firmware: script-not-executable lib/firmware/configure
    W: linux-firmware: executable-not-elf-or-script lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA988X/hw2.0/board.bin
    W: linux-firmware: executable-not-elf-or-script lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA988X/hw2.0/firmware.bin
    W: linux-firmware: executable-not-elf-or-script lib/firmware/ath10k/QCA988X/hw2.0/otp.bin

    Lintian finished with exit status 0

    I made the deb executable but still get the same error.

    • Captain

      I don’t know if you got any further but I will be doing an install video of Linux Mint in the new year, stay tuned…

  21. fullmoonguru

    I haven’t. I’m wondering if I should just try installing linux-firmware-nonfree but I guess that will just install the version for 14.04 which won’t get the sound working.

  22. fullmoonguru

    Got it. It was because I hadn’t purged my old firmware. I couldn’t find it via command line but I did and removed it in Synaptic. The installed the vivid firmware and it’s all good!

    Thanks!

  23. jd

    the inside of my 2015 Chromebook 2 doesn’t look like that shown in the video. I’ve searched for the write-protect screw and found something next to the M.2 SSD that has the same donut covering but it doesn’t appear to behave like the right protect screw. The part in the video near the upper left hand side by the battery doesn’t look anything like that on my Chromebook. The model is cb35 – 3350.

    Any tips on where I might find a high quality photo with the right protect screw circled for my exact model Chromebook?

    I’ve had a bunch of loaded on an Acer c720 for the last two years. Removing power from that device bricked it for me.I don’t have a solution but all attempts to reinstall Chrome OS have failed.I laugh that is a different issue for different hardware for a different day. the key thing is to realize that when power is removed from a Chromebook any CMOS settings are lost and booting again may not be possible without some sort of external firmware write utility including specialized hardware and just an inconvenience; not a bricking event. Keeping a tiny version of Chrome OS on your Chromebook may make this issue just an inconvenience from which recovery is slightly painful, but not a total loss.

    • Captain

      Have a look at this. It has a link to Josh’s guide who has the newer model like you. It also has a picture showing the donut as you call it (hhmmmm donuts…). My guide should help you will the rest of the install. Good Luck! Oh and the Acer c720 don’t know too much about, best place to ask is John’s site

  24. JP

    I found a link that shows how to turn on, off, and control light density of the back-lit keyboard function with my Toshiba Chromebook 2 (2015) at https://github.com/corcoran/chromebook_keyboard_backlight_driver. I tried this and see this really works with my CB2. A little thing that makes me bothersome is that I need to use the root privilege whenever I turn on, off, increase and decrease the LED light. Someone tried to troubleshoot this out at http://www.pants.nu/~jmcminn/toshiba-2015-chromebook-linux.html, but that didn’t work out with me.

  25. jlvazquez825

    could anybody tell me what’s the correct partitioning for installation on toshiba chrombook 2. The first time I installed I used /boot on internal drive and / on external ssd. That time seemed to work with installation of lubuntu, but this time with same partitions. I’ve tried lubuntu and xubuntu and it gets stuck during installation it takes up to a 10 hr. I stopped it b/c it was evident it wasn’t going anywhere… if any body can help?
    Thanks

    • Captain

      I would suggest just doing normal install on the chromebook’s internal drive first, if that works it’s probably a problem with your external SSD.

  26. Neil Barnes

    Morning Captain,

    Unfortunately I’m not sure when this occurred, but I’ve just noticed that the screen brightness and audio volume controls (f6-f10) are working. A recent mint update, I think, but I don’t know which one! I did attempt your ubuntu keymapping stuff, but got nowhere, so I assume mint uses a different mapping approach.

    This is on my Mint 17 CB2.

    Neil

    • Captain

      Thanks for sharing, I am sure other Mint users will be updating as we speak!

      I’ve been a bit side tracked with another project that I’m working on but after that I will be doing a series on different Linux distros on the CB2. I have had several people commenting that they have not been able to get certain bits working and I will be addressing that in coming videos.

      So for anyone interested, subscribe to my blog for updates (you’ll find the subscribe button in the side pop out menu) and/or add any suggestions for distros you want me to test.

    • Efraib

      Are you on 17.3? I installed 17.3 xfce and did all updates via system updater. No light or volume control for me.

    • efrain

      Hi. has anyone else gotten the volume and brightness control to work on the keyboard? If so, what version of Ubuntu/Mint do you have?

  27. D Ansermino

    Thanks for the tutorial!
    I just destroyed my BIOS in the process and found out I could’ve backed it up which may solve my issue, but I didn’t. Please consider adding this step to prevent others from my fate.

    • Captain

      I’m not sure what you mean by ‘destroyed my BIOS’, the modified BIOS (BOOT_STUB) only modifies part of the BIOS not all of it. Could you elaborate please 🙂

  28. S

    NEED Help!!
    I followed the instructions as above. After removing the write switch I replaced the back cover ….the laptop wont turn on.
    No matter what I do….I replaced the write switch, with the sticker ….Nope …nada
    Any thoughts??

    • Captain

      Hhmm, does the power button have the white power showing as on? Have you got the charger plugged in? If it’s powering on but there is no display on the screen, you need to reset a setting in the BIOS. This can be done by removing the back cover again and unplugging the battery.

  29. Neil Barnes

    barnacle@barnacle-Swanky ~ $ cat /etc/issue
    Linux Mint 17.2 Rafaela \n \l
    barnacle@barnacle-Swanky ~ $ uname -m
    x86_64
    barnacle@barnacle-Swanky ~ $ cinnamon –version
    Cinnamon 2.6.13
    barnacle@barnacle-Swanky ~ $ uname -r
    4.2.0-040200-generic
    barnacle@barnacle-Swanky ~ $ uname -a
    Linux barnacle-Swanky 4.2.0-040200-generic #201508301530 SMP Sun Aug 30 19:31:40 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux
    barnacle@barnacle-Swanky ~ $

    Hmm. Thought I had 17.3 on this CB, I guess not.

    Neil

  30. Richard

    Hello. I have done all that has been asked. While trying to boot ububtu I find that my keyboard and mouse do not work even though Linux does boot. Sadly, while trying to boot from the hard drive I can’t get back. Just attempts to load forever. Help!

    • Captain

      That sounds a bit strange, what Linux distro are you using? When the chromebook boots up press ESC and choose to boot from your USB drive, does that work? If yes try and do a fresh install.

      • Richard Swensson

        Hello Captain,

        I was using a light version of Ubuntu on a USB. Now I am using a light Fedora distro and it seems to be working well. I’m considering wiping the entire thing and putting installing Fedora as the primary distro. Having used your firmware patch (thank you very much for your hard work by the way) is there any advice you would give for turning my Toshiba Chromebook 2 into a dedicated Fedora machine safely?

        -R

        • Captain

          Hi Richard, that’s good that it’s working now. Fedora should install but I haven’t tried it myself so you’ll probably need to do some of the fixes like sound and keyboard keys. As far as hard work, credit has to go to John Lewis and his G+ community, I’m just standing on the shoulders of giants.

  31. Foobar

    Followed the instructions but when I press ESC while booting up nothing happens. Any thoughts? On my HP Chromebook 14 I could press CTRL+L to bring up a boot menu but that doesnt seem to work either.

    • Captain

      Are you seeing the seaBIOS line of text on boot up or is it just a blank screen? It may be you’ve pressed the Chrome OS key combination which results in a blank screen. If so open the back cover again and unplug the cable for the battery for a couple of seconds.

      • Richard

        I see the SeaBios prompt without issue. It gives me the option of booting from either the hard disk or the USB I insert. The problem is when I choose the option to boot from the hard disk it says it is loading but nothing happens. Is there somewhere I can post a photo for your review? I reflashed the bios using your distribution as of Friday. There were some initial issues as I think the site may have been down briefly. Not sure. Is it possible I reflashed using a bad distro?

        • Captain

          The site was down for a little while for downloading the BIOS. I think your current problem is the USB drive/SD card you are using. Try a different one if you have one or create the bootable drive again using Ubuntu Gnome as a test. If you have a Windows pc use PendriveLinux because I’ve found this the most reliable tool to create a bootable Linux USB drive. For posting images, you can try pastebin, I haven’t used it myself but have seen others using it. Be methodical and make sure you read everything and don’t rush, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

          • Lu SeaFur

            Nothing happens when I hit ESC :/ Boots straight to hard disk every time. I’ll try another USB later this evening and revert.

          • Captain

            Yeah, it’s probably the USB drive.

  32. nerrant

    I followed all the steps.. I received the bios screen asking which option. I installed Ubuntu Mate and did a restart when completed. It continues to just boot and beep twice then prompt me with the screen stating, “ChromeOS missing or damaged, the device you inserted does not contain chromeOS.” It seems sometimes i can get it into your bios and other times i cant. Am i hitting key combos incorrectly? To turn this thing completely off does one have to hold the power button down or wait a period of time?

    • Captain

      If the Chrome screen is still showing the BIOS has not been flashed correctly. Try running the script again. To force shutdown keep hold of the power button for at least 20 seconds.

  33. nerrant

    Is there anything else required after unhooking the battery cable? I have tried this and now the unit won’t power back on. I may end up just taking it back and biting the bullet for an XPS 13. All help is appreciated at this point.

    • Captain

      Make sure you plugged in the battery cable properly. After that plug in the charger for about 5 minutes in case the battery hasn’t got enough charge. When you turn it on do you see the white power light in the power button? If not it sounds like a hardware fault, in which case try and return it.
      If you remove the write protect sticker and flash the BIOS correctly it will remove the Chrome stuff completely. The only other thing is that the Chromebook is not in developer mode?

  34. nerrant

    Ok, so i left it on the charger for 1-2 hours and it now powers up fine, however i still can’t get it to grab my USB drive (tried 2 different types). Last evening it picked it up on USB 3.0. When i power up this unit i hear two beeps (blank screen the entire time) and i am directed toward the ChromeOS setup. Similar to if you do a powerwash. Just to make sure i am doing nothing wrong i took the unit out of developer mode and placed it back in. I turned on the unit. After hearing two beeps and setting up chrome by logging in, I did ctrl+alt+t for a terminal. i typed in one line “cd; rm -f flash_chromebook_rom.sh; curl -L -O
    ___johnlewis.ie/flash_chromebook_rom.sh; sudo -E bash flash_chromebook_rom.sh ” and went through the process of modifying. I then typed, “sudo crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1” selected enter and powered down the unit. I put a fresh unetbootin ubuntu mate thumdrive into my usb 2.0 and 3.0 ports. The only thing that occurs is a blank screen with the power light on. If i remove the drive and restart again it beeps twice and takes me to the chromeOS setup. I never receive this OS verification screen everytime i reboot and i think thats the problem?

    • Captain

      The problem is that the BIOS is not being modified, that’s why you’re getting the beeps and the Chrome setup. What you should be seeing in the SeaBIOS line on the top of the screen where you can press the ESC key to choose which USB to boot from. Try flashing the BIOS again and be careful which option you choose (John may have changed the wording of the option) it was ‘Modify my Chromebook’s BOOT-STUB slot’ last time I looked. Once done you should just reboot, you don’t need the ‘sudo crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1’ command. If all goes well you should see the screen in this video (@ 28 secs into the video) where you can choose which USB to boot from. Keep at it, you’re almost there.

  35. nerrant

    Started square one with a complete recovery i initially did, I re-enabled dev mode, ctrl+alt+T and typed john’s script as mentioned above. I only have one option to select which is, “option 1. modify my chromebook’s legacy rw slot” I hit enter, type the goofy message concerning the possibility that i may brick my device. I reboot trying a thumb drive that worked last night, nada. Last night i seen the screen you are referring to stating to press esc. I installed ubuntu mate. After a successful install, i rebooted. it did the same as what i am experiencing now. Boots to two beeps and puts me back at the chromeOS. I never encounter a screen on boot with options. I can’t recreate this boot menu, but i wish i could. perhaps something is corrupted. I don’t know at this point. I think ive exhausted all options.

    • Captain

      Ok this makes more sense now. I assumed you had the older CB2 that I have. If you only have the Legacy RW option you have the new CB2, with Legacy boot you can run ChromeOS along side Linux. So although Ubuntu is installed, ChromeOS is still the default boot. You can change this to have SeaBIOS as the default. I don’t have this CB and have not done this myself but hopefully you can give this a go unless of course the siren call of the the XPS 13 has completely consumed you 🙂

  36. nerrant

    Captain – After plugging away at it, i finally have it workin’ buddy. I found my issue through this link:

    “https://groups.google.com/a/chromium.org/forum/#!topic/chromium-os-discuss/zOB3zcSL8rk”

    I just wanted to post back and say thanks. If it wasn’t for your guidance i would have just simply returned the device for something more streamline.

    -Nick

    • Captain

      Well done Nick and thanks for posting back, perseverance wins the day!

  37. Michael

    Hey captain. I bought an Intel-based Toshiba chrome book 2 for my eight-year-old and want to let him play Minecraft, code with stencyl, and play with steem. two questions: if I go through your process will it be relatively easy for an eight-year-old to switch between Ubuntu and chrome OS, and also any specific advice for me on this particular chrome book cb35-c3300 (2015 edition). And thank you for being such an amazing resource. I would’ve had no idea I need to actually open up the chrome book if I want to do this.

    • Captain

      Hi there! I’ll have to hide this comment from my son, otherwise he’ll want one as well! I have the 2014 model and not the new model that you have, but you’ll find more info in this post. To switch between the 2 OS’s I believe you use CTRL + l or CTRL + d for Chrome OS at boot. Any way good luck with your install.

  38. Michael

    Thanks Captain! So despite needing to open them up physically, and my lack of programming experience/savvy…I should give it a shot?

    • Captain

      It’s not that difficult but you should be aware that opening the Chromebook will invalidate your warranty and there is a chance you can damage it. Some people have and it’s usually because they have shorted the motherboard. I suggest that you use at least a anti-static wrist strap and optionally an anti-static mat. Once you’ve got that far successfully the rest just requires attention to detail and a bit of perseverance. I assume you’ve used Linux before, if you haven’t it’s a lot easier to use than it used to be and there is a whole community of people willing to help. Lastly there are no guarantees and if you really are unsure stick with Chrome OS, it’s still a great operating system – just not as versatile.

  39. Michael

    Thank you so much. I don’t know Linux, but my son is REALLY wanting to do Minecraft and some programming with Stencyl – I don’t really have an interest in researching or doing much with Linux, and was actually hoping once Linux was installed, I could just have him download these games, etc. from a browser.

  40. Joe

    I just flashed the BIOS successfully, did everything as described here. Also prepared a USB Boot Disk (Lubuntu, 64bit). After rebooting I see the BIOS screen.

    Now, I cannot boot from Hard Disk anymore. Am I correct that I am still supposed to boot Chrome OS from Hard Disk using SeaBIOS (Option 2) ?

    • Joe

      I See the following Screen and nothing happens!

      SeaBIOS (version rel-1.9.0-101-g36a4e02-06/01/16-johnlewis.ie)

      Presse ESC for boot menu.

      Select boot device:

      1. MMC drive XXXXX 15028MiB

      Booting from Hard Disk…

    • Joe

      Seems that the Linux USB Boot disk I created first was corrupt (Lubuntu). Now with a Ubuntu disk, I can install. Perfect so far 🙂

      • Captain

        I’m sure other people have mentioned they had problems with Lubuntu as well. It may be that it doesn’t boot on this Chromebook.

  41. Maru Varenstål

    Well the last update for Ubuntu 10.15 seem to kill the mouse pad and the system sound card. Have anybody same issue?. And also the sleep funktion got a problem.

  42. Maarten

    Does anybody know if it makes sense to flash a newer bios? I flashed mine sometime fall of 2015, and I was wondering if later ones bring any interesting stuff

  43. ZsoltS

    Hi there,

    wanted to switch back from Ubuntu to Chrome OS on my CB2 — any1 know how this can be done? Couldn’t find a tutorial anywhere. Thanks in advance!

    • Captain

      Open a terminal in Ubuntu and run the John Lewis script again and choose the option for ChromeOS.

  44. bertito (@bertitolino)

    I have tested a few linux distro’s on my Toshiba Chromebook CB30 – 102, but the trackpad/mouse never worked 🙁 Has anybody encountered this problem and how to fix it?

    • Captain

      Hi there,
      I have just tested by doing a clean install of Ubuntu Gnome 15.10 and after the update the trackpad stopped working. The kernel version was 4.2.x so after updating the kernel the trackpad works.
      Go to http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v4.4.5-wily/ and download 3 files linux-image-4.4.5-040405-generic_4.4.5-040405.201603091931_amd64.deb, linux-headers-4.4.5-040405_4.4.5-040405.201603091931_all.deb and linux-headers-4.4.5-040405-generic_4.4.5-040405.201603091931_amd64.deb. Install them in that order and reboot.

  45. Joe

    Hey, I’m in desperate need of help! I installed eOS and I would like help to reinstall cbrome OS … There is nothing out there to help!

    • Captain

      Hi Joe,
      Open a terminal in eOS and run the BIOS script again and choose the option for ChromeOS. After rebooting you will get the Chrome repair screen. You will need your ChromeOS recovery USB prepared to reinstall ChromeOS.

  46. Hugh

    I HAVE QUESTION, does the new ubuntu work on chromebook ? or I have to use mint ubuntu?

    • Captain

      The current version of Ubuntu works on both the 2014 and 2015 versions of the Toshiba Chromebooks. There is an Ubuntu software update that makes the trackpad stop working (not sure about CB2 2015 version) in the current version of Ubuntu and to fix it you will need to update the linux kernel (there is info in one of my previous comments).
      The new Ubuntu will be released in April 2016 and I will be testing that after the official release.
      It will have kernel version 4.4 which should fix those issues and maybe the sound as well.

  47. Maru Varenstål

    Any progress or workaround to get the microphone working?

  48. Malaquías Córdova

    Captain,

    I did all the steps you said in order to make the sound work. The problem is when I reboot, I check the audio settings and it does appear the hardware “Speakers – byt-max98090” and “Headphones – byt-max98090” the problem is that none of the two work, there is no sound! Please if you could help me or maybe tell me why you thing maybe this is happening. Thank you!

    • Captain

      It may be that when you ran the command ‘sudo alsa force-unload’ the audio device did not stop. I’m getting several reports of sound and touchpad problems after an Ubuntu software update. As I don’t have a lot of time to test at the moment, I am waiting for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS which will be released next month.

  49. Adam McGoldrick (@Adammcguk)

    Hi Captain, I set Ubuntu up on my baytrail CB2. Everything is fine except that after a reboot, the brightness settings have reset to full and I have to go into sound settings to select the speakers as default to make them work (not connected to any other audio outputs). Any ideas on how to get these settings to stick following a reboot?

    Thanks

  50. Adam McGoldrick (@Adammcguk)

    Thanks for the fast reply, Captain. One last Q – has 2 finger swipe left/right gesture ever worked on the CB2?

    • Captain

      No, but I don’t think the touchpad has that capability because I don’t remember it working in Chrome OS either.

  51. Fullmoonguru

    Hey I got everything working & all was good until I went to use Virtualbox. Apparently the 15.04 firmware created a problem and I was not able to resolve it. So I reloaded, VB is working fine but no sound of course. Any tips for this?

    • Captain

      After a fresh install you need to follow the sound fix in step 5 again.

      • Fullmoonguru

        I’m using Mint 17.2 (Ubuntu 14.04). Installing the 15.04 firmware is what kills the Virtualbox I think.

        • Captain

          There is an update that is causing several issues. I am waiting for Ubuntu 16.04 to release this month.

          • Chris Burnes

            Captain,

            Thanks for all your hard work and continuing support here on this thread.
            Are there other flavors of Linux that you have tried on this Chromebook that run well? Arch, Cinnamon, Mint?
            (to be clear, I’m not asking for Linux preferences, just what else have you tried that ran well)

          • Captain

            Hi Chris, thanks for the encouraging comments.
            The ones that are a bit heavy on resources are Ubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome.
            Elementary OS and Gallium OS (based on XUbuntu) are better for response times and battery life.
            With hardware like a Chromebook it’s what you would expect, lighter weight distros perform better.
            Those are the 4 Linux flavors I tried so far but I will be doing step by step guides and reviews of others in the future (the custom PC build project wasn’t supposed to take so long).

          • Dario

            Captain, thanks for the great work!

            IMO Ubuntu 15.10 is a disaster for CB2 (and not only there), hope a better release in 16.04 ….
            Apart from lack of drivers, the release is unstable: frequent hangs!

          • Captain

            Hi Dario,
            Apart from sound issues, my CB2 is working fine under Ubuntu Gnome 15.10. Perhaps you might find a lightweight version like Ubuntu Mate more your cup of tea?

  52. ivodegnDegn

    Hey Captain,
    so I take it there is no solution to the sound issue, as of now, right?
    Could you give me any advice whether there is a Linux distribution that will not have this sound problem?
    would really appreciate that.

    • Captain

      The distros I’ve tried so far are all Ubuntu based and so have the same problems with the sound and touchpad.
      The 2 options at the moment are to either not run the software update from Ubuntu or run the update and then update the Linux kernel as described in these comments.

  53. Adrian

    Hi Captain,

    I followed the instructions and the script confirmed that I flashed the BIOS properly, but when I tried to restart the screen stays black and nothing seems to happen. I tried unplugging the battery and holding the power button for 20+ seconds, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. Im using a CB35 2014 baytrail chromebook.

    Any ideas?

    • Captain

      You’ve tried the things I would have suggested already. The only other thing would be to leave it on charge for a while. Otherwise it may be something went wrong and it’s bricked. Post a comment on John’s forum as they have more experience with bricked Chromebooks than I do.

      • Adrian

        Thanks for the response. I took your advice and left it plugged in for a day or two (couldn’t hurt right). When I came back to it, I opened the laptop and the power light was on with nothing on the screen. I pressed the power button twice to reset it and the screen flashed and prompted me to Esc to enter the boot menu. Before I knew it I was in Ubuntu. What a bizarre turn of events.

        • Captain

          Hhmmm, strange indeed. I think it might have been in sleep mode because it was low on battery.

  54. LordBertus

    I wanted to do this for a long time, and your guide finally made it possible. I’m now typing this on my newly customized Xubuntu ultrabook 🙂 Thanks a lot for the clear guidelines!

    • Captain

      Happy to help LordBertus!

      • Bert De Mens

        After installing Xubuntu I switched to GalliumOS which was working very well (except for the webcam). Unfortunately suddenly my chromebook 2 (bay trail version) won’t turn on any more. I can see the power led of the battery as charging / charged when I plugged it in, but pressing the power button does absolutely nothing. Even the white light on the power button doesn’t turn on at all.

        I already tried removing all external storage, pressing refresh + power button but that also doesn’t work. I opened up the laptop again to reattach all the parts I modified before as per your guide, and to remove the battery but none of that seems to help, even though I can see nothing wrong on the inside, so I’m guessing my chromebook 2 is a lost cause by know. That’s too bad cause I really liked a a lot with GalliumOS.

        I would post more on the cause of the issue but I really have no clue, other than that it seems to be hardware related. It was a hot day and I put the laptop in my backpack while on suspend (suspend seemed to work fine by the way). It might also be related to this, but again I don’t really know.

        Anyway, I’m still glad I tried cause Chrome OS did feel too limited to me and I will end up getting a little more powerful laptop know. But at least I wanted to share. Hopefully I’m one of the only ones who has an issue like this.

        • Captain

          It sounds like battery is too low or empty from being on suspend. Leave the CB on charge for a couple of hours.

          • Bert De Mens

            Thanks for the advice. Unfortunately that was the first thing I tried, I could see the led indicating that the battery was charging, but even when fully charged pressing the power button did nothing.

        • Bart Frijters

          Have you tried turning the chromebook on with the escape key pressed? So: press and hold the escape key, and then press the power button. I’ve noticed i need to do that to turn my chromebook on since i’ve installed GalliumOS.

          • Captain

            The ESC key allows you to choose what to boot from, by default the CB should boot from the internal drive.

          • Bart Frijters

            I understand the function of the ESC key, but i really can’t start my chromebook at the moment without the use of the ESC key. Maybe i did something wrong in the proces of installing Gallium OS. Since then, just pressing power button doesn’t do anything (besides the power led on the power button). I’m not really sure what the right sequence is to get my chromebook started, the last attempt was something like: keep both ESC and power pressed for a few secondes, then release and push both buttons shortly at the same time … I guess i press the right sequence by chance, but i can’t recreate the same exact sequence every time… Feels like a lottery every time i want to power on my chromebook.

          • Captain

            Very strange, try CTRL + L on boot to see if you get the seabios screen

          • Bert De Mens

            I tried, but it doesn’t work either. I’m pretty sure there’s something broken in the hardware of my device but I have no clue what it could be. It’s weird though that your key combination for powering on would have changed. On your device, do you see the white light on the power button when you press it without pressing the escape key?

          • Captain

            Yes on pressing the power button the white light is on. I’m not sure what’s going on but I think you should start all over again. Run John’s script again from a terminal window and put Chrome OS back on. Then follow the instructions in my post again to install Linux.

          • Bart Frijters

            Yes, the light on the power button goes on/off when i push the power button (push –> light goes on –> push –> light goes off). It reacts to it. But the screen doesn’t “wake up”, untill i do some magic combo with the ESC key. I haven’t tried the ctrl+L thing yet, will do that later. I have to add that, when using the combo with the ESC key, the first thing i see has to do with the seabios (i think), it gives an option to choose boot medium, and automatically uses internal hard disk after some seconds.

  55. nerrant

    Currently running Arch + Xmonad. I have noticed this laptop screen is blinding and kills my eyes no matter what variant of linux i use. Does this occur with anyone else? I have configured fonts, used xfinality, played with xgamma settings, etc. I am not trying to side track this thread, but let me know. Thanks.

  56. Melina

    Hi, I’d like to install XFCE or LXDE on my Toshiba CB2 (2GB Version). But first I’d like to know, if hibernate or suspend works completely when I close the lid (like it works under Chrome OS).
    And a second question: is reversible? Can it be undone and my Chrome OS be restored?

    • Captain

      Hi Melina,
      XFCE or LXDE is probably a good lightweight option for the 2GB version. Suspend is controlled by the OS and not the hardware so should be fine.
      If you decide to go back to ChromeOS, just run the script again and from there you can use the normal process to recover ChromeOS using a USB.

      • Melina

        Thank you for the fast reply. I’m sorry, I’ve just seen, that I’ve totally over read the section where you describe how to undo it. So I’ll give it a try now 🙂 hopefully it will be faster than crouton (which can be a little bit laggy on the 2GB version because of chrome browser, which uses very much of the memory)

  57. Jade

    Hi I have a questioin. Can I make my ‘toshiba chromebook2 baytrail’ dual-boot between windows 10 and chrome os ?
    Is there any instruction site??

  58. Goose

    Hey Captain,

    This is my first time converting anything to Linux and your guide really helped make it possible. Thank you for putting in the time and effort to make such a helpful resource.

    Sincerely,
    Goose

    • Captain

      No thank you for your positive comments 🙂

  59. Melina

    Hi, so now i followed your steps and I think I’ve got a working LXDE on my CB (didn’t do the sound steps until yet).
    For anyone, who has the “Booting from hard drive…”-stuck error: I tried to install LXDE, XFCE and Gnome Ubuntu from a newer Sandisk 32 GB USB 3.0 Stick and all three got stuck at this point (even with using PenDriveLinux instead of LiLi). I tried both USB ports. After that, I tried an very old 2GB USB 2.0 stick and that worked flawless.

    But I got one more question: Can I change the boot order somehow? When I try booting while some USB stick or SD card is plugged in, it tries to boot the wrong device (and gets stuck), because the MMC isn’t the first device in the boot list anymore. I can bypass this by pressing ESC and choosing the device manually, but thats not a nice way and it does not work always.

    • Captain

      Well done for getting through the install!
      The script sets the boot order to always boot from any USB drives first. This can be changed, but I haven’t tried it yet, when I do, I’ll post a guide.

      • Melina

        Ok, thank you 🙂 hope you’ll find time soon 😉
        I also gonna research further in the next days. And post if I have a solution.

  60. Lyndon

    This is a great tutorial! Considering doing this to my Toshiba Chromebook 2 soon. Was wondering if I could do the same thing but instead with an Ubuntu MATE flash drive instead, is this possible or does something need to be changed?

    • Captain

      Hi Lyndon,
      Thanks, that link doesn’t work but if you mean you want to install Ubuntu Mate then sure, most distros will work just fine.

  61. Stuart

    Hi captain, i followed this guide sucessfully and (after playing around with different flavours/ distro’s of ubuntu)…i am now getting errors on every build i try to reinstall 🙁 (14.04 and also 16.04)

    I get the error”Installer Crashed”, which always seems to occur around the post installation of the software update center?

    Not sure why this is happening now? i had also played around with different headers/ firmwares (with trying to fix the sound/ trackpad issues)

    Im at a loss to why this is not working anymore (havent changed or altered anything (apart from formatting and trying to install fresh clean ubuntu distros)..

    also, how would i go about restoring chromeOS via linux live USB?…i would have to use chromium?

    thanks and hopefully hear from you soon,

    Stuart.

    • Captain

      Hi Stuart,
      I think the best course of action is to reflash the BIOS (I would recommend RW_LEGACY rather than bootstub).
      Then create a new Ubuntu 16.04 live USB drive boot from it and completely wipe the Chromebooks drive using gparted (create new partition msdos).
      I am writing a new guide and have noticed when using Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 if I tick the 2 boxes for installing updates and 3rd party drivers during the install it crashes. Unticking those options lets the install run smoothly.
      To get back to ChromeOS you can create a Chrome OS recovery drive directly from Linux (see the last option on Google’s Chrome OS help page).
      Create the USB, run John’s script again if you used the boot stub option and pick go back to stock BIOS (for LW_LEGACY, you don’t need to do anything).
      When you boot up and see the Chrome OS verification is off screen press spacebar and after that use your Chrome OS USB to do the restore.
      Hopefully that makes sense, if not be patient, I am writing some more guides including going back to Chrome OS and they will be posted soon

      – Captain

  62. Aki

    Hello!

    I am a new Linux user, to be precise never used it.

    I’m trying to install Ubuntu on my Toshiba Chromebook 2. I’ve chaned SSD, and now I’m stuck on step 4. When I start terminal window tab and type shell, it says: ” unknown command: shell”. What should I do?

    Thank you very much!

    • Captain

      It sounds like you’re not in developer mode, make sure you follow step 2 carefully.

      • Aki

        Thanks for your reply!
        I now have another problem. I restarted my computer, pressed ctrl+L, then Esc to boot from USB. However, it says”
        “Graphics initialization failed
        Error setting up gfxboot”

        Don’t know what to do. Tried typing: “help”, but it didn’t help. I guess because I’m trying to install 16.04.

        Please help! Thank you in advance!

        • Captain

          This is a bug that has been reported with the Ubuntu installer in general. I suspect it’s the USB drive you are using or the way you created the live install USB drive. Try another USB drive or recreate the live install by using dd.
          sudo dd if=/path_to_ubuntu_.iso of=/dev/sdX
          where you need to change the iso path and sdX to you USB dive (use lsblk to check which one it is).

  63. Erik

    Hi Captain. All works flawlessly with 16.04. So thnx very much for all your work! One question.. when booting I don’t want to see a booting-dialog, I jus want to push the button and wait for 20 seconds and have Ubuntu in front of me. Can I fix that?
    Cheers!

    • Captain

      Hi Erik,
      I think I remember seeing something about changing the flags in the BIOS using the gbb_utility tool to make the BIOS default but that might brick your Chromebook!

  64. Simon Lachaîne

    Hi Captain! Thank you for this guide. I haven’t been able to solve the sound problem though. I have the SWANKY Toshiba, I installed Ubuntu 16.04 and installed the updates; kernel version is 4.4; I have the linux-firmware package installed.

    I changed the asound.state as described in your guide: the mic isn’t shown anymore in the settings, and still no sound. It looks like the only option I have for sound output is the HDMI… I guess I need analog for the speakers and headphones, would you know how I can fix this? Thanks again!

    • Captain

      Hi Simon,

      I created a script which will fix the sound as well as remap the keyboard top row keys automatically for you see here. After running the script you may need to go into sound in settings and click on the speakers because it defaults to the HDMI sound for some reason. You can also see me doing this in my recent video in step 5 for dual booting Linux and Chrome OS.

      • Simon Lachaine

        Yes, it seems the only thing I missed was clicking on the speakers, everything works now! Many thanks to you, this is great 🙂

  65. Matt

    Hello, I’m confused as to how you choose the BIOS_STUB option in the script I have tried entering it in multiple ways but I always end up getting this error message: “ERROR: Invalid option chosen, exiting …”. How do you Choose this option in the script?

  66. Dunder

    Hey Captain!
    I’m just wondering, I did your guide on duel-boot Chrome OS with Linux on USB stick and now I want to remove Chrome OS completely and install Ubuntu instead. Do I have to modify the BIOS again? Because I did that so I could duel-booting from USB stick. Or can I just unscrew my Toshiba Chromebook 2 remove the sticker from the pad and its good to go?

    And thanks for all your helpful guides!

    • Captain

      Hi Dunder,
      You don’t need to modify the BIOS again. You simply can install on the internal drive of your Chromebook. When you do the install choose to wipe the entire disk and let Linux take care of the partitions for you.

      Let me know how you get on and which Linux distro you’re using. Glad you like the guides 🙂

  67. Captain

    Well done Sienna! The last photo says it all both of you are beaming with pride.

  68. Bruce

    Hi, Captain!
    Thanks for your contribution that is really helpful.
    Here are my findings, the 4.2.0-27.32 kernel works perfectly on trackpad, sound and even microphone. Cheers!
    I found the kernel working on ubuntu 14.04.4 at first. Today after I installed the ubuntu 16.04 on my swanky and restore the 4.2.0-27.32 kernel, surprisingly it worked as well. Although the system sound setting still cannot detect the microphone, the mic do work and I can control it by PulseAudio. Everything works just fine.
    Now I’m wondering will the old version kernel do harm to the new OS.XD

  69. Captain

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

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