Install Elementary OS on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (Bay Trail)

Elementary OS is a pretty cool Linux operating system and when paired with the Toshiba Chromebook 2, you could say you have an alternative to a Macbook.

Update: There are now 2 versions of the Toshiba Chromebook 2: the Baytrail and the Broadwell models. This install of elementary OS was on the Baytrail version, for the Broadwell version see this post.

This guide uses information from some of my other posts. If you are not sure about some of the steps, having a quick look at those should get you up to speed.

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.

Preparation

Follow steps 1 – 4 from my original post to make the BIOS writeable and install the modified BIOS.

Create a bootable elementary OS USB thumb drive plug it into your chromebook. I have also plugged in my USB 3.0 hub/ethernet adapter to make the install quicker. A wired connection is faster to download updates than a wireless connection.

Install elementary OS

  • Power on, press ESC and choose the drive to boot from.
  • Wait for elementary OS to load and choose the option to Try elementary OS without installing
  • Once elementary OS loads choose the option to install elementary OS and follow the onscreen prompts.
  • There is likely to be an input/output error warning, it’s safe to ignore it.
  • 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 the install finishes, reboot. The start up time is not that fast but still acceptable.

Post installation fixes

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.

Sound

  • The below instructions are now not needed (particularly upgrading the Linux kernel). Please use my script to fix sound issues automatically.
  • Out of the box, sound does not work. To fix this download the latest firmware updates from Ubuntu.
  • Install the .deb file (if you double click on it, it will open in the software installer) and reboot.
  • Now we need to update our sound config file. Download the modified sound config file (asound.state) from here.
  • Open up a terminal window and type sudo alsa force-unload to stop the audio services.
  • Replace the system’s sound config file with the downloaded version (extract the file from the zip archive and move it to the Downloads folder):
    Type sudo cp ~/Downloads/asound.state /var/lib/alsa
  • After rebooting the sound and mic works as well as the HDMI sound output.

Touchpad

  • Some touchpad gestures may not work, choose the tap to click option in the system settings to fix this.

Battery

  • The battery icon can be a bit misleading and so I would suggest that you display the usage in time as well. Right click on the battery icon and choose the option Show time in menu bar.

Keyboard media keys