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Running ChromeOS and Ubuntu at the Same time using Crouton on the Acer C7 Chromebook

ubuntu-chrome-logoThe Acer C7 Chromebook is an absolute steal at £200 and it appears the revise unit also has better specs. I’ve added 16Gb or Ram in mine and to be honest can spend most of my time in ChromeOS. There are however times when having a full OS like Ubuntu is needed. It is possible to run both Ubuntu and Chrome OS on this device as I’ve outlined here



Update how to install Ubuntu 13:04:

However there is a different way to do this.. While the method outlined above is great, it can be an absolute pain swapping in and out of each OS however thanks to some people smarter than me have put together a script which installs Ubuntu in a Chrome chroot environment. This means not only can you run both OS’s ChromeOS and Ubuntu12.04 at the same time, but CTRL – ALT F3 and CTRL ALT F1 will swap between the two environments both running at the some time So how do we do this?

Step 1 – Put the Acer C7 into Developer Mode

Note that once developer mode is enabled and OS verification is turned off, it will take a lot longer for the computer to boot — although you can hit Ctrl + D to exit the OS verification screen more quickly.

 turn on the Chromebook and enter the following key combination to get started:

Esc + Refresh button + Power button

The refresh button is the page refresh button in the top row, which you use to reload a web page.

This will cause the computer to reboot and show you a scary screen that talks about data loss.

Then you just sort of sit there for a while until your system reboots and disables OS verification.

You’ll hear a few beeps and then the Chromebook reboots another time.

On this last reboot the system will wipe your data and load the developer mode version of Chrome OS. That entire process takes about 5 minutes.

The Acer C7 should now be in Developer mode

Step 2 – Download the Ubuntu Installer

Head over to and download the linke at which will download a small file called crouton to your downloads folder.

This is a small script which when executed will install Ubuntu with the chosen GUI

Step 3 – Load the ChromeOS Terminal

Yes thats right ChromeOS has a terminal, press CTRL – ALT + T

This will bring up a Terminal window within Chrome Browser and a crosh prompt



You are now in a Bash shell and we are ready to install Ubuntu

Step 4 – Choose which GUI

You can install Ubuntu with a choice of GUI to see which one’s are available type

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t help

And you will see

Available targets:
        Google Chrome browser. Replaces Chromium if specified first.
        Requires: x11 core
        Google Chrome browser, beta. Replaces Chromium if specified first.
        Requires: x11 core
        Google Chrome browser, dev. Replaces Chromium if specified first.
        Requires: x11 core
        Chromium browser. Uses the distro's version, which may be old.
        Requires: x11 core
        Basic CLI tools such as wget and ssh.
        Requires: core
        Performs core system configuration. Most users would want this.
        Installs the enlightenment desktop environment. (Approx. 50MB)
        Requires: chromium gtk-extra
        GTK-based graphical system tools such as gdebi and gksu.
        Requires: x11 core
        Installs the KDE desktop environment. (Approx. 800MB)
        Requires: x11 core
        Installs the LXDE desktop environment. (Approx. 200MB)
        Requires: chromium gtk-extra x11 core
        Touchscreen and limited generic gesture support.
        Requires: x11 core
        Installs the Unity desktop environment. (Approx. 700MB)
        Requires: chromium gtk-extra x11 core
        Basic X11 install. Does not install any desktop environment.
        Requires: core
        Nested X11 install. Replaces X11 if specified first.
        Requires: core
        Installs the Xfce desktop environment. (Approx. 250MB)
        Requires: chromium gtk-extra x11 core

If you favour unity for example type

sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t unity

This will start the install script which will download about 700Mb of files, towards the end of the install you will be asked to choose a time zone and setup an account name.

Step 5 – Starting Ubuntu

The installer suggests a whole load of stuff about starting a chroot shell, ignore it..


sudo startunity

obliviously if you chose kde you would type

sudo startkde

The Ubuntu GUI will start

Step 6 – Swapping between ChromeOS and Ubuntu

Pressing ALT CTRL and F1 (back) while in ubuntu will take you back to ChromeOS

Pressing ALT CTRL and F3 (reload) while in ChromeOS will take you to Ubuntu

Things to note

  • It seems you need to keep the Tab with the Terminal open in ChromeOS, I just right click on the tab and choose Pin to keep it to the side.
  • Disable the screensaver in Ubuntu or your system will grind to a halt
  • If the Keypresses don’t work, wait a few seconds, don’t keep pressing the keys or you WILL crash your device
  • The Filesystem is shared between both OS’s so what is in downloads in one, will be in downloads in the other.
  • The install of Ubuntu is a basic install, you will need to install Apps like office and the like.


At the price these devices are coming out it’s the perfect combination with this keypress swapping to provide apps such as skype and the solid platform of both Google ChromeOS and Ubuntu..


30 comments on “Running ChromeOS and Ubuntu at the Same time using Crouton on the Acer C7 Chromebook

  1. red
    March 26, 2013

    I ❤ crouton! Another thing to note… the user filesystem is shared between ChromeOS and Ubuntu. But if you want to access other devices (like a USB drive) you need to mount it into the user space first from the crosh shell.

  2. Bob
    March 29, 2013

    I’m trying to do this on a Chromebox and when I enter the key combination

    Esc + Refresh button + Power button

    the computer shuts down and doesn’t reboot. Any ideas?

  3. Pingback: Ubuntu 13.04 raring to go on Acer C7 Chromebook | projectz

  4. Whit
    May 3, 2013

    Doesn’t work on my new C7. Esc-Refresh-Power goes to a “! Chrome OS is missing or damanged. Please insert a recovery USB stick.” screen. Which just hangs there. The power button works to to back into Chrome. But no developer mode entry by this method. An OS update?

    • projectzme
      May 3, 2013

      It’s been a while since I did this but

      ESC-F3-PWR means “enter recovery mode”, and “ChromeOS is missing or damaged” is the EXPECTED SCREEN when you press ESC-F3-PWR.

      To enter Developer mode, you must enter this screen first, then press CTRL+D. Hope it helps.

    • Chad Yantorno
      May 4, 2013

      It works. Once you get to the Chrome OS is missing or damaged screen you need to key Ctrl-D

  5. Whit
    May 6, 2013

    Quite right. Ctrl-D is what was missing in the instructions above.

    The chroot solution mostly works well. But I notice there’s no sound available in Chrome, only in Linux (although the function keys for volume don’t work there). That makes have Chrome also running of less value, unless only using it to visit silent places.

    • projectzme
      May 6, 2013

      That’s a good call, I never noticed that before… I guess that could be an issue, I would feed that back on the crouton site..

  6. Ian
    May 7, 2013

    This is fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial. I’m not sure the best way to exit my GUI, however. Logging out and shutting down from the system menu do absolutely nothing. I can CTRL-C from Crosh in ChromeOS, but it doesn’t seem to properly unmount my chroot. Any ideas?

    • projectzme
      May 7, 2013

      I will have a google and see what comes up, I usually do a

      sudo shutdown -h now

      From the command line

    • joedoe47joedoe47
      May 21, 2013

      usually when terminating a chroot session you want to exit of the gui and in the terminal just type “exit”. however sudo halt might also do the trick when you are in the desktop, I have also had success by using the log out command on lxde and xfce.

  7. Intangible
    May 25, 2013

    I just finished installing Unity. I was able to swap back to Chrome OS, atrl + alt + f1. But I cannot use ctrl + alt + f3 to get back in.

    I’ve hit it about 50 times and hit it once and waited, still no go.

    Any help would be appreciated. Now whenever I load the unity in the terminal it just stays in the terminal.

    • projectzme
      May 25, 2013

      I don’t have my chrome book to hand, sometimes I need to do a Ctrl alt f2 which takes me to a crash window THEN do a Ctrl alt F3

  8. ghmsweb
    May 28, 2013

    hi! projectzme, can you awnser-me something? witch way gives you a faster ubuntu OS? chrubuntu or crouton?

  9. Tony
    May 31, 2013

    Do you know if cruton has been updated to install 13.04?

  10. Michael Zuskin
    July 4, 2013

    The article is about Acer C7 Chromebook. Does it work for Samsung too?

    • projectzme
      July 4, 2013

      I’m not sure about arm based devices, but the same instructions should work for any intel based chromebook

  11. Shedy
    July 23, 2013

    after entering developer mode, should i sign into the chromebook with my google account and then download the file or should i browse as a guest

  12. rashad
    August 9, 2013

    I keep getting “sudo: startunity: command not found

  13. rashad
    August 9, 2013

    Nevermind 🙂 didn’t see the script at the end of step 4. Thanks

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2013 by in guides, howto, ilike, Linux, tip, Ubuntu and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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