Trying to install a Linux Distro on a Chromebook

pyrinder

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Hello there, probably not the first time you've seen a topic like this. But I've ran into quite a wall currently with a chromebook that I'm trying to install Linux onto, because I'm not fond of the idea of an always-online laptop.

The HP Chromebook model I'm working with is a G4-11, currently outdated by 9 years and it's last update was in 2021. I've done some scrounging of information in how to do this and that, like enabling Developer Mode and knowing what commands to press to get my way around and enable USB boot.

The target distro I'm trying to get on is Lubuntu because I figure the specs on this chromebook is not strong enough to handle a fully-featured Linux distro. I'm using an ONN flash stick to do this with through USB Universal Installer tool.

My problem right now is that while I've enabled USB boot and can get through back to Developer Mode, everytime I have the flash stick inside and boot the chromebook. It would complain about the flash stick not containing a ChromeOS image. Taking out the flash stick, I get the warning that OS Verification is off which enables me to go back into Developer Mode. I'd plug the flash stick back in during this and go back into the terminal, I'd try pressing both CTRL+ U at various points in hopes to see a prompt for Lubuntu but I don't. I'm just routed back into the opening introductory screen to make a Chrome profile again.

And I'm just on this annoying loop where it's this process everytime. Any ideas?
 


Welcome
OK the bad news
this machine came with an entry level celeron 2 core cpu [not the most capable for its time] worse still it came with onl a 16gb flash drive and 2 gb ram which is not big enough for most Linux distributions, IF you are lucky to have the upgraded version it will have a 32gb flash drive and 4 gb ram.

so before I continue and offer some suggestions can you go into the machine's spec and determine the flash drive and ram size.
 
Welcome
OK the bad news
this machine came with an entry level celeron 2 core cpu [not the most capable for its time] worse still it came with onl a 16gb flash drive and 2 gb ram which is not big enough for most Linux distributions, IF you are lucky to have the upgraded version it will have a 32gb flash drive and 4 gb ram.

so before I continue and offer some suggestions can you go into the machine's spec and determine the flash drive and ram size.
2.16 Ghz and 2GB of RAM
16GB storage
 
ok. not good, so my suggestions [there are others but some not good for newbies]

the following might fit
Lubuntu
Kubuntu
Peppermint

will defiantly fit
sparky linux
Antix
Bodhi
LXLE
Linux Lite
Bunsen
 
ok. not good, so my suggestions [there are others but some not good for newbies]

the following might fit
Lubuntu
Kubuntu
Peppermint

will defiantly fit
sparky linux
Antix
Bodhi
LXLE
Linux Lite
Bunsen
That's fine, because I looking to put a lightweight distro. I don't want anything like Ubuntu on there, since I know a Chromebook's limits and now this one.

This laptop is only going to be primarily used as a white-noise machine (playing videos or whatever when I sleep) or a general communication tool (discord/e-mail) so not a lot is really required. I just don't want to be on Google's always-online ecosystem to do anything or just plainly don't want to be on Google's ecosystem period.

My problem though still remains, I can't get the flash drive prompt to help set up a distro. I don't think it's because the tool I used to fomat the flash stick failed, when it did the first time I tried making a live flash drive. Something is not being done right at the right time and I'm not sure when I should put in the keystroke.

I just know everytime I go to Developer Mode, and try enabling USB boot again, it's saying error which tells me that it's already enabled. Any other time I'm at the Developer Mode, I'm just left with a cursor prompt and not sure what to do when the flash stick doesn't boot up.
 
go to Developer Mode, and try enabling USB boot again, it's saying error which tells me that it's already enabled.
That would be correct, it is either on or off it doesn't reset itself now if you have read any of the other can i install on a Chromebook threads, you will have seen my comment...
Installing LINUX ON A CHROMEBOOK CAN BE CHALLENGING, the following link is about the best I have found

 
They're great suggestions and I'm trying to revisit my old friend Bunsenlabs.

I'm stuck at the Developer Console right now, I'm not sure what to do. Here's what keeps happening.

With the flash stick in, I get stuck at the OS Verification turned Off screen, I CTRL + D and I'm at the Developer Terminal where all I can do is log on as Chronos and sudo su - my way to root and I'm as localhost and any command I can do won't work or there's no commands I can think of.

With the flash stick out, it is the same scenario and sometimes I get the screen where the chromebook is asking for a SD or flash stick. And it's been booting normally to the login screen as well.

I can't access the shell command because it claims it doesn't know it. I can't install it with apt-install.

So basically it feels like I'm at a dead-end here, seemingly. I've tried going to the search engines and all that they've told me is the very things I've already know how to do and what to do.

I've even tried the crossystem command to try and boot the USB up and while it seemingly looks like it works, nothing really happens.

I'm not sure right now.
 
They're great suggestions and I'm trying to revisit my old friend Bunsenlabs.

I'm stuck at the Developer Console right now, I'm not sure what to do. Here's what keeps happening.

With the flash stick in, I get stuck at the OS Verification turned Off screen, I CTRL + D and I'm at the Developer Terminal where all I can do is log on as Chronos and sudo su - my way to root and I'm as localhost and any command I can do won't work or there's no commands I can think of.

With the flash stick out, it is the same scenario and sometimes I get the screen where the chromebook is asking for a SD or flash stick. And it's been booting normally to the login screen as well.

I can't access the shell command because it claims it doesn't know it. I can't install it with apt-install.

So basically it feels like I'm at a dead-end here, seemingly. I've tried going to the search engines and all that they've told me is the very things I've already know how to do and what to do.

I've even tried the crossystem command to try and boot the USB up and while it seemingly looks like it works, nothing really happens.

I'm not sure right now.
listen to brickwizard on this. he knows. but also keep in mind what you already know.... Chromebooks are disposable semi-computers. They are meant to hold chromeOS and nothing else. Many have the OS in the system and updates are limited to chrome only. You may be experiencing this. Chromebooks are very challenging to convert and I gave up on them. Now when a client wants upgrade or change to the chromebook they bought, I point to the refurb laptops to their right in my shop.

Bottom line is that you may be stuck with no hope. Don't feel bad because those systems are almost a scam and many including many schools have purchased them. It is ok to repurpose it so that papers do not blow in the breeze in the office. They make these intentionally difficult to do anything other than what they want it to do. I don't blame you for wanting away from google, I try to do the same.
 
listen to brickwizard on this. he knows. but also keep in mind what you already know.... Chromebooks are disposable semi-computers. They are meant to hold chromeOS and nothing else. Many have the OS in the system and updates are limited to chrome only. You may be experiencing this. Chromebooks are very challenging to convert and I gave up on them. Now when a client wants upgrade or change to the chromebook they bought, I point to the refurb laptops to their right in my shop.

Bottom line is that you may be stuck with no hope. Don't feel bad because those systems are almost a scam and many including many schools have purchased them. It is ok to repurpose it so that papers do not blow in the breeze in the office. They make these intentionally difficult to do anything other than what they want it to do. I don't blame you for wanting away from google, I try to do the same.
I can't say I'm angry. I didn't pay no more than $10 for this so I can't say it was a ripoff (much). I wanted a lightly dependable laptop to do an otherwise simple job that required next to no resources to use. I also got this challenge of a project on top of it, because I know that one day, someday, everything will stop working on this chromebook. It's Google, they're known for killing many of its projects after some time of use, no matter how well it does or did for them.

Chromebooks are no exception to the rule, which is why I don't see them and never saw them as true laptops. They're just computers being treated like food, with expiration dates. I just thought I'd be hopeful and save this one and give it something so it can be repurposed, like all of the laptops I had before this where they were given a Linux distro to keep living a new life.
 
I have a feeling this is going to be a write protection problem, and on a machine of this age, it may be an open the machine and either toggling a switch or more likely removing an earthing screw,
I do not have worksheets for Chromebooks, so you will have to hang awhile whilst I see what I can find out, [will let you know later today how I get on]
 
OK that was quicker than I thought it would be...
I cannot find anything on your exact machine, so working from what I know of similar age/design HP's. I am fairly certain you have a mechanical [screw] write protect, this screw will need to be removed,
Is this something you fancy having a go at? If so, I can give you instructions. But do not accept liability for any damage.
You could try crouton.
His flash card isn't big enough to hold 2 systems
 
OK that was quicker than I thought it would be...
I cannot find anything on your exact machine, so working from what I know of similar age/design HP's. I am fairly certain you have a mechanical [screw] write protect, this screw will need to be removed,
Is this something you fancy having a go at? If so, I can give you instructions. But do not accept liability for any damage.

His flash card isn't big enough to hold 2 systems
I'd like to, sure. Thanks.
 
I will try and keep it as simple as possible
you will need a small cross head screwdriver [not magnetised], a couple of small dishes to keep components safe, a thin plastic piece to open the case [old credit card should do it,] and a white cotton smooth cloth to go under the machine whilst you work on it ,[so you can find anything you may drop]

Method
Remove the keyboard....close the machine and place upside down
Remove the rubber plugs covering the screw access holes. there may be one hidden in the top centre of the back under the product label.
Remove the cross head screws. There will be between 7 and 12 depending on the machine
Using a plastic pry tool [credit card], work around and pry open the gap between the keyboard deck where it fits into the main body [if you feel resistance look for a screw you may have misses]
Carefully lift the keyboard up and place it to the left. [You don't need to disconnect the keyboard]
Locate the write protection screw,
the picture below is of an HP of about the same age, it may not be identical to yours but good enough for recognition
Look for a LARGE WHITE ARROW icon next to the BIOS write protect screw on the green circuit board [in red square on photo]
it can be recognised by its appearance of being a copper circle split in half
Remove the write protection screw and any other loose bits [may have copper spring/washer under it] and discard

re-assemble the machine in reverse order, carefully clipping the Keypad back in position

now switch on and start the installation from the beginning.

I will be out for a few hours, let me know if you get stuck, or better still if you are successful.

IMG_5313_zpsacbb2723.jpg
 
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We have two chromebooks running Mint. Have you looked at MrChromebox.tech?
No I haven't and I will now. Before I take on what Brickwizard laid out to me, I'm looking into this first. Because this is laying out some commands to me that I've not tried before at certain stages that I didn't know beforehand as to what to do. This is the kind of information that was lacking when all of the times I've googled about (should've known better) because all that the results that I got were just recycling some of the things I already had done.
 
results that I got were just recycling some of the things I already had done.
Often the way, especially do not trust U-tub videos, in the past i have found many inaccurate, even more lacking full information, and so me are so bad they are a danger to your kit.

You will find my offerings different for each person [skill level] and machine, There are 3 basic stet up's with Google and chrome machines, the newer machines, under 5 yrs old you can enter developer mode from the bios, older machines were mechanical [like yours] you physically have to disable write protection, then there are the poor sods who have bought a real basic old one, they do not have any means of disabling the write protection so are scrap.
 
All right, I ran into more walls. So onto what Brickwizard was showing me. Yes our motherboards are indeed different. So this made me go to another forum where a nice fellow was kind enough to show everyone where exactly that screw was on the motherboard to my chromebook model.

When I opened it, I suspected the screw was where the red box is. I then assume the one with the green box is where it really is, so I took that one out as seen in the image.

Screw

I'll back with results.
 

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