Google Chrome OS is an operating system designed around the Chrome web browser. All the apps you run on Chrome OS are web apps, which is why computers designed to run Chrome tend to ship with just 16GB of storage — you don’t need space to store apps or files on a large hard drive.

But just because there’s not a lot of room on a Chromebook or Chromebox doesn’t mean you can’t install a second operating system and run some native desktop-style apps.

Chromebox Ubuntu

The folks at Extreme Tech took a built of Ubuntu Linux 12.04 for a spin on a Chromebox, and found that the small computer does a pretty good job of handling the desktop operating system.

In order to set up a Chromebook or Chromebox to run Ubuntu, you’ll need to switch the device to developer mode, wipe your data, repartition the storage space, and load a version of Ubuntu optimized for your device.

The good news is once that’s done you can switch between Chrome OS and Ubuntu, or repartition your disk again and switch back to a full-time Chrome OS system if you like.

And since Chrome OS stores almost all of your files and settings in the cloud, even wiping your data when you switch to developer mode isn’t that big a deal. Just sign in with your Google username after your done, and your preferences should re-appear in no time flat.

The biggest limitation to this setup is probably the small solid state disk that you get with Chrome OS hardware. You’ll only be using a portion of that 16GB for Ubuntu, so you won’t be able to install a ton of apps or download a lot of media to your device — although you can always plug in a USB storage device for extra space.

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,544 other subscribers

2 replies on “Dual boot Chrome OS, Ubuntu on a Chromebook, Chromebox”

  1. How about running Android on a Chromebook? Can it be done? Has it been done? I hope you will let us know when this happens…

  2. As you can install RPMs at your Chromium OS, i supose is the same at Chrome OS, I do not know why you need to install Ubuntu.

    As I do not have a Chromebook or box, if it is not possible to install SUSE rpm packages at their Chrome OS, natively I am sure there would be a trick to do it downloading a yum.rpm and adding SUSE sources if it is not there.

Comments are closed.