Chrome OS devices

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Notes: Draft... (Discuss in Talk:Chrome OS devices#)

This article is to provide information on how to get Arch up and running on the Chromebook series of laptops (or netbooks) as built by Samsung, Acer, Google.

Discussion of this topic began in this forum thread:

Initially written with the intention of getting a Samsung Series 5 550 to dual boot with Arch. (Only reason for the dual boot is to potentially collect firmware changes pushed downward from Chromeos).

Model Specific Overview

(as copied from Wikipedia)

Chromebook models
Manufacturer Model Available Generation Processor RAM Storage Screen size Weight Base price
Google Cr-48 Dec 2010 Prototype 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N455 2 GB DDR3 16 GB Solid-state drive 12.1 in 3.8 lb Not for retail sale
Samsung Series 5 (XE500C21) Jun 2011 1 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N570 2 GB DDR3 16 GB Solid-state drive 12.1 in 3.06 - 3.26 lb $349.99 Wi-Fi
$449.99 3G
Acer AC700 Jul 2011 1 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N570 2 GB DDR3 16 GB Solid-state drive 11.6 in 3.19 lb $299.99 Wi-Fi
$399.99 3G
Samsung Series 5
May 2012 2 1.3 GHz Intel Celeron 867 4 GB DDR3 16 GB Solid-state drive 12.1 in 3.3 lb $449.99 Wi-Fi
$549.99 3G
Samsung Series 3
Oct 2012 3 1.7 GHz Samsung Exynos 5 Dual 2 GB DDR3 16 GB Solid-state drive 11.6 in 2.43 lb $249.99 Wi-Fi
$329.99 3G
Acer C7 Chromebook Nov 2012 3 1.1 GHz Intel Celeron 847 2 GB DDR3 320 GB HDD 11.6 in 3 lb $199.99 Wi-Fi

General Chromebook Installation


One thing to note is that if you need to claim your free 100gb of google drive space, you probably want to do that before your install of arch. This needs to happen from chromeos (version > 23) and will not work from linux. It is a good idea to use this google drive before installing Arch as it will sync/backup the chromeos system as designed.

Developer Mode

A wealth of information is at . The notes below are primarily taken from there.

The first step is to enable developer mode on the Chromebook system. Be aware that although everything in the "Downloads" area goes to your online google drive account, this will delete all stored data.


A script referenced from points to the shell script at and discusses repartitioning. The script should be run as the chronos user.

cgpt command

You'll save your self a lot of time if you understand this command before you attempt to install Arch on a chromebook.

This is NON-EXHAUSTIVE but it'll help most people reading this. cgpt --help is nice too.


cgpt showpartiton /dev/sda

to list all partitions on disk with boot information for each.


cgpt add [options] /dev/sda

used to modify boot options

 cgpt add -i 6 -P 5 -S 0 -T 1 /dev/sda

Example: modify partition #6, set priority to 5, successful to false, and boot tries to once(1), on device /dev/sda

cgpt add -i 1-12 
Partition number to change
cgpt add -P 9-0
Priority 9 > 1 (Higher number will try to boot first)
cgpt add -T 0-99
Tries, used with the successful flag. Will try to boot this partition x times until tries = 0 then it will try next lower priority partition.
cgpt add -S 0-1
Successful flag, if 1 will try to boot this partition forever. Be careful with this one! If 0 and tries > 0 it will try to boot this partition until it' out of tries.

If installing yourself, don't forget to copy this onto your arch partition!.

Samsung Series 5 550

Developer Mode

Developer mode on the Samsung Series 5 has two levels of access, "dev-switch on" and "dev-mode BIOS". With the first level you enable a command line shell, which lets you look around inside the GNU/Linux operating system, but does not let you run your own versions.

The second level of access installs a special BIOS component that provides the ability to boot your own operating systems from either removable (USB/SD) or fixed (SSD) drives. Both levels of access are completely reversible, so don't be afraid to experiment.

The second level (described above) is what we want in order to install Arch.

The switch is behind a little door on the right-hand side of the chromebook (as linked above). To enable the developer switch you open the door, use something pointy (paperclip or toothpick) to move the switch towards the back of the device, and reboot.

Warning: Be gentle with the developer switch! Some people have reported that the developer switch breaks easily.