Dell Chromebook 11

From ArchWiki
Revision as of 16:19, 19 September 2014 by Dhead (talk | contribs) (→‎Power Key and Lid Switch Handling: remove power key handling as this explained in the chromebook page (post installation configs))
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Dell Chromebook 11 (and newer chromebooks in general) features a "legacy boot" mode that makes it easy to boot Linux and other operating systems. The legacy boot mode is provided by the SeaBIOS payload of coreboot. SeaBIOS behaves like a traditional BIOS that boots into the MBR of a disk, and from there into your standard bootloaders like Syslinux and GRUB.

The instructions for getting Arch Linux to work on this machine are similar to the Acer C720 Chromebook, with a few differences.


First enable legacy boot / SeaBIOS from the developer mode of Chrome OS. Then install and boot Linux as you would on a traditional x86 BIOS system.

Enabling Developer Mode

Warning: This will wipe all of your data!

To enter developer mode:

  • Press and hold the Esc+F3 (Refresh) keys, then press the Power button. This enters recovery mode.
  • Now, press Ctrl+D (no prompt). It will ask you to confirm, then the system will revert its state and enable developer mode.
  • Press Ctrl+D (or wait 30 seconds for the beep and boot) at the white boot splash screen to enter Chrome OS.

After changing to developer mode, configure Chrome OS so that you can log in, or use the guest account.


Warning: This may screw up the RW part of your firmware! If this happens, you must use a ChromeOS recovery stick to reset it.

The version of SeaBIOS that ships with the Dell Chromebook doesn't work properly, and therefore you must patch it in order to get it to work.

# cd ~/Downloads
# flashrom -r image.rom
# dd if=seabios.cbfs of=image.rom seek=2 bs=2M conv=notrunc
# flashrom -w image.rom -i RW_LEGACY
  • Enable legacy boot with:
# crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1
  • Reboot the machine

You can now start SeaBIOS by pressing Ctrl-L at the white boot splash screen.

Installing Arch Linux

Create a USB drive with the Arch Linux installer. Plug the USB drive into the Chromebook, and start SeaBIOS with Ctrl-L at the white boot splash screen. Press Esc to get a boot menu and select the number corresponding to your USB drive. The Arch Linux installer boot menu should appear. Follow your favorite installation guide.

A few installation notes:

  • For a 64-bit installation, use the 2013.10.01 ISO, and boot into the x86_64 installer with the mem=1536m kernel option. (You can download torrent on
  • A fresh DOS partition table on the SSD with one bootable 16GB root partition works. Note that this will wipe Chrome OS.
  • Choose GRUB as your bootloader, for now, instead of Syslinux.
  • After installing it's not Ctrl + D to boot OS it's Ctrl + L (To save you hours figuring out why you can't boot)
  • Use GUID_Partition_Table (GPT) instead of MBR, you can use cgdisk to create partiton. And don't forget a 1-2M size BIOS boot partition for GRUB is needed.

Xorg Video Driver

Use the xf86-video-intel driver.

$ sudo pacman -S xf86-video-intel

Touchpad Kernel Modules

Enabling the touchpad currently requires building a set of patched Haswell Chromebook kernel modules. Fortunately, ChrUbuntu provides a script for automatically building and installing these modules:

A modified version for Arch Linux is available here (tested with Linux 3.14). An older version for Linux 3.13 is available here

$ wget -O
$ chmod +x
$ ./


  • Edit Xorg touchpad configuration file

Add the Xorg touchpad configuration below for better usability (increases touchpad sensitivity).

Section "InputClass" 
    Identifier      "touchpad wolf cyapa" 
    MatchIsTouchpad "on" 
    MatchDevicePath "/dev/input/event*" 
    MatchProduct    "cyapa" 
    Option          "FingerLow" "5" 
    Option          "FingerHigh" "10" 

If you want to remove the "Right Click" behavior from the touchpad from the bottom right area (you can still right click with two finger clicks), you should comment out the following section from /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf

#Section "InputClass"
#        Identifier "Default clickpad buttons"
#        MatchDriver "synaptics"
#        Option "SoftButtonAreas" "50% 0 82% 0 0 0 0 0"
#       To disable the bottom edge area so the buttons only work as buttons,
#       not for movement, set the AreaBottomEdge
#       Option "AreaBottomEdge" "82%"
  • Use graphical tool

Synaptiks is a touchpad configuration and management tool for KDE. It provides a System Settings module to configure basic and advanced features of the touchpad. Although it is said to be currently unmaintained. and seems to crash under KDE 4.11, it works well with this Chromebook, KDE 4.12.2. Another untility, kcm_touchpad, does not work at all.

Reboot for the touchpad to become operational.

Fixing suspend

The following are instructions to fix the suspend functionality.

Create the following cros-ehci-disable.conf file. This unbinds the ehci-pci driver at boot, which spams the system journal on wakeup.

w /sys/bus/pci/drivers/ehci-pci/unbind - - - - "0000:00:1d.0"

Then, create the following wakeup file. This disables all resume triggers from S3 except the lid, and therefore prevents random wakeups due to hardware interrupts. Feel free to experiment to see which of the /proc/acpi/wakeup switches actually causes this behavior, and update this wiki page.

echo LID0 > /proc/acpi/wakeup
echo TPAD > /proc/acpi/wakeup
echo TSCR > /proc/acpi/wakeup
echo EHCI > /proc/acpi/wakeup
echo XHCI > /proc/acpi/wakeup

Create a systemd service file for it as well:

Description=Prevent random wakeups



Enable and start the service:

# systemctl enable wakeup.service
# systemctl start wakeup

Then, add the following kernel boot parameters.

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet tpm_tis.force=1 tpm_tis.interrupts=0"

Finally, rebuild your grub config and reboot.

Post Installation Configuration

For information on general Chromebook post installation configuration (hotkeys, power key handling ...) see Chromebook#Post_Installation_Configuration.


The audio configuration is similar to the Acer C720.

Unresolved Issues

  • The 64-bit installer in Arch Linux installation ISOs newer than 2013.10.01 causes an immediate system reset
  • Syslinux fails to set the bootable flag with syslinux-install_update -i -a -m. After setting the bootable flag manually in fdisk and installing Syslinux to the MBR with syslinux-install_update -i -m, SeaBIOS boots syslinux, but syslinux then complains about a missing OS. Use GRUB for now.
  • Suspend on Linux kernel version 3.14 is broken; the Chromebook reboots on suspend instead.