How to Dual Boot and Install Ubuntu Linux on a Chromebook Laptop


Chromebooks are affordable laptops that run Google’s Chrome OS operating system. While Chrome OS is convenient for web browsing and light tasks, many users want to install Linux for a more full-featured experience. The most popular method is to dual boot Chrome OS and Ubuntu Linux, allowing you to choose which operating system to use when booting your Chromebook.

Dual booting Linux with Chrome OS provides flexibility – you can benefit from Chrome OS’s security and convenience as well as Linux’s customizability and wider app support. In this guide, we’ll walk through the entire process of preparing your Chromebook, installing Ubuntu, and configuring a dual boot system.


Before installing Ubuntu, make sure your Chromebook meets these requirements:

  • Intel or AMD processor (not ARM)
  • At least 2GB of RAM
  • 16GB of storage space

You’ll also need:

  • A USB drive or SD card with at least 8GB of space
  • Chromebook in Developer Mode (instructions below)

Enter Developer Mode

Enabling Developer Mode on your Chromebook allows you to install Linux. Here’s how:

  1. Press Esc + Refresh + Power to enter Recovery Mode
  2. Press Ctrl + D then Enter to confirm turning on Developer Mode
  3. Press Ctrl + D or wait for device to boot into Developer Mode

This will take several minutes the first time. Your Chromebook may wipe itself, so back up any local data first.

Install Ubuntu with Crouton

We’ll use the Crouton script to install Ubuntu. Crouton performs a “chroot” install, creating a separate Linux environment that runs alongside Chrome OS. This method avoids overwriting your original OS.

  1. Open the Chrome OS terminal with Ctrl + Alt + T
  2. Download Crouton with:
    curl -O
  3. Run the installation command:
    sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce
  4. Choose a username and password when prompted
  5. Wait for the installation process to complete

The -t xfce installs the Xfce desktop environment. You can choose others like KDE or LXDE as well.

Start Ubuntu

When Crouton finishes, you can launch Ubuntu with this command:

sudo startxfce4

The command will be different if you installed a different desktop environment.

You’ll see the Ubuntu desktop appear in a full-screen window. You can now install apps, customize settings, and use Ubuntu like any other Linux distribution.

Switch Between Operating Systems

With the dual boot Chrome OS and Ubuntu setup, switching between the two systems is seamless:

  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Back – Switch from Linux back to Chrome OS
  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Forward – Switch from Chrome OS into Linux

The transition only takes a couple of seconds, allowing you to go between environments instantly.

Tips and Tricks

Here are some helpful tips for using Ubuntu on your Chromebook:

  • Install Chrome or Chromium for Linux to sync browsing data between Chrome OS and Ubuntu
  • Set up shared folders between the two operating systems for easy file transfer
  • Use the Chrome OS terminal to update, back up, or uninstall your Linux installs
  • If you run into issues, use Crouton’s chromeos-touchpad extension to get touchpad support
  • Consider upgrading to a larger SSD if you plan to store a lot of data for Ubuntu


Installing Ubuntu Linux on a Chromebook alongside Chrome OS is straightforward with the user-friendly Crouton script. The dual boot capability provides the perfect blend – get work done quickly through Chrome OS, then boot into Linux for more advanced customization and app options. As long as your Chromebook has sufficient hardware specs, setting up this powerful Linux environment takes less than an hour.