ChromeBook Developer Mode

ChromeBook Developer Mode

This article shows how to set the Acer C7 into the ChromeBook Developer Mode. 

It is necessary to enter Developer mode in order to install Ubuntu! [warning]-BEWARE- This process will erase everything on the ChromeBook’s hard drive and restore the Chrome OS to factory default. If you have any data on the device, be sure to back up that data to another device before you proceed! I am sorry but I know of no alternative – you will lose all the data stored on the ChromeBook if you proceed![/warning]

ChromeBook Developer Mode

ChromeBook Developer Mode

The general process is:

  1. Boot into RECOVERY mode
  2. Enable DEVELOPER mode
  3. Update the firmware
  4. Install UBUNTU

When finished, you can DUAL-BOOT. That means that you can select whether you want to boot into the stock CHROME operating system (OS) or the UBUNTU (version 12.04) OS. Here is a video of the process:

Recovery Mode

To trigger recovery mode,

  1. Turn on your ChromeBook – but do not log in.
  2. Sign on to your WiFi (if you have not previously signed in)
  3. Press the <esc> <F3> & <power> buttons at the same time.
  4. Release the power button when the device goes black – but continue to hold the other buttons until the chrome error screen appears and then release them also.
  5. When the ChromeBook displays the error screen (“Chrome OS is missing or damaged“) it is in “Recovery Mode”

Developer Mode (turn OS verification OFF)

  1. When the ChromeBook is in the Recovery Mode, press <ctrl> <d> & the device will present a screen that says “To turn OS verification OFF, press ENTER.
  2. Go ahead and press <Enter>.
  3. The device will reboot and return with a screen that says, “OS verification is OFF, Press SPACE to re-enable”.
  4. DO NOT PRESS THE SPACE KEY (each time you switch verification on/off, it will erase the hard disk!)
  5. Let the ChromeBook sit, it will beep twice and then reboot. The screen will then say, “System is transitioning into Developer Mode. All data will be cleared.” This is normal. However, it WILL erase all of your data unless you turn off the Chromebook NOW!
  6. After about 5-6 minutes (note the progress bar at the top of the screen), the ChromeBook will reboot and return to the “OS verification is OFF” screen. Either leave the device alone and (after about 25-30 seconds) it will boot into the initial Chrome OS desktop – or, you can press <ctrl> <d> to speed up the process.
  7. The normal Chrome OS desktop appears with a dialog box asking you to connect to a network.

DO NOT STOP HERE!  You must complete the next phase and update the firmware!

Developer Mode (update the firmware)

  1. Sign in to your network (WiFi or wired) but do not log into the Chrome destop
  2. Enter TERMINAL Mode (AKA “Command” or “Command Line Interface” or “CLI” ) by pressing <ctrl><alt><F2>
  3. At the “LocalHost login:” prompt, type “chronos” (without the quotes) and press <enter>
  4. At the “chronos @ LocalHost $” prompt, type “sudo bash” (again without the quotes) and press <enter>
  5. At the “localhost user #” prompt, type “chromeos-firmwareupdate -m todev” (without quotes) and press <enter>. NOTE: I do not recall how long this takes. On the video, my device’s firmware was already updated so it immediately returned with a “completed” message. Your device will probably take a bit longer.
  6. When the process is finished, it will report “Firmware update (todev) completed
  7. To return to the Chrome desktop, press <crtl><alt><F1>.

Note: At this point, the ChromeBook will operate exactly as before EXCEPT that when you first boot up, it will present the “OS verification is OFF” warning screen. This screen will display for about 25 seconds. You can skip that delay by pressing <ctrl><d> and the device will immediately boot into the normal Chrome OS desktop.

Update 24 Oct 13: I recommend that you use this guide (http://bishoptec.com/2013/10/5-steps-install-linux-chromebook/) rather than the “Installing Ubuntu” guide below.

The final step is in the next article, “Installing Ubuntu“. Some of this information was copied from the Google Chrome Support page. However, the information found there is not updated for the C7 and consequently is incorrect.

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