January 20

Boot to USB with ChromeBook and Neverware CloudReady

I’ve been doing some experimenting with Droplet Computing, and I had a need to trash a cheap Chromebook I have (XMA Vigilen 360c) , to boot from Neverware’s CloudReady Home Edition of ChromeOS. It’s a long story – why I wanted to do that – but this article is about how got that far.

As you probably know Chromebook’s represent one of the most hardened, restricted and secured OSes to be found on a laptop out of the box. So unlike a generic Windows PC where a couple of keystrokes and you’re away with Chromebook it’s not straight forward

What’s meant to happen is you press and hold [ESC]+Refresh/F3 on the keyboard whilst holding the power

This allow you to enter a Recovery Mode and then use [Ctrl+L] to get into a boot menu. The trouble is my Chromebook didn’t ship with the now legacy firmware/BIOS to allow booting from a memory stick. So when I pressed [Ctrl+L] all I got is nasty BIOS-style beeps…

So to USB Boot to work, I had basically change the Firmware/BIOS to make it boot from USB… There involved three main steps

  1. Make the CloudReady USB Installer/Boot Drive – https://guide.neverware.com/build-installer/working-mac-os/#install-and-launch-the-chromebook-recovery-utility
  2. Get into Developer Mode – https://medium.com/@dihuta/turn-on-developer-mode-on-chromebook-bd8a05c31bf9[Ctrl+D] at the prompt to go into developer mode, and once developer mode is enabled, you always have to press [Ctrl+D] at the prompt
  3. Use MrChromebook.tech Firmware Script –  https://mrchromebox.tech/#fwscript

I had some trouble running MrChromebook’s script – I had to run it as two separate commands, rather than as one single string like so:

curl -LO https://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh

sudo bash firmware-util.sh

Once the script runs I was able to run choose 1 to install the older RW_Legacy Firmware to allow USB booting

After applying the Firmware Utility Script, [Ctrl+L] allowed me to boot to my USB stick holding Never CloudReady.


Category: ChromeOS, Droplet Computing | Comments Off on Boot to USB with ChromeBook and Neverware CloudReady
August 17

Unbuntu, Android Studio and Emulated Google ChromeOS

Note: Before you go down this particular rabbit hole. Three words of advice.

Firstly, even with all the CPU accelerators in place and as many of the performance barriers removed, this emulation is not very horribly quick. It’s useable, but you could just go out and buy a cheap Chromebook, and get fantastic performance.

Secondly, the version of ChromeOS currently available on Android Studio is quite old its version 6.7.

Finally, although this performed better than the nested Windows version I had running on my ESXi host, I found it crashed more frequently on Ubuntu than it did on Windows10. I’d be tempted to try this on physical Windows.

For me, the deal-breaker is the ancient release of Google ChromeOS available through the ChromeOS Repo. Its something I might come back to using a Windows build in a few months time. The setup here works for ALL operating systems including Windows, just skip the Linux bits if you setup on Windows.

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Category: ChromeOS, Microsoft | Comments Off on Unbuntu, Android Studio and Emulated Google ChromeOS