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 Neverware CloudReady.