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Acer cb3-431 chromebook, linux dualboot install
(note: the below is written semi-chronologically, but itsnt 100% in sequence, its better to rear it, re-read it, and then go ahead)

I picked this up for £180 delivered from SVP as a open box return, main reason was my existing chromebook was 1366x768, 2gb ram, 16gb emmc and a slow cpu

this is fullhd, 4gb ram, 32gb ssd, and a quadcore n3016 cpu. Battery life on ym existing one was between 8 and 12 hours depending on what I was doing this one should be more 10 to 14 hours. So all in all, worthwhile. Not all cb3-431 are the same, mine is cb3-431-c5cq which ends up with this specification

I use my chromebooks as full linux machines, dualbooting between chrome and Gallium OS (essentially Xubuntu, but with more customisations for specific chromebooks.) Some chromebooks can sorta run windows too, but I left that part of me behind recently so dont care.:-)

OK, so out of the box, the sequence is, put chromebook into developer mode.
hold down "esc", "refresh" (looks like spinning circle...pretty much where F3 normally is) and push the power button, release power button, wait a few seconds, release esc+refresh.

chromebook will bott up sating the os is damaged and it needs a usb recovery...scary looking screen, ignore it. press "ctrl" and "d", on that screen and it'll start preparing the machine to go into developer mode.

we need developer mode so we can run a shell, we need a shell so we can flash the bios, we need to flash the bios so we can boot form other things, and be able to boot other things.

ok, once into developer mode it'll reboot back to chrome. register your device. stick in  your details.  We kinda like chrome occasionally, so we are going to dual boot.

ok, details entered, your into chromeOS, open your browser, and then presst ctrl+alt+T to open a tab that gives you some'll say "chronos>"

good so far

open another tab and zoom to here

you want to copy the firmware utility script text, and paste it into your chronos> tab.

as the man says

"To download and run this script, from a terminal/shell type:

cd; curl -LO && sudo bash

and press enter. (copy/paste to avoid typos - the 2nd curl parameter is a capital O, not a zero)"

ok so go to the chronos> tab, type "shell"
and paste the line above in the code block and press enter, it'll autodetect your type of machine and ask you if you want to flash the bios.

NONE of this will work yet though, as you first need to remove a screw from the machine. Yes, a physical write protect screw acts as a switch on most chromebooks. You'll spot it a mile away on themotherboard as it'll be bigger, wider, flatter and the underlying circuit board will show that the screw is going to connect two halves together. Well guess what, on this acer cb3-431, I found two such screws, so I just removed both and put them in a baggy. OK, you're write protect is disabled, so we can now run the script from mrchromebox and flash our bios.

chromebook will reboot and you'll have that scary developer screen. There's three options at the scart developer screen
CTRL+D  (boots default OS)   <---normally chrome itself
CTRL+L  (boots legacy OS)    <--- this is gonna be our linux section
SPACE   <---knobhead, now you've put it back to hwo it was out of the box. Accidentally on purpose

Dont push space.

when you rant he script form my chromebox, one of the options was about boot flags, so that'll change this behaviour..(boot chrome by defauly, boot linux by default). It also asks you if you wanted to boot from usb, I said no to this as I do sometimes have usb dongles in my machine, that happen to be bootable, but I dont want to boot from them.

And anycase, this is 2017, we're going to install linux, from "the cloud" like magic using witchcraft.

so, ctrl+d, boot back to chrome with our newly flashed bios, open a tab, ctrl+alt+t to get to a shell, type in "shell" at the "chronos>" prompt

We now want to install our OS, and this is coming from

We're gpong to use the "chrx" installation, so just go ahead and run the one liner (copy/paste) show on the site
curl -O && sh go

yup, script failed didnt it. Thats probably because the first thing it does is unpack itself to a temp directory that doesnt exist and isnt writable. We'll fix that
at the prompt type in
mkdir /var/tmp/chrx
chmod 775 /var/tmp/chrx
and then rerun the script (copy paste it back in)
now it runs.

I picked to diual boot, and made my linux partition 20gb. Its a bit of a faff, but because we are repartitioning the disc, chrome thinks things are broken, so once this is done, the machine restarts and chrome spends 10 minutes repairing itself.

once back in chrome we can "actually" start the os installation
ctrl+alt+, shell, copy/paste, the curl line above form the gallium os website, and it fails again, because same problem with out temp directory. Go fix it again with the two lines I write a few paragraphs back (mkdir and chmod commands)
then rerun the script.

bang, we're off...after around 10 minutes, your machine will tell you its ready to rock, reboot, ctrl+L at the developer screen to boot via seabios/linux and within a few seconds tou'll be at a login, the default is
username: chrx
password: chrx

Once you login, there's a few tasks worth doing
1) change the password for the user chrx
2) add another user...perhaps your own name, make it part of the sudoers group, login as that user and start using your machine
3) change timezone and keyboard layout to uk/gbp
4) install Compiz (it works lovely on this model) but is a bit of a paint to install
5) map the whiskermenu super key to the "search" button on chrome
6) rule the world
7) stick on skype for linux beta
8) stick on chrome as the web browser (as it'll sync your bookmarks, favourites and passwords) if youre not the paranoid type.
Box, check...juice, battery, check.....SQUONK! Big Grin
[-] The following 1 user Likes vern's post:
  • wobbly
I won't be doing any of this. SWMBO likes her chromebook just the way it is, and I
like my anatomy just the way is is.


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