How to Run Linux on Your Chromebook in 2021

Of late, software giants are incorporating Linux into their main operating system in one way or the other. Microsoft recently released WSLg on Windows 10 with GUI app support whereas Google introduced Linux on Chromebooks in 2018 and nicknamed it Project Crostini. In the last three years of development, Chrome OS has received support for GPU acceleration and microphone in Linux on Chromebook, USB devices, and sound. From general users, IT administrators to software developers & students wanting to learn to code, the addition of Linux on Chromebook has proven to be a boon. And in the next Chrome OS release, Linux is also going out of beta. So on that note, let’s go ahead and learn how to run Linux on a Chromebook in 2021.

Run Linux on Your Chromebook (Updated 2021)

To make it clear, all Chromebooks launched in 2019 and going forward will have support for Linux. And yes, it includes school-issued Chromebooks too. That said, school administrators can still disable Linux support from their end. If such is the case with your Chromebook then contact your school administrator to remove the restriction. Other than that, you don’t need to move your Chromebook to Developer mode or any other channel. Linux support is already present on the stable channel. Also, you can install Linux on ARM-based Chromebooks too so no worries on this front.

You can use the table of contents below to jump over to any section in which you’re interested.

Set Up Linux on a Chromebook

1. First off, open the Settings page by clicking on the cogwheel icon in the Quick Settings panel.

open settings

2. Next, click on “Advanced” in the left pane and expand the menu. After that, click on “Developers”. If you have a school-issued Chromebook and the “Developers” menu is not available then contact your school administrator.

Use Linux on Your Chromebook (Updated May 2021)

3. Once you are in the Developers menu, click on “Turn on” next to the “Linux development environment (Beta)” section.

Use Linux on Your Chromebook (Updated May 2021)

4. A setup dialog will open up. Now, click on the “Install” button and proceed ahead to run Linux on your Chromebook.

use linux on chromebook

5. On the next page, enter your desired username for Linux and select “Customised” to choose how much disk space you want for Linux. I have total internal storage of 64GB so I have allotted 25GB. If you have a larger storage capacity and want to play games, develop programs on Linux, you should extend the storage even further.

Use Linux on Your Chromebook (Updated May 2021)

6. It will take a few minutes to install Linux on your Chromebook. After the installation is done, you can run Linux and start using the Linux Terminal on your Chromebook. You will find the Terminal app inside the launcher.

linux terminal

How to Install Linux apps on a Chromebook

1. Before using Linux apps on a Chromebook, you should first update the Linux build to the latest version. As a good Linux practice, you should execute the below command in the Terminal as it will update all packages and dependencies. Just copy and paste the command in the Terminal window.

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

update linux on chromebook

2. Once Linux is updated on your Chromebook, you can go ahead and install an app. For example, we installed the GIMP image editor on our Chromebook and the installation went through without a hitch. To find more such apps, you can follow our list of best Linux apps for Chromebooks. We have included detailed instructions for installation. Post-installation, you will find Linux apps inside the launcher.

GIMP on Chromebook

Share Files Between Chrome OS and Linux

1. Now that you have successfully run Linux on your Chromebook, you must know that Chrome OS and Linux have different file systems. So to access the local folders and files on Linux apps, you will have to move the files from Downloads to the “Linux files” section.

copy files to linux section

2. In case, you don’t want to move the files to the Linux section all the time then right-click on “Downloads” and click on “Share with Linux”. Now, all files and folders under “Downloads” will be available to Linux apps.

share downloads folder

3. You can access Downloads from the below path directory. You can right-click on “Downloads” to add to the bookmark section. From now onwards, within Linux apps, you don’t have to manually navigate to the Downloads folder.

mnt/chromeos/MyFiles/Downloads

Use Linux on Your Chromebook (Updated May 2021)

4. You can also set up Wine to run Windows 10 apps on your Chromebook. Apart from that, you can set up ADB on Chromebook and sideload Android apps on Chrome OS.

wine on chromebook thanks to linux support

5. In addition, you can install Steam on your Chromebook, play Minecraft in Chrome OS, use Signal on Chromebook, install desktop MS Office in Chromebook, and even install Microsoft Edge on your Chromebook. It’s all thanks to Linux support on Chrome OS.

steam on chromebook

Enable Linux on Your Chromebook and Open The Door of Endless Possibilities

So that was our short article on how to install and run Linux on a Chromebook. The steps are quite easy and straightforward so you don’t need to change your update channel or make any changes to Chrome Flags. Simply, go ahead and enable Linux on your Chromebook by following the guide. And if you want to learn more such tips and tricks of Chrome OS, head over to our separate article. Anyway, that is all from us. If you are facing any problems while running Linux, comment down below and let us know the issue.

57 Comments

  1. This is not installing Linux, it is how to run gnu programs in chromebook. The o.s. remains whatever chromebook is hilariously calling an operating system

    Installing Linux means you boot the Linux kernel and this set up does not do that.

  2. Didn’t work for me either, so there’s gotta be something wrong in the formula we have been given, now I’m wondering if I just put a virus or spyware on my chromebook

  3. It tells me that the update isn’t stable and that it lied? Not 100% sure! This is what it says. westleywiseman61@penguin:~$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade -y
    Get:1 https://deb.debian.org/debian buster InRelease [122 kB]
    Ign:2 https://storage.googleapis.com/cros-packages/92 buster InRelease
    Get:3 https://storage.googleapis.com/cros-packages/92 buster Release [3,119 B]
    Get:4 https://deb.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates InRelease [65.4 kB]
    Get:5 https://storage.googleapis.com/cros-packages/92 buster Release.gpg [819 B]
    Get:6 https://storage.googleapis.com/cros-packages/92 buster/main amd64 Packages [16.3 kB]
    Reading package lists… Done
    N: Repository ‘https://deb.debian.org/debian buster InRelease’ changed its ‘Version’ value from ‘10.9’ to ‘10.10’
    E: Repository ‘https://deb.debian.org/debian buster InRelease’ changed its ‘Suite’ value from ‘stable’ to ‘oldstable’
    N: This must be accepted explicitly before updates for this repository can be applied. See apt-secure(8) manpage for details.
    E: Repository ‘https://deb.debian.org/debian-security buster/updates InRelease’ changed its ‘Suite’ value from ‘stable’ to ‘oldstable’
    N: This must be accepted explicitly before updates for this repository can be applied. See apt-secure(8) manpage for details.

  4. i guess i’ve got a cheap chromebook….telling me it reccommends 7.5 GB storage for linux download and i’ve only got 5GB total? can that be right?

  5. my chromebook is Version 90.0.4430.100. is that compatible with Linux or no? plz anyone who can help, reply.

  6. I have a school chromebook and I tried to download linux directly from the website, but then it gives me a bunch of links that each will send me to a page of 25 Popular linux distributions. anyone who can help me, help me plz.

    and also, I i wish they would show more specifically what to do to get linux in to the settings and how do you check what model the your chrome is?

    1. ok step 1 to go settings
      2: scroll down left pane click advanced click developers then click linux (beta)

      1. That worked. I was sooo close! Then I found that the turn-on button was greyed out and it showed that building picture meaning the administrator turned it off and I can’t turn it back on myself. ?

  7. Dude. I literally don’t have the option to do that on settings. You need to show a different way or something.

        1. you’re the kinda person to rage at fortnite. go get a juice box and take a nap kid.

  8. i have a manaed chromebook i was wondering what the set up linux button looked like afterwards does it still sy turn on and if there is a way to bypass admin controls without powerwashing the device

  9. I was able to add Firefox browser through Linux, however, when I try to print from Firefox, my saved printer on my Chromebook does not show up, how do I get this to show?

  10. Change the Chromebook to adult by resetting it. Then let your child use it but put restrictions on it. Not ideal but it will work. Powerwash may not be available so you will need to persevere to get a reset. I did it but can’t remember how. I believe that you need a combination of keys on start up. Google it.

  11. I love it. I was able to load a complete jvm to develop and run Java programs. I have loaded Visual Studio Code and it works great for programming in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I run those in Chrome. Very nice. I also loaded Firefox. That really surprised me. But it works fine. Also, I have my passwords in keepassx working just fine. This is amazing!

    1. Gurl im on my school pc but i dont work xD
      I WANNA PLAY ROBLOX AND MY USER ON roblox is Notmeaaaanae

      1. roblox isnt available on linux so unless you plan on using wine or something you’re outta luck 😛

    1. same here…never got it going. repeatedly followed instructions to and from but unsuccessful … bummer

  12. It worked for me. Only thing I can say to the people having issues, is to just go back and double check if linux is compatible with your chromebook. Link’s somewhere up there.

  13. I am following the tutorial but it isn’t working for me. I am not Linux savvy… Is there a way to get some personal help?

  14. My Linux download is always password protected and I cant use most features because I dont know the password

  15. Is it possible to run Linux on a SCHOOL Chromebook, bcx I want to play Minecraft Java Edition on it during covid-19. PLS respond ASAP

    1. School chromebooks give the administer the ability to block certain functions from your chromebook so if you don’t the option to install Linux in your settings, it means your administrator has blocked it from your device and you cannot use it.

      HOWEVER, if you have the ability to sign in to the computer using a personal email address, you may have the ability to install it on that account. I know this because I’ve done this on a school Chromebook and was able to install Google Play apps by doing this, but I’m not fully sure if that would work with Linux. Feel free to try it though!

    2. With a school account you can’t but if you can add a personal account it is possible provided the personal account is not a google child account (12yrs and below).

Leave a Reply