There are a few pre-made distributions to allow you to run a version of ChromiumOS on existing hardware such as CloudReady and FideOS however there are several benefits to building your own distribution from scratch. ChromiumOS is the open source of the popular ChromeOS operating system. By following this guide, you will get a version of ChromiumOS that should boot on most hardware (with a 64 bit Intel or AMD Processor). This version will also give you access to Linux Apps via Crostini and even enable the same OTA upgrade service that users on ChromeOS enjoy.
Google is currently rolling our ChromeOS 74.0.L337.0 to users on the Dev Channel that brings several major changes to your Chromebook. Users who upgrade to this build will immediately notice a few visual improvements as ChromeOS begins embracing the new “squircle” icons that is being used on Android. Even more interesting is that Google has actually brought support for MS-DOS with full CGI color emulation to supported Chromebooks (specifically the Pixelbook, Pixel Slate and HP Chromebook X2). Here are the steps to activate it
Just a FYI, ChromeOS 73.0.3680.0 is currently rolling out to the Dev Channel and carries a nasty surprise. It appears to delete anything stored in your Downloads Folder without warning after installing it. Please backup your Downloads folder to Google Drive or an external flash drive prior to rebooting. This file deletion bug does not seem to impact anything outside of the Downloads folder including Crostini or Android files. It also does not impact any other files stored in folders outside of your Downloads directory.
Update : Method to recover your Downloads Files
One of the most understated features of ChromeOS is its ability to automatically connect to a compatible phone and share its internet connection in a feature called Instant Tethering. This feature currently only supports the Google Pixel line of phones but I was greeted to a pleasant surprise when I opened my Pixelbook at a train station and was greeted with a setup window for Instant Tethering on my Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
We know that Google is working on eventually adding the ability to integrate Google Drive with Crostini in the future but this feature is not expected to hit production Chromebooks until sometime next year. Sadly it is also not possible to mount a Google Drive share (or any remote filesystems) at this time as well. Fortunately there is a excellent third party Google Drive client that I have personally used for a few years on my Linux machines called Insync – it turns out that it works in Linux without much of an issue. Here is now to install it:
I have been contacted by serveral readers and seen countless posts on reddit from users who have been forced to powerwash their devices after a unstable “Dev” update to their Chromebook. While I do not recommend that users who demand stability use the “Dev” channel, I do understand why they do as it offers a lot of features that allow a Chromebook to replace their primary machine. I am a firm believer in a saying that says “If it is not backed up, you must not care about it”. As Google does not yet offer a way to backup your device, allow me to show you a simple way to do this via rsync and a remote server.
Heads up to all ChromeOS users in the dev channel. I am currently going through the changelogs to understand what changed and will be updating this post as I find things. If you spot anything, please feel free to drop a comment below.
ChromeOS 70.0.3524.2 is currently rolling out to users on the Dev channel. I am working my way through the changelogs to see what has changed. This list is only what I have been able to find after a few minutes of research, I will update it as I find more.
Over the past few days, instructions to install Debian Packages (.deb) files on ChromeOS via the Chrome OS File Manager have been floating around many major tech sites. I was originally not planning to cover this story as it was already covered so many times however I changed my mind after following the steps on these sites and was not successful. It turns out that they were missing a step – the .deb file needs to be placed in the “Linux Files” mount first. Here are the instructions:
ChromeOS is currently rolling out to users on the Dev channel. So far it seems stable and only brings a few subtle changes. I have gone through the changelogs and here are the highlights.