UPDATE: New Guide Coming Soon!
There are plenty of guides out there on how to get Linux up and running on a Chromebook Pixel, but few tackle how to get Windows up and running on your Pixel. So if you can’t wait till Google I/O for Google to blow everyone’s mind with a solution for people who rely on apps which are not Google Docs (I’m looking at you Google! lol), and you would love to be able to run good ol’ Windows classics on your beautiful hardware, I’m here to help.
Some Words Of Caution: I am an absolute rookie when it comes to writing tutorials and you might totally break your system if you do the wrong thing. So… if that happens… grab some Kleenex and call up a Ninja!
-Putting your Pixel into Developer mode removes you from the safety that Chrome OS provides and might open your computer up to various vulnerabilities if you are not careful.
Your Touchpad Will Not Work (You will still need a USB Mouse temporally) (UPDATE: Thanks to Brock Tice, the trackpad now works! YAY! See updates section below)
-Shortcut Keys At The Top Do Not Work Properly (I’m sure there is a workaround, I just haven’t found it yet)
What you’re gonna need:
- A USB MOUSE (This is very important as I have not found a way to get the trackpad up and running in Linux Mint yet…)
- A recovery USB drive (4GB or larger) just in case things go wrong, you can find out how to make one here: http://support.google.com/chromeos/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1080595
- A blank USB drive (2GB or larger) so you can install Linux Mint.
- A copy of windows 7 (preferably formatted for use with VirtualBox, as I will not be explaining in detail how to add Windows to VirtualBox in Linux. I will link to instructions though.) Also, I have only tried this with Windows 7.
- A couple of Red Bulls (Check Please!)
- An internet connection.
- Incognito Mode… ….
- A (Plugged in) Chromebook Pixel
Step 1: Get Into Developer Mode
First you will need get your Pixel into Developer mode:
- Shut down your Pixel
- Hold the Esc and Refresh keys down and then press the Power key.
- Once you see the Recovery Screen, press CTRL+D, then press the Enter key
This will begin the switch to Developer mode. From now on you will be prompted by this screen FOREVER MORE!!!! or at least until you reinstall Chrome OS, so you might want to get used to it…
After the process is done, your computer will be restarted and you must once again press CTRL+D to continue into Chrome OS.
Step 2: Get Linux Mint
- Insert that formatted USB thumbdrive I mentioned earlier.
- Now that you are back in Chrome OS you need to download Linux Mint: http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=118 to your Downloads folder.
- After the download has completed open up a chrosh tab in your browser by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T
- You will see an all black screen with a prompt…
- Type in “shell” (without quotes) press enter.
- Then type “sudo bash” press enter.
- Now type “ cd /home/chronos/user/Downloads” press enter.
- Then type “dd if=linuxmint-14.1-cinnamon-dvd-64bit.iso of=/dev/sdb bs=1M” press enter. (This will copy the image of Linux Mint to your USB drive for installation later)
- Wait till the process is fully complete… if you are not sure, check your USB stick light. Or, if your really not sure, give it an extra 5 mins to be sure.
- After waiting, while you are in the same window, type “crossystem dev_boot_usb=1 dev_boot_legacy=1” press enter. (This will enable you to boot from your USB stick)
- Now shut down your Pixel.
- Now is a good time to plug in that USB mouse (Seriously, plug in your mouse!)
- Power up your pixel
- When you see the Developer mode prompt press “CTRL+L”
- The screen will go black saying “Automatic boot in 10 seconds…”, you must now press the ESC key.
- Select the USB drive by pressing its corresponding number.
- Once you see the Linux Mint install screen, press the TAB key. Make sure to highlight “Start Linux Mint” option and then press the Tab key. Delete “- -” and replace it with “mem=4G” then press enter.
- We’re not done…
- Now that you’re in, using your USB mouse, click on the install Linux icon located on your desktop.
- Follow the prompts as usual When you reach the section asking where to install Linux… you wan’t to go ahead and select the option which erases the whole hard drive. (Told you we were getting rid of Chrome OS) It’s OK though, you can get it back at anytime by inserting the recovery USB drive that you made earlier… you did make that right!!!!
- Once the installation process is done you will be asked to remove your USB drive and press any key.
- From now on, you will have to press CTRL+L at the Dev screen in order to boot Linux.
- After you boot into Linux, click the Menu Button in the lower left corner… go to Preferences > Displays and select the 1600 x 1024 resolution (3:2)
- Now go to Menu >Preferences > Software Manager
- Once there, search for and download Virtual Box
- Once installed you are going to need to get copy of Windows 7 on to your computer… How exactly you say??? That part’s up to you. If you can get one, I hear rumors that pre-made VirtualBox packages exist… but those are just rumors *Wink*
- Once you have said (OFFICIAL) copy… Which was somehow put onto a USB thumbdrive in .iso format, you can find instructions on how to get it up and running in VirtualBox here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DhwS4eZExU
- And that’s it! Go nuts!
This is only recommended for people why absolutely must use their go-to software with a Pixel and has not been fully tested. If you’re OK with taking the risk and jumping through the hoops, then by all means… try it out!
Remember you can always (and should eventually) go back to Chrome OS by following the instructions here: http://support.google.com/chromeos/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1080595
Thanks to everyone at Google for being so open and providing the awesomeness that is… the Chromebook Pixel.
I’m an aspiring programmer/entrepreneur born & raised in New York with great visions. Currently enroute to fulfilling my dreams. Former Staff Writer @ NintendoWorldReport // Creator of | Inside The Bubble | Nintendo News
- Headphones do not work
- Head here and download all 5 files: https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B-HqdeY6UX2FZzFnY2FrdDBQTTA/edit
- Once the files are downloaded, open up Terminal: Menu > Accessories > Terminal
- Type in “cd ~/Downloads” (without the quotes of course) press enter.
- Then “sudo dpkg -i linux-*3_amd64.deb” press enter.
- Once that’s done, reboot, and you should have yourself a functional trackpad!