How to Install Chromium OS on Your Netbook’s Hard Drive

Chrome OS and Chromebooks are here. But if you have a netbook already, you can try Chromium OS on it and get almost the same experience. There will be very few things missing on Chromium OS, say, the default PDF plugin, MP3 support and Print Preview. But, in general, you still have a working OS, with cloud power.

note: methods explained here will wipe your computer’s hard drive. Proceed only if you are ok with it.

If you are planning planning to buy a new netbook for this purpose. I recommend you check out the hardware compatibility list at Chromium page here.

You have two options, either boot the OS from USB / Pen Drive and try it out and if you are interested, install it to hard drive for permanent use.

Finding the Build That Suits You

Google does not provide an official build of Chromium OS to use. You have to build one on your own ( instructions here. )or use one of the available. Thanks to developers like Hexxeh, we have multiple options.

1. Chromium OS Flow : This is a modified build and rarely updated version of Chromium OS from Hexxeh. He has modified the code so that it will work with most of the laptops and netbooks we have around us now. However, the last update to flow was done a while back and newest Chrome OS features may not be available here.

Download Here
Instruction for Writing to USB – Linux Windows and Mac

2. Chromium OS Vanilla : This is another build from Hexxeh. This is fresh and unmodified version of Chromium OS built every day. You have an update everyday ( if you can download and boot it manually everyday ) and you get to see the most recent features of Chrome OS here. Things may not be working smooth always since this is a bleeding edge version. Hardware support may be less ( some netbooks will not have wifi working ).

Chrome OS Login

Download from Here
Instruction for Writing to USB – Linux Windows and Mac

3. Chromium OS Build for Dell Mini : This build is provided by Linux Team at Dell. Chromium OS by default does not support wifi devices in Dell Mini. This is a modified build to support Wifi fiction as well. The latest version is from May 13th, 2011. Steps to download and install this build is available here. For the other two builds we discussed above, read on.

Booting Chromium OS From USB Drive

If you followed instructions from the above section successfully, you should now have a working build of Chromium OS in a USB Drive in your hands. Booting from this Drive is dead simple. Keep the drive plugged in and switch on your netbook. Most of them should detect the OS and boot from USB. If not, go to boot menu and change preference to USB drive.

Installing Chromium OS To The Hard Drive Of Netbook

Next step, if you are interested, and its ok to wipe the hard drive, is to install Chromium OS to the netbook permanently, for better performance and faster boot.

  • Boot from Pen drive and Log on to Chrome OS.
  • Press Ctrl+Alt+T.
  • If your build is Flow : Type  /usr/sbin/chromeos-install  and press Enter. ( other builds, the command is just “install” without quotes.
  • Enter the Root password ( facepunch if you are using flow or vanilla and for the dell build, dell1234)
  • Follow prompts. ( couple of them, dont worry  !)
  • Unplug the USB Pen drive and reboot the Computer.
  • Done.

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In Category: Google Chrome


Dinsan made Google Chrome his default browser within hours of its release. He fell in love with Chromebooks from the day he first touched one and is currently obsessed with Chromecasts.

Show 44 Comments
  • Maldar 20/09/2010, 11:03 pm

    as I read this:
    Boot from Pen drive and Log on to Chrome OS.
    Does this mean this is a portable Chrome OS? with added option to install?
    or is this just an install image?

    • chrome story 20/09/2010, 11:20 pm

      you can boot from the USB and use it .. like Live CD ..
      and if you want to install it to HDD, you use the same image to do that, by entering in to a command line …

      makes sense now ? 🙂

  • kurtextrem 21/09/2010, 5:05 pm

    Does Windows still exists after Chrome OS install?

    • chrome story 21/09/2010, 5:23 pm

      it should be .. but I installed it to one system completely, without partition .. so I can not say for 100%

      • liam 11/09/2011, 3:10 pm

        no it deletes it as i just found out… 🙁

    • Maldar 21/09/2010, 8:26 pm

      If you want to install ChromeOS. You will need to have a free partition. (if you want to keep windows) Every file on the partition you install chromeOS on, will be permanently deleted. So it doesn’t need to be free. But everything wil be gone once you install ChromeOS on it.

      • Shriram Nandagopal 08/05/2011, 11:52 pm

        Can i choose which partition to install in?

        • liam 11/09/2011, 3:11 pm

          no, you cannot

  • Anthony 05/11/2010, 6:19 pm

    So when installing the original chrome did you install it from the bootable usb containing flow? Currently I have a bootable version of flow on usb but am having some issues. I would like to install the original chrome. Do I use the bootable flow version and go to command and type install? Or do I need a different set up other than flow? Also does this install get updated easily enough or is it a reinstall for each updated version?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • chrome story 05/11/2010, 6:41 pm

      get Chrome OS vanilla from Hexxeh if you want to use the unmodified version.

      I used Vanilla bootable usb to install to HDD

  • Elliot M 12/12/2010, 3:31 pm

    So if I type in that install command, do I then get to select the partition I want to install to?

    • Shriram Nandagopal 08/05/2011, 11:41 pm

      Did you get your question answered? I want to try this out on my lap, but i greatly need the lap for my studies too..don’t want to take a risk..

  • Elliot M 12/12/2010, 3:32 pm

    And where do you get the original Chrome OS from

  • Digital Panda 10/01/2011, 1:58 am

    is down, or is that just me?

  • Fred Seaman 02/05/2011, 11:05 pm

    Is there a way to install hexxeh’s os vanilla or flow on DVD and run or install from there?

    • Dinu 02/05/2011, 11:38 pm

      don’t think so… you message him on twitter and confirm though ..

      current options afik are USB and virtual machine

  • ChromeBookBox 16/05/2011, 11:04 am

    A great tutorial for chrome newbie.

  • Shriram N 16/05/2011, 6:40 pm


  • Adam 29/05/2011, 7:00 am

    This is the prompt I get in terminal when I do ctl-alt-t

    When I type /usr/sbin/chromeos-install at this prompt, this is the error I get:
    Using source USB device with label:C-ROOT
    Error: Attempt to install to a removable device: /dev/sda

    Help? Please? I would like to not be running this from a thumb drive, though my newbness is a mjor hindrance to that desire right now. Thx.

    • Que 13/12/2011, 3:13 am

      I got the same error message when I attempt to install. I think this is because I am using EeePC and there is already a SD drive before the drive I use to boot Chrome OS (SSD drive as C:, SD drive as D:). as the result when I open file manager I can see that SD drive being mounted as ‘external storage’.

      I will try to boot the system and install Chrome OS without that SD drive. see how that works out.

  • Lennon 03/06/2011, 8:39 pm

    How do i uninstall Chrome OS Flow ?
    Because i want to install windows 7 but it says:
    ERROR no operating system detected

    Help Me !!!

  • Hoang Phong 08/06/2011, 8:57 pm

    I have a free partition and I want too intall Chormium OS on it. How can I do that? I really want to use it. Can you help me?

    • Dinu 08/06/2011, 9:31 pm

      stay tuned.. I will update as soon as I get the info

    • Ernie 20/08/2011, 6:11 pm

      do the usb drive in stall. It works fine and you can decide if you want to install on your computer.

  • adeklipse 27/06/2011, 11:59 am

    The installation instructions for Vanilla for Linux and Windows are swapped; I click on Linux instructions and it took me to the Windows’, vice-versa or the Windows.
    Just sayyin… 😀

    • Dinu 28/06/2011, 9:03 am

      thanks buddy !!! corrected it..

  • Lennon 28/06/2011, 9:50 am

    @Dinu thank’s so much !!!
    And for now on i will never install chrome OS from Hexxeh !
    And i will buy a Chromebook !!!

    • Dinu 28/06/2011, 3:51 pm

      cool 😀 congrats

  • weaklegs 20/07/2011, 7:16 am

    i tried to install it in my hdd but i get an error when i entered

    Error: Destination device is too small (4001292288 vs 6710886400)

    my netbook hdd capacity is 4G. i’m not sure whats’s causing this…do we still have to wipe out the existing os before installing chromeos? help please…

    • weaklegs 20/07/2011, 7:47 am

      this is exactly what appears on the screen

      chronos@localhost:/home/chronos$ /usr/sbin/chromos-install
      Using source USB device with label: C-ROOT
      This will install from ‘/dev/sdb’ to ‘/dev/sda’. If you are sure this is what you want then feel free to enter the root password to proceed.
      [sudo] password for chronos:
      Error: Destination device is too small (4001292288 vs 6710886400)

  • MAB 03/08/2011, 2:43 pm

    After install command and password it is showing Error – unable to set system partition size

  • AdamVaio 31/10/2011, 9:11 pm

    which chrome os will work with sony vaio vpcm13m1e? i’ve tried flow chromium os usb but it didn’t work… black screen after 10min of chrome splash…

  • Ezra 16/11/2011, 11:41 pm

    Here the NEW url from HEXXEH.


  • Martin 30/11/2011, 3:17 am

    That GParted software you suggested doesn’t work. Any other methods of uninstalling Flow?

  • Martin 01/12/2011, 8:26 am

    How does this help me remove the OS?

  • Ezra 01/12/2011, 5:17 pm

    Pull out your stick and start from from

  • Martin 01/12/2011, 6:13 pm

    Oh, I mean I installed it to the HD. Now I want to remove it and install XP, is that possible?

    • Dinu 01/12/2011, 6:15 pm

      Yes, just overwrite the Chromium OS partition while installing XP

  • Ezra 01/12/2011, 7:23 pm

    Try partition magic, so you can dual boot. there are coming great updates for Crome os………. Os yes, reinstall XP

  • Jeff 28/03/2012, 9:42 pm

    ctrl+alt+t does not work on this netbook to bring up the command line. How can I get this up?