ASUS Chromebox Owners Rejoice!

I have a fix for the nasty bug which stops you booting from USB in SeaBIOS on the ASUS Chromebox. It’s an updated CBFS filesystem for the RW_LEGACY slot of the firmware, which contains an updated version of SeaBIOS. Simply download the file and apply it in the Crosh shell like so (you don’t need hardware write-protect disabled)

sudo flashrom -w -i RW_LEGACY:asus-chromebox-SeaBIOS-new.bin

http://johnlewis.ie/asus-chromebox-SeaBIOS-new.bin

md5sum dc200444a02eafcce0486fedf86bf4f1

Beer me on your way out!

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96 thoughts on “ASUS Chromebox Owners Rejoice!”

  1. I had the same problem of it booting straight to the hard drive even if I hit ESC. I figured out if I just hit ESC and the number 2 right after it then booted the openelec install for me. It never pauses after hitting ESC so I had to do it very fast. I hope this helps someone else!

  2. I am now back in my office (after about 2 hours) and you are right, JELTKA is loaded!!! No idea how long it lasts. Well I test it right now…. the idea is small server for home automatization, so I install now ubuntu 14.04.01 LTS server through JELTKA.
    THX, I sended you a small donation… you now, my salary here in Slovakia does not allow me to be generous…

  3. Hello John.
    dd was the clue. Kubuntu 14.04.01 LTS installed and running without issues.
    Wondering on this ASUS CHROMEBOX OWNERS REJOICE! Do I need it? I am just curious about JELTKA. It does not boot and it can be a lifesaver in some situations.

  4. Your “Inglis” is good. Unetbootin is known to be problematic, even outside the Chromebook world. I’d reccommend dd’ing a Fedora/CentOS ISO to the USB key and trying that.

  5. Hello John.
    Well I am ready for bus pirate now…
    I just write you all steps i did and please send me, what was the wrong one.

    1) A have ASUS Chromebox M004U
    2) Paperclip – Developer mode – restart to developer mode
    3) Remove ROM Writeprotection screw
    4) KB, Ethernet, mouse, USB Key – boot
    5) CTRL-ALT-2 to console
    6) login as chronos
    7) cd; rm -f getnflash_johnlewis_rom.sh; curl -k -L -O https://johnlewis.ie/getnflash_johnlewis_rom.sh; sudo bash getnflash_johnlewis_rom.sh
    8) Script ended because there is no USB drive to backup current ROM. Why?
    9) sudo -s
    10) fdisk -l -> OK, there is /dev/sda and also /dev/sdb
    11) mount -> usb is not mounted
    12) mkdir /media/removable/transcend, mount /deb/sdb1 /media/removable/transcend and check with mount -> OK
    13) touch /media/removable/transcend/test.txt -> OK
    14) run getnflash_johnlewis_rom.sh -> backup successfully created, firmware downloaded, checksum tested + OK, firmware written script, ended succesfully without errors
    15) Reboot
    16) There is SeaBIOS (version 1.7.5.-040914-10:53-johnLewis.ie) – is it from april 2014? Press ESC for boot menu. Select boot device. I can select 1) internal SSD 2) USB Key with Kubuntu 14.04 LTS created with unetbootin 3) Payload [Jeltka]. Neither works.
    17) If I select 2 or 3 nothing happens. The system writes Booting from Hard Disk, or Booting from CBFS…. that is all… Power LED remain white.
    18) If I select 1 it is the same, just the power led is a little bit blue….
    Sorry for my “inglis”

  6. Did you press ESC to get the boot menu, and then choose the USB stick? I would recommend dd’ing a Fedora/CentOS ISO to the USB stick as a control test, because those are known to work consistently.

    Also, you can boot Jeltka and install a distro from there – that’s what it’s largely for (as well as rescue).

  7. Hi.
    After successfully used your script (no errors) my ASUS Chromebox M004U writes only:
    SeaBIOS (version 1.7.5-040914-10:53-johnlewis.ie)
    Booting from Hard Disk ….
    What now? Is it problem with usb stick? Is it not correctly recognized? How can I boot to ChromeOS to install new version with USB3 boot support? Do I need special format for this USB?

  8. It sounds like you haven’t flashed the LEGACY_RW slot correctly, as that is the default behaviour. Please try again, and post a screen shot of the CLI to confirm you’re doing it right. Matt has a script which will automate the procedure, did you try that?

  9. Hey
    I can’t seem to bring up the boot menu for the life of me. I press ctrl+L, there’s a message saying “Press [esc] to go to the boot menu” but nothing happens when I do. I’ve tried Matt’s seabios as well, same thing happens. Any ideas?
    Thanks

  10. booting doesn’t work still.
    i tried to dd Ubuntu, Fedora, linux mint on USB sticks and SD card (directly and through USB adapter) – no luck
    Only once (not sure, but i guess it was Fedora with USB stick) I got another error complaining that the some files are lacking to perform boot.
    I am also having extra memory installed and tried to put back the native 2GB stick – no difference.

  11. There are no patches. These ROM’s are built on coreboot or CrOS-coreboot depending on model.

    If you aren’t accepting of binaries, don’t use Intel hardware, it contains 3, the biggest of which is 1.5 MB and a closed box …

  12. The RW_LEGACY slot just contains SeaBIOS, which likely won’t have much effect on memory recognition. There’s a chance that Matt’s complete build might sort the problem out (if it isn’t the memory that’s the problem), as it’s built using a different codebase (upstream coreboot) to the stock ROM (which uses a branch of CrOS coreboot).

  13. I have the Asus one, the Celeron version. I tried Matt’s latest version of the legacy fix as well but still no luck.

  14. It’s possible – I had a Samsung Series 5 550, and the first time I built upstream coreboot for it, it would only recognise 2 of the 4 GB of RAM. However, I think it is more likely to be the RAM stick that’s the problem at this point. Which Chromebox have you got?

  15. Hey
    I applied your bios update just after I got the Chromebox but now I wanted to add a new RAM stick and it won’t work. There’s a chance this stick is defective, but it’s brand new and 100% compatible. The system doesn’t detect it though. I’ve read somewhere that at least HP recommends owners of their Haswell laptops to update their BIOS in order to avoid some issues with adding more memory, could the same be happening here, could it be that the BIOS is preventing the new RAM stick from being detected?

  16. Tried Matt DeVillier’s build, but nothing happened after it showed message that it started booting from USB..
    Is this build issue or my USB device issue or the Ubuntu 14.04 installation file I have on my USB?

    Thank you!

  17. Well,

    I went ahead and tried the set_gbb_flags.sh 0×489 on this ASUS chromebox I have sitting here, before I knew of the built in seabios USB keyboard bug. Any way to recover?

    I tried recovery mode and a recovery install of the chromeos but it hangs on boot. Will chromiumos boot from legacy seabios? Perhaps I could try to instlall chromiumos to the SSD card via revcovery mode?

    Thanks for any help.

  18. John,

    First off, thanks for all your hard work. I am the proud owner of an asus chromebox which I intend to turn into a headless server. I’ve flashed your latest bios and installed ubuntu server. Everything works fine if I have an HDMI display attached. However, if I remove the hdmi cable the chromebox does not boot. Plugging the cable back in shows it sitting on the bios screen to press ESC to boot etc. Shortly after the cable is plugged in the boot process continues. Is there anything that can be done avoid this requirement. Note: if the monitor is plugged in that ESC message disappears within a second and the boot completes. It’s as though a display is required to get past it. Thoughts? And thanks in advance.

  19. Well, we can try various versions of SeaBIOS in the LEGACY slot, and we can try a full firmware, to see if we can get something that “does it all”. If one of the SeaBIOS’ from the last couple of years doesn’t work, would you consider a full flash?

  20. They were both formatted FAT32 with grub4dos. By the way the USB 3.0 card reader did not work either. They all work on another machine with USB2.0. My Chromebox is the only USB3.0 machine I have.

  21. Thanks. Matt DeVillier’s version worked for my Silicon Power Blaze B10 32GB USB3.0 flash drive, but not for my Lexar S33 32GB USB3.0 flash drive.

  22. The statically linked flashwrite worked and your new BIOS can see the USB keyboard. Thanks for saving me from a near-bricking. Here’s a few bucks to help the cause.

  23. Maybe I am confused and forgive me if I am way off base. I ultimately want to install Ubuntu on the Chromebox and believed that this BIOS would allow me to install the new OS off a USB key. Is that at all what this BIOS is intended to allow you to do?

    Also if anyone has any advise on where I can get info on how to install Ubuntu on the Chromebox (for a somewhat novice user) please let me know (yes I did Google it, and no crouton
    does not work, the instructions fail on the download step).

  24. I’m not familiar with “CTRL+R” being used as a boot combination. What is it supposed to do on stock Chromebook/box firmware?

    That doesn’t even sound like you’re booting the legacy slot, so if that’s the case, it has nothing to do with you flashing that file.

  25. I am having an issue with no video, here are the steps I used and where I am now. Any advise would be helpful.
    1. Downloaded the asus-chromebox-SeaBIOS-new.bin from a windows machine to a USB drive
    2. Started up the Chromebox, entered CTRL+ALT+T and then “shell” to get to the command prompt
    3. Put in the USB key containing SeaBIOS and navigated to /media/removable/USB Drive. Once there ran the command “sudo flashrom -w -i RW_LEGACY:asus-chromebox-SeaBIOS-new.bin”
    4. The process reported one error (“Block protection could not be disabled!”) but otherwise said it completed fine.
    5. I removed that USB drive, inserted the one with my OS on it, and restarted the box. On the screen telling me that ChromeOS verification has been turned off I press CTRL+R and get a black screen.

    I am looking for help with two items. One, is the above process missing anything important? Two, has anyone else had this black/blank screen issue and knows how to fix it?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

  26. No, I did not try Coreboot. I want to continue running Chrome OS and have ability to boot Puppylinux off of SD card or USB stick occasionally.

  27. After applying the SeaBIOS update to my Asus Chromebox (Celeron), I was able to boot USB 2.0 devices including the SD card but I have no luck with USB 3.0 devices. Any ideas?

  28. Perhaps try Matt DeVillier’s version off the community and see if that is any better. I take it your keyboard is otherwise in perfect working order?

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