FAQ

Q. How are you able to produce custom Chromebook firmware?

Google uses coreboot to produce Chromebook firmware. coreboot is an open source project and is the most open, widely available firmware in the world. This means that anyone can download the source via Git and try compiling their own firmware (if they’re brave enough, and don’t mind buying some relatively inexpensive hardware to debrick when it doesn’t work). See http://johnlewis.ie/compiling-your-own-coreboot-firmware-for-the-samsung-series-5-550-chromebook/

Q. Is coreboot *completely* open?

Yes, but, in the case of Intel chipsets, there are at least 2 binaries blobs required for the hardware to function correctly – the system agent and management engine binaries. Without the first, the system will not boot at all. Without the second your Chromebook will auto switch-off after 30 mins. The vast majority of coreboot compatible Intel hardware also requires a VGA blob.

Q. How much do these ROM’s cost?

I make these ROM’s freely available to people who either haven’t got the expertise or the time to compile/make their own. Their is no warranty implicit or declared, and it may also invalidate your Chromebook’s warranty. You bought it you broke it, YMMV, etc, etc.

Q. Will these ROM’s work on ARM based Chromebooks?

No. SeaBIOS is x86-centric. Nope, nada, never gonna happen. Suck it up.

Q. I’ve flashed one of your BOOT_STUB’s and I have a blank screen. Help!

You possibly had a hang, and the only way you thought you could reboot was by pressing the ESC – F3 (Refresh) – Power button combination. Unfortunately, this key combination is still active with a modified BOOT_STUB and as with the stock ROM, it tries to activate recovery mode. Obviously recovery mode is no longer available, and it therefore doesn’t do anything (even initialise the screen). Pulling the battery power resets the activated CMOS flag and returns things to normal (except for a wild date and time which will need to be rectified, possibly before you are able to connect to wireless/ethernet).

Q. My USB device will not show up in the SeaBIOS boot menu?

The device is taking longer than 100ms to announce itself on the bus, and is therefore not strictly USB compliant. It’s possible to add a file to the firmware CBFS to increase this timeout, but there will still be some USB devices which don’t show up unless you increase it to something ridiculous like 5 seconds. For instance, I have a USB 3.0 stick which takes 3.5 seconds to announce itself. Obviously, increasing the timeout will increase the time SeaBIOS takes to get to OS, which is not desirable, IMO.

Q. What happens if I accidentally flash the wrong ROM?

Worst case, you’ll have a bricked Chromebook. Slightly less worse case, you won’t be able to see any display, but the Chromebook will be otherwise functional. In the latter case you can fly blind (press ESC a second or so after switching on, then “2”) to boot off a Linux USB stick with an SSH server installed, and reflash over the network.

Q. Help! I’ve bricked my Chromebook. What now?

You need a Raspberry Pi (or BeagleBone Black, or Bus Pirate, in that order of preference), Pomona 5250 SOIC clip (the 3M one doesn’t fit well), and some appropriate jumper wires (female to female for RPi, male to female for BBB/BP).

See https://github.com/bibanon/Coreboot-ThinkPads/wiki/Hardware-Flashing-with-Raspberry-Pi#raspberry-pi-c720-chromebook if using an RPi and ignore the stuff about the “bridged” wiring – you almost certainly don’t need it.

Q. Can I run Windows?

Almost all the ROMs/mods don’t contain the necessary ACPI information to run Windows.

Q. Power-saving doesn’t work, can you fix it?

If you’re using a Sandy/Ivybridge based Chromebook and the BOOT_STUB modification, suspend and VMX will not work. If those things are important, rerun the script and flash a full ROM (after backing up your RO_VPD and GBB regions, of course).

Q. I don’t see a ROM for <insert my Chromebook/box here>. Will you make one?

It depends. Even though compiling coreboot doesn’t require dev knowledge, it is still a non-trivial process, which can take many man-hours in order to produce something that works – I do also have a family to feed you know …

Q. My touchpad doesn’t work! Help!

It’s likely that you aren’t running a new enough kernel. In the case of Baytrail Chromebooks, you need at least kernel 4.0 (and possibly higher). Kernel 4.0.4 in Fedora 22 works OOTB with Baytrail Chromebooks. There is also a well known problem with the touchpads on the Acer C710 which makes them vulnerable to static (especially when on battery). There are work-arounds to properly earth/ground the pad. Other models may also suffer from this.

Q. Can I continue to use ChromeOS with a modified BOOT_STUB/Full ROM?

Yes, see https://johnlewis.ie/dual-boot-chromeos-linux-on-a-chromebook/ but bear in mind it does not work on Baytrail Chromebooks.

Q. I didn’t make a backup of my existing ROM, but I would like to go back to the stock firmware. What can I do?

Use the script referenced on the ROM Download page to flash a shellball ROM.

Q. <Insert my distro here> won’t boot from Live USB, I get a kernel panic/error?

Try adding “mem=1952M” to the kernel command line. Also try a different distro – I had an issue today whereby Fedora 22 wouldn’t boot on my son’s HP Pavilion Chromebook (and would go into a boot loop), although Ubuntu 15.04 worked fine.

Q. I have an ARM Chromebook, can I run Linux natively?

Not really. Upstream kernel/Xorg still does not (and is not likely to) have the requisite graphics support required for accelerated display. You can shoehorn Fedora/Arch/etc on there, but there are packages which aren’t available/don’t-work under ARM.

 Q. My <insert-distro-here> USB key won’t boot, what can I do?

As a reliable baseline, I recommend dd’ing a Fedora/CentOS ISO to your USB key, and booting from that. You can also use an external USB CD/DVDROM drive. See https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/How_to_create_and_use_Live_USB#Command_line_.22direct_write.22_method_.28most_operating_systems.2C_non-graphical.2C_destructive.29 Make sure you use the dd parameter “conv=fsync” to ensure the data is written to the drive before dd completes, and you pull the USB stick out. I have also had success with Fedora Live USB Creator. Unetbootin is know to be problematic. YMMV, etc, etc.

Q. My keyboard won’t work at the SeaBIOS menu, what can I do?

The keyboard controller can sometimes get itself in a knot, especially if you’ve hard powered off a number of times. Switch the power off for about 30 seconds and try again. Also make sure you don’t repeatedly press the keyboard *before* the SeaBIOS menu has appeared.

242 thoughts on “FAQ”

  1. Hi John,

    The Linux Mint 17 I have on my HP Chromebook 14 (Falco) is working as it should with the exceptions of the touch pad and DVD when connected to the USB ports. I know the DVD matter is going to be ‘involved’ due to multitude of variables, and will not bother you with that. I am curious if you had occasion to confront the activation of the touch pad on these HP 14 falco’s with the distros you offer in your ROM bios selections?

    I did try the suggestions you listed for the ‘Pavilion’ but that came for nothing.

    Marc

    1. Hi Marc,

      I don’t have Mint in Jeltka, because they only offer ISO’s as opposed to kernel, initrd and squashfs image files which can be easily downloaded.

      The Pavilion is a different model of Chromebook which already has in kernel support. There are distro-specific scripts for compiling the correct kernel module support *or* you can download and compile a 3.17 release candidate kernel. I’ve been using the latter for the last couple of months, and it’s pretty rock solid. HTH.

  2. Interesting read – swung over from an older article. New to the Chrome OS thing although I’ve been a casual victim of Linux since it was hatched – UNIX before that. At 44 I’ve been in computers almost my entire literal life because of my dad and others. Mostly a consultant kinda guy, not so much the hardcore, hands-on type honestly.

    Anyway, not about me here. Just some background. Kudos to you and your efforts and if I get brave enough I’ll take a stab at some of this as I see these little boxes slowly taking over A LOT of stuff. We are about to roll out a few at work to replace aging XP machines and at $200 or so per we can migrate to them all in one month instead of the company’s 10-month roll-out plan due to money restrictions, etc.

    Currently living mostly on an Acer C720P that works great – even found a cheap USB cable that allows me to connect to my work network w/out using Wi-Fi. Have a Chromebox (ASUS) that I bought from Promevo a bit ago and it’s hanging out next to a 48″ Sony LED and displaying a custom accessories website so customers can pick the wheels, tires, grills, etc. they want on their new rides we sell. =)

    Anyway, keep up the great work and next few bucks I get I’ll pass along to you – unless you can accept beer through the wire! =)

    1. Well, there haven’t been any bricks with the last release (I think the previous 3 C720 bricks were actually down to a work-around given to me by the Flashrom devs, since 2 other C720’s worked with the same firmware/script), and we’ve even confirmed that the Dell Chromebook 11 and Toshiba CB3x ROM’s work without them having been tried on the hardware at all previously. There’s no need to be scared (much), just be prepared that it “could” happen. Thanks.

  3. Hi John,

    Following the successful conversion of the Chrome OS BIOS to your version, I have for the past few weeks when time permited, been making my way through the options of Linux Distro’s applied to my HP Falco 14 in hopes of finding one that the touchpad would work with. I tried all of the options listed within your Jeltka selection without success. I also tried the Bodhi and Elementary OS. I can report that the Bodhi DID work with the touchpad, but follow on needs like working with an external DVD didn’t pass muster.
    So I reloaded the Ubuntu (kubuntu) via your Jeltka options and verified that it still didn’t work with the touchpad. I attempted to load the CentOS from your site when on the backside of that load I was going through the boot up only to find it present the screen display of :
    Booting from Hard Drive . . .
    error: no such partition.
    Entering rescue mode . . .
    Grub Rescue> and a flashing underscore prompt? I entered the command SET to receive the response of:
    cmdpath=(hd0)
    prefix=(hd0,msdos1)/boot/grub
    root=hd0,msdos1

    I entered the command LS and that was replied to with:
    (hd0) (hd0,msdos4)

    I entered the command LS / and the response was:
    error: no such partition

    I am passing this information on to you for your awareness and to ask if you would know from this information whether I might be able to recover this 128GB SSD or am I having to send this back to MyDigital for a replacement?

    Despite this set back I advise all readers of this that if you are contemplaing going with Johns’ BIOS, its EXCELLENT! My problems are most likely my hardware.

    regards,

    Marc

    1. Hi Marc,

      Driver support for the touchpad on Haswell Chromebooks isn’t included in the kernel until 3.17. Therefore, the easiest thing is to download and compile your own kernel from kernel.org, once you have your distro installed. If you’re using Jeltka, the easiest option is probably to use Ubuntu, as I missed a line from the script for CentOS/Fedora, which means installation of those won’t be successful in the current ROM version.

      Let me know when you have Ubuntu installed again, and I’ll walk you through compiling the kernel.

      Regards,

      John.

  4. Hi John, thanks for putting together the ROMS. I made sure to send in a donation for your awesome work.

    I have flashed one unit I have, an ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U, and everything flashed fine and I rebooted and installed CentOS 6.5 on it. It was running fine for a week (rebooted a few times during the week fine) but recently, when I tried to power it up, I get the powerlight coming on but no display output or any activity otherwise.

    I tired holding the RESET + Power button until the Power Light went off but same thing. Also tried disconnecting HDMI/Keyboard but not accessible on network with its former IP address.

    Any suggestions or this look like some type of hardware fault on the unit? I wish I could see some error output or provide a beep code or something but other then power light turning on, no feedback.

    If no advice, no worries and thanks for the effort.

    Have a great day.

    1. Hi Alan,

      Thanks for the donation, first and foremost.

      IDK, it does sound like a hardware fault, particularly as it was working, and it now doesn’t get as far as getting an IP. If something went wrong with the video BIOS then you might get no output at all, but I don’t know how you might of managed to do that. As acts of desperation you could try blind booting external USB (Wait 3 or 4 seconds, hit ESC, then 2), or even better plugging and external CD/DVDROM in (as that will boot first automatically). Outside of that, if you had the clip, cable, and device (Bus Pirate is easiest), you could try flashing your stock ROM/another ROM back (Matt DeVillier has his own which he’s gone at great pains to get working perfectly), but again it’s highly unlikely to work.

      Best of luck,

      John.

  5. Hi John,

    Thank you for your offer. I won’t impose on you, you let me know what I’ve got to do and that will suffice. On the plus side, I did succeed at recovering (the partitions on) my 128GB SSD essentially by sticking it on my external USB adapter and reloading it with the Ubuntu from your jeltka options (that sure is handy, you can be proud of it)!
    So I’ll just wish you safe travels and a good time at your destination.

    cheers,
    Marc

  6. Hi John,

    Thanks for the response. For the benefit of others, for the ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Desktop, I was trying to address an issue where GRUB would sometimes not automatically allowing CentOS to boot which was causing an issue for this headless server

    When I doing this, I was testing it by pulling the power directly from the Chromebox unit itself (barrel connector), then re-inserting the connector. Maybe this caused the issue where the unit wont boot and only the power light comes on.

    Either way, I won’t be doing that again. I just needed to make sure the fix indeed was a fix and that GRUB would not stall out requiring user input if the box isn’t showdown properly.

    Of course, I always shutdown Linux correctly but cannot same the same for others.

  7. I was able to install Linux Mint on my C710, but not without learning a few things the hard why.

    FIRST: How to press ESC

    Press ESC early. It doesn’t work.
    Press and hold during booting doesn’t work.
    Press ESC a faction of a second late, it doesn’t work.
    Press ESC multiple times, the first time takes to the boot menu, the second cancels the first. It doesn’t work.

    You must press ESC the instant the “Press ESC” message appears on the screen ONCE for it to work.

    Secondly, the touchpad driver does not work without help in Linux. There’s a module dependicy problem.

    You need to create the file:

    /etc/modprobe.d/chrome.conf

    with the contents:

    softdep chromeos-laptop pre: i2c-i801 i2c-dev post: cyapa

    Finally to get two finger scrolling to work, you need to execute the following command after starting X:

    xinput set-prop –type=int –format=8 “Cypress APA Trackpad (cyapa)” “Synaptics Two-Finger Scrolling” 1 1

  8. Hi Dude,

    Me successfully flash the bios in dell chromebook and installed windows. But unable to find the drivers. So I wanted to go back to chromebook os.

    But unable to find the steps to go back to chrome os in your site.

    Kindly send the details that How to reinstall the chromebook os back.

    Thanks in advance.

  9. Hi,

    I’m curious what flashing the bios accomplishes on, say, a c720. I’ve already thrown it into dev mode and enabled it to boot seabios automatically (which can boot USB or SSD). I’ve successfully run both Windows 8.1, latest Ubuntu & OSX 10.8.5 (albeit with incomplete drivers)

    What benefits are to be had by updating Coreboot that is not their stock? I’ve heard you can update Seabios without core boot, this supposedly enables boot from SSD…but beyond this, is their a “uh huh!” to be gained?

  10. Hey John!

    I’m excited to have stumbled across your page. I work at the Flatiron School, a dev bootcamp. We also have a high school program where we teach students how to code in production environments with production level tools. Part of that entails having computer’s with usable environments.

    Many of the spots in our course are donated to minority student with and those with from lower income homes. To make sure they have a workable environment we’ve customized an existing script to install chrubuntu onto Acer c720 chromebooks. However, we accidentally ordered some Asus c200m chromebooks, and we’ve actually become quite fond of them and would like to have our script compatible with them. We’ve come to realize there seem to be limitations with the SEAbios on these models. If we could get any advice on how to advance with that it’d be much appreciated.

    Thanks for your help,
    Tristan

    1. The SeaBIOS slot on Baytrail Chromebooks is empty. eMMC support has been added to ChromiumOS SeaBIOS in ToT (Tip of Tree, or development branch to you). It *may* be possible to write a suitable SeaBIOS to the RW_LEGACY slot. I might have a go at that and report back.

    1. The idea is, that once I have a ROM which works for one Baytrail Chromebook, the same procedure will work for all. Indeed, Marc Jones has advised me that using the branch for Rambi should work for all the Baytrail Chromebooks. If you try using the exact same ROM, the product name will be wrong, but I don’t think it would cause much of an issue. The script will take care of choosing the right one, anyway.

  11. Hello,

    Sorry if its not the right section to post. I have tried to run a legacy os (debian) on my Asus C200 chromebook. I see that the seabios payload doesn’t work under this chromebook. I also see you built a custom firmware for this device ( https://johnlewis.ie/Chromebook-ROMs/ASUS-C200-RW_LEGACY.cbfs ). The link doesn’t work (404 not found). Can you provide me this build or can I send you the stock firware so you can show me how to build one or build me one?

    Thanks

  12. Hi John,

    Just stumbled across your site and am amazed at the work you’ve been able to do.

    My initial idea when buying my chromebook (hp falco 14) was that there must be some way to get it to boot linux even if only through crouton or chrubuntu.

    Your firmware update for the flaco seems very stable from what I can tell, and I think i’ll be trying it when I get back home.

    Unless I misunderstand the information here, your firmware will allow me to boot either eos luna or eos freay from a USB stick and do a simple install. Perform the necessary updates for Luna to resolve the couple of small problems and all will be well with the world.

    As I also understand, if I decide to sell my little chromebook, I can flash back to the original firmware and reinstall chromeos and no-one will be any the wiser!

    Am I following the processes correctly?

    If it all works OK, then there’ll be a few dollars on the way to you from my paypal account!

    Thanks for all the fantastic work John. You’ve opened up my chromebook to a whole new world!

  13. Am I correct in thinking that, since I am trying to download a rom to un-brick a dead C720, I cannot access your latest rom (because I can’t run the script yet on the target machine) but can use one of the earler versions downloaded from your archive ?
    thanks,

  14. Hi John,

    Are there any plans to add the Toshiba Chromebook 2 model CB35-B3340? I’ve checked through the website and online but haven’t yet found any custom firmware that would allow the computer to boot linux without ChromeOS.

    If there are no plans, do you think you could point me in the right direction for learning more about the firmware and exactly how I need to modify it? While I have never interfaced and replaced firmware manually in this manner, I am very determined and hope that it would be possible to learn.

    Thanks in advance for your response.

    1. Hi Wade,

      There are plans, yes. Hopefully before xmas, but no guarantees. It’s at a stage where more debugging is needed, so I have to get my Lenovo N20p into a debug-able state, and spend some time (could be weeks) to’ing and fro’ing on the coreboot mailing list. Various things have got in the way, but I’m hoping to rectify that shortly.

  15. Hello John, you did an amazing job and i’m successfully booting with SeaBIOS payload on my c720. So far, it runs perfect.
    I have a “technical” question though, and so far I am unable to find an answer looking around (both here and on the web).
    I’ve read that coreboot should be able to boot linux payload directly without going through the seaBIOS step (which I believe is what happens when a chromebook’s default coreboot boots the regular signed chromeOS kernel, please anyone correct me if I’m wrong).
    Is it possible to do that using your custom firmware or does that involve recompiling coreboot using specific parameters?
    And in case this is doable, are there any advantages/disadvantages between the two methods?
    I see there’s a grub-coreboot package in the Ubuntu repository, but I don’t think I’ve completely understood the whole booting process, beside the coreboot –> payload –> bootloader –> OS thing.
    This is just out of curiosity.
    Still, thanks a lot, my c720 is a fast and reliable Ubuntu notebook since I found your website!

    1. It can, but every time you want to change kernel you’ll have to reflash, which will be a PITA.

      By default, Chromebooks go from coreboot to vboot to kernel.

      You’ll need to compile your own to do that. IMO, the option that offers the most possibilities is using a SeaBIOS payload, which can load it’s own kernel or go to boot loader, and I’m all about flexibility.

      See my first answer for a good reason not do do it.

  16. Hello,

    I need to flash my Acer c720 back to stock ROM (I’ve backed up that .bin file before flashing one of your custom ROMs) because I cannot install ubuntu from USB (currently windows 7 is installed, i wanted to test some drivers). So I prefer going back to ChromeOS than getting headaches with installing other operating system. I confess I’m not too good at this, so is there any way I need to follow to get chromeos back?

    Thanks a lot!

  17. hello i was reading through the comments and became a little confused, roms/bios and such arent my thing. I’m getting the error “unaligned pointer 0x1” like a few people here, It boots up into ubuntu just fine if I let it run and if i hit f10 i can boot from external drives and such. But to fix the unaligned pointer issue, it seems i downloaded/ installed the wrong one? or is this a bug and how could i fix this? everything else works great!

  18. Hello John. Great site, I really appreciate the effort you’ve put into it.
    That being said, I have a c710 on hand onto which ‘someone’ tried to install windows. Apparently, they did not know what they were doing, since my friend brought it to me saying that they couldn’t get it to work.
    I don’t know what they did exactly,but the laptop is stuck in the GNU GRUB rescue prompt. (I assume they tried loading your custom chromebook firmware, and were unsuccessful)
    Right now, the screen gives me two options:
    *scan for OS on internall HDD, which if I press nothing happens.
    Load SeaBios which, if I press, shows me a blank screen with a blinking ‘_’ and nothing happens for a while, after which I’m back to the aforementioned screen.
    I also have the options to press ‘e’ to edit the commands before booting, or ‘c’ for the command line.
    The big problem is that the ribbon that connects the SSD to the motherboard is faulty, so that I can’t use a HDD to load a linux ISO. (The SSD showed up intermittently until I took it out and loaded an ISO file on there, and when I put it back it didn’t show up at all, nor have any other HDD’s I tried plugging in)
    Long story short, my question is: can I get the chromebook to load ubuntu from a USB through the grub command line so that I can reflash the original Chrome Bios it had on there? If so, how?

    Thank you.

    Mark M

  19. John, thanks for your great work on this. I put it on my 710 close to a year ago. Getting ready to update firmware version and install a new os in the next few days (getting tired of Ubuntu being slow and buggy).

    Thanks again

    Chet

  20. I’ve read that coreboot can be set up to require a boot password. I have to admit that I haven’t yet understood how exactly seabios, coreboot, grub and my linux (ubuntu flavor) interact but I’m assuming I’d have to build my own coreboot instead of using yours to get a boot password?

  21. Hello John!

    Might i ask if you had any success on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 “Swanky” (CB35-B3340). I read on the past comments that there could be something around by xmas. ;)

    Please let me know if i can help with any debug info you might need.

    cheers!
    mtron

  22. I have an Acer c720, and I have an issue. The flashing went just fine, and I’ve already installed CentOS via Jeltka. However, I cannot get a USB to boot.

    I’ve tried a 16GB USB, and a 32GB USB. Neither USB drive was recognized as a boot option. Thinking there was an issue with larger USB drives, I tried an older 8GB drive, which was recognized but failed to boot with the ISO loaded on it. Now, this is disconcerting as these 16GB and 32GB USB drives were recognized and booted just fine prior to flashing the BIOS. Has anyone else had issue with larger USB drives not being recognized? As for the 8GB drive, why can’t I boot it? I’ve tried 5 different ISO files, and I used 3 different image writers in Windows 7, but still I cannot get it to boot. Am I missing something?

  23. So I posted about charging issues a day or two ago, I haven’t had a chance to extract a shell-ball rom, but I found that if I powere down my c710, unplug, remove the battery, put the battery back, and finally plug back in and power on, that it charges. Today I had a low battery warning(the battery meter in F21 was at like 2 or 3 percent)and went through the process above, but instead of an orange charging light I got a blue charged light. I booted into Fedora to a full battery…. I’m guessing its something with this machine, I’m thinking of going back to stock on this c710 to see what happens and then flashing the other c710 I have and putting linux on that one instead. I just don’t want to push my luck and end up with a brick(should probably wait a few weeks till I’m financially better off lol), I may just deal with it for a while…

    The full battery after the low battery warning today really threw me off, next time I get a warning and its been plugged in as was the case today, I’m gonna try pulling and putting back the battery while its powered on instead of shutting down first to see what happens.

    I’m guessing you are probably right about it being this machine and not the bios based on how it’s acting. I’m thinking of flashing back to the previous version I had to try to battery pull and replace, I’m betting it charges….

    Why do I not need to use the jumper(foil) to flash now, was the jumper write protection feature removed when I flashed to your custom bios? I thought you always had to jump it, that it was just the way it was made, or is it just my machine again…. Would I be right to assume that its a bios feature and that going back to stock would mean I’d need to use a jumper again?

    Thanks for the quick response last time, it was much appreciated

    -Joe

    1. There are going to be some subtle interactions I’m not aware of, but basically you have a soft and hard write-protect. To disable the soft write-protect, you have to disable the hard write-protect first. Once the soft write-protect is disabled (and left disabled), the hard write-protect is irrelevant AKA the hard write-protect is only really protecting the soft write-protect, which in turn protects the actual ROM contents.

      No worries.

  24. Awesome job! I just bought a Toshiba CB35-B3340 Chromebook 2 and was wondering if and when I might be able to upgrade the bios and put Ubuntu on it? Are the machines you have listed merely the few that have been “verified” to work or might the bios work on my machine?

    Thanks
    Sig

  25. Hi John,
    So, Ijust red all the FAQ´s and I´m very depressed to learn that it´s impossible to get the SeaBios of an Acer CB5-311 in order to install Win7 on it… and would it be the case, the kbd and touchpad wouldn´t work at all…
    Why did I bought such a stupid Chromebook ???
    Best regards,
    Olivier

    1. IDK, Olivier. At the time of the Baytrail Chromebooks release, SeaBIOS didn’t have eMMC support amongst other things, so the slot was left empty. I’ve tried building a suitable slot, in lieu of a full custom ROM, but either there is something wrong with it, or the mechanism for selecting the slot was also left out – you just end up with a blank screen. To further worsen things, I’ve also managed to completely brick my Lenovo N20p that €300 of donations was spent on last October. I have to send it off to a soldering shop to have the debug socket stuck on the board, so I can recover it, but I don’t have any spare cash at the moment. Marc Jones tried to help me get a full ROM working for Swanky during the coreboot hackathon in Prague, but SeaBIOS as it stood then, was jumping to a silly memory location, and not getting any further.

      Besides, they are slow. The new Broadwell models will be the ones to watch, as they will have similar/better performance than Haswell, but still draw less power.

      Further more, there is no guarantee that a working custom ROM (whenever that appears) will be able to run Windows anyway.

      Does that answer your question?

  26. Hi John,
    I flashed your rom using your script on my HP 14 (Falco) without any errors. At the boot I see the SeaBIOS splash but it won’t let me enter into the menu by hitting the ESC key for booting an USB drive. I even tried screwing back the firmware write-protection. Many thanks for your work and any suggestion

    1. Make sure you don’t hit ESC before the SeaBIOS screen, and also make sure you don’t hit it twice. Other than that, the EC can get itself in a tiz, so switching off completely for some time, and even disconnecting the battery may help in that regard.

  27. Hi John hope you are good. Hey I am coming to Ireland in late June Dublin for work a full week there. I have the teal colored HP 14 inch chrome book. I am not really feeling the chrome OS anymore. I spoke with the CoreBoot folks at their table and FOSDEM and they told me a little about you. I am not very much a hands on person yet. But I do a lot with CentOs and Ubuntu flavors at work. Is there maybe a chance to meet you face to face this summer? Or perhaps you point me to a you tube video or we can do some type of virtual room? I really want just plain Centos on it to do my redhat certification. Does the Touchpad work and does the 3G modem work?

    1. Hi John,

      Dublin is 2.5 hours away from me, so it’s unlikely. The last time I went to Dublin was when I passed my own RHCE at the end of 2013.

      CentOS 7 will pretty much work OOTB, you’ll just need to compile the latest upstream kernel. I can fire you over a suitable kernel config if you want. FTR, I’ve been using CentOS 7 since August of last year – upside is you don’t get a ton of updates and breakage, downside is getting the repos/packages you might need can be a little more work than with Fedora. My internet connection won’t do more than 6 megs a second these days, so not having loads of updates the whole time means I *can* be more productive.

      I haven’t got a 3G modem in mine, so I couldn’t tell you. However, I have had a lot of experience with 3G modems in the past – even if there isn’t a specific driver which will work for your card (which is unlikely) you can use a “generic” USB serial driver, albeit at reduced speed. So, in summary, don’t worry about it, you will get something which more or less works.

  28. Hey John, first off… thank you.

    I was wondering if it was possible to check if i have the latest version of your coreboot rom. I reflashed a LONG time ago.

    I’m a little unclear how to reflash if I have already flashed, im sure there are instructions but I dont see them.

    Ive been running ubuntu on a HP 14 butterfly for… a long time now. :) more than a year. I have a feeling that the ROM im using is old, mostly because when I boot it says something about samsung ( I have an HP).
    Also there is the name john (probabaly you), after reading this site ive finally put 2 and 2 together.
    Thanks again!
    -Bren

  29. Dear John. I am the owner of 2 Lenovo X131E Chromebooks. I’ve upgraded the memory to 8GB and the SSD to 125 or so GB. I downloaded Crouton and have installed XFCE on the machine, and I’m generally very happy with it. I am interested in turning it into a full Linux machine (I don’t use Chrome) with the latest stable Ubuntu or Mint interface. I am not a computer expert (by any means!) and I do not dare go further than I already have. I will be in Ireland on March, and I’m writing to know if I can pay you to turn these into Linux Ubuntu or Mint machines with SEABios (and watch you do it, so that I can do it myself sometime in the future)? If so, what would the cost be? If it is something you can do, how can I contact you privately by email?

    Thank you and best regards

    Adam

  30. I recently buy a Acer CB3-111 C3VG (Intel 2940, 4GB Ram) Chromebook.

    I can’t boot it from USB (I had into developer mode and tried some boot command & parameters from almost Acer C720 documents), so I can’t boot such Puppy or Arch Linux ,etc…

    I dont’ know whether I can compile the newest coreboot /seabios, or you can release a newer ROM for above model ?

    Can you give me some suggestions or any refered documents?

  31. hello dear john lewis
    I have install windows in acer chromebook c710
    after flashing bios
    now I want to install windows in hp chromebook 14 c-010us problem is that I am unable to find suitable bios version for it please help me to find suitable bios version for hp chromebook 14 c-010us or if you please tell me from where can I get hp sleekbook 14 bios or if you have another solution please suggest

  32. Hi John,

    I have an ACER C710 im in this situation…

    “Best case, you won’t be able to see any display, but the Chromebook will be otherwise functional. In the latter case you can fly blind (press ESC a second or so after switching on, then “2”) to boot off a Linux USB stick with an SSH server installed, and reflash over the network.”

    I tryed to put the Linux usb but it didnt work…, if I put the original Chromebook usb backup some information appers on the screen, but then stops, and nothing works.

    Can you give me an idea and a procedure of what and how to solve this (step by step) …, if it´s not to inconvenience.

    Thanks in advanced.
    Pablo.

    1. Perhaps you could post some pictures of what’s happening. I’d also recommend using a Linux USB that has the i915 frame buffer driver in it’s kernel – this will initialise the display regardless of if there’s something wrong with the video BIOS in the firmware.

  33. Hey John,

    I have a C720 that I had Linux Mint 17 on. It works great except for the Ctrl-L to enter the SeaBIOS, so I wanted to try your method…
    I followed the directions exactly, I remove the case of my chromebook which is a C720P-2844. And removed Screw #7 from this picture Picture and now when I reboot and press Ctrl-L I get a system beep….please help, what did I do wrong? I didn’t even get to enter your command.

  34. buen dia john he flasheado mi chromebook c710 y en bios me aparece para instalar ubuntu 14.04 desde usb, cuando lo instalo y reinicio no inicia desde el disco duro y me aparece la opción de jeltko ayuda no se que hacer!!!

    1. Parece que hay algo mal con Grub en el MBR de su disco. ¿Estás seguro de que no recibe ningún error durante la instalación? Puedes intentarlo de nuevo la instalación , esta vez con una versión / distro diferente?

  35. I installed your bios on acer c7 which was installed succesfully but it won’t let me install windows 7 in it, It freezes on windows 7 start up screen, i tried installing windows 8.1 but after initiallising the screeen will go blank . Please help me

    1. I can’t really help you with Windows. If it works with the ROM (I think that is the one Johnny Phung linked people to, so it has worked with Windows before) great, if it doesn’t, there’s not much I can do.

      If you want to go back to the stock ROM, you’ll need to boot off a Linux live USB. Did you take a backup?

    1. That’s nice. I thought I was going to have to do more hand-holding. :)

      Yes, you can! First download the statically linked flashrom from https://johnlewis.ie/flashrom then download https://johnlewis.ie/Chromebook-ROMs/coreboot-parrot-seabios-windows-27102013.rom check it against it’s md5 in md5sums.txt lest you want to risk a brick. Then “chmod +x flashrom” and “./flashrom -w coreboot-parrot-seabios-windows-27102013.rom”. That will still allow your install of Ubuntu to work, and you should be able to boot from Windows 7 USB/DVDROM. AFAIK that ROM is the one that definitely works with Windows (at least that’s the one I tested). Never really understood why Johnny couldn’t get it to work and decided to use the earlier Grub2 one. Let me know how you get on.

  36. I had some hard time flashing the ROMs but I was able to get it to work by coppying the files to /Downloads and by adding “./flashrom -w Downloads/coreboot-parrot-seabios-windows-27102013.rom, to the command line and it worked like magic. Thanks a lot

    1. That was kind of inferred with my instructions, since if you were downloading through a browser, that’s where the files would be downloaded to. It’s difficult to tell exactly how noob someone is, and I don’t want to waste a lot of time writing details which probably aren’t necessary.

  37. Hi John,

    I’m running the 181114 release on my C7 – just wondering if there’s anything later or if it’s worth upgrading if there is ?

    Also, I’m running Debian 8.0 with everything working perfectly – touchpad, HDMI, USB, wireless, bluetooth – the lot.

    Thanks for making this available

    Jon

  38. Hello John,

    I thought you might like to know that when using Johnny Phung’s installation instructions to install Windows 7 onto the Acer C7 Chromebook (Celeron 847 based) and your coreboot-parrot-seabios-windows rom, you can follow the same procedures to install the Windows 10 technical preview. Everything works on it except still the keyboard/trackpad (sound, wifi and ethernet all work). Using an external usb keyboard/mouse with it, it is actually quite functional. Too bad the keyboard issue hasn’t been resolved (could care less about the trackpad working as I always use mice with my laptops). I also noticed that once you have used the initial write enable jumper to flash a rom, when you’re running any of the Linux distros with the “flashrom” utility, you no longer need to short the jumper in the C7, you can flash whatever bioses that you have made available for the C7. Very handy actually that you don’t have to keep pulling off the underneath panel of the C7 to short the write enable jumper. I tried it with Windows 7 and then the Windows 10 technical preview and I probably would still be using Windows 10 except for the hardware keyboard not working. I reverted to running Fedora 21 on it for now (of course I have the original ChromeOS bios backed up so I can go back to Chrome). Just thought you and other readers of your work would like to know that Windows fully working on it with your older rom is close – just gotta figure how to get the C7 keyboard working – once resolved one could say that the C7 will run whatever OS (Linux/Windows) one wants.

    Thank you for your work.

    1. There’s some guy allegedly trying to get the keyboard working in the community now, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      Yes, Windows 8 and 10 are actually less picky in terms of Chromebook ROM’s they will run on. Not sure why that is. I will even venture a guess that Windows 8 and 10 will work with the newer ROM’s I’ve made.

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