Monday, November 18, 2013

Playing with Chrome OS in VM

3:50 PM
Disclaimer:  All of the information below is provided as a guide.  None of the information is in any way officially from Google or VMware.  The author, Practical Chrome, nor the Chirpdash Network are in any way responsible for damage, hardware, software or otherwise, caused by using this guide.  Use at your own risk.

Who is this for?

If you would like to see Chrome OS up close and personal then this is for you.  If you like to tinker with virtual machines then this is for you.

What do you need?

You will need VMware Player and Hexxeh's Chromium OS build for VM.

Skill level?

Skill levels can range based on many factors.  Because there is possible new applications and technologies(Virtual Machines) it might be to much or it could be a nice challenge. There is also some command line actions and the use of Vi, a very unforgiving command line test editor.  Please keep all of this in mind and read through the guide once before actually following it.


Download and install VMware Player(1).  This is a free install for non-commercial use.

Download Hexxeh's Chromium OS Vanilla build in VM format(2), as this will be used as the base.  We don't want Chromium we want Chrome.  Unzip this to your preferred location on your hard drive.

I had to add a line to the VM's .vmx file in order for Chrome OS to see my ethernet.  If you have the same issue add the following to you file too.
ethernet0.virtualDev = "e1000"

Launch the VM with the VMware Player software.

You should now see the launch screen that allows you to load and use the Chromium OS, and we are going to avoid that.  You can play around with this but with the next few steps this is going to be wiped clean.

At this first screen press Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar.  Lift off Spacebar and, while still holding Ctrl + Alt, press F2.  This process will get us to a command line within the OS, and allow us wipe the drive and load the Chrome OS. (The Spacebar part is for the VMware, and will prevent you from getting knocked out of you virtual machine.)

We need to login as a user with administrative privledges, and that will be chronos.  At the login prompt type in chronos and then facepunch as the password.

Now that we are logged in we can continue. Type the following in the command line.
sudo touch /mnt/stateful_partition/.developer_mode

This performs a number of actions that tells the system that we are in developer mode and to wipe the system.

Next up are a few tasks that I had to perform to get me going.  Turns out that chronos' home directory is quite small and the OS image from Google is to big to download here.  We need more space... so lets use /home, why not.  First we need to get there and then we need to own /home.

Type the following command at the command line:
cd /home
sudo chown chronos /home

The other issue that we have is that the script that we pull down from Google to perform this feat of awesome has chonos' home folder hard coded into the script, and that is no good.

Pull down the file by typing this in the command:

Then edit the file with vi by typing:
vi 4suhf

In vi change line 21 from:
and save it.

Now we can run the script and have enough room on the drive to work with the files.

sudo bash 4suhf

The script will go out to Google and find out what Chrome OS images are available   Choose the one that you would like.  I have had success with the HP 14.  Once you make your selection and press enter then the script will pull down the image and overwrite the existing system with the new.  The system may or may not reboot once done, if not just use the reset option in the VMware Player.

When the system comes back up you are all set!  You are the proud user of Chrome OS without having to buy a system.


I would not have been able to perform or share this with out one person in particular and a few other... groups.  Please take note, I did not do this on my own.  Big thanks to all.

Big plus one to the Chromium development team!  I know I am loving you work.

Another big plus one to Hexxeh( +Liam McLoughlin )
 who was creating the only automated builds of Chromium that I could fine.

Plus one to +Jay Lee for his blog post which was the basis and base of my article:
How to run Chrome OS not Chromium

Plus one to the followers and contributors of the:
Google + Chromebooks community(unofficial)

Comments and Help

Please leave a comment below and tell me what you think.  You can also contact me via the Contact Page.

Newer Post
This is the last post.


  1. I've tried this a few times over and continually get the following error message even though I've done exactly as described, more than once....

    There is not enough free space in /home (it has 1823MB, we need 1886MB).

    Please free up some space on that filesystem, or specify a temporary directory on the commandline like so:

    WORKDIR=/path/to/some/dir 4suhf

    Any advice you could give me would be appreciated.


    1. I do have the same problem

    2. Hi everyone!

      I haven't had a chance to update this guide but there is a new one out there you should try. It solves this disk size issue with an additional ISO with gparted to resize.

      I don't know when I will have the time, so good luck out there.

    3. Regarding space, Resize your hard disk with Gparted. As shown in webpage.( I resized it and changed work directory and it successfully downloaded the recover image.

  2. I am stuck on 14-Acer Chromebook 13. I tried the other link and getting and Error 404: Not found.

    1. try commands as given below:

      bash 8v1ZkV

  3. Chrome extras are a flat out fortune for the individuals who are wishing to investigate their ride's flashier side without swiping their plastic down to a stub. chrome problem


Toggle Footer