A pseudo Intel Chromium Stick

Post date: Oct 26, 2015 10:25:47 AM

While waiting for a commercially built device you can always try Chromium OS on your Intel Compute Stick device (or similar) to get an approximation albeit with the (seemingly standard) caveats.

As not all the readily available builds work flawlessly, I've built an image that includes wireless and also works with Crouton meaning you get two operating systems for the price of none!

Yes that's right, Chromium OS and Ubuntu, and you can also run from a USB (or SD card on the Intel Compute Stick) meaning you won't affect your existing Windows installation. So three-in-one: that's got to be worth a donation surely? The bad news is that sound doesn't work (I have tried but it is complicated and I haven't succeeded yet) and I also haven't tried Bluetooth.

Basic installation steps

  1. Download my Chromium OS image file from https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B99O3A0dDe67ZlpDRXpCSXBJU1U and uncompress it (e.g. in Linux enter '7z x linuxium-chromiumos_image.bin.7z').

  2. If you will be running Chromium OS on an Intel Compute Stick (ICS) you can use either a USB or an SD card as media. For all other devices you'll be limited to a USB unless you modify the boot loader configuration.

  3. Put the media you want to run Chromium OS on into your device.

  4. Next depending on which OS you are currently running, use either Rufus (Windows) or 'dd' (Linux) to write the image to the media (e.g. in Linux enter 'dd if=linuxium-chromiumos_image.bin of=/dev/sdX bs=4M' changing 'X' for the relevant drive letter, e.g. /dev/sda).

  5. Then reboot the device and selecting the media from the boot menu options (rapidly hit F10 after power-up on the Intel Compute Stick to bring up this menu).

  6. Now patiently wait for everything to load. It will seem like nothing is happening so keep being patient. A perfect time to make a donation to me using your new smart phone!

  7. Finally a small screen will be displayed so:

  8. Select language (if required)

  9. Connect to a network (this is required)

  10. Login using your Google credentials

  11. Again wait patiently this time as everything is configured. Magically, and before your eyes, the system panel will update (including orientation) along with the Chromium browser as all your settings are synced.

  12. Initially no wallpaper will be defined so to complete the install you should update with your favourite picture (hint: I keep my on Google Drive so I first download the image and then 'Set wallpaper').

Increasing the 'home' partition size

By keeping the installation image at a reasonable size it means that your 'home' directory will be relatively small and will not use all of the available space on the media you are running from. This can easily be fixed for Linux users by inserting the media into a device running Linux, unmounting any of the partitions that may have automatically been mounted from the media, and entering the following commands in a terminal window:

  • Increase STATE (/dev/sdX1) partition to maximum size

sudo sgdisk -e /dev/sdX

sudo gdisk /dev/sdX << EOF








  • Make sure STATE (/dev/sdX1) partition file system is clean

sudo e2fsck -f /dev/sdX1

  • Resize STATE (/dev/sdX1) partition to maximum size

sudo resize2fs /dev/sdX1

Again change 'X' for the relevant drive letter, e.g. /dev/sda) and also note that there are three blank lines in the above 'gdisk' command which must be included for the command to execute correctly. You can now insert the media back into your initial device and boot from boot menu (F10 on the ICS).

Installing Ubuntu using Crouton

First make sure there is sufficient disk spare by increasing the 'home' partition to utilize all the available space on the media (see the above instructions).

Then go to https://github.com/dnschneid/crouton and read the 'README.md' or alternatively:

  1. Click on the link on the web page shown as 'Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment https://goo.gl/fd3zc'.

  2. Hit 'Ctrl-Alt-t' to bring up 'crosh' (the Chrome OS developer shell).

  3. Type in:

    1. shell

  4. And then enter:

    1. sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -t unity -r trusty

  1. Once more, patiently wait for the installation to complete, entering your username and password when requested.

  2. Now enter:

    1. sudo startunity

  1. This will start Ubuntu bring up HUD (hit 'Alt') and type:

    1. terminal

  1. Select a terminal icon and then from with the terminal window type:

    1. sudo apt-get -y install ubuntu-desktop

  1. If you thought you had been patient before then this next wait while the installation completes will certainly test you. You definitely have time to go to another computer and make a donation to me.

  2. Now logout using system menu from top right of screen and you'll be returned back to the 'crosh' terminal.

  3. Finally re-enter:

    1. sudo startunity

  1. and Ubuntu with Unity will be displayed in all its full glory.

Minimal FAQ

  • The media used for Chromium OS (i.e. the USB or SD card) must be fast enough to ensure performance so don't use the oldest media you can find lying around.

  • The minimum size for the media is 4GB to run Chromium OS or 8GB if you are also going to install Ubuntu via Crouton.

  • Powerwash (see Settings/Show advanced settings) can be used to refresh your media to remove your current user settings and start afresh. But remember to select the media when each automatic reboot occurs during the powerwash process.

  • I currently immediately stop 'powerd' (the system daemon that manages power states) on booting to prevent freezing and lockouts caused by being idle/inactive or entering sleep mode (and I really need to look at 'set_power_policy --help' as an alternative). From the 'crosh' window and at the 'shell' prompt enter 'sudo stop powerd'.

Useful keyboard shortcuts

Chromium OS:

Ctrl-Alt-t -> Brings up crosh (Chrome OS developer shell)

Ctrl-F5 -> Take a screenshot within ChromiumOS


Ctrl-Alt-F1 -> Switches window from Ubuntu to Chromium OS

Ctrl-Alt-Shift-F1 -> Switches window back from Chromium OS to Ubuntu


This is a development release of Chromium OS and is based on code released by Google (see https://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/developer-guide) and hadess (see https://github.com/hadess). Whilst every effort has been made to make this release as stable as possible it is probably advisable not to use it in production systems. It has been extensively tested on the Intel Compute Stick. YMMV on other similar hardware.

Enjoy and please donate (http://goo.gl/nXWSGf) if you like my work so I can continue next with Cherry Trail devices.