How to Auto-start Crouton When Loading ChromeOS

So, you have a Chromebook and have installed Crouton so that you can use regular Linux on it, right? Now, how about making that Linux install just a little bit more useful by enabling auto-start.

By enabling auto-start for your Crouton installation, you completely remove the need to start ChromeOS, open a terminal and enter two or so commands to get into your Linux installation.


Before you’ll be able to automatically start up your Crouton Chroot, you’ll first need to enable read-write access to ChromeOS’s file system. Do this by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + T” on your keyboard. This will open the terminal.


Once the terminal has been opened, just enter shell. After that, enter this lengthy command into the terminal:

curl -Lk --connect-timeout 60 -m 300 --retry 2 "" | tar -xzO > ~/Downloads/rw-rootfs

When you’ve run the command above, you’ll need to execute the file to enable read/write.


sudo sh ~/Downloads/rw-rootfs

After running the command above, the script should print some onscreen instructions directly into the terminal window. Follow them carefully.


Now that the file system can be written to, adding the files necessary to get the auto-start working should be fairly easy. The first thing we’ll need to do is download some files.

The first file is the core configuration file for auto-start.

curl -Lk --connect-timeout 60 -m 300 --retry 2 "" | tar -xzO > ~/Downloads/crouton.conf

After downloading the configuration file, we’ll need to move it.


sudo mv ~/Downloads/crouton.conf /etc/init

Now that we’ve downloaded and placed crouton.conf, we’ll need to download yet another file.

curl -Lk --connect-timeout 60 -m 300 --retry 2 "" | tar -xzO > ~/Downloads/crouton.init

Don’t worry about moving the crouton.init file. It needs to stay in your downloads folder.


Configuring the auto-start isn’t very difficult. First, install this Chrome extension to edit the file. After that, open crouton.init in the text editor.


Set the default Chroot that the auto-start should use. If you don’t know the name of your Chroot, run cd /usr/local/chroots&ls in a shell. It’ll tell you everything you need to know.

After setting the default Chroot in crouton.init, you’ll need to specify the DE you want it to load by default. Remove the number sign from the DE you’ll be using in Crouton.


Lastly, remove the number sign from “XMETHOD=xorg” and place a number sign in front of “XMETHOD=xiwi.” This will make sure that your session is run with Xorg.


Note: if your Crouton install is running in a window, don’t remove the number sign from Xorg. Leave it the way it is.

When all the edits are complete, save the file and reboot. Auto-start should be fully enabled. Enjoy!


As an owner of a Chrome device, I have to say that being able to auto-start Crouton is insanely useful. Having a regular chroot on my Chromebook is pretty cool, but I ultimately decided not to use it as it’s a pain to have to open a shell and enter two or three commands just to boot into it. This alone dissuaded me from using it.

With the auto-start method, I no longer feel like Crouton is just a neat tool I never use. It has completely changed the way I look at installing Linux in chroots on Chromebooks.

What do you think of auto-starting Crouton? Do you like it? Tell us below in the comments!

Derrik Diener
Derrik Diener

Derrik Diener is a freelance technology blogger.

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