How to Map a Crouton Installation to An External Device (Chromebook)

You’ve heard of Crouton, right? It’s a really neat script written specifically for Chromebooks. It allows for you to install many different versions of Linux. This is a great thing, as it opens up Chrome devices to more operating systems.

Still, Chromebooks are notoriously low on storage space. Most of them max out at about 32 gigabytes of internal memory. For those that want to use a lot of big programs in their Crouton installations, this can be a big problem.

Fortunately, this lack of storage can easily be solved. With the help of this guide, you’ll be able to easily setup your Crouton installations to reside directly on an external device.

Map Crouton to an SD card or USB stick

Before the installation can begin, you’ll need to set up your directories. Open the ChromeOS  terminal by pressing “Ctrl + Alt + T” on your keyboard, type in shell and press the Enter key.


Once the shell is open, you’ll need to move to the directory that the Crouton installer normally places the chroots.


cd /usr/local

While you’re in there, you’ll need to do a few things. First, however, you’ll need to make a new chroot directory on your removable SD card or USB stick.


sudo mkdir /media/removable/NAME-OF-SD-CARD-OR-FLASH-DRIVE/chroots

Note: You have to change “NAME-OF-SD-CARD-OR-FLASH-DRIVE” to the actual name of your external device.

After the directory is made, it’s time to symbolically link it back to /usr/local.

sudo ln -s /media/removable/NAME-OF-SD-CARD-OR-FLASH-DRIVE/chroots/ chroots

Now that the directory has been created and linked to the correct location, the Crouton installer will place all your chroots to a USB stick or SD card.

Installing Crouton

Since you set up a symbolic link from your USB stick or SD card to the /usr/local directory, the Crouton installer will find and follow your link instead of making a chroot folder in the same location. Obviously, this will allow you to have a whole lot more space with your Crouton installation.

Note: this process will not work without your Chromebook set to developer mode. On your keyboard, hit Escape, Power and the Refresh. When this is done, your Chromebook will present a warning message, and you’ll need to press “Ctrl + D” every time before booting.

Enter the command below to install Crouton.


sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r trusty -t xfce

Once your Crouton installation has been completed, you can launch it by entering the commands below.

sudo enter-chroot

Backup your Crouton Chroot

Having Crouton an SD card or USB device is very handy. Still, since it’s a removable device, you should probably have a backup. To perform the backup, enter the command below into the shell.

Note: remember, to get to the ChromeOS shell, press “Ctrl + Alt + T” on your keyboard, then type shell.

To backup your installation to your Downloads folder.

sudo edit-chroot -b trusty

To restore your installation from the Downloads folder.

sudo edit-chroot -r trusty


I love Crouton. It makes Linux even more convenient since you can swap to it at any time. The ability to move installations to bigger storage devices just makes Crouton installs even more useful. I hope that with the help of this guide, you find it useful too.

Derrik Diener
Derrik Diener

Derrik Diener is a freelance technology blogger.

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