NASPA Chromebook Configuration

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Setting Up the Acer Chromebook 11

This document describes how to set up a Chromebook with word judge software. If you already have a configured Chromebook, see NASPA Chromebook User Guide for instructions.

The most important thing you will need to know is that once the device is configured, the startup screen will announce "OS Verification is Off--Press Space to re-enable". If "OS Verification" is "re-enabled", the installation which allows us to run Zyzzyva will be erased and the installation procedure will need to be restarted.

  • Do not press the space bar when prompted at startup.

The Chromebook must be properly shut down or the installation may be damaged, necessitating the procedure described below in startlxde crashes with a complaint about tty0. Refer to the description in the user guide for the shutdown procedure.

  • Do not shutdown by just leaning on the power button.


On initial startup, the device may hang stating "Determining Device Configuration..." Power down the machine and restart to get past this.

Some of the steps below refer to "Function Keys" (F1, F2, etc.) These are the symbol keys in the top row and are numbered left to right, with F1 being "Left Arrow", F2 "Right Arrow", F3 "Reload", etc.

The installation procedure below for lxde and Crouton is based on:

Another good writeup, unverified can be found at:

For documentation of a dual-boot install, see or

Boot into RECOVERY mode

  1. Plug the Chromebook in, don't try to do this on battery power.
  2. Turn on your ChromeBook – but do not log in.
  3. Sign on to your WiFi (if you have not previously signed in)
  4. Press the <esc> <F3> & <power> buttons at the same time.
  5. Release the power button when the device goes black – but continue to hold the other buttons until the chrome error screen appears and then release them also.
    • When the Chromebook transitions to developer mode it will erase any data--this is a necessary step, and will not affect you unless you stored data on the machine that you need to preserve, in which case you need to power off and deal with this before proceeding.
  6. When the ChromeBook displays the error screen (“Chrome OS is missing or damaged“) it is in “Recovery Mode”

Enable DEVELOPER mode

  1. When the ChromeBook is in the Recovery Mode, press <ctrl> <d> & the device will present a screen that says “To turn OS verification OFF, press ENTER.“
  2. Go ahead and press <Enter>.
  3. The device will reboot and return with a screen that says, “OS verification is OFF, Press SPACE to re-enable”.
  4. DO NOT PRESS THE SPACE KEY (each time you switch verification on/off, it will erase the hard disk!)
  5. Let the ChromeBook sit, it will beep twice and then reboot. The screen will then say, “System is transitioning into Developer Mode. All data will be cleared.” This is normal. However, it WILL erase all of your data unless you turn off the Chromebook NOW!
  6. After about 5-6 minutes (note the progress bar at the top of the screen), the ChromeBook will reboot and return to the “OS verification is OFF” screen. Either leave the device alone and (after about 25-30 seconds) it will boot into the initial Chrome OS desktop – or, you can press <ctrl> <d> to speed up the process.
  7. The normal Chrome OS desktop appears with a dialog box asking you to connect to a network.

Update the firmware

  1. Sign in to your network (WiFi or wired) but do not log into the Chrome destop
  2. Enter TERMINAL Mode (AKA “Command” or “Command Line Interface” or “CLI” ) by pressing <ctrl><alt><F2>
  3. At the “LocalHost login:” prompt, type “chronos” (without the quotes) and press <enter>
  4. At the “chronos @ LocalHost $” prompt, type “sudo bash” (again without the quotes) and press <enter>
  5. At the “localhost user #” prompt, type “chromeos-firmwareupdate -m todev” (without quotes) and press <enter>. NOTE: I do not recall how long this takes. On the video, my device’s firmware was already updated so it immediately returned with a “completed” message. Your device will probably take a bit longer.
    1. As of 2019-05-11, modetodev is apparently unsupported. Proceeding with mode autoupdate.
  6. When the process is finished, it will report “Firmware update (todev) completed“
  7. To return to the Chrome desktop, press <crtl><alt><F1>.

Note: At this point, the ChromeBook will operate exactly as before EXCEPT that when you first boot up, it will present the “OS verification is OFF” warning screen. This screen will display for about 25 seconds. You can skip that delay by pressing <ctrl><d> and the device will immediately boot into the normal Chrome OS desktop.

Install Ubuntu

  1. Select Browse as guest to get to the Chrome desktop
  2. Start the Chrome browser
  3. Download the CROUTON scripts (Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment) here: (Just clicking the link will download it to your Downloads folder – do NOT rename it in any way).
  4. In Chrome, hit <Ctl><Alt><T> to get the Crosh command line interface (CLI).
  5. In the “Crosh” window, type “shell” and press <enter> to get a bash shell.
  6. Stop the screen from idle-blanking with sudo stop powerd.
  7. If there is an existing installation (in this example, based on trusty) which you want to remove to clear space, run sudo rm -rf /usr/local/chroots/trusty
  8. Enter the following commands (if you are reading this on your ChromeBook, you can copy (select, then Ctrl-C) and paste (Right-click) the line:
sudo mount -o remount,exec /home/chronos/user
sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -r focal -t xfce
  1. As of 2019-08-09, the Bionic install will fail with the following error message, which is not fatal. This error has not been seen in the focal install so in that case you should be able to proceed directly to the Create User section.
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.
Failed to complete chroot setup.
Unmounting /mnt/stateful_partition/crouton/chroots/bionic...
Sending SIGTERM to processes under /mnt/stateful_partition/crouton/chroots/bionic...
  1. You should then enter the crouton "chroot" with this command: sudo enter-chroot -n bionic -u 0
  2. You will then see this prompt, to which you should enter y.
Entering /mnt/stateful_partition/crouton/chroots/bionic...
A chroot setup script still exists inside the chroot.
The chroot may not be fully set up.
Would you like to finish the setup? [Y/n/d] 
  1. Complete the installation by issuing the following commands (answer y to any prompts):
    apt update
    apt upgrade
    apt install xserver-xorg-video-intel
  1. Leave the chroot by typing exit.
  2. Finish the installation with sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -r bionic -t lxde -u
    • Note this differs from the similar command you issued previously in that it includes a -u flag.

Create User

After everything is downloaded and installed (approximately 30 minutes if you have a fast Internet connection), the system will ask you for the name of the primary user. Enter your choice and then supply your chosen password (twice). After a short while, the system will present you with the options to start the new linux chroot.

If you plan to use the Integrated Customization Script as detailed below, the username you create here should be "wgvc".

Run Integrated Customization Script

  1. On the Chromebook where you are performing the setup, visit the current page--the one you're reading right now. You may already be there.
  2. Select this link with "Save As" to Downloads directory.
  3. Get to a shell in the Chromebook browser with Ctrl-Alt-T followed by shell as you already did above (you should be able to use the same terminal you used to execute the crouton script), then execute:
    • mv ~/Downloads/ /tmp/
  4. From the same terminal session you've been using, enter the chroot with: sudo enter-chroot -n focal
  5. Run bash /tmp/
  6. Enter the WGVC password as defined above if prompted.
  7. Exit the chroot with exit
  8. Restart the Chromebook, start the xfce session from the terminal with sudo startxfce4 and verify the Quackle and Zyz desktop icons are present and function properly.
  9. You should now reboot and follow the instructions under NASPA Chromebook User Guide to verify correct operation.
  10. The remaining steps are for reference only, they have been superseded by the use of the script defined here.

Start xfce

From the command line:

sudo startxfce4

Shift-Ctrl-Alt-F1 toggles between ChromeOS and Linux modes.


Recovering From a Frozen Crouton Script

Sometimes at the end of running the crouton script, when it prompts for a username, the machine will become unresponsive.

You would think that reinstalling would address this but so far it hasn't worked. The reinstall procedure is:

  1. Reboot by holding down the power button until the screen goes black.
  2. Restart and execute steps 1-6 above to get back to the "shell" prompt.
  3. Execute sudo rm -rf /usr/local/chroots/trusty
  4. Execute step 7 above and proceed to the next section.

What has worked is:

  1. Don't reboot
  2. Ctrl-Shift-F2 to get to the text console
  3. login with chronos
  4. sudo bash
  5. startlxde

startlxde may then note that you have a crouton script running and ask if you want to try to finish what it's doing. Answer yes.

startlxde crashes with a complaint about tty0


  1. Open the crosh shell (Ctrl-Alt-T).
  2. Run:
sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -a i386 -r trusty -t lxde

This should fix the installation.

See also which suggests for a related problem:

  1. enter chroot (sudo enter-chroot -n trusty)
  2. edit /etc/default/locale file (it didn't exist for me)
  3. put the following two lines in this file. Log out and then "startgnome"

Touchpad tap-to-click doesn't work on Bionic

sudo apt install xserver-xorg-input-synaptics
xinput set-prop 13 308 1

sets the touchpad tap as enabled

check with 
$ xinput list-props 13

2019-09-21 Just installing the package listed above enables the touchpad, no set-prop needed. Let's go with that and see if the default sensitivity is right. Added this to the private and public files.

Synaptics touchpad too sensitive

Right now Synaptic finger is set to 1 1 0 . I tried changing it to 50 90 255 as suggested somewhere on web but it freezes the mouse in that case.

You probably solved your problem, but I'm posting for posterity's sake: changing the Synaptic Finger setting to 5 16 216 solved it for me.

xinput set-prop 13 295 5 16 216

#Get rid of previous syndaemon
killall syndaemon
#More aggressive behavior, allow for mod+key combos, enable mouse movements
syndaemon -i 0.2 -K -t -d

Misc Notes

Usage Notes

  1. Sometimes the screen will blank when entering or leaving Word Judge mode. Toggling into and out of ChromeOS with Shift-Ctrl-Alt-F1 appears to clear this.

With the Collins 5 Zyz, the problem is so persistent as to render the installation unusable for word judging. See NASPAChromebookScreenBlankingProblem. It has been successfully addressed by disabling graphics acceleration.

Collins Zyz Dependencies

Collins Zyzzyva requires two extra packages. Install these by launching a terminal from within lxde and entering:

sudo apt-get install libxslt1.1 liborc-0.4

Quackle requires the Qt4 GUI, since this is bundled with NASPA Zyzzyva the launcher script for Q points to the NASPA Zyz installation.

To allow Quackle to run on its own install Qt4Gui with:

sudo apt-get install libqtgui4

Command Line Access to the Linux Environment

You can start a shell in a new VT via the startcli host command: sudo startcli

You must install the Chromium OS extension for integration with crouton to work.
The extension is available here:

You can start LXDE via the startlxde host command: sudo startlxde

Unmounting /mnt/stateful_partition/crouton/chroots/trusty...
Done! You can enter the chroot using enter-chroot.