Playing with Linux – How to Get Minecraft on a Chromebook

Embarking on a journey to introduce my sixth-grade sisters to the world of computing through Minecraft, I quickly encountered the limitations of ChromeOS, which does not support the standard PC version of Minecraft. This became a surprising challenge, considering my background in computer science. Here’s how I tackled it.

The Challenge with ChromeOS

ChromeOS is primarily designed to run mobile game software and not full PC applications like Minecraft. This revelation set me on a path to explore alternatives, particularly turning to Linux, which seemed a suitable solution without the need to completely overhaul their systems.

The Solution: Live Persistent Linux on a USB

I opted for a live-persistent Linux environment, which allows users to run a separate operating system through a USB drive without altering the existing system on the computer. This method seemed ideal—it’s portable, reversible, and doesn’t interfere with the native ChromeOS.

Creating a Live Persistent Flash Drive for Ubuntu

  • Step 1: Download an Ubuntu ISO image file.
  • Step 2: Use a program to burn this image to a USB drive.
  • Step 3: Ship the USB drive to my sisters to use.

I initially thought booting from the USB on a Chromebook would be as straightforward as it is on Windows PCs. I was wrong.

Enabling USB Booting on ChromeOS

ChromeOS does not allow booting from USB without enabling Developer Mode, which is far from a straightforward process. It involves wiping the Chromebook’s hard drive and navigating its restrictive firmware.

How to Enable USB Booting on ChromeOS

  1. Enter Developer Mode: This will erase all data on the device. It’s crucial to back up any important data beforehand.
  2. Install the Firmware Utility Script: Instructions and specific commands can be found on’s website, a valuable resource that addresses many of ChromeOS’s quirks, including those that affect audio output when running Ubuntu.

The Unexpected Outcome

After several hours of guiding my technologically inexperienced sister through these steps, we finally managed to get Minecraft running on the Chromebook. However, the performance was less than ideal—Minecraft was laggy and slow, leading to a short-lived gaming session of about 30 minutes.


Despite the frustrations and the steep learning curve associated with modifying a Chromebook to run Linux and Minecraft, this experience taught me a lot about the flexibility and limitations of ChromeOS. For those willing to experiment and navigate through a few hurdles, it’s possible to extend the functionality of a Chromebook significantly.

I hope sharing this ordeal helps others who might be considering similar modifications. It’s a complex process, but with patience and careful following of instructions, it can definitely be achieved.