Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rooting (jailbreaking) your new Google Chrome OS based Cr-48

Rooting (sometimes called jailbreaking) is the process by which you take complete control of the software running on a particular device. Depending on how much effort the device manufacturer put into locking down the device, rooting can be very easy or very hard. Lucky for us, Google made it extremely easy to root the Cr-48. The process is simple but be warned that it involves resetting your Cr-48 to Factory Defaults. Fortunately, the Cr-48 stores very little locally, the main thing you stand to loose is that horrible picture you took of yourself when you first setup the device. The rooting process is:

  1. Hold down the power button to turn off your Cr-48 (enjoy the cool logoff animation)
  2. Unplug the power cord, and any other devices you might have connected. Flip the Cr-48 upside down.
  3. Pop out the Cr-48's battery by sliding the battery lock over.
  4. Just to the right of the battery's gold contacts, you'll notice a piece of black tape. Take the tape off. This picture might help you locate the tape.
  5. You'll find a simple white switch under the tape. By default, the switch is away from the gold battery connectors. This is user mode. Use a pen, paperclip, or finger of an infant to push the switch towards the gold connectors. Congrats, you're now in developer mode.
  6. Replace the battery and boot your Cr-48 again. You'll get a scary message but don't panic, just press CTRL+D on the keyboard.
  7. As a security measure, the device will wipe your stateful partition, getting rid of that lousy picture you took on first setup. The process takes 5-10 minutes so while you wait, go clean yourself up in the bathroom for the new picture (sheesh!)
  8. Once wiped, the Cr-48 will reboot, Hit CTRL+D to boot again or wait the 30 seconds (just don't press spacebar)
  9. Redo the setup process. If you already activated Verizon it should remain activated.
  10. Once you're at the Chrome browser, press CTRL+ALT+T on your keyboard to get to the limited crosh shell. This shell was actually available to you before you switched to Developer mode but now if you type "help" you'll see one extra, very useful command. Type "shell" to drop to a full bash shell. You'll be the special user named chronos.
  11. Type "sudo su -". Feel the power of root!


  1. Hi Jay,

    Thanks for the post!

    I successfully rooted, however after I shut down cr48 (after playing with it for awhile in the root mode) and turned back on, the "press the spacebar" screen came on. I tried switching the developer switch back to user mode (to the right) but that erased everything and I had to start over... Not sure what I need to do to stay in that root mode between the shutdowns... Let me know if I'm doing something wrong :)


  2. Zhenya u need to wait a few seconds when the "press the spacebar screen " comes. it will beep and ur login page will come. have patience :)

  3. You can press CTRL+D also.. all that does is bypass the "scary screen".

  4. Hey I came across a article on how to make Chrome play netflix movies. Would being in developer mode be a way to make it happen? Here's the article:

  5. i flipped the switch and nothing!!! same ole boot up what shalll i do

  6. I try to enter in developer mode but after the scary image (point 6), the CR48 show the message: " chromeOS is missing or damaged Please----" i connect a usb recovery but it don't work.

    Have you any solution?

  7. do you happen to know how to root a chromebox i just got a chromebox and i would like to root it any help?

  8. I have a acer chromebook and I cant find the switch

  9. Does this also work for the newer chromebook?? The 250$ one??

  10. does this work on the new chromebook?

    1. please answer it has been a YEAR!

    2. Look Here ...

    3. yes i am kinda sure it works for the new chromebook because istead of takeing out the battery and that stuff all you do is flip the swich to the right of the chromebook

  11. Be gentile with that switch. I heard they break easily.

  12. on the newer chrombooks with out the switch all you need to do is hit esc the refresh button and poke the power button this will boot it in recovery mode, when the recovery screen boots up press ctrl D and them press enter this will boot in dev mode. follow the rest of the stets to root.