Geek Freely: OpenELEC on the Asus Chromebox

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    The whole point in this post is to run your own VPN service, and allow you to connect remote devices to your home network.

    To start off yo…

    First off I want to say, this was the best use of $179 in a while..just buy it:

    This box blows away my old Zotac ION – and it’s fanless.  It kills on performance compared to the Raspberry Pi and Zotac ION, and it’s small and portable, it’s fanless, it boots very quick! I love it.

    Disclaimer: All the information in this guide is completely taken from the following link:

    But I have formatted it in the appropriate manner for myself to reference in future.

    Follow this guide if you want to replace Chrome OS with OpenELEC and have it boot in automatically, I do not do the backup like the wiki, I create a backup USB after the fact on a Windows box, but you can do it from any OS it appears.  I have tested this backup and it works, so this is my preferred and quicker method.

    has updated the wiki to provide an  You must still complete steps 1.1 and 1.2.

    1 Device Preparation

    Putting the ChromeBox in developer mode will allow you to access the underlying Linux operating system features necessary for installing XBMC.

    WARNING: This will erase all user data on the device.

    With the device powered off:

    Disabling the firmware write protect will allow us to set the firmware boot flags to shorten the developer boot screen timeout (from 30s to ~1s), and optionally boot directly to the legacy BIOS (and into Ubuntu or OpenELEC). This is not absolutely necessary, but highly convenient and carries little to no risk.

    With the device powered off and unplugged:

    It is necessary to update the legacy BIOS to enable booting from USB/SD media, or if replacing ChromeOS with Ubuntu/OpenELEC, as the stock legacy BIOS is completely broken. If you dual booting and using either the ChrUbuntu or ChrOpenELEC scripts to install, then this step is included as part of those scripts and does not need to be done manually.

    To update the legacy BIOS:

    This updated legacy BIOS has a ~1.5s wait on the ‘Press ECS to show boot menu’ screen.

    Setting the following boot flags will allow you to boot either to a backup copy of ChromeOS on USB/SD (using CTRL-U) or to the legacy BIOS (using CTRL-L) and into Ubuntu or OpenELEC.

    Important: These boot flags must be set before installing either Ubuntu or OpenELEC.

    To set the boot flags, perform the following steps:

    With the firmware write-protect disabled, we can shorten the default developer-mode boot wait time (from 30s to ~1s) and set the ChromeBox to default to booting the legacy BIOS (and into Ubuntu or OpenELEC) instead of requiring CTRL-D or CTRL-L to be pressed each time.

    Follow this guide:

    I corrupted my backup from the wiki, so this was my only option – but it is tested and works.

    2 Installing OpenELEC

    In order to install OpenELEC, you’ll need to download a custom build tailored to the ChromeBox. This build differs from the regular OpenELEC Generic x86_64 build in that it uses a slightly older version of the syslinux bootloader (5.10, vs 6.02), as the version included with OpenELEC does not work properly on the ChromeBox at this time. This custom build also includes a fix for some MCE IR remotes, which fail to work when connected to USB 3.0 ports (fix has been submitted as a patch and hopefully will be included in future Linux and OpenELEC releases).

    Download the custom build of OpenELEC from

    Once downloaded, unzip/extract the files.

    If you have set the firmware boot flags as above, OpenELEC should boot right up in about 15 seconds. Otherwise, you will need to hit CTRL-L to boot the legacy BIOS.

    That’s it, you can update to the latest official OpenELEC build. Afterwards, updates should be automatic.

    Update:  Please check the following location for a list of known issues an their available workarounds:



    there’s a big difference between the backup instructions on the wiki and the ones you linked to: the instructions on the wiki are how to clone your existing ChromeOS install onto a USB stick, so you can boot into ChromeOS at will using CTRL-U.

    The instructions you linked to are for creating recovery media, which when used will restore the ChromeBox to a near-stock state and erase OpenELEC/Ubuntu etc.


    Understood Matt.

    From my playing about with the backup (CTRL+U), it appeared as though it was installing/repairing Chrome OS – so I figured it was basically overwriting OpenELEC much like the recovery media does.Do you know different to this?

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