Adventures with HP Chromebox Pt1

In my daytime job, I support ODF and CEPH.

I recently picked up 3 refurbished HP Chromebox G1s for $49 each with hopes of creating a mini local ODF cluster ala https://www.redhat.com/sysadmin/low-cost-openshift-cluster

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00URW6WEY/

System specs –
CPU  – Intel Core I7 I7-4600U 2.10 Ghz
4 GB RAM DDR3

First step was going to be able to install linux
I started following this guide
https://rianoc.github.io/2020/04/19/Linux-Chromebox/ and then the links provided within

1) First step was enabling “Developer mode” which links to https://wiki.galliumos.org/Installing/Panther#Enable_Developer_Mode_and_Boot_Flags

a) first boot after reset
This worked as described except I was using a logitech wireless keyboard/mouse combo.  The ctrl-d from the wireless keyboard was not being accepted.  Having had issues previously with recovery on a mac mini which only saw wireless keyboards on the innermost  rear USB port, I tried the dongle in both the front and back USB ports.  I had to pull out a wired USB keyboard and CTRL-D was accepted right away.

b) trying to “sudo crossystem dev_boot_legacy=1” from the terminal window.

Try as I might, sudo was prompting me for a password, which went against almost every set of instructions I found.  CTRL-ALT-T for a terminal, “shell”, then “sudo crossystem dev_boot_legacy=1“.  First pass I had logged in using my google id – I have a gsuite (aka google apps) account for geolaw.com. This showed a “this device is managed by geolaw.com” – so I was not sure if possibly that was blocking me from getting into sudo, so I rebooted and when it prompted me that “OS verification is off”, I turned it back on and repeated the developer mode.

Second time around, after it reset and re-enabled developer mode.

At the “Welcome!” screen, I clicked “enable debugging features”.  From there it prompted me to set a root password.  First time around, I set a password, second time, no password.  I just clicked “Enable” and then “OK”.  Back to the “Welcome!” screen, I clicked “Let’s go >”.  From “Connect to network”, I clicked “Next” since I was connected via ethernet.  Google Chrome OS terms, clicked “Accept and Continue”. After a short “Checking for updates”, it prompted me to “Sign in to your Chromebox”.   I used “Browse as a Guest” at the bottom, I was still unable to “sudo crossystem dev_boot_legacy=1” as it kept prompting me for a password.

What finally worked was CTRL-ALT-F2 (using the wired keyboard) and then logged in as “root” with the password of “test0000”.  From there, I gave the command “crossystem dev_boot_legacy=1” (I was root, so no sudo needed).  I also gave the command “chromeos-setdevpasswd” to set the chronos password since the next step also required sudo 🙂

CTRL-ALT-F1 took me back to the GUI where I still had the terminal window open there.
cd;curl -LO https://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh && sudo bash firmware-util.sh

Note – the rianoc github link above shows he used option 3 for “3) Install/Update Full ROM Firmware”
When I ran this June 16th, 2023, this was option 2.

DUH! I forgot to remove the screw to enable the firmware update.

After shutting down and removing the firmware screw, I rebooted.  Note, after the reboot, the firmware-util.sh file did not persist (I was in a guest login after all).  After running the script, I chose “2” .  It prompted me to back up the current stock firmware, which I did to a USB thumb drive, then it downloaded and flashed the firmware to the device.

“R” to reboot and Immediately I could see the difference as the google boot screen was replaced with a rabbit logo.  there was no boot device.  “Booting from ‘SATA: LITEON IT LST-16S9G-HP ‘ failed: verify it contains a 64-bit UEFI OS.”

Step 1 done, now to track down a coreos image for this device 🙂

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