ChromeBook Recovery Hacks and Tricks

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A Chromebook can be a great purchase even if you never step outside of Google’s trusted environment. They are some of the best web machines ever built, require almost no software maintenance, and come in a myriad of different styles and price points. Now that the latest models also come with Google Play Store and support thousands of apps where are some amazing devices.

But like anything electronic, sometimes it’s fun to push the envelope and do things a little outside of the intended use. Sometimes that means hidden features in the software, sometimes it means altering the software, and sometimes it means replacing the software entirely. We’re familiar with people doing just that with Android, but it’s also pretty easy to do with your Chromebook. The best part is that it’s also very easy to go back.

Create a Chromebook recovery image

Before you start doing anything it’s always a good idea to have a path back to a time when everything worked. Luckily, that’s fairly easy when we’re talking about a Chromebook. Google has an official tool that will install the factory-issued software to your Chrome device on a 4GB or larger USB stick or SD card. You can then use this media to restore your Chromebook just like it was fresh out of the box. Thanks Google.

Directions

 

Step 1: Install the Chromebook Recovery Utility app

  1. On the working computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux) and (not the Chromebook with the error), install the recovery app.
  2. Open the app.

  1. In the screen that appears, type in the model number of the Chromebook you want to recover. Note While in recovery your device will display the model see picture below for details.
    You can find this number at the bottom of the error message on your Chromebook.
  2. Click Continue.

Important: All the information on the USB drive or SD card will be deleted. Make sure you’ve backed up those files.

  1. On the working computer, insert your USB drive or SD card into an open port. The recovery app will show all storage devices connected to your computer.
  2. Use the dropdown menu in the app to select the correct storage device.
  3. Click Continue.

To create a recovery image:

  1. Click Create now.
  2. The tool will create the recovery image on your USB drive or SD card. Don’t remove the storage device yet.
  3. When you see a message saying that your recovery media is ready, remove the storage device from your computer.

Open the Chromebook you want to recover.

If you have anything connected to this Chromebook (such as a mouse, SD card, or external hard drive), remove it.

Enter recovery mode:

  • On a Chromebook: Press and hold Esc + Refresh Refresh, then press Power Power. Let go of Power. When a message shows on the screen, let go of the other keys.
  • On a Chromebox: Turn it off. Using a paper clip or similar object, press and hold the recovery button. Press the Power button to turn the Chromebox back on. When you see a message on screen, release the recovery button.
  • On a Chromebit: Unplug it from power. Using a paper clip or similar object, press and hold the recovery button. Plug the Chromebit back in to power. When you see a message on screen, release the recovery button.

You’ll see one of these messages:

  • “Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card.”
  • “Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card.”

Insert the recovery media you’ve created (SD card or USB drive).

Follow the on-screen instructions.

Reboot and enjoy your factory-fresh software!

STOP WRITE HERE AND CREATE THE RECOVERY IMAGE NOW BEFORE CONTINUING.  

If you are still having problems check out this info HERE

Change to the beta or dev channel

This is really simple and something I recommend. By default, your Chromebook runs on the stable release channel for your model. This means everything has been tested, things run pretty smoothly, and there usually aren’t any critical bugs to trip you up.

That’s absolutely no fun.

The good news is that we all can be testers by switching the software channel in the settings. Click the Chrome OS wrench icon in the lower right and open the settings. Choose About Chrome OS > More Info. Click the Change Channel button and choose between Stable, Beta and Dev – Unstable channels in the popover window that appears.

 

Both the beta and the dev channel give you access to upcoming (both default and experimental settings — see below) features that aren’t in the stable channel just yet. I’ve always found the beta channel to work pretty well, but expect issues and glitches on the dev channel along with the latest features.

If you just want everything to work, switching back to the stable channel is just as easy — choose it from the same list!

Tweaking the settings

Chrome — both the operating system and the stand alone browser for Windows Mac and Linux — has an entire page filled with “experimental” settings. Some will absolutely break things, others might improve your experience. Find them is simple.

Fire up the browser and enter chrome://flags into the Omnibox (a fancy name for the URL bar in Chrome) then hit enter.

You’ll be faced with a huge list of features that you can enable or disable at will. All of them are experimental, some are serious security holes, others are potential oh-crap-I-need-to-reload-EVERYTHING bringers of doom. We don’t recommend you just jump in and start enabling things. Instead, talk to people who are using the same model of Chromebook that you are and find out what works and what doesn’t.

It’s also worth remembering that these experimental flags can disappear at any time. Some may be merged into the OS, others will just up and disappear. If you do enable something, lets say for example, GPU compositing, and it breaks everything (yeah, I’ve been there), you have your recovery media you made earlier to save your bacon.

Install Linux

One of those complicated things that has been made simple by the work of great developers, installing Linux on your Chromebook is a great way expand its capabilities. Chrome OS is a flavor of Linux, but it’s been trimmed down and many features have been removed. We’re going to look at the simple (and in my opinion the best) way to build a dual-boot environment so you have both Chrome OS and Ubuntu LTS using David Schneider’s excellent tool called crouton (Chromium OS Universal Chroot Environment).

You’ll need to enable developer mode on your Chromebook, and the method varies from device to device. You may need to flip a hidden switch, or enter a key combination during boot. You can find exactly how to enable developer mode for your Chromebook on Google, and once you’ve done that everything else is the same no matter which model you use.

Once you’re a developer (or at least in dev mode) you’ll need to head to the crouton project page at github and download the script from the top of the page. Save it to your Downloads folder and you’re ready to get started.

Open a terminal (I told you Chrome OS was Linux) by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and enter the word shell to open a shell.

Next, run crouton to see all the help text and examples like this:

sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton-master

Read everything you find there, as these are your options and tell crouton what to install. If you don’t understand an option, ask someone. Also, read the help section at the crouton github page for examples and hints.

Once you have crouton set up, you’ll be able to swap between Chrome OS and a full fledged install of Linux (Ubuntu LTS) at will.

While I like the flexibility of having both Chrome OS and Ubuntu on the same machine, you may want to be rid of Chrome OS completely. If you’re interested in replacing Chrome OS with Ubuntu, have a look at the ChrUbuntu project here. If you want to replace Chrome OS on your Pixel with Debian Wheezy, grab a beverage and have a look here.

These are just a few of the neat hackery tricks you can do with your new Chromebook. And like everything else, it may turn out that none of it is for you and you prefer things that just work as intended. That’s cool, and sometimes when I’m staring at the screen of a device that won’t boot, I’m right there with ya.

If you do want to dive in and have a go at Chrome OS, this is how I do it. Tell me how you do it in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!

RootJunky

RSD Lite for Mac and Linux

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RSD Lite for Mac and Linux

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 5.24.12 PM

So many people have asked me if RSD lite Program works on Mac or Linux and every time i have to tell them “Nope only windows”. I was on XDA developers and a user named Liboicl uploaded a awesome script that turns Motorola Firmware XML files into fastboot commands for a linux machine. After Downloading and checking it out I decided that I would also make it work on Mac and give it a little face lift. 🙂 NOTE This script also checks the MD5 of each file and compares them to the XML file list.

How to use RSD-FLASH.SH file on your Mac or Linux machines.

  1.  Download the RSD-Lite-Mac-Linux.zip here. scroll down the page a little
  2. Extract the zip to your desktop leaving you with a folders called RSD-Lite-Mac-Linux
  3. Download the Motorola Firmware you need from HERE or HERE then extract all files in firmware.zip to RSD-Lite-Mac-Linux folder.
  4. open a Terminal and CD to folder RSD-Lite-Mac-Linux
  5. Command to flash device is ./rsd-flash.sh [name of xml file you want to use]  EXAMPLES flashfile.xml or servicefile.xml
  6. press enter to start the flash from terminal
  7. watch for any errors. If no errors at the end of the script then press enter to reboot the device.

NOTE

Motorola devices must be in bootloader / AP fastboot mode to use this tool.

  1. Power off device
  2. hold volume down and power to boot the device into AP fastboot mode so that you can flash.

If you have a windows machine that is fine also as you can still use RSD lite form Motorola

KPh1j

Learn more about RSDlite and other firmware flashing tricks HERE

 

android stagefright exploit

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What is Android stagefright exploit and how does it effect me? This is the question that everybody is asking so i will be trying to cover it in this post. First lets get an understanding of what StageFright is and can do to your device. StageFright is library or lib that has been around since Android 2.2 and is still being used in android 5.1.1 today. This is the reason that it is such a big exploit and called StageFright.

How does StageFright work?

The easiest way to hack into a device with StageFright is a video sent via MMS. which theoretically could be used as an avenue of attack through the libStageFright, which helps Android process video files. Many text messaging apps including Google’s Hangouts app automatically process that video so it’s ready for viewing as soon as you open the message, and so the attack theoretically could happen without you even knowing it. StageFright could also be exploited by installing a app that has the exploit in it or every by downloading a hacked video file that could run the exploit. If StageFright is implemented on your device the hacker can view and see everything that you do, bank accounts emails and more.

What can we do about it?

First you want to open your messaging app and go into settings and turn off AUTO RETRIEVE MMS. This will keep the a hack from happening automatically at least. You could still open a MMS and get it but that is still one more step that has to happen. Next don’t install apps from unknown sources, which really is always a good idea and last be careful on the Internet. Google will be working on a patch for this and pushing it out in ota updates soon. We all now how long ota updates can take so best to address this yourself.

More info

ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) is a method that keeps an attacker from reliably finding the function he or she wants to try and exploit by random arrangement of memory address spaces of a process. ASLR has been enabled in the default Linux Kernel since June 2005, and was added to Android with Version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). So if your device is android 4.0 and above you are much better protected.

My Thoughts

From what i have heard stagefright isnt a exploit that has been seen working in the wild just discovered by some researchers and not implemented in real world. Since it is already public I dont think that many hackers would spend the time working on it, if it is going to be patch soon anyway.

HERE you can find a StageFright detector app that is interesting but is going to tell you that you are vulnerable unless you have the latest cm12.1 installed which already has been patch for stagefright.

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

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The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is one cool little device with it you can do tons of fun little projects like a mini linux computer or maybe a web server. Home automation can also be fun like turning on and off lights among many other things. Below is a nice little review on the Raspberry Pi 2 and I am hoping to do some more coverage on this device soon. I will have to come up with a cool project and make a Tutorial video on it. Please let me know if you would like to see something like that.

Pick up this fun little device links belo

Raspberry PI 2

Raspberry PI 2 case