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

How to set up SuperSu root manager after root

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How to set up SuperSu root manager after root

If you have SuperSu on your device you must be familiar with rooting. So what is SuperSu application and what can you do with it? In general it is the tool which manages root permissions for all the applications on the phone which require root, with SuperSu you can select which apps have root access and which do not.

Lets have a look inside SuperSu, inside you have 3 sections: Apps, Logs and Settings.

The 1st section (APPS) shows you list of  applications installed on the device which asked for root access.

Click on app to open menu: next to option ACCESS you can select PROMPT, GRANT or DENY, depending if you want application to gain root privileges. Try to keep list of apps with granted permissions as short as you can, allow permissions only for the apps which either work with root only or have more privileges with it.

Next option is NOTIFICATIONS, you can choose options: “Global Default” to see  notifications if app is gaining access on the screen or “Disabled”, to switch off annoying dialog for specific app.

The 2nd section (LOGS) Shows you which app asked for root permission, time and which action was taken (allowed or denied) in case you switched on Logging option in settings. Pretty simple. Let’s move further!

The 3nd section (SETTINGS) Settings is the largest one and the most important – Settings. Correct set up is of great importance to avoid problems.

Enable SuperSu – switches on/off root on the phone, should have checkmark for root t work;

Re-authentication – disabled in case you do not want SuperSu to ask permissions again in case app is reinstalled or upgraded. If option was enabled SuperSu will always ask again permissions for the app after upgrade/reinstallation. I keep it disabled to avoid annoying dialogue pop-up.

Default access – selects default root access for all apps in case no option was chosen when prompt appears. You can choose GRANT / PROMPT/DENY.

Auto deny countdown (available for PRO version only) – gives you option to set up countdown time on SuperSu prompt asking to grant or deny access, basically that is how long user will see prompt on the screen to decide the destiny of app, in case no option selected – default value is chosen. Keep in mind that setting the countdown more than 10 seconds may cause crashes for apps which are written not in perfect way. As for me it is a bit useless:)

Show notifications – you have two options to select: “Global Default”  – if you wish to see notifications in notification menu bar about gaining access, “Disabled” – in case notifications are annoying for you and you want to get rid of them. I always select second one.

Logging – if you are not a developer, do not plan to be developer and do not need to get debug logs from SuperSu or even do not know what it is  – select option NONE, otherwise if debugging is important choose GLOBAL DEFAULT. Keep in mind it may cause crash of the application in case root permissions are asked great deal of times and logs are saved, stored, fill up memory of the phone.

Clear logs after – time-frame during which SuperSu logs are saved in case Logging is enabled. Otherwise option is grayed out.

Logs date format – choose format of date displayed.

 The Auto-refresh apps and logs tab allows the phone automatically refresh apps and logs tabs as new entries are added. Detection depends on access and notification settings.

PIN code (Pro version only) – gives option to protect SuperSu with PIN, may be useful in case Multiusers option was enabled and different users use device.

Enable Su during boot – applies all permissions during boot in case option enabled. Otherwise, permissions are applied randomly after the boot. Better to keep option enabled for boot settings to be set up properly. This option is disabled by default – make sure you switch it on.

Launcher icon – gives you variety of SuperSu  logo options, also you can select INVISIBLE to hide icon.

Theme – select dark or light theme of SuperSu interface

Language – gives option to select convenient language from the list of available.

Install SuperSu into /system – option to make SuperSu system app, in this case you will not be able to remove it from regular application manager. To delete SuperSu you will need to use either Alternative App manager (Titanium backup), or use ADB, one more option – factory reset of the phone.

Trust system user – option to give root access to the apps that are located in /system/app (System applications).

Reinstall – designed to fix SuperSu crashes (SuperSu has stopped), click on it to clean up previous installation, then install from PlayStore. Not advised to use this option if no SuperSu issues occur.

Switch Superuser app – designed to change root manager, will clean up SuperSu. As for me SuperSu is the best app to manage root access, however if you prefer another one or just want to experiment – can try, that is your choice. Note that root can be lost during process and you will need to start all over again.

Full unroot – important option but tricky. Allows you completely remove root from device. Be careful with it – it can softbrick phone, I am seriously. Before clicking this button very important to switch off option Enable SuperSu, on the top of settings. Once done you can unroot, but not before unless you wish to flash stock firmware.

Pretty wide variety of options. Cannot really skip mentioning what to do if you selected option for SuperSu icon to be invisible.

In case the icon was hidden and you need to launch SuperSu there are a few options:

1) Dial one of codes on the dial pad, one of them may work:*#1234#* or *#*#1234#*#* or *#7873778#* or *#*#7873778#*#* (does not work on Android 6.0)

2) Download Enable_SuperSU.apk  (google it) and manually install on the phone. Once you launch it app will ask root access > hit GRANT. You will see pop-up with options to Enable Su and Make it visible (100% working).

3) Open PlayStore – find SuperSu and follow steps: Uninstall > Install > Open (sometimes may cause issue with updating binaries).

4) Use adb terminal (phone and adb drivers should be installed on PC) and type adb shell am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n eu.chainfire.supersu/.MainActivity (100% working)

You can also use Terminal emulator (available on PlayStore) and type there am start -a android.intent.action.MAIN -n eu.chainfire.supersu/.MainActivity

No need to type “adb shell” as you are already in shell 🙂

 

What if you rooted phone with the other application and now have KingUser or SuperUser but SuperSu is in your dreams and you cannot sleep even because of that.

There are several options how you can change root manager app. Keep in mind is not safe.

There are 2 options:

1) Download SuperSume application from PlayStore it costs 4$ approximately. Install it on the phone and launch > you will  get prompt asking root access > hit ALLOW. Then click on large blue button with Android guy and wait, process takes up to 5 minutes. In case nothing happens in 5 minutes – reboot phone and try again.

Phone may be rebooted automatically during process, do not panic. In case you see SuperSu after reboot  – means operation was succeed.

Open SuperSu – application will ask to update binaries – hit Continue and select Normal installation. Updating binaries may take up to 5 minutes, in case it is taking longer – reboot and try again.

In case update was successful – will get notification about that – restart the phone and use SuperSu, you are done and awesome.

In case you get error during binaries update – reboot and try again. Make sure KingUser/Kingroot was removed from the phone, if no – disable it from Application manager and try updating binaries again.

In case Kingroot/SuperUser was removed but SuperSu was not installed – try installing the one from PlayStore.

Keep in mind this method can cause bootloop and is not very safe, in case you do not want such thing to happen to your phone and have headache restoring it  think carefully why do you want to change root manager, what is purpose. Strongly NOT recommended for Alcatel, Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese phones.

2) Use adb or Terminal emulator and script to change icon. This method is more safe, but more difficult.

Firstly download mrw folder, place it in the internal storage of the phone.

Then  download ADB and drivers on the PC, connect phone and make sure it is recognized with adb. Then type: adb shell

In case you do not want to use PC/do not have it try Terminal Emulator from PlayStore on the phone> open it and ALLOW root access.

Now type following in the command line (both, PC or phone):

su

Hit enter, you will get prompt to allow root permissions, hit ALLOW.

The command line will move to next line and you will see # sign.

Now type:

sh /sdcard/mrw/root.sh

hit Enter, you will see code is running, some errors may appear but do not pay attention, SuperSu will be automatically launched in case of Success, application will ask to update binaries – hit Continue and select Normal installation. Updating binaries may take up to 5 minutes, in case it is taking longer – reboot and try again.  Make sure KingUser/Kingroot was removed from the phone, if no – disable it from Application manager and try updating binaries again.

In case update was successful you will get notification about that – restart the phone and use SuperSu. You are done and awesome.

In case SuperSu was not launched after script – check manually if you have it on the phone. If nothing appears – guess what? You are right – reboot and try again from the very beginning.

Note, script will not work in case mrv folder is located in the other location, different from specified /sdcard/mrw/root.sh

-Diana Lisovenko

PhonLab E-Campus

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PhonLab E-Campus

 

I have teamed up with MJ Nale an experts in Android smartphone repairs and support and the owner of Android Hawaii. A repair shop in you guessed it Hawaii. There is also a physical campus in Honolulu if you are looking to take classes with a instructor or two.  PhonLab E-Campus is a online SmartPhone service course to teach repair centers and cellphone shops how to fix firmware problems on phones along with many other security and IMEI fixes. We are working hard to create one of the best online lesson based course around. The concept behind this class is to keep adding to it as technology changes to stay up to date. As part of the class you will have access to our files and the ability to request an instructors assistance with your lessons. You can also request new content to be added. we will do the hard part to figure it all out then bring it to the students in easy to follow video and written tutorial.

If this sounds like just what you are looking for or you really just want to learn something new then sign up here PhonLab.teachable.com and you can get a nice discount at check out by using coupon code rootjunky9. NOTE might need to be in caps like this ROOTJUNKY9

I look forward to seeing you there. Please comment on any lesson and I will be happy to help out.

If you aren’t interested in the class please consider becoming an affiliate and help us get the word out and make some extra cash for yourself as well. thanks 🙂 Affiliate signup here

RootJunky / E-campus instructor.

 

Rooting: Advantages, Disadvantages and Myths

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Rooting: Advantages, Disadvantages and Myths

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So you got a new phone and you’re wanting to delve into the world of Android rooting. A lot of questions are probably going through your mind. Should I root it? Should I not root it? What could happen if I do? These are all very logical questions that I’m sure the majority of us have asked ourselves at one point or another. So in this article, we’re going to dive head first into the world of Android root, and hopefully make things a little more clear for you.

 

Some of you may be asking, “Well what does root really mean?”

To root your phone basically means to have administrator rights over the system partition on your phone. It can somewhat be compared to having administrator rights on your Windows PC. Basically this means that you can install, and uninstall whatever you want on your phone. Sounds good right? It is. However, there are a couple valid reasons why your phone does not have this access right out of the box. Supposed you’re new to Android and notice that upon turning your phone on, you instantly have access to every system app and system file that is available on your phone. Woah! Careful though, you have no idea what you can or cannot delete without messing something up. You’re smart though, you can use common sense to get you through this. Next thing you know your phone no longer boots up, it won’t even charge! This is one of the many valid reasons that your phone does not come out of the box with superuser access. Believe it or not, it’s disabled to actually protect you!

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, you’re probably thinking “Well should I or shouldn’t I?” The answer to that question is entirely up to you. So let’s go through the advantages AND the disadvantages of rooting your Android device.

Advantages:

Debloat. Bloatware apps are usually carrier specific apps that come preinstalled on your device. They can be helpful, or they can be a nuisance. Keep the ones you want, get rid of the ones you don’t, permanently. NOTE: permanemtly deleting apps bloatware from your device can some times make ota updates fail.

Install and use those “root required” apps. Such as MyBackup Pro, Root Explorer and many more! These apps can become very useful tools in the rooting world and give you so much more control over your device.

Mods, tweaks and themes. Want to have your clock centered? Well that requires root to be able to install or flash a modified SystemUI.apk.

Custom ROMs. ROMs are basically packages of custom made Android software that you can install on your device to have all the nice little features that custom ROMs come with. Rooting is the first step in being able to flash ROMs.

Control “startup apps.” With root permissions, you can even control what apps start automatically when you turn your device on!

These are just some of the very very many advantages to rooting your Android device. Now let’s take a look at some of the disadvantages. (Yes those actually exist.)

Disadvantages:

You may soft brick, or perma brick your device. “Bricking” has 2 forms basically. Softbrick, which is where your phone either bootloops or won’t boot at all, but you still have access to Recovery and/or Fastboot. “Permabrick” or “hardbrick” is exactly how it sounds. You’re phone is a paperweight. It will not boot, it will not charge, and you have no access to Recovery and/or Fastboot.

You’re opened up to making a lot more mistakes, such as deleting your phone.apk, your Settings.apk. You’d be surprised at how much it actually happens. (However, this is why we have websites such as Rootjunky.com and XDA!)

Ok so now we got those out of the way as well, let’s get into some rooting myths!

Myths:

“Once you root, you will no longer receive OTA updates.” – This is simply not true at all. You will still receive the OTA update on your phone if you’re still on the stock software, and you can still install that OTA update as well. However, you WILL lose root access. This can be a pain if your bootloader is not unlocked. You will have to wait for someone to verify that root access is still possible on the new software version.

“Rooting voids your warranty.” – No. No. No. Rooting absolutely does not void your warranty. The absolute only way that root voids your warranty, is if it can be proven :-), that rooting was the direct cause of your issue. However, this is also a confusing subject. Some carriers don’t really care what you do, and some do. Those that do, will not hesitate to deny you any service or replacements if your phone is rooted. Some do not check at all and do not care. Then again, this also varies between OEMs (Motorola, LG, HTC, Samsung). Some OEMs follow the rule I posted above, and some will not grant you any repairs if your device is rooted. The main reason that some places do not care is because of one simple thing, rooting, can in now way at all, damage your device. All rooting does, is install 1 app (Superuser app of choice) and install 1 file (usually in /system/xbin). That’s it. It can in no way cause your touchscreen to stop working, cause your wifi to stop working, cause you to lose mobile data, none of that. It simply can’t do it, unless YOU mess with something after the fact. Keep in mind what I said before though. This is exactly why we have websites like Rootjunky.com and XDA. If something happens, you have a very good chance of recovering your device.

So there you have it. Some advantages, disadvantages, and even some myths about Android rooting. The choice is always up to you if you root or not. That being said, let me leave you with some tips!

1.) Always always always do your research first! Find out what Android version your device is on, find out if it has been confirmed to be able to be rooted.

2.) Try to stay away from Toolkits and “one-click” methods. I’m not saying that the people that make such methods don’t know what they’re doing. What I’m saying is, if you’re going to get into this world, learn the way it used to be done! Learn your adb commands, learn your fastboot commands! Don’t take Android modding away from it’s roots.

3.) When you find a guide about rooting your device, FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE “T!!!” Do not cut corners, do exactly what the guide tells you to do!

4.) Last but not least, always make sure you perform backups before flashing ROMs. Always make sure you have a recovery plan before doing ANYTHING to your phone.

Well hopefully this article helped you learn something, and hopefully it made the decision a little easier on you. The Android community is very amazing community that is just filled with people willing to help others out when they’re in need. We’re a community that you absolutely WILL NOT find anywhere else. On that note, be safe, be smart, read, read some more, and have fun!!

 

BY

Gary H