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

Sony Xperia Bootloader Unlock Tutorial

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Sony Xperia Bootloader Unlock Tutorial

unlockbootloader_phones

Sony just like many other manufacturers has there own Bootloader Unlock program.  This program is designed for Developers but can be used by anyone to get greater control over there Android device.  In most cases unlocking the bootloader on your Sony Xperia device will void the warranty. The best practice is to fully test the operation of your device before you unlock the bootloader. Most of the time when you unlock your bootloader it will wipe data factory reset the device so make sure you backup everything of importance before starting this process. Now that the WARNINGS are out of the way lets get into this tutorial.

Directions you will need to unlock the bootloader on your Sony Xperia device

Install the Android SDK or just the ADB and fastboot files extract the adb and fastboot files to a folder.

If you are on windows you may need the drivers for your device also and HERE is a great place to look for them

adb fastboot files

 

In your device, open the dialler and enter *#*#7378423#*#* to access the service menu.

Tap Service info > Configuration > Rooting Status. Check if Bootloader unlock allowed says Yes. Also write down your IMEI from this screen.

Screenshot_2016-06-05-06-05-13Screenshot_2016-06-05-06-05-24

Now that you have your files setup and your IMEI number written down you can go to the SONY DEVELOPER UNLOCK BOOTLOADER SITE

Select your Sony Xperia device from the list at the bottom of the site and click continue.

On the next page you need to enter your email address so that Sony can verify that you arent a bot and sent you a link with your unlock code.

Open your email account and look for email from Sony with this in it. “You have requested to unlock the boot loader of your Xperia™ device. To verify this, click the following link: Click Here To Proceed”

Once the website loads up you will need to enter your IMEI number that you wrote down earlier or dail *#06# from the phone dailer to view your IMEI number.

IMEI2

Once you submit your IMEI you will get the rest of the directions to unlock the bootloader like below.

sony commands

Now that you have the full directions from Sony its time to unlock the bootloader on your Xperia device.

These direction will be for windows but it is basically the same for mac and linux.

  1. Turn on developer Options on your device and enable adb debugging. outlined in picture above.
  2. Open your adb and fastboot folder. Then with your mouse right click and select open a command window here. Alternative is to open command prompt and CD to the adb and fastboot folder.
  3. Now enter this command ( adb devices ) in the command window. you should have a popup on the phone to allow adb from this computer. allow it
  4. run command ( adb devices ) again this time you should see your serial number followed by the word device. if you get this far it means that your drivers and adb are working properly.  See picture below

adbsss

5.  From here lets reboot the device to bootloader mode with command ( adb reboot bootloader ) or follow sonys lead by powering off the device then press the Volume up button at the same time as you connect the other end of the USB-cable.  Either method will reboot the device to bootloader mode.

6.  Now run command ( fastboot devices ) again this will return with your device serial number and say fastboot after it.

fastbootssss

7.  Finally we can send the Unlock command that we got from Sony. Mine is ( fastboot -i 0x0fce oem unlock 0xE30FD3E75A61F33C ) but yours will very.

8.  look at your phone and follow any directions that come up on the screen and then thats it your done.

Once the process has fully finished then you can send command ( fastboot reboot ) to boot the device back up again. First boot up will take much longer then normal, it could take as long as 10 minutes to boot up.

Now that you have unlocked your bootloader you can easily install custom roms with cool hacks and mods. Root access and using root apps is in your near future. If you want to learn more about your sony device check out some of my video tutorials HERE

RootJunky Out

TWRP 3.0.0-0 Released with new features

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TWRP 3.0.0-0 Released

Screenshot_1970-04-22-23-14-54Screenshot_1970-04-22-23-14-25Screenshot_1970-04-22-23-14-39

New features in TWRP 3.0.0-0:

  • Completely new theme – Much more modern and much nicer looking (by z31s1g)
  • True Terminal Emulator – Includes arrow keys, tab and tab completion, etc. (by _that)
  • Language translation – It won’t be perfect and especially some languages that require large font files like Chinese & Japanese won’t be availble on most devices. Also some languages may only be partially translated at this time. Feel free to submit more translations to OmniROM’s Gerrit. (mostly by Dees_Troy)
  • Flashing of sparse images – On select devices you will be able to flash some parts of factory images via the TWRP GUI (by HashBang173)
  • Adopted storage support for select devices – TWRP can now decrypt adopted storage partitions from Marshmallow
  • Reworked graphics to bring us more up to date with AOSP – includes support for adf and drm graphics (by Dees_Troy)
  • SuperSU prompt will no longer display if a Marshmallow ROM is installed
  • Update exfat, exfat fuse, dosfstools (by mdmower)
  • Update AOSP base to 6.0
  • A huge laundry list of other minor fixes and tweaks

WARNING: This is our first release in a long time. We have a lot of new and somewhat aggressive changes in this new release. The changes to the graphics back-end may cause some devices to not boot up properly or have other display-related issues. If you are not in a position to reflash an older build of TWRP, then wait until you are or at least wait until others have tried the new TWRP 3.0.0-0 for your specific device. You don’t want to end up with a non-working recovery and have to wait several hours or days to get to a computer to be able to fix it.

Team Win Recovery Project has been my favorite recovery ever since it was released. Dees_Troy and his team have done one amazing job at keeping up with this custom recovery and i am really thankful to them for all there hard work. If you love TWRP as much as i do please send then a little donation to say thanks 🙂

Donate to TWRP HERE

Going a quick search of the TWRP site it looks like there are already a bunch of official supported device that have builds of TWRP 3.0.0-0 available today and more to come soon i am sure, here are some of them.

Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, Nexus 9, LG G4, Moto X Pure Edition, Moto G 2015, Galaxy Note 5. Many more are available these are just some of the mosts popular.

Click HERE to see if this new version of TWRP is available for your device.

 

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