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Running Backtrack 5 on my CR48

Back when Google was doing it's beta test program for Chrome Netbook, I applied and luckily received my own free CR48 laptop.

I have used Chrome OS for a while and while it's pretty good if you just always want to use chrome browser I was feeling a bit lonely without root access and gnome desktop. So I manned (nerded) up and flashed CR48 BIOS to allow running unsigned code and installed Backtrack 5 on it. Now CR48 is infinitely more usable and entertaining. All hardware (except 3g modem, I haven't gotten around to using that yet) works fine, and I didn't have to install any drivers manually. Only thing I had to do is create a non root user for use for desktop type tasks because by default Backtrack only has root user.

Here are the steps that you can follow yourself to install any OS compiled for x86 on your CR48:

Back up then flash CR48 BIOS

This step is necessary to allow booting of non-signed images. I followed directions on this page: http://corey.degrandchamp.com/2011/04/10/flash-google-cr-48-bios-without-luigi-or-ubuntu/ with much success.

I had some trouble opening up CR48 and I had to use a small metal lever to force the case to come off. Make sure to not apply too much force lest you break something. But also don't expect the case to come off too easily.

Make bootable USB or SD card

If your BIOS is succesfully flashed you should be able to insert a bootable USB or SD card and boot from it. This way you can install any OS you like as long as it is made for x86. I haven't tried 64 bit versions yet, but they should work.

I used Unetbootin to make bootable USB for Backtrack, and had pretty easy time installing it on my CR48. Grub2 worked fine and I can dual boot back into Chrome OS pretty easily at start up.

I used gparted to resize STATE partition (make it smaller), and install a new bootable partition right before it on which I put Backtrack. You could just erase chrome OS as well, but I am not sure how easy it is to recover to factory state if you do this. (probably not too difficult using Chrome Recovery USB: http://www.google.com/support/chromeos/bin/answer.py?answer=1046510).


Originally this article talked about installing Linux Mint, but I changed it to Backtrack 5 because that is what I ultimately ended up using on my CR48. Mint does not seem to be a good choice for netbooks.

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  1. Thanks for the pingback on my article! Much appreciated! Glad you got Mint running!

    • no problem! I found your article very useful and I used it directly for jailbreaking my CR48. Thank you for it!

      • Thanks for the info dude, i needed to chgane the headers in backtrack to install firmware for my wireless, but in order to do that i need to have internet access but how can i if i need the firmware to get on in the first place!Id suggest going though in detail, like where to add the usb controller, and to click the icon for their external USB devices at the bottom of VMWARE’s window if it hasnt been loaded in already.

    • I m sorry for asking this stipud question, but what is the reason to do all that? can we boot system from usb instead of disk after this? what is the main motive? i know only thing that backtrack is wep cracker and i saw a nice user interface version (windows style) on u tube also. he just attach wifi adaptor, boot through backtrack4 disk, pressed some buttons and that it.

      • Hello Nicholas. I personally have found more use in Ubuntu, which is what I run on my CR48 now.

        Yes you can boot from USB stick after this if you want. However I have not found any use in the default ChromeOS so I installed Backtrack first and then Ubuntu on the actual SSD.

        Backtrack itself is also useful for other networking utilities such as nmapping and pen testing. It’s a good OS in general for USB flash boot because the only thing its bloated with are network utils.

  2. does the wifi work out of the box

    • Yes it does. Everything works out of the box except for 3g modem which I didn’t get to work yet.

      • If you insaltled in text mode, maybe you didn’t insaltl X. You probably have a text mode browser. Try lynx or elinks. If the startx command doesn’t work, try yum insaltl x-window-system . By the way, Fedora 5 is ancient. The current version of Fedora is 9.

  3. The reason is simlpe if you have more than one computer you can switch to an other computer because the operating sytem (BackTrack) is installed on the USB key is positive part or if you have already two operating system in one computer in dual boot the usb key can be more useful in that case

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