Took right at 12 days of hard testing to break Chrome OS in ‘Chromebook’ and only a few hours to restore the new downloaded image (AKA “recovery media”). Day “13” is the amount of time it ‘roughly took’ for me to put this post together after the restoration.

Part 1 – Break Chrome OS

Chromebook’ arrived Tuesday afternoon on 6/1/2021, with its ‘own name’ already, and that caught me off-guard since I’ve always named my computers:

BTW, my new HP 14″ Chromebook – 14a-na0023cl  arrived yesterday, and it is now easy to understand why Chromebooks are so popular right now. The hardware is exceptional, and I have found Chrome OS extremely easy to use in my early tests. So impressive that I haven’t even come up with a name for it yet!?!???  😉  Talk about an entire companion package to 4-5 WIN10 Desktop computers, then Chromebook is the answer. OOOPS, sorry! Well, I must apologize, ‘Chromebook’  just informed rude me that it has a name already.

That was the last bit of slack that ‘Chromebook’ and its Chrome OS got.

Google has created a great package – make that – a *TOTAL* Package, which includes hardware, software, security, ease of use, etc. I have tried hard to break it all – stopping short of bringing ‘Baby Sledge’ into the testing. 😉

It may have started from Open Source – the Linux kernel – but it is now a Total Proprietary Package. Hey, after 25 years of piddling wid the unstableness ‘n unreliability of Linux as a Desktop OS, I am not about to condemn Google for what they have done with Chrome OS. Google has created a great little Desktop/Laptop OS…simple as that.

I have tried everything a newbie ‘n novice like me could do, in an attempt to install a Linux Distro onto this Chromebook…did manage to get Ubuntu 16.04 xfce ‘n later Ubuntu 16.04 unity installed, but they were an old “bare-bones Ubuntu setup” at best.

As mentioned in an earlier post, ‘I have used crouton, Crostini, Developer Mode, turned on Linux (Beta) mode, Ctrl + Alt + F2 to the tty console, Ctrl +Alt + t to the Chrome browser terminal, coreboot, SeaBIOS, ROM Download, tried installing the John Lewis RW_LEGACY, BOOT_STUB, tried MrChromebox.tech, and at least 100 other options.’ Many many times I used the Powerwash option in order to start fresh again after another failed test.

Entered command line after command line after command line after command line after command line for days, in an attempt to find one that worked. Think Powerwash!

Couple of days ago, I removed the back cover, went inside and removed a lot of parts – including the MoBo. HP has some excellent Manuals – easy to read ‘n navigate. I used their Maintenance and Service Guide in order to remove ‘n then replace so many parts.

Started typing this post today (6/13/2021), and will possibly finish by later tonight or early tomorrow morning. Also, broke Chrome OS this morning, i.e. I tried for an hour or so to get the Chrome OS back up, but it was finally broken.

First sign of it starting to break (this morning) was after another Powerwash, followed by another  enabling of the Developer Mode, and that had followed ‘something’ that I don’t recall right now.  😉  The wireless mouse had started acting up during the enabling of Developer Mode, and the touchpad was being used to enter the setting choices.

It made it to the desktop, finished updating, but basically started getting ‘Dizzy’ after I decided to turn on the Linux (Beta) mode, and almost ‘Fainted’ when I turned on the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) option.

I rebooted, and Chrome OS was gone.

It was an accident, I *SWEAR* Officer!!!!’  😉

 

Part 2 – Restore Chrome OS

Chrome OS went thru a lot in 12 days, had managed to recover ‘On its Own’ after so many quick changes, new additions, redoes ‘n undoes, and all ‘Dat mixed in wid lots of Powerwashing.

Was definitely surprised when I couldn’t get it to boot up again, and frankly, started to wonder what I was going to do about it…OOOPS!  😉

Kept trying to get it to boot, but it just wanted a recovery stick or card!

During all those previous tests wid ‘Chromebook’, I had come across – Recover your Chromebook. Needed a Chrome browser extension – Chromebook Recovery Utility:

I run 4 browsers, and Chrome is the main one for the Linux Newbie blog. Firefox is my main browser ‘n Waterfox is sorta the ‘Jack of all Trades’ browser. Edge is in the Start Menu, but rarely used. Added the Chrome browser extension…clicked on Chrome Extension icon ‘n selected the new Chromebook Recovery Utility extension:

It’s a popup utility. Just follow instructions, and trying to get the right Chromebook model number was a tad troublesome, for me:

It begins the download. It’s downloading – then – creating the recovery media, so it will take time.

I first picked the “HP Chromebook 14a” model number they offered, since the utility had rejected the model number I had entered.

Then, after recovery media was created, the Chromebook rejected that recovery media!? Went back to the Recovery Utility extension, and selected the “HP Chromebook x360 14a” which is not my model number, but it worked on both the utility ‘n the Chromebook. Back of my Chromebook has “Model 14a-na0023cl” listed.

We have HP with the hardware ‘n Google with the software, so my main point is that the Chromebook model numbers may be a tad troublesome, but nothing serious since the unit knew what it wanted.  😉

Also, this new recovery image is a little different from what was originally on the Chromebook…mainly on the some pics, some icon shapes, and some layouts. Seems to have been a ‘Fresher’ image, and I always like doing a clean ‘n fresh new install! Same version number in the end results, and everything is back without the ‘Leftover Residue’ – plus, I know a lot more about the workings of this Chromebook!

 

Conclusion

 Chromebook’ is the toughest laptop I’ve ever seen and/or used – tho I am far from an expert on them. Desktop/Laptop OSes, that’s another matter altogether – not many people know more about Desktop OSes than I do.

Chrome has already jumped to my #2 Desktop/Laptop OS, but this is still in the early stages of testing it. Will probably never pass Microsoft Windows, but it clearly thrashes Linux Desktop Distros at this point.

Annoying “Authenticate” popup/s or other ‘Pesky Passwords’ are no where to be seen…well, if I shut the laptop down, then it wants a password when I reboot it; however, I usually just close the lid, letting it sleep until I need it again – open the lid ‘n ‘Thar it is! Have entered sudo in the command prompts. It doesn’t offer Fulltime Linux Root User at all, but that is easy to deal with without the annoying Linux-like “Authenticate” popup/s.

Heck, Linux can break with a new update, and no way would any Linux Distro have made it thru 12 days of these harsh tests that Chrome OS went thru. I like Linux, but it is useless as a Desktop OS…nothing more than a ‘Specialty’ OS or an OS for developers, programmers, and IT type of specialists.

Linux does provides a stronger Rescue OS (a ‘Specialty’), but Chromebooks may be a better ‘Portable’ OS, especially with these early test results I am seeing.

Forget the mouse, any OS depending on the Linux kernel has no clue what a mouse can actually do. However, on a laptop, the touchpad does a fair job at some scrolling…better than the mouse can do. Also, ‘n again, without the annoying Linux-like “Authenticate” popup/s it isn’t requiring you to put down the mouse ‘n start typing a password on a keyboard every time you have ‘to go to the bathroom’.

Haven’t tested it with my printer yet, and no plans to do so. There is a “Cloud Printing” setting and/or app, but I am not planning on testing that, and my printer only has drivers for Ubuntu ‘n Windows 10. My next printer will have drivers for Chrome OS ‘n Red Hat ‘n Windows 10.

When I’m starting a reset install or the new clean install today…or even when I first started up the computer after getting it I: 1) never left a check in a box or added one. 2) never allow Google Assistant. 3) never allow ‘Da Cloud or accept a freebie from ‘Da Cloud.  4) NEVER NEVER NEVER.

After installation, I delete any app that looks like ‘Da Cloud or kin to it. Then I delete every app that offers nothing. Yes, I lose a lot of functionality, but I’m not going to pay for cloud stuff.

I don’t like not being able to plug in one of my USBs with Puppy Linux or Fedora 33 Cinnamon or AlmaLinux or CentOS Stream on it, but Chromebooks are just a great ‘Companion Package’ to my WIN10 Pro desktop machines, IMHO.

If the Auto Update Expiration (AUE) becomes a problem in the next 3 ‘n 4 years  (updates stop on this HP in 4 years), I will toss these Chromebooks in a remote shed, and look for a small 11-12.2” WIN10 laptop (preferably a WIN10 Pro) ‘n at least a 1920 x 1080 display.

Okay, Google, you have a problem.’ If they want to keep growing a Chromebook user base, then they have to fix that AUE problem. I suspect, starting next year, that Google Chromebooks are going to have a lot of angry customers who purchased Chromebooks during this surge of new buyers over the past year. In fact, it may have already started…

 

6/14/2021: OK…finishing up here, on this new Monday morning!  😉

The Samsung 12.2″ Chromebook is due in today (updates end in 3 years)…it will have a lot to live up to, IMHO. Cost was right at $315, so it will have had a yearly cost of $105 when its Auto Update Expiration (AUE) comes up.

The HP Chromebook 14a-na0023cl (updates end in 4 years) was right at $210, for a low yearly cost of just $52.50. BTW, there is no fan in it, so it’s very quiet…uses almost no power when in sleep mode overnight…and it charges in an incredibly short time. Hard to beat such a $209.99 computer product!

Imagine a poor working Mom buying her son a $200 Chromebook last Christmas, and suddenly discovering there is something called a Auto Update Expiration (AUE) date of “Jun 2021” on it.

Okay, Google, you have a problem.’

 Will add this post to the Chromebooks page, under “Chromebook series” section.

LINUX IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES – you never know what you’re gonna get!