ChromeOS is useless (to me)

A project log for Restoring an Asus Chromebox CN60

Free computer if I can get it working

Ken YapKen Yap 01/18/2020 at 12:250 Comments

I booted up ChromeOS (so the RAM is good) and it started off by telling me I could configure Google Hangouts. Hmm?

First I adjusted the timezone and locale language and clicked on Let's go. It proceeded to ask me to connect to a wireless AP. Unfortunately this didn't work (I discover later it's my own fault), but I do manage to connect up the wired Ethernet to my switch (so that works too).

It then said it would restore the saved settings. But I don't have any saved settings? It asked me for an Enterprise login. Well, I'm enterprising, but I'm not an enterprise. I have no idea who the device was registered to. Just for kicks I clicked on Forgot password, and it took me through various dialogues before allowing me to login with my personal Google account. It then said I had no permissions on this hardware.

I think I understand what's going on. These boxes are intended as mass deployment devices that can be controlled by the administrator in an organisation. When such a device is registered to the Enterprise, the OS can be restored by going through the steps I did and then it will restore the organisation settings. It also means the device is useless for running ChromeOS by anybody who is not in the organisation, so no good stealing one. Unless you have the nous to install a different OS on it.

Well that settles it then, I can wipe ChromeOS and install GalliumOS without any regret. I also discover that for the CN60 ChromeOS update support ended Sep 2019. Maybe that's why it was thrown out.

Before I proceed with that I get a console session with Ctrl-Alt-F2. By using the CLI commands: cat /proc/cpuinfo, free, and dmesg I find out more about the hardware specs. It turns out the processor is a 4-core Intel i7-4600U. It has 4 GB of RAM, a Gb Ethernet interface as well as WiFi interface. There is a 16 GB SSD. It's M2 form factor and it's easy to get a larger one for not much money now. The RAM can be increased too.

Wow, that's a much better device than I had expected. Great incentive to continue.