Chromebooks are mostly web devices, coming with pretty low hardware specs, though the high-end ones could run some of Steam’s library, so I decided to help you install Steam on them. You should know that not every Chromebook can run Steam, but you can find out pretty easily which ones can by reading this article.

There are two reasons your laptop won’t be able to run Steam or Steam games. First, you need an Intel processor and you also need at least decent hardware specifications.

How to find out if your Chromebook can run Steam

Like I’ve said already, first you have to make sure your Chromebook is powered by an Intel processor. If it has an ARM CPU, like the ones made by Samsung, Rockchip, or Nvidia, it won’t be able to run any Steam titles, unfortunately.

You will also require some decent specs, like a powerful CPU with a pretty good integrated GPU and a decent amount of RAM. 1GB of RAM won’t be able to run most titles, most likely.

In order to install Steam, you will first have to install Linux, but most Linux distributions only work on Intel CPUs, so if that’s not the case for you, most likely you won’t be able to do it.

You should also know that most Steam titles require a minimum amount of RAM and most Chromebooks come with 1 to 4GB of RAM, which might not be enough. Storage can also be a problem, considering Chromebooks have a 16GB to 64GB SSD.

If your Chromebook comes with an Intel CPU and good hardware specs, you can try to install Steam, but it’s not going to be a piece of cake. Installing Linux and then Steam can take a while and you need to work a little.

How to install Steam on your Chromebook

In order to install Steam on your Chromebook, you’ll have to install a different flavor of Linux (Chrome OS is a Linux distribution itself, but you will need a different one). You shouldn’t be afraid of doing so, because you can always factory reset your Chromebook and everything will come back to normal.

You will have to follow the step-by-step guide in order to get a new distribution of Linux on your Chromebook and install Steam.

Enable Developer Mode

The first step is to enable Developer Mode, which will offer you more freedom over your Chromebook. You should know that enabling Developer Mode will factory reset your Chromebook, so you will lose all data. If you’re not ok with it, you can either backup everything or give up.

The steps are pretty easy and you can either follow our dedicated guide here or follow the next steps:

  • Enter Recovery Mode by pressing and holding Esc + Refresh and then press the Power key. Then you will see a warning saying that “Chrome OS is missing or damaged”. Don’t be scared by the warning and follow the next steps.
  • Now you have to press CTRL + D
  • When you see the message “to turn OS Verification OFF, press ENTER”, you have to press the Enter key.
  • Now you have to press CTRL + D again and wait for 10-15 minutes for your Chromebook to boot into developer mode.
  • When you Chromebook boots, you’re in Developer Mode.

Download Crouton

Crouton allows you to install a Linux distribution on your Chromebook. It can be downloaded from its Github page here.

On that page, you can also read more information about it and how it can help you do much more with your Chromebook.

Install Ubuntu LTS

Crouton will now allow you to install Ubuntu or Debian on your Chromebook.

In order to install the long-term-support version of Ubuntu on your Chromebook, you have to follow the next steps:

  • Press CTRL + ALT + T
  • Type shell
  • Type sudo sh -e ~/Downloads/crouton -t xfce
  • Press Enter

Now Crouton will install the long term support version of Ubuntu on your Chromebook, with XFCE. If you prefer KDE, you can replace XFCE with it in your previous command.

Note that you will be required to set a password and there’s no way of recovering it, so make sure to write it down or remember it.

Launch Ubuntu XFCE

Once Ubuntu is installed, you can launch it through a simple command: sudo startxfce4. Now you can do whatever you want in your newly installed version of Ubuntu.

You can use it just like any Ubuntu-powered laptop, with basically no restriction. You can customize it to suit your needs.

Install Ubuntu Software Center

You’re going to need Ubuntu Software Center if you want to install apps, like Steam. In order to do so, you’re going to need the Terminal Emulator. Once you launch it, you have to enter the following command: sudo apt-get install software-center.

Using sudo might require you to enter the password you’ve set earlier, so make sure to enter it when prompted for it.

Install Steam

Now you can launch the browser and download Steam. Then you will have to find the downloaded .deb file you have just downloaded and launch it. Ubuntu Software Center will install Steam after prompting you for the password once again.

Now you can install any game you want and play it, as long as your Chromebook hardware supports it and if it was developer for Linux.