How to Access Command Prompt on Your Chromebook

For those looking to sharpen their computer skills or they just want access to their Chromebook’s command prompt, look no further than this how-to guide. Gaining access to the command prompt of your Chromebook isn’t a difficult task. In fact, it’s rather easy and does not require the need of a degree in computer science.

The command prompt is exactly that: a prompt for issuing commands to your computer. If you want your Chromebook to perform a specific command, then you need to know the correct collection of letters that starts the process.

At first glance, one might assume Chrome OS doesn’t have one, after all, if you opened the command prompt on, say, a Windows PC, it can be opened while you’re using the computer. On Chrome OS, it’s hidden. And here’s how you find it.

What is Developer Mode?

Are you familiar with jailbreaking iOS devices or rooting Android devices? Then you should be familiar with what developer mode on a Chromebook is like. For the uninitiated, developer mode gives you the power to tweak your Chromebook in a way that wasn’t necessarily intended, something that wasn’t there by default, you could say.

For example, placing your Chromebook into developer mode would allow you to inject another OS into the system or, one of the more popular avenues, gaining control over the Chromebook’s developer shell. And just so you know, the developer shell is the command prompt.

Before you go rushing through the guide, there’s a number of caveats you need to be fully aware of, information that, if not briefed on beforehand, can lead to serious consequences. Nothing illegal, of course, but it can cause some headaches if you aren’t prepared.

What You Need to Know Beforehand…

Before you do anything, you need to backup any and all information you want to keep. Switching to developer mode is going to wipe your computer clean. It’s, essentially, a factory reset. And that goes for switching out of developer mode, too. So, a double-whammy wipe. If you have some dank memes you want to keep, save them now before you enter developer mode.

Do you have a warranty on your Chromebook? If you do, consider it voided as soon as you enter developer mode. Reason being, developer mode isn’t something that’s advertised on Chromebooks; it’s called “developer mode” because it’s for developers. If you do something that causes damage whilst using developer mode, you won’t have much luck getting it fixed unless you can still switch out of developer mode. There’s a chance you can still save yourself.

With that out of the way, let’s get started.

Enabling Developer Mode on Chromebook

In order to gain access to your developer shell, or command prompt, then you need to switch your Chromebook to developer mode. If you backed up your data and you’re ready to go, then move on with the steps below.

1. First, shutdown any running programs and turn your Chromebook off, not hibernation, completely off. Wait 60 seconds to ensure your Chromebook had enough time to shutdown entirely.

2. Press and hold together three different keys: Escape + Refresh + Power. You can let them go after your Chromebook enters recovery mode.

You’ll see a message saying “Chrome OS is missing or damaged. Please insert a recovery USB stick or SD card.” Do NOT panic. Your Chromebook isn’t damaged.

3. Ignore the message and press and hold together the keys: CTRL + D. After that, press the ENTER key.

4. Another warning will appear, only this time it will say something along the lines of “OS verification is OFF.” It sounds scary, but it’s nothing more than a warning to tell you aren’t as secure with developer mode activated. Ignore it and go ahead and sign in with your Google account.

Accessing Chromebook’s Command Prompt

Now, if you have three hours to spare, you can access the command prompt because it gets really complicated from here.

1. Locate and run the Google Chrome web browser.

2. Pay close attention to this step because it’s very important. Press and hold together these keys: CTRL + ALT + T.

3. Use the command prompt for the purpose you need it for.

See how difficult that was? If you got past that, you’re probably a physics major. Step 2 can be a doozy for some. Now that you have access to the command prompt, you are free to issue the correct commands, but remember the warnings that were stated earlier.