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2013/03/30

How To Perform A System Recovery On Your Chromebook Or Chromebox


How To Perform A System Recovery
 Important: You will need a 4GB or larger flash drive and access to a Windows, Linux, or Mac computer with administrative rights to perform the recovery. Make sure to backup any data you have on your flash drive as the recovery process will overwrite it. The USB Drive will also need to be reformatted after you perform the recovery. There will be notes at the bottom of this article describing how to re-format your USB drive for common use again.
Note: The Recovery tool is created and managed by Google. If you have any problems with the recovery tool on your computer, you will need to contact Google for assistance here.
Warning: All account information and data stored on your Chrome device, such as photos, downloaded files, and saved networks, will be deleted. Owner privileges for your primary account will also be reset. However, the actual Google Accounts and any data synced to these accounts won't be affected by the recovery process. After the recovery process is completed, you’ll be guided through the initial setup again.
Readying a ChromeBook For Recovery
Hint: If your Chromebook is already displaying the "Chrome OS is missing or damaged" screen, skip step 1.

ChromeBox Recovery Switch Location
Chromebook Recovery Switch Location
Series 5
Series 550

  1. How to reset the unit:
    • Power the chromebook off and flip it over with the hinges facing away.
    • Insert a paperclip into the reset hole located to the back left on the underside of the unit.
    • While pressing the paperclip in, press the power button.
    • Release the button the paperclip was holding, and remove the paperclip after the computer displays the "Recovery" screen.
Note: The unit should turn on when pressing the power button. If the screen remains blank after waiting at least 15 seconds, call 1-800-SAMSUNG for assistance, it could possibly be a hardware issue, and hardware issues cannot be fixed by software.
  1.  Download the recovery image tool from Google’s server, to your desktop (or somewhere easily accessible).
    • Direct Link to the Windows Recovery Tool Download: Here.
    • If you are using Linux or Mac to build the recovery tool, please gohere.
  2.  After you have downloaded the tool, we now start with creating the recovery image.

Creating the Recovery Disk:
  1.  Click on the link on the Google recovery page to download the recovery program
         
  1. After the file downloads, (we use chrome in this example) go to the location where the file downloaded.
         
  1. When you’re prompted to run the program, please do so with administrator privileges.
         
  1. The program will display a  “Downloading Chrome OS recovery configurations…” quickly before moving into the model select screen.
         
  1. Input your Model before pressing next. The model can be found on the recovery screen and starts with "SAMS". The easy way to select the model is be entering in "SAMS" into the box and selecting the correct model from the drop down list. Make sure you select the correct model that's listed on your recovery screen; Chrome devices are very tough, but it might not like being flashed with the wrong firmware/software:
           
  1. Now that we have selected our firmware/software version, we are ready to begin the preparation of the USB drive.
         
  1. After the USB stick has been inserted, Select it on the screen if it doesn’t automatically.
         
  1. Press the next button. After pressing next, the program will begin to download the recovery image/firmware/software. It’s called an image because it’s then written to the USB drive. After it’s finished downloading, it will begin to unpack the download.
            
  1. After the download has been unpacked, it will begin to install itself on the selected USB drive.
        
  1. When the installation is complete, the tool will show you that "Your media is ready." After this prompt, remove the USB drive from your computer and we are now prepared for the next steps. We will now proceded with recovery. Click on the "Perform a Recovery" at the bottom of this article.
        

Recovering a ChromeBook:
After a recovery disk has been created, and your chromebook is displaying this screen:

Proceed with the recovery by plugging in the USB/SD card with the recovery image that you just created. The chromebook will take over from there. The chromebook will let you know when the recovery is complete and then you will need to remove the USB/SD card. After they (USB or SD card) are removed, the chrome device will restart and you will be guided through the initial setup again. Recovery is now complete, enjoy your chromebook!
Important: After you are completed with your Recovery, you will need to format the USB drive or SD card with the Chrome Recovery Tool that you downloaded above. Steps to format can be found on Page 2 of this How-To-Guide.

How To Format Your Recovery Media After Completion
Formatting A USB Disk Or SD Card After A Chrome Recovery:
After completing a successful recovery, you will need to reformat the storage media that you used. This can be done through the chrome recovery tool. Instructions are below:
  1. Open the Recovery Program.
              
  1. Click on Options.
              
  1. Move your mouse pointer down to select Format.
             
  1. Insert your USB Drive and select it.
             
  1. Click on Next.
             
  1. A pop-up will appear. Confirm that this is the action you want to perform on this storage media.
             
  1. The action will be performed. Click on Continue.
             
  1. The Windows Format Tool Will Pop-up. Make sure "Quick Format" is checked.
              
  1. Click on start.
              
  1. A pop-up will appear. Confirm that this is the action you want to perform on this storage media.
             
  1. The window will turn grey while the format proceeds
             
  1. After the format is complete, there will be a pop-up that shows the process is finish.
        
The format is now complete! You can use your USB stick or SD Card normally.



How to upgrade the Acer C7 Chromebook


How to upgrade the Acer C7 Chromebook


Now that there are two versions of the Acer C7 (a newer one with 4G of RAM), I need to be more precise, that I upgraded the previous 2G ram device. There are actually two upgrades that I did:
  1. Upgrade the RAM memory
  2. Replace the slow hard drive with a fast, albeit smaller, SSD
After upgrading the SSD the boot time went down to 9 seconds (by my watch), which seems as fast as my series 5 550. My total cost for this upgrade USD50 for the SSD and USD35 for the memory. I may be able to sell the 320G drive on ebay and recoup part of this. SSD prices continue to drop, but RAM prices have recently risen 10-15%, so your cost may be different.

Risks

Warranty

There are conflicting opinions on the risk to the warranty. There is a small sticker over the single screw to open the back which implies thet you are voiding the warranty, but there may be local laws that supercede this. At least one person checked with Acer and they said opening it up to upgrade would not void the warranty. Also, in the US consumer law (specifically in regards to the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act) may allow upgrades.

Software Upgrades

One person sent me email and mentioned the Quick Start manual (pdf) which implies that upgrading the hardware would prevent chromeos upgrades. I have definitely had OS updates since adding memory and replacing the HDD with SSD. I think Acer may be talking about more significant hardware upgrades or repairs like replacing the CPU, USB ports or ethernet. I can imagine, for security reasons, chromeos checking certain hardware part or serial numbers. Consider someone replacing the bluetooth transceiver with a device that tracked your wireless keyboard keystrokes. If a chromeos machine was a loaner, or in a public area, where potential criminals had access to the device, chromeos verifying the hardware would make the machines more secure. (I wish there was something like this for those credit card readers at gas stations).I think we are safe upgrading the memory and HDD as they are less likely points of attack. The memory is already volatile, and the SSD gets verified by the OS digital signature which is stored in the read only portion or the ROM.

Upgrading the memory

This is actually the easiest of the upgrades. All you need to do is buy the correct memory card and insert it into the empty slot.
What you need
  • Philips screw driver
This machine has two memory slots, but only one memory slot is in use. This one slot holds 2G. Currently, the largest single memory DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module) for this machine is 8G, so 16G is the max for this machine. I bought one 8G DIMM and put it into the empty slot, which gives a total of 10G. This should be plenty for most purposes. If bigger DIMMs become available, I will let you know.
Some people may be wondering how a 32bit OS can use more than 4G of RAM. This is possible because PAE (Physical Address Extension) is enabled in ChromeOS (as it is in almost all Linux builds). PAE still does not allow a single process to exceed 4G (actually more like 3G due to some other restrictions), but it does allow separate processes to each use up to 3G. The Chrome browser, for a number of reasons including security, runs each tab in a separate process. This means if you have two very large pages open, they can spread out in memory beyond 4G.
If too many tabs are opened, at once, all the memory will be used. When this happens, tabs begin to fail with the He's Dead Jim. Adding more memory allows you to have more concurrent tabs open before security officers start dieing.
WARNING: do not let any finger grease or dirt get onto the metal contacts.
The following table indicates what memory has been confirmed to work in this chromebook. It is in no way an endorsement of any company, nor a slight against any. It is only what has been tried. Please send comments about other known good hardware to normcf@gmail.com with "acer C7 chromebook upgrade" in the subject to make it easier to recognize them.
Memory ModuleSize
G.SKILL 8GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Laptop Memory Model F3-1333C9S-8GSA8G
Kingston 4GB PC3 106000 CL9 204-pin ram4G
Kingston 4GB PC3 106000 CL9 204-pin ram4G
Corsair XMS3 8GB (1x8GB) DDR3 1333 MHz (PC3 10666) Laptop Memory8G
G.Skill DDR-1600c10D-16GSQ2 x 8G
Corsair X3M2A (2x4G) DDR3 1333 MHz Memory2 x 4G
Patriot PSD28g13332s 8 gig8G
Kingston HyperX 8 GB Memory Kit2 x 4G
Patriot Signature 8GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Laptop Memory Model PSD38G13332S8G
G.SKILL 4GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1333 (PC3 10600) Laptop Memory Model F3-10600CL9S-4GBSQ4G
VisionTek 900449 Laptop Memory Module - 4GB, PC3-10600, DDR3-1333MHz4G

Here are the basic steps for the replacement.
  1. Order memory DIMM and wait for it to arrive.
  2. Check to make sure your chromebook is already working because opening the machine will invalidate the warranty. This means testing every usb port, the SD card reader, the VGA and the HDMI, both the wired and wireless internet and the headphone jack.
  3. Shutdown
  4. Be sure the power cord is disconnected.
  5. Remove the battery.
  6. Unscrew the one screw holding the back on and slide the back off.
  7. Notice the two spaces for DIMMs.
  8. Push your new memory DIMM into the open space. This requires a little bit of force and it should "click" in.
  9. Slide the back back on. Note there are several small tabs on the cover and all need to engage at the same time as you slide the back.
  10. Put the one screw back in.
Here is a video of someone replacing the memory in a similar machine. I don't know why he didn't use both DIMMs, perhaps just for making the video. In our case, with a new Acer Chromebook, the slot he replaces is empty. We will add the second DIMM into that empty slot. If you bought 16G (two 8G DIMMs), you will need to remove the existing 2G DIMM and put your two new DIMMs into both slots.To verify your memory is recognized, go to chrome://system, scroll down to meminfo, expand and check out MemTotal.
Enjoy your speedy machine with many tabs open.

Replacing the SSD

The original drive is a 7mm ST320LT020 which is sata 2 (3Gb/s max). This indicates that the device is probably sata 2 (not sata 3 6Gb/s). If anyone determines otherwise, please let me know so I can update this doc.
The following table indicates what SSD has been confirmed to work in this chromebook. It is in no way an endorsement of any company, nor a slight against any. It is only what has been tried. Please send comments about other known good hardware to normcf@gmail.com with "acer C7 chromebook upgrade" in the subject to make it easier to recognize them.
The 7mm drives fit easily and perfectly. Some people have had problems fitting thicker drives in the space, so I recommend getting 7mm.

Reported NOT to work

One person has reported an SSD which appears not to work. The symptoms are that the recovery is successful, but then after the reboot is complains about missing ChromeOS. This is the "Kingspec KSD-SA25.5-XXXMJ, 32G SATA II" which appears to be missing LBA48 support (the API to allow hard drives to exceed ~137G). Our suspicion is that this support is required for the Acer chromebook. One would not expect a 32G drive to require this but, in the interest of minimalism, maybe the Chromebook BIOS has just barely what it needs.
Another report is for Kingston SSDNow V300 Series SV300S37A/120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD). It seemed to experience the same symptom as the other, but after further work, it was discovered that the GPT was not correct. It may be that the GPT was not correctly written by the restore process. We have determined that it is not missing the LBA48 support, so this is not the issue with this drive. Anyway, after rewriting the GPT the install worked.
If anyone else has more info, or knows of any other SSD known not to work, I'll add them here too.

Reported to work

SSDSizeNotes
Crucial 64 GB m4 SSD64GIt is 7mm, so there was no issue with removing padding. Sata 3 (6GB/sec)
Samsung 840 Series SSD120G7mm, sata 3 (6Gb/sec)
Samsung 840 Series SSD120G7mm, but specs for this one do not specify sata version (that I could see)
Samsung 840 Pro MZ-7PD128128G7mm, sata 3 (6Gb/sec)
Mushkin Enhanced Chronos MKNSSDCR60GB-7 2.5" 60GB SATA III 7mm Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)60G7mm, sata 3 (6Gb/sec)
Kingston SSDNow V300 Series SV300S37A/120G 2.5" 120GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)120G7mm, sata 3 (6Gb/sec). This drive initially had issues, but writing the GPT seemed to correct the issue and install was successful.
MyDigitalSSD 60GB BP4 2.5 Inch Slim 7mm SATA 6G Solid State Drive (60GB)(64GB)60G7mm, sata 3 (6Gb/sec).
Crucial m4 mSATA 256GB256Gin a 2.5" adapter from StarTech
Crucial V4 CT032V4SSD2 2.5" 32GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)32GThis is 9.5mm thick. If I were doing it again, I would order 7mm thick replacement as it would fit without removing the sponge cushions.


Doing it

This is definitely the more difficult part.What you need
  • Philips screw driver
  • Knife or similar scraper
  • 4G or larger USB/Thumb drive
Here are the basic steps:
  1. Order your SSD. Check the info above abouth those that are known not to work.
  2. Be sure you have an internet connection.
  3. Check to make sure your chromebook is already working. This means testing every usb port, the VGA and the HDMI, the SD card reader, both the wired and wireless internet and the headphone jack. Once you open the machine it will be difficult to send it back and claim it was defective.
  4. Be sure you have copied any local files to the cloud, or some other safe place.
  5. Check out the instructions for creating a rescue USB/Thumb drive for your model, and create one. Be sure to do this BEFORE you take it apart. The easiest way to create it is actually from your ChromeOS machine. It already knows itself, and will create the correct version. In the browser omnibox (where URLs normally are) putchrome://imageburner and follow the instructions. There have been reports of imageburner not working. If this happens, you can also try these instructions from Acer.
  6. Turn off, and unplug the machine.
  7. Remove the battery.
  8. Unscrew the one screw holding the back on and slide the back off.
  9. Gently lift the drive out of its space.
  10. Unscrew the two screws on the sides of the drive which hold a bracket that keeps the connectors from coming undone.
  11. Remove the power/sata connector and set the drive aside.
  12. If you ordered a 9.5mm thick SSD, you will need to get as much space as possible. Remove the sponge pads from the bottom of the space.
  13. Attach the power/sata connector to the new SSD, and screw the bracket into the sides.
  14. Seat the SSD into the same space the drive came from.
  15. Slide the back back on. Note there are several small tabs that all need to engage at the same time as you slide the back.
  16. Put the one screw back in.
  17. Reinstall the battery and attach the power cable. The power cable will ensure the rescue operation is not interrupted.
  18. Power on and the machine will prompt for the rescue USB/thumb drive you made earlier. Follow the instructions.
  19. After it finishes, you will need to go through the same initial process as with a brand new machine.
Here is a video of someone replacing the hard drive in a similar machine.
One way to verify the disk/ssd available is to go to chrome://system, scroll down to verified boot, expand, scroll down to Drive sectors. Multiply the Drive sectorstimes Sector size.
Fast boots galore.

Other interesting notes

Battery recalibration

I received an email with this Acer Battery Calibration Tool. This may be useful to chromebook as well.

PAE and windows

In windows 32 bit desktop OS PAE is not enabled. Microsoft chose not to enable it even though they could have. I believe this was to prevent people from using the cheaper desktop OS as a server. PAE is usually enabled in windows servers. Enough about that.

PAE and linux

Most x86 builds of Linux have PAE enabled. Normally, the only x86 builds that do not have this enabled are for older chips that don't support it. ARM does not have a PAE function that I know of.

2013/03/11

истината за българина

истината за българина


Народа мрази успелите, заради житейските им успехи.
Но е сляп за битките при постигането им.
Мрази лъскавите коли, гледайки от спирките или маршрутките. Завижда на пазаруващите в скъпи бутици, кърпейки старите си чорапи.
Плюе мръсотията, хвърляйки боклука си през прозореца.
Държи на морала в къщата, а ходи да чука комшийката.
Винаги е най-компетентният, а този от екрана- най-бездарният.
Всяко лице от кориците е курва, защото ако не е, няма да е там. Всяка лоша новина е по-добра от добрата.
За- това и добри новини няма! Народът мрази различните, защото дразнят общоприетата еднаквост. Не остана неоплют нито един известен българин!
Прояден от завист и злоба, народът ликува пред вида на нечий съсипан живот.
На смазана от незаслужени подигравки кариера!

истината за българина

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