Asus Chromebox – Installing OpenELEC (Standalone Setup – No Chrome-OS)

I wrote this guide in 2014 and now in 2018 I find that the add-ons in OpenELEC for scraping Movies etc no longer work. I now recommend installing LibreELEC instead of OpenELEC. In addition I would now recommend a low end Intel NUC over a Chrombox because of ease of installation. The difference in price between the two is not that great any-more.

There is a lot of great documentation available for installing OpenELEC aka XBMC (now renamed Kodi) on a Chromebox – but I wanted a brief summary of the steps I performed should I need to do it again.

I have been running OpenELEC as my media center of choice for quite a while now on a 7 or 8 year old PC. As that PC just died I needed a replacement – something smaller – and something cheaper! The ChromeBox looked like an ideal choice …

These steps remove ChromeOS and install OpenELEC – so consult the documentation (and do not do this) if you prefer a different configuration! You have been warned! Seriously, read the documentation!

Enormous thanks to Matt DeViller for providing the installation script, documentation and support to the community!

For reference I installed OpenELEC on an Asus ChromeBox M004U.

The first step is to enable Developer Mode:

This will erase all user data!

  • Insert paperclip into the small home next to the SD card slot to press the recovery button
  • Turn on the Chromebox and then remove the paperclip
  • At the recovery screen press Ctrl + D to enter Developer Mode
  • Press the recovery button again to confirm

If pressing Ctrl +D does not get you to Developer Mode then you will need to try a different keyboard.

 After about 5 minutes you will see the developer boot screen.

  • Shutdown Chromebox

The next step is to  Disable Firmware Write Protect:

This is optional but will decrease the developer boot screen time from 30 seconds to less than 1 second (faster boot).

  • Remove the 4 rubber feet from the base of the Chromebox
  • Unscrew the 4 screws (under rubber feet)
  • Remove base
  • Unscrew the write protect screw (pictured below):
  • Re-assemble base, screws and rubber feet


The last step is to use the ChromeBox E-Z script to install OpenELEC:

Make sure ChromeBox is connected to the internet for this step.

  • Turn on ChromeBox and boot to ChromeOS – do not log in to ChromeOS
  • Press Ctrl, Alt + F2 to open a command prompt
  • Log in as chronos (no password required)
  • Download and run the ChromeBox setup script with these commands:
curl -L -O
sudo bash 3Tfu5W


Press 5 to proceed with Standalone Setup – this will update the coreboot Firmware (which means that you cannot easily run  ChromeOS).

This Firmware is only valid for Haswell based Asus / HP / Acer / Dell ChromeBoxes!

  • When prompted insert a USB Jump Drive to back up the stock firmware

Remove the stock firmware backup and insert another USB Jump Drive.

Press 6 to create the OpenELEC install media on the 2nd Jump Drive.

  • Reboot
  • Press the Escape key [ESC]at the boot menu and then select the Jump Drive from the list to install OpenELEC

Pressing Escape more than once will skip the boot menu forcing the ChromeBox to attempt to boot from the hard disk (instead of the Jump Drive).

  • Select Run Installer
  • Choose Quick Install
  • Select Yes and OK as needed in the installation wizard

When installation is complete:

  • Remove Jump Drive
  • Reboot

OpenELEC recommended settings are as follows:

This assumes you are using the default (Confluence) skin:

  • System –> OpenELEC –> System: Automatic Updates:Auto
  • System –> OpenELEC –> Services: Enable Bluetooth:Selected (if using Bluetooth)
  • System –> Settings –> System: Settings Level:Expert
  • System –> Settings –> System–>Video Output: Vertical blank sync:Enabled during video playback
  • System –> Settings –> System–>Power Saving: Shutdown function:Suspend (sets IR power toggle to suspend)
  • System –> Settings –> Videos–>Acceleration: Use VC-1 VAAPI:Selected
  • System –> Settings –> Videos–>Acceleration: Use SW Filter for VAAPI:Selected

In conclusion I have to say that I am quite impressed with how well my Chromebox has handled the job so far – it is a great replacement media center box!


89 thoughts on “Asus Chromebox – Installing OpenELEC (Standalone Setup – No Chrome-OS)

  1. thanks for your breakdown into stand alone, you have just taken some guess work out for me, as i will be doing this next week, and all the info i had found was on installing duel boot. is it a similar process to reformat with chrome if needed in the future, or if something goes wrong with the install?

      1. succes until the menu where you can choose dualboot
        i choosed for stand alone instalation and when restarted i cant do anything .nothing works as a screen that says chrome os missing
        i have try to make a recovery from a anotger computer on a usb ,when i put this usb it does nothing,escape + f3 dies not work try to get it on devoloper mode but nothing

      2. If the escape key does not work to bring up the boot menu then you should try using another keyboard.

        Edit – also make sure that you are only pressing the Escape key once to bring up the boot menu – if you press it more than once it will try to boot from the hard drive, which is not what you want at this point.

    1. I really liked your detailed description to install this. Would it make more sense for me to just a gbox. Seems must safer to go that route. And there cheap 100$ or so. Are there any benefits,of going your route?

      1. Well the gbox is about half the price of the asus Chromebox (almost) – so that may work out better for you. I would read the reviews and see if people are generally happy with it. If it works well you can potentially have a plug and play experience without having to install Kodi?

  2. Thanks for your tutorial.

    What does this mean if your CPU is on Intel Celeron

    Press 5 to proceed with Standalone Setup – this will update the coreboot Firmware (which means that you cannot easily run ChromeOS).

    This Firmware is only valid for Haswell based Asus / HP / Acer / Dell ChromeBoxes!

    1. Hi john, my Chromebox is a 1.4 GHz Intel Celeron 2955U Processor (Chromebox-M004U).

      Standalone setup replaces the ChromeOS firmware (software) with a new firmware – this fixes some issues and reduces the boot time. This means that you cannot easily run ChromeOS (should you want to) but you can run the open source variant ChromiumOS.

      The firmware installed for standalone setup is only valid on Haswell based Chromeboxes. Haswell is a recent Intel CPU architecture. My Chromebox has a Intel Celeron 2955U Processor – this is a Haswell CPU.

      1. “This means that you cannot easily run ChromeOS (should you want to) ”

        I did that, how can I put back as it was?
        Once run usb can I delete the ssd all paticiones and install ubuntu throughout the ssd?

      2. Hi Carlos, to go from a standalone to a dual boot configuration take a look here at item 3.5 Switching between Standalone and Dual Boot configurations:

        You will need to restore the stock firmware:
        You will then need to perform a factory reset:

        After that you can do the dual boot setup.

  3. Thanks for the great tutorial/write up. I followed it yesterday evening all good. I know I could of got the info from the wiki but the problem with that is there is to much information your guide gave me only the bits I needed.

  4. Good tut, Mike. Very detailed which is what most noobs need to get going without the hassle.

    I have a question on XBMC. Does it install the stable Gotham 13.2 or the Kodi version that is currently in rc3 if I’m correct. My chromebox is on its way so I want to be sure what i’m installing. Thanks again.

  5. Ok, I found a solution in case this helps anyone.

    I was stuck at the “booting Kernel” message during the install and nothing seemed to work. I tried plugging in a Windows recovery USB then switching to the openelec USB when the message asked for 1 for HDD or 2 for USB boot. This gave me a message that the openelec USB was missing some file for booting up.

    After this insight I downloaded a fresh version of openelec direct from their main website (rather than the USB created by the ChromeBox E-Z script which was faulty). I used a Sandisk 32GB stick and this worked fine.

    So after being worried for a few hours that I’d bricked the machine it’s working great.

    1. I would say that a paperclip goes in about 5mm or so and I can feel it press the button slightly when I press the paperclip in. Hope that helps …

  6. i used my created usb to install that i made on the original install of XBMC/Openelec, but it still installs Gotham 13.2. can i just download the xbmc 14 and take the SYSTEM file and put on my USB in place of the SYSTEM file that is on there now and that will do it?


    1. Check the kodi wiki John:

      Section 3.5 Switching between Standalone and Dual Boot configurations

      If you have a dual boot setup and wish to switch to a standalone setup, the steps are no different than installing on a “fresh” system, though you can obviously skip the steps you have already performed (removing the write-protect screw, putting the box in developer mode). If you have an OpenELEC dual boot setup and are switching to an OpenELEC standalone setup, then you can backup your settings etc using the built-in tools, copy to another PC/USB, and restore after performing the standalone setup.

  7. Hi, wonder if u can help, I press ESC on boot and it tells me the usb drive is not bootable 😦 any ideas
    thanks in advance

  8. Hi,

    I was wondering if I will need to perform the first step (Developer Mode) in order to recover to factory original if I will be installing to a new unit out of the box?

    Thanks for your help

      1. I’m trying to install OpenElec, I just received the Asus for Christmas and have not used it yet and was just wondering if I should skip the first step (Developer mode) and move onto the second step (Disable Firmware Write Protect)…. Or should I be starting with the first part?

        Thanks again

  9. Hi Mike,

    I just followed your instructions and everything was going fine until the last step to reboot the system. When I did that a seobios black screen popped up and states the following
    ” booting from hard drive….
    loading kernel failed: no such file or directory
    I tried typing “y” after boot but it doesn’t do anything…
    what should I do from here?

    Thanks for your help,

    1. I would try installing again with a different jump drive, just to make sure. I did a quick bing but didn’t find anything recent for this issue.

  10. Hi Mike,
    I have been doing that, but I can’t seem to find a way to write the image to usb.
    At openelec they say to use a “dd” command to write the disk image.
    For the life of me I can’t figure out what that means, do I put that info into the black screen?

  11. This might be a stupid question. But is it possible to download the image file ready to be installed on a usb disk and be used? Without writing the file that is?

  12. Hi Mike,
    I just loaded a fresh install from Openelec and flashed to the usb stick. Plugged it into the Asus powered off and nothing, I also tried F8 and F11 on boot and nothing. Also tried with the Asus powered on. It’s formatted as fat 16.

  13. Got it.
    For anyone that is having this problem. This is how I fixed it.

    Windows users only (much harder to do on a Mac) use a friends computer if need be, that’s what I did.

    1) I download the latest OS from Openelec (download the generic diskimage file), use 7zip to extract the file to your desktop.
    2) Download Opensuse image writer software to write Openelec to a usb jump drive. (4 GB minimum)
    3) I inserted the usb in my Asus Chromebox and turned on the power, before the black screen of death pops up, press the escape button… you will be taken back to Openelec setup, select your drive from the list and follow the rest of the installation.


  14. Hi:

    For running kodi on openelec what will be the recommended chromebox?
    Is there any advantage of having 4g RAM instead of 2?
    Which one will be the best (considering also the future) ASUS CHROMEBOX-M075U , M004U or upper?
    Are any of these ready to play for h265 video?
    Thank you.

    1. I have the M004U with 2Gb of RAM and no issues so far 🙂 I can’t comment on h265 video because I don’t have any …

  15. I have fully installed this, and it is flawless per the instructions. The only issue I have is trying to connect this device over wifi after the install. Do you have any instructions how to enable wifi once converted to Kodi?

  16. Thank you Mike for these instructions. it worked great but you have to step through carefully and patiently at a few points. However, per comments from Ken, I didn’t use the chrome e-z script to produce the openelec bootable USB jump drive (menu item 6), rather I used the latest OS downloaded directly from the openelec website. By the way, when you unzip the openelec file, it contains a file you can run that will create the bootable jump drive (on a windows computer).
    Also, I did encounter the problem of the first USB drive I used wasn’t recognized and the boot options didn’t show. After redoing the bootable jump drive with a more common branded name (Kingston), it worked! Almost instant boot into Kodi!

  17. Hello I’m in the step to install the openelec, but went I hit the the reboot, my screen say no signal, any idea what I need to do? Thank you

    1. I’m not sure – I haven’t had that problem. I would post on the openelec forums and detail connection / TV / Monitor details etc. Try a different monitor / TV if you have one.

  18. Hi Im currently on the Installing Open Elec Screen. Once i hit Run Installer After About 5 seconds i get a black Screen. And nothing pops up after. Any ideas?

  19. Hi there!

    First off, really appreciate your software. I can’t wait to get it setup!

    Unfortunately, I’m having a bit of an issue getting the bash script to run. I’m able to curl it down just fine, but when I run “sudo bash 3Tfu5W”, I receive the following errors:

    ./ line 274: syntax error near unexpected token `fi`
    ./ line 274: ` fi`
    3Tfu5W: line 25: prelim_setup: command not found

    I’ve also tried the updated version via and receive the following errors:

    ./ line 274: syntax error near unexpected token `fi`
    ./ line 274: ` fi`
    gJFPoc8t: line 24: prelim_setup: command not found
    gJFPoc8t: line 26: return: -1: invalid option
    return: usage: return [n]
    gJFPoc8t: line 30: menu_kodi: command not found

    I’m sure I’m missing something simple, but have you experienced anything like this? Has anything changed recently that may cause such an issue?


    1. Hi Gregory,

      I put this guide together, but this is not my software … I haven’t seen this issue before. I assume that you are using a Haswell Chromebox as per the guide? I’m not really able to help with this issue – I would recommend that you post your issue on the Kodi forums.

  20. hi mike,

    I think i may have pressed the esc key more than once when rebooting. Now it just says Rebooting from Hard Disk…

    Did I mess it up permanently or is there a fix?


  21. Mike, i have been on standalone for a year and im having issues and need to get it back to chromeIOS. I’ve read the instructions from the kodi form and im still having issues, anything you can recommend?

    1. Hi Dustin, there’s nothing I can really recommend as I have not yet tried to revert a Chromebox back to ChromeOS from Kodi. I would just be following the steps on the wiki like you are …

  22. Hi Mike,

    I have been running openelec on a dual boot setup in my ASUS chromebox and have used your guide to successfully run the program. I have recently decided to switch it to a stand alone setup but encountered some issues. I have followed the steps above but unable to get past the part where you have to reboot your computer using the USB stick. When I press ESC to choose the device, it is giving me the message Booting from USB Device….Missing operating system. Do you know what I am doing wrong?

    I would really appreciate your help. Thanks.


    1. So after this step it is not working?

      Press 6 to create the OpenELEC install media on the 2nd Jump Drive
      Press the Escape key [ESC]at the boot menu and then select the Jump Drive from the list to install OpenELEC

      Did you remove the firmware backup jump drive from the Chromebox before installing OpenElec on the 2nd jump drive?

  23. Hi Mike,

    After a little bit reading, I was able to determine that the issue was with the install media. To fix it, I simply downloaded the disk image version and created the install media as per instructions on the OpenELEC wiki (“,).

    It took me quite a bit to find out but my ASUS chromebox is working now on a stand alone set up.


  24. Hi Mike, I’m stuck at rebooting from Hard Disk. I must have select booting from hard disk during the install process. How do I get it to boot from jump drive to install OpenElec? I may have brick my box.

    1. Go back to the steps where you are at the command prompt to create the boot media – you should be OK from there I think 🙂

  25. Mike, thanks for the help and providing this shortcut page. I’m a beginner at this and it was very helpful. Everything is working now. Take care

  26. After Step 6 when I rebooted it went to “boot from hard disk”. One of the questions during step 5 asks if you want to boot from a USB, select y/n. I selected n. I create the install to the USB, but then went back through step 6 and selected to save the install to the hard disk.
    After that, restarted and it went to “boot from hard disk” and sat there. 30 minutes later I restarted it to try to get it to boot from USB but when I turn it on I just get a blue screen. Like it’s not triggering the HDMI to turn on at all.

    Did I brick the unit?

      1. Plain blue screen, which says “no information received”. Same screen that shows if I set the TV input to something with nothing plugged in.
        The white power light comes on, but nothing happens. I think choosing to tell it not to boot from USB may have screwed me up. Now I can’t use the recovery tool and the hard drive is blank, it doesn’t even try to boot to the seabios.

  27. Hey Mike!
    Great tutorial! I have been running Openelec and Kodi 14.0 successfully on my chromebox for almost a year now thanks to your post. Question: how do I update to Kodi 15.0 on the chromebox? I can’t seem to find anything online about it. Would it be possible to put a dummy’s guide together for this?

      1. Hey Mike,

        I have already updated OpenElec, but I don’t know how to update Kodi from 14.0 to the new 15.0. Does that make sense?


      2. Hi Tony,

        According to the link you have to download the update and then copy it to the update folder on your OpenELEC Chromebox and then reboot your Chromebox. That should be all you need to do 🙂


  28. Hey mike, I hope you can help me. I purchased a chromebox from a friend with kodi 14.2 on it. I loved it so much I thought it would make an awesome groomsman gift for my upcoming wedding. I went out and purchased 5 chromeboxes and THOUGHT I could just copy from one SSD to another one and it would work. Well when I boot the chromeboxes i get chromeos missing or corrupt. If i place any of the SSD’s in the original chromebox they all boot right up to kodi. Is there anything I can do short of reinstalling chromeOS and installing kodi on each box individually. I’m hoping theres a quick fix since kodi is on the SSD but it just doesnt boot to it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  29. Is there a particular way to safely remove a USB stick from Chromebox? Or can I simply remove it after finishing writing files?

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