Run Skype on Chromebook

Step-by-step instruction on running Skype on Chromebook

using ExaGear Desktop

Launch Skype on ARM Chromebook

Skype is an app popular among millions of people all over the world. And of course it’s available on many platforms. Unfortunately, some of them are still left out. Earlier we published an article on How to Run Skype on Raspberry Pi. And today we will cover Skype for ARM-based Chromebooks.

There is a browser version of Skype, but it doesn’t allow you to make voice and video calls, only instant messaging. In this post we’ll tell you how to get the full functionality of Skype on your ARM-based Chromebook with the help of ExaGear Desktop.

Chromebook is a Linux laptop, but by default it doesn’t have the standard Linux desktop environment (further in this post we’ll show you how to get Linux desktop environment along with the Chrome OS using Crouton). An ARM-based Chromebook will have ARM Linux, so you still won’t be able to run Skype. Fortunately there is ExaGear Desktop that allows running x86 applications on ARM devices. Simply follow our step-by-step instruction and you’ll be able to run Skype on your ARM-based Chromebook and make video and voice calls.

Chromebook test stand configuration


ASUS Chromebook Flip C100 based on ARM CPU


1.8 GHz


2 GB

Operating System

Chrome OS


Skype v4.3.0.37

Eltechs ExaGear Desktop for ARMv7 v1.5

Crouton installation instruction

Enable Developer Mode

When you use Crouton, you are actually running one operating system (Linux), but two environments on top of it — Chrome OS and a traditional Linux desktop. By default Chromebook is loaded in Normal (Verified) Mode of Chrome OS where users and programs can’t modify the underlying OS. Enabling the Developer Mode allows you to access Linux terminal within Chrome OS and get traditional Linux desktop installed.

Please note that your Chromebook’s local data will be cleared when you boot to developer mode. Back up your data before proceeding further.

To enable the developer mode on Chromebook hold down the ESC and Refresh keys and press the Power button. You’ll enter the recovery mode and see the following screen:

Enable Developer Mode. Step 1

Press Ctrl+D and see the prompt:

Enable Developer Mode. Step 2

Press ENTER and you’ll boot into the developer mode. This process takes up to 15 minutes.

Now each time your Chromebook is booted you’ll see the following screen:

 Enable Developer Mode. Step 3

This warning screen alerts you that Chromebook is in the developer mode and the normal Chrome OS security precautions don’t apply. You can’t permanently disable this warning screen, you’ll need to press Ctrl+D or wait 30 seconds to continue booting in the developer mode.

Install Crouton

Download the latest release of Crouton to your Chromebook from here:

Press Ctrl+Alt+T in Chrome OS to open the crosh terminal. Enter Linux shell mode by typing the ‘shell’ command in Terminal and pressing Enter key.

Install Crouton. step 1

Install Crouton Ubuntu 14.04lts with Xfce desktop:

$ sudo sh ~/Downloads/crouton -r trusty -t xfce

Installation process takes some time but all required software is downloaded and installed automatically. At the end of the installation process you’ll be asked to specify user name and password.

Install Crouton. Step 2

After successful installation enter Crouton session by running one of the following commands:

$ sudo enter-chroot startxfce4
$ sudo startxfce4

and Linux desktop environment will be booted:

Load Linux desktop environment

It is recommended to disable Xfce screensaver as it can cause graphical glitches in Chrome OS when running in the background. To do so go to Applications Menu -> Settings -> Screensaver and select  “Disable Screensaver” in the opened window.

Switch between environments

You now have traditional Linux desktop running alongside Chrome OS. You can switch back and forth between Chrome OS and Linux desktop using the “Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Back” and “Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Forward” keyboard shortcuts.

You can easily share files between Chrome OS and Linux, just use the Downloads directory in your home folder.

If you want to finish Linux desktop session, just log out of the desktop. You’ll then need to run the ‘sudo startxfce4’ command above to enter the Crouton again.

If you are looking for more information about Crouton check out Crouton’s readme here

Skype installation instruction

Enter Crouton session, open Terminal (command line) and execute the following command:

$ arch

The output of the command shows you that your device is based on ARMv7 CPU architecture. However, Skype is a closed-source application that won’t work on ARM. Fortunately you can use ExaGear Desktop that provides x86 Linux environment and enables running of x86 applications on ARM devices like ARM-based Chromebooks. To use ExaGear you need to purchase the license key for ExaGear Desktop for ARMv7. Than follow the instruction below.

Install ExaGear Desktop

Download ExaGear Desktop archive with installation packages and license key. Open Terminal and unpack the downloaded archive using the following command:

$ tar -xvzpf exagear-desktop-armv7.tar.gz

Update Ubuntu’s software repositories using the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

Install and activate ExaGear on your ARM device by running script in a directory with deb packages and one license key:

$ sudo ./

Launch guest x86 system

Please note that as long as there is no binfmt_misc kernel module in Crouton you can’t use ‘sudo’ in the guest x86 system (normally Linux images have this kernel module built in and ExaGear uses it to execute x86 SUID binaries). Therefore to run privileged commands in the guest x86 system please switch user to root in the host and than enter the guest system.

$ sudo su
$ exagear
Starting the shell in the guest image /opt/exagear/images/ubuntu-1404lts

Now you are in x86 environment that can be checked by running the ‘arch’ command:

$ arch

It is recommended to update apt-get repositories on the first launch of the guest system:

$ apt-get update

Install Skype

Download Skype:

$ wget

Install Skype:

$ dpkg -i skype-ubuntu-precise_4.3.0.37-1_i386.deb
$ apt-get install -f

Run Skype

You need to run Skype as a default user, not root. Therefore change the user and then run Skype:

$ su default_user_name
$ skype

Run Skype on ARM Chromebook

Final notes

It is worth noting that with ExaGear Desktop you can run other x86 apps on ARM Chromebook. For example, you can run Spotify and Dropbox Linux versions, Microsoft Office 2010 using Wine ( and old-school games like Heroes of Might and Magic 2, Arcanum, Fallout etc.

Please note that if you have an x86 Chromebook, i.e. Chromebook with x86 CPU architecture, then you don’t need to use ExaGear Desktop. In this case you can run Skype directly in Linux desktop environment provided by Crouton.

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ExaGear is registered trademark of Eltechs, Inc. Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Other trademarks and product names are the property of their respective owners.

  • Dennis Lockhart

    Great instructions and an innovative way of doing it on an ARM device.
    With the advent of ‘Android on Chrome’ for the Acer Flip and others soon to come,
    Skype and many other apps will be a whole lot easier to get, all without even venturing into Developer mode.