Last week, numerous Chromebook users reported a CPU-crippling bug had arrived in the latest incremental update to version 91 of Chrome OS. Shortly thereafter, Google pumped the brakes on the update and paused the server which essentially reverted the most current version of Chrome OS to the previous 91.0.4472.114 that rolled out in mid-June. For users on the newer version that weren’t experiencing massive CPU usage, there was really nothing to do. The update should be working properly and reverting isn’t a necessity. For those who did roll back or perhaps never updated in the first place, an unforeseen side effect of the pause appeared in the form of a broken Linux container.
If you are on version 91.0.4472.114 of Chrome OS and you are attempting to install the Linux container for the first time, you will find – like me – that Crostini prompts you to update Chrome OS. The problem is, there isn’t an update available. My initial thought was that the Linux container was looking for the newer version of the OS and the unexpected pause on the update server was gumming up the works. However, our resident Linux expert Luke Short discovered that the Linux error was happening across the board in the Beta and Developer channels as well. After some digging, Luke has demised that this could be stemming from the DLC server used by Crostini. Thankfully, Luke is much smarter than me and he has found a temporary workaround for those needing to access the Linux container.
The aforementioned flag in Luke’s tweet refers to the new update server for Crostini’s downloadable content. This server is responsible for package updates to the Linux container and possibly, future containerized software such as Borealis. (Steam on Chrome OS) Disabling this flag will immediately alleviate the roadblock between you and the Linux container. To do so, point your browser to
chrome://flags and search for “crostini” in the search bar. There will be a couple of flags on the list. Find the one that says
crostini-use-dlc and set it to “disabled.” You will be prompted to restart your browser. Make sure you have saved any work in other apps or tabs and click that restart button. Once Chrome relaunched, you should be able to launch Crostini from the settings menu under “developers” or simply click the Terminal app in the app launcher. Easy, peasy. It’s a temporary fix but it works perfectly and is a much-needed workaround while Google squashes whatever bugs that caused this issue in the first place. Big shout out to our contributor Luke Short for finding this fix.