Enable Dev mode (root) the Samsung Series 5

Jerry Hildenbrand

Space Cowboy
Staff member
Oct 11, 2009
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Go forward at your own risk. Successful completion of these steps will leave you with a dev-mode enabled Chromebook with full access to bash and a password protected shell, but still running the official ChromeOS with the secure boot BIOS. You will not be able to change or install a custom version of Chromium without further modification. That's best left for another day.​

I can't stand not having full access to any hardware I buy, so I just had to track down the files to open my Samsung Series 5.

Step one -- gather the necessary tools and equipment

You will need a 4GB (or larger) USB flash drive. The drive will be wiped, so back up anything important before you proceed.
Download the official recovery software for the Series 5 from google DOWNLOAD LINK
You'll need to burn this image to your USB drive.
[INFO]Linux instructions:
Extract the file you downloaded
Plug your USB stick into your computer
open a terminal and run:
sudo fdisk -l
You will see the name of the USB stick. Remember it. For this tutorial, we're going to assume it's /dev/sdc
don't screw this up. be sure you have the right drive name​
exit fdisk, and in your terminal enter:
sudo dd if=chromeos-recovery.bin of=/dev/sdc
replace chromeos-recovery.bin with the name of the file you extracted
replace /dev/sdc with the correct drive
when finished, unmount and remove the USB stick[/INFO]

[INFO]Windows Instructions
Extract the file you downloaded
Download software that will burn an image to a removable disk. In this tutorial we're using Image Writer
Rename the extracted file so that it has a .img extension instead of a .bin extension
Insert your USB drive and verify it's drive letter.
Start Image Writer, and make sure it's set to write to your USB stick
don't screw this up. be sure you have the correct drive letter​
choose the image you extracted and renamed, and write it to the USB stick using Image Writer
When complete, unmount and remove the USB drive.[/INFO]

[NOTE]I don't do Mac. You're on your own as far as writing the image. The rest of the process is the same[/NOTE]

Keep this USB stick. It's your way back no matter how bad you hose things up.

Step two -- activate Dev Mode and reinstall the OS

Turn on your S5.
Make sure it's plugged in.
Running out of power or interrupting this part will make bad things happen. Plug it in. Keep it plugged in. Also know that any files you have saved to your file shelf will be erased, as will your setup. Nothing from the cloud will be lost.​
On the right side, next to the USB port is a little door. Open it.
Inside, you'll see a SIM card slot and a tiny toggle switch.

image credit Google. Unfortunately, those instructions are wrong as hell :p
Use something tiny (I used a dental tool) flip the switch to the REAR
Power off your S5.
When it restarts, you'll get a warning about entering recovery mode. Hit the spacebar and do it.
It's going to tell you you have a corrupted OS or recovery. That's OK, you have the official to reload sitting on your USB stick. Insert the USB stick when prompted.
Wait. When finished, it will tell you to reboot or wait 2 minutes. You'll have to wait.
When the S5 reboots, hit ctrl-D at the warning screen. You'll have to do this at every boot.
As mentioned, your persistent partition was wiped. Go through setup again.

Step three -- set up the password on your shell

Open VT-2 by pressing ctl+alt+-> (the forward arrow, above the number 3)
You can close VT-2 and return to the browser by ctl+alt+<- (the back arrow on the top row, over then number 2)
login with the username chronos
at the terminal, type:
sudo bash
You are now root, with no password. Screw that. We have to fix it. While you're root, type the following exactly as written:
echo "chronos:$(openssl passwd -1)" > /mnt/stateful_partition/etc/devmode.passwd
at the prompt, enter your desired password
verify your desired password
then return to your browser (ctl+alt+<-)

You now have full access, with sudo, to the Linux bash shell. Want an easy way to get there, and still keep the browser open?

at the prompt, enter:
you now are in the Bash shell, and can switch between windows with the switcher key or alt+tab.
You can open as many terms as you like, and switch between them.
To close terminals, type exit until you return to your browser window.

Have fun.

Rolling it all back

[INFO]Flip the dev switch back to the off position (forward)
If you are sent to recovery, use your USB stick to restore.[/INFO]

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