Basic Chrome Shell commands for Beginners

Chrome OS doesn't lock users from accessing the internals. It allows users to access the services, policies and diagnostic tools using it's custom shell - Chrosh. In this article, we are going to take brief review of Chrome Shell and some useful commands.

Chrome OS is based on Linux operating system and so it allows the developers the access to the underlying shell interface. Entire Chrome OS being customized to be accessed right from the browser, so the shell too can be found there. All you have to do is write the command that opens the chrome shell also known as Crosh. Do note that even though it is Linux based operating system, it may not give you all the Linux terminal command access in your Chrome Shell.

There are many commands that allow you to connect to SSH server, monitor background service, debug network problems and perform hardware and device tests. Depending on your requirement the commands will be different.

In order to open the command prompt, follow the steps below.

1. Use the following key combination on your Chrome desktop.


You'll find the Chrome shell as shown in the image below.

In order to know what commands you are allowed to use in the shell, type the following command.


This command should show you some of the basic shell commands that you can use in the Chrome shell. If you want to work with advanced set of shell commands then use the following command below:


To access the shell interface type the following command:


When you type this command it opens the shell interface for you to execute your other commands. Do note that if you have disabled the developer access then it won't let you get into shell. You have to enable the developer access. After that step all you have to do is use username as sudo and password chronos. This should give you developer level access to the shell.

Note: on certain Chrome OS devices, you must have the developer setting enabled.

You can access the normal desktop interface back and forth using ALT + TAB.

In order to exit from the chrome shell all you have to do is type EXIT command.

Developer Mode Console

Chrome Shell developer mode allows you to run additional commands to diagnose your system. You can also set few options for entire system right from this mode. You can control some of the desktop services and other device background services using this mode. Here are some safe commands that you can use.

1. systrace

This command allows you to do system tracing and it also does the job of capturing logs for debugging purpose.

2. packet_capture

This command does the tracking of incoming and outgoing packets.

There are few other advanced commands that you can use with the developer mode. However not all of them are safe to use. So we'll stick our focus towards the safe commands to be used right from the command line itself.


The ssh command allows you to connect to server. Once connected you can then use the ssh server as per your need. If you don't want to use the ssh from the developer console then you can use the utility from the Google Chrome store. You can also use this command to find out number of hosts you are connected to.


Chrome OS like any other operating system allows you to manage tasks. So in order to access those tasks you need to use this command. You can find out which apps, tabs and processes are running in the background. You can check out low level processes using this command. If you don't find any information about process anywhere else then this is the place where you can find it. Information like your device uptime and the amount of time the device was in use is shown here.


This command is not only helpful for diagnosing your Chromebook audio but it also allows you to record audio. You can use the sound command in following way.

sound record 5

This allows your Chromebook to run the audio recording for 5 seconds. After finishing you can save the audio. In order to play the sound you just recorded, follow the command.

sound play


There are times when you want to diagnose the network related issues in your computer. In such case all you have to do is use this command. It lets you perform network diagnostic tests and also allows you to save the output in txt file. You can use the output file later to view issues with your network adapter.


Almost every operating system allows ping command. Chrome OS allows ping command so that you can trace the packets being sent. This way you can figure out if the packets are being dropped or not. This comes in handy to check the web server performance. If the ping command takes too much time then simply use CTRL + C to stop the packet transfer.

There are many other commands that you can use for development, debugging and diagnosing the issues on Chrome OS. Most obvious use of the commands is the usage to control the background service. Depending on the type of requirement you have to access the developer shell, the need of commands will differ in use.



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