Changing Chromebox Modes – What I’ve learned

Recently at work we were discussing using Google Meet devices because of the ease of use and ability to basically make a room a resource instead of really being tied to a laptop – but then realised that the specialised hardware for Google Meet is actually rather expensive.

Instead of spending $2000-$4000AUD on hardware to find out if the experience would be worthwhile, first I tried ChromeOS flex on a Macmini and was unable to convert it to a meetbox. I then looked to the second hand market to see if anyone had Chromeboxes for sale as I’d read that there was an ability to convert them into “Meet” mode upon setup – sure enough there was a few around.

The first I purchased of Facebook Marketplace, an ASUS CN60. It was only $50 so I thought why not here is an opportunity to learn. I’ll outline below some of the things that I came up against


Caveat emptor with anything second hand, once I got the device home I used the Chromebook Recovery Utility to create an image file, and reimaged the device – once this was done I ran through the setup

It eventually gets to a “determining device enrolment” and then says “this chromebook is registered to domainx setting up” or something along those lines. I thought the full flash should of sorted that out, but turns out I was wrong. At this point, I thought it may be easier to get another device, so I found one on Ebay and ordered in the meantime $68.75AUD delivered.

Whilst there is ways around this by way of flashing the bios they were long winded and required specialised hardware that I didn’t have on hand. So I ended up being able to track down the domain owner using some OSINT and they kindly “deprovisioned” the device – without this it was practically useless to me, powerwashing didn’t work, nor did a factory reset. Once they deprovisioned though, the device went into wipe mode and I was free to use the device as if I owned it.


From factory (or at least I’m told from Factory) the devices are either set in “user” mode or “meet” mode. User mode is basically like a chromebook, you login and you get a webbrowser and ChromeOS. Meet mode, you lode straight into Google Meet application where you just enter a meet code or press a button to join any meetings from a main screen.


If like me you went searching about these devices you would of seen a bunch of information about “once you are at the setup screen just press Ctrl +Alt + H to convert to Meet/Hangout mode” – seems simple enough, however after a certain version of ChromeOS google removed this option.

So down the next Rabbit Hole I went, how do we convert this device into a meetbox? The keyboard shortcuts didn’t work. I could get into developer mode, but then could never get a terminal to issue any of the commands required. So here is what I ended up doing


If the instructions below don’t work you may need to reimage first, and then put the device into developer mode

1. Boot the Chromebox into Recovery mode: put a paper clip or similar into the reset button, and boot the device. You will see a message about having to insert a USB with ChromeOS, don’t worry about that

2. Press ctrl + d – you will then get a message about OS Verification being off and that to proceed, press the reset button again – do that

3. You will be back at a screen saying “OS Verification Off” – press ctrl + d again and you should then finally be booted into developer mode

Now – if you’re lucky you should be able to press ctrl + alt + F2 and get dumped straight into a terminal, but if you’re not lucky….

1. On the Welcome screen click on “Enable Debugging Features”

2. Click on “Proceed

Note upon reboot if you get the OS Verification screen again, just press ctrl+d and it will boot past it into developer mode

3. Click “Enable Debugging Features” again (yes again…)

4. Set a root password and click on “Enable” this one is important make sure you know EXACTLY what it is

5. Good new you can now SSH into your chromebox, so make sure you find its IP address (this can be done by clicking any of the connections, or clicking the bottom right and going to wifi and creating a connection

6. Use another computer to SSH into the device you need to enter the command like this ssh root@IPADDRESS-OF-CHROMEBOX e.g. ssh root@ and then press enter – you need to enter your password and then press enter again. Provided you entered the information correctly you should see this:

Congratulations we can now issue commands in the shell and we have root access


Shout out to this youtube channel for outlining these and to this reddit post for explaining what the original value that was changed was

Device is in Meet / Hangout Mode and you want Normal mode

First of all issue the command below

localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -l

It will produce an output and should have a line that says


We’ll rewrite that using this command

localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -s “oem_device_requisition”=“none”

If you want to make sure it worked, rerun localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -l and ensure the the line has updated

If it did, type sudo reboot and press enter, once the device reboots you should be back to normal mode

Device is in Normal Mode and you want Meet Mode

This was exactly what I was trying to do.

localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -l

Check and see if there is an “oem_device_requisition” line, if there is not, this is why the device was booting straight to normal mode

To update it we just need to issue this command

localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -s “oem_device_requisition”=“remora”

Again feel free to run localhost ~ # vpd -i RW_VPD -l and ensure your text got written, if it has again sudo reboot and once rebooted you should be in Meet mode!

Thats it for getting the device into Meet mode! But there are more steps…


During setup you can say you want to setup as an enterprise or work device and you’ll be prompted to enter a workspace email and sign in.

If the device is in Meet mode and you don’t have a meet licence you will get an error. You can purchase meet licences using the instructions here – you may also need an enterprise enrolment licence

Once you have purchased the licence, sign in again and the meet application should launch normally. There you go! Meet device ready to go – you’ll need to plugin a USB Cam / Microphone but you’ve got a functional Meet device for a fraction of the price of the new hardware

Newer hardware is much better, better cameras, compatibility etc and are recommend over buying second hand devices


The other Chromebox I’m still working on, it has a separate issue where it says “Network unavailable” even though a network is available. If I manage to figure that one out I’ll blog it to.

Even though this took way longer than just buying compatible hardware, its allowed me to test whether I should or not at a much lower cost, and repurposed a device that was likely to just become more e-waste

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