ChromeOS SSH with Public / Private Keypairs

Update: The Secure Shell Native Client Chrome app now supports ARM chromebooks, and provides a better overall experience than the following.

Samsung's ARM-based Chromebook is still the #1 Best Seller in Laptop Computers on Amazon, and rightly so! Unfortunately for many of us, the Secure Shell chrome app doesn't work properly on ARM yet. That could be a deal breaker, right? Not so! Chrome may not have a built-in terminal, but ChromeOS does, even (with some restrictions) when not in Developer Mode, and it has an SSH client.

I don't allow passwords to connect to my servers, only keypairs. To use an ssh private key you have to jump through some extra hoops.

  • Download your key to the Downloads directory. I keep an encrypted copy of my key in Google Drive.
  • Press Ctrl-Alt-T to open a terminal tab.
  • At the crosh> prompt, type the following:
    • ssh
    • user <your-user-name>
    • host <your-host-name>
    • key <your-key-filename> (not the full path)
    • connect
Welcome to crosh, type 'help' for a list of commands.
crosh> ssh
ssh> user newbie
ssh> host
ssh> key id_rsa
ssh> connect
Enter passphrase for key '/home/chronos/user/.ssh/key-d0395ccd-28c4-4460-8d71-39c797bfb0ee': 
Last login: Tue Jan 15 21:48:48 2013 from

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