Continuing on with my exploration of the Chrome OS leads me to digging a little deeper into the hardware. Actually, what made me first recognize the keyboard was different on my Chromebook was when I looked for the F2 key so i could enter BIOS/CMOS setup. No key and as it turns out. Getting to that kind of information may take me a couple blogs to describe.
As I looked for the answers it became apparent to me I was going to have to enter Chrome OS Developer Mode.
CAUTION: Going from Developer to Normal Mode and back will reset the user accounts. I think of it as a hardware reset.
The user account reset might not be a problem for developers, but for an explorer like myself it was a bit of a sacrifice since I'd set the chromebook up to run my Tablo* Over-The-Air TV DVR like I did. I suppose that device is for a future blog. OK, one more comment - I like the DVR. Not Tivo* level ease of use, but since the remote control is my tablet or laptop computer the remote can and I expect will get better over time w/o the same level of monthly payment.
Entering Developer Mode is a little different depending on the OEM - remember Chrome OS is a specific build by the computer manufacturer. For the HP Chromebook 14 I checked chromium.org and was directed to the Acer C720 process as the two computers share the same method for accomplishing the task.
Step 1: Recovery Mode, hold the ESC and Refresh keys and tap the Power key. I assume recovery mode is used if the OS image is corrupt.
You will see a dialog asking for an OS image, the HP presented me with this screen:
Not to worry, your OS is still in the condition it was when you pressed the ESC,Refresh,Power key sequence and you can return return back to the non-modified system by pressing the power button to power down the machine and then power up again back to original condition - user accounts still in-tact.
Step 2: Press Ctrl-D (no prompt, so this is the "secret" part of getting into developer mode)
Quickly you are presented with a screen saying press ENTER to turn off OS verification - which appears to be another phrase for developer mode, or at least an associated phrase. Pressing ENTER here clears the local data, user accounts, wireless settings, etc. You can still back out by pressing the ESC key.
When I pressed ENTER I got the screen below
After 30 seconds or so the computer made a BEEP sound, and gave me another warning.
Another few seconds and screen went black for a short moment and displayed this preparing screen that also included a single line ascii based status/time indicator.
I find the "might take a while" comment comforting. however, the timer was pretty accurate unlike my experience with another operating system's time estimates.
When the developer mode preparation finishes, there is another short black screen moment and the OS Verification is OFF message appears. After that, It looks like it did the first time I turned it on. Asking for language, country, & network. Now I guess I'll go see if the OS or the Chromebook with show me some more detail on the hardware in here.