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Chrome OS

How to install Chrome OS on your old Mac or PC

By Sanuj Bhatia February 17, 2022, 8:30 am
How to install Chrome OS on Mac or Windows Source: Pocketnow
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We have all been in a situation when our laptop (or PC) comes to the end of its life cycle. It becomes slow and difficult to use. We hang on to it for a while before it finally rests in the desk drawer for the rest of its life. Google has a unique solution for these devices that might give them a reboot.

Google unveiled its new Chrome OS Flex. The new OS comes with most of the features of Chrome OS, like integration with Android, Google Assistant, and cloud sync (for settings, password, bookmarks, etc) with other devices. It's free and you can install easily it on your old Mac or Windows device and give it a breath of fresh air.

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But before we go ahead and explain the installation procedure of Chrome OS, let's learn why you should go with Chrome OS and not some other operating system, pre-requirements that you need to take care of before Chrome OS installation, and then finally the guide to install the OS.

Why should you install Chrome OS Flex?

Chrome OS Flex Source: Google

Chrome OS is Google's operating system that is designed to run on low-end hardware. It's simple to set up and easy to navigate. It's a web browser at its core but still has that desktop experience feel. In addition to running Chrome smoothly, Chrome OS can do almost everything you would do on a Windows or a Mac device. Want to watch Netflix? Make presentations on Google Slides? Stream sports? Search Google? Attend online meetings via Zoom? Chrome OS has got you back.

But why not install another operating system? Windows and Ubuntu are viable options, but they are not optimized for old hardware. If your laptop cannot run the OS it came with, it probably won't be able to run other operating systems, such as Ubuntu. Chrome OS Flex is a lightweight operating system that can even run on 10-year old hardware. Plus, it's free to download and install.

Installing Chrome OS on Mac or PC: Things you need to know

Chrome OS on Mac Source: Pocketnow

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind before installing Chrome OS:

  • Chrome OS Flex is still in the "preview" stage, so expect a few bugs here and there.
  • Chrome OS Flex doesn't support Android apps at the moment, but it may arrive in the future.
  • You'll need a device to create an installation image and a USB drive with at least 8 GB of storage. P.S.: All contents on the USB drive will be erased.
  • Google warns that some SanDisk USB flash drives might not work "from time to time."
  • You can check if you're device is supported or not by going to the full list of certified devices.
  • If your old device is not on the list of official supported devices, don't worry. If your old computer meets the hardware requirements, you'll be able to install Chrome OS Flex on the device. Though Google says it doesn't guarantee performance, functionality, or stability for those devices.

Here are the minimum requirements from Google to run Chrome OS Flex on your old computer:

  • Architecture: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit compatible device
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Internal storage: 16 GB
  • Bootable from USB drive
  • BIOS: Full administrator access. You'll need to boot from the Chrome OS Flex USB installer and make some adjustments in the BIOS if you run into issues.
  • Processor and graphics: Components made before 2010 might result in a poor experience.

Note: Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, and 3650 graphics hardware do not meet Chrome OS Flex performance standards.

How to install Chrome OS on Mac or PC

First, we'll need to download the installation file and create a bootable USB drive. For this:

  1. Head over to the Chrome Web Store and install the "Chromebook Recovery Utility" extension.
  2. Next, click the extension icon and open the Chromebook Recovery Utility extension.
  3. Attach a USB thumb drive to your computing device. It'll be erased so make sure to back up any data that is in the drive.
  4. Now select Get started.
chrome os recovery utility Source: Pocketnow
  1. On the next page, click on Select a model from a list.
  2. Now, select Google Chrome OS Flex as the Manufacturer and Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable) as Product.
  3. After clicking on Continue, you'll be prompted to insert your USB drive.
  4. From the drop-down menu, select your USB drive. Click Continue > Create now.
chrome os flex install 2 Source: Pocketnow

Once the process is complete, turn off the laptop/PC on which you want to install Chrome OS Flex and follow these steps:

  1. After turning off the device you want to run Chrome OS Flex on, insert the Chrome OS Flex USB installer in the USB port of the device.
  2. Now, press the power button and the boot key to boot the system from the USB drive. As per Google, these are the boot keys for certified devices:
ManufacturerBoot key
AcerF2
AppleHold Option (next to the ⌘ key)
AsusDel
DellF12
GatewayF1
HPF9
IntelF2
LenovoF12
ToshibaF2 or F12
OtherTry pressing Esc, any of F1-F12 keys, or Enter
  1. Once you select the Chrome OS Flex USB Installer from the boot screen, you will be booted into the Chrome OS Flex operating system.
  2. Select Get started on the Welcome to CloudReady 2.0 screen.
  3. You can first try Chrome OS Flex on your old laptop. To do so, select Try it first.
  4. Sign in to your Google account and start exploring Chrome OS Flex.
  5. Once you reach the main screen, an option to Install CloudReady 2.0 will be presented at the bottom of the sign-in screen.
install chrome os flex 3 Source: Pocketnow
  1. Click on Install CloudReady 2.0.
  2. Installation will now take place. You'll see a message on the screen and the device will turn off automatically.
  3. Once the device switches off, wait for a few minutes.
  4. You can now turn on the device and start using Chrome OS Flex.

That's it. That's how you can get Chrome OS Flex running on your Mac or Windows laptop. Once you start using Chrome OS, you'll realize how optimized it is for older-generation hardware. Ran into some issues? Drop a comment and let us know. We'll be happy to help out.

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