Have an previous laptop or pc? Give it new existence with Chrome OS Flex

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Do you have an aged laptop or personal computer sitting down in the corner of your place of work, gathering dust and taking up room? Alternatively of stating that you are going to uncover a use for it, a person working day, just take a number of minutes out of your working day to give it new everyday living by installing Google’s totally free working technique, Chrome OS Flex. In essence, Chrome OS Flex turns any pc it can be installed on into a Chrome OS device, offering that pile of electronics a renewed objective. 

Below I am going to stroll you as a result of the process of putting in Chrome OS Flex, which is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. Ideal now, Chrome OS Flex is in early access, by way of Google’s dev channel, so not all options will function, and not just about every notebook and configuration will be supported. So, assume to operate into a several bugs or issues when using it as Google irons out the closing develop. 

Process demands to install Chrome OS Flex

You can find a very extended checklist of gadgets on Google’s Chrome OS Flex guidance site, each and every one marked with different ranges of guidance. I wouldn’t check out the listing as something that if your laptop or laptop is not on the checklist you cannot try out Chrome OS Flex. In simple fact, I utilized a Huawei MateBook D — which is not on the record at all — for this really article. 

Google does list the least gadget necessities for a Pc, Mac, or Linux device to run Chrome OS Flex. In this article it is, taken right from a Google assist web page:

Minimum device prerequisites:

  • Architecture: Intel or AMD x86-64-little bit compatible machine
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Internal storage: 16 GB
  • Bootable from a USB travel
  • BIOS: Total administrator obtain. You can expect to have to have to boot from the Chrome OS Flex USB installer and make some adjustments in the BIOS if you run into difficulties.
  • Processor and graphics: Parts created ahead of 2010 may possibly end result in a bad knowledge.
  • Note: Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, and 3650 graphics hardware do not meet Chrome OS Flex efficiency specifications.

As you can see, the necessities are small. Chrome OS Flex is intended to operate on, additional or less, any laptop or computer constructed just after 2010. 

Other prerequisites

In addition to a pc that satisfies the minimum amount specifications, you are going to will need a computer with the Chrome browser and an 8GB USB push that you will use to flash the functioning procedure to the old laptop. 

Create a Chrome OS Flex USB installer


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

To set up Chrome OS Flex on another laptop or computer, you can very first require to produce what is actually identified as a USB Installer. The USB push has all of the files and information needed to set up the working system. Google manufactured it straightforward to develop the installer utilizing the Chromebook Restoration Utility extension. Sure, it’s an extension in the Chrome browser. Great, huh? 

You want to insert the extension to your browser from the Chrome Internet Store. This is a immediate backlink to it

As soon as it’s added, open up the extension and then stick to the prompts in the window. The procedure consists of formatting the USB drive you are making use of (erasing all the things which is presently on it, so make positive it would not have nearly anything critical). On the second monitor, you are questioned to detect your Chromebook. Click on Choose a product from a record, followed by the Producer dropdown, then find Google Chrome OS Flex in the checklist and find it. Subsequent, click Choose a product or service and click on the only choice, Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable). Eventually, click Continue.

From listed here, hook up the USB travel to your pc, choose it from the dropdown, and click Continue adopted by Produce now. The extension will choose a couple minutes to download all of the vital information, and then produce them to the USB travel you’re applying. 

Really feel absolutely free to go for a walk, get a cup of coffee, or do some buying on Amazon while the extension does its occupation. It took below 5 minutes for me, but a great deal of that is dependent on how speedy your online link is. 

How to install Chrome OS Flex on a Computer system, Mac, or Linux device


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

As soon as the set up drive has been produced, you are ready to try out or set up Chrome OS Flex on your old laptop or computer. 

With the previous computer system turned off, plug the USB installation push into it. Push the ability button, and then right away start urgent your computer’s boot vital. If you really don’t know what that is, Google has a list of popular keys damaged down by manufacturer.

On a Mac, for case in point, you keep the Solution vital. On a Dell, you can press F12. If your laptop or computer is just not on the listing, you may have to restart it a number of situations and try various keys whilst it really is booting up. Alternatively, you can look for your laptop product additionally the boot key to obtain it. 

The method from this issue will vary centered on the style of laptop or computer, but the vital steps have to have you to pick the USB set up drive as the push you want to boot the computer system from, which in turn reboots the computer, launching the Chrome OS Flex installation instrument. 

If you have difficulties with this step, I propose hunting for your unique computer system model alongside with “How to boot from USB” in the query. 

After you’ve booted from the USB set up push, you are asked if you want to examination Chrome OS Flex prior to completely wiping your old computer’s generate. If that is the route you pick out, then the OS will run on the USB travel. 

Or, if you have presently made up your head, set up Chrome OS Flex and comply with the prompts. You are going to want to have your Wi-Fi information handy, and after it truly is all accomplished you can expect to want to signal in using a Google account — so make absolutely sure you have that data close by as very well. 

Just after the installation completes, your laptop or computer will reboot and you are going to be greeted by the standard Chrome OS indicator-in webpage, exactly where you can then log in with your Google account and start employing your outdated laptop, with a brand name new functioning process.