Have an outdated laptop or computer system? Give it new existence with Chrome OS Flex

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Do you have an previous laptop or computer system sitting down in the corner of your business, collecting dust and taking up area? In its place of expressing that you are going to obtain a use for it, a single working day, get a number of minutes out of your working day to give it new everyday living by setting up Google’s no cost operating method, Chrome OS Flex. Essentially, Chrome OS Flex turns any pc it is really put in on into a Chrome OS gadget, giving that pile of electronics a renewed objective. 

Underneath I am going to wander you as a result of the course of action of installing Chrome OS Flex, which is suitable with Windows, Mac, and Linux computer systems. Right now, Chrome OS Flex is in early obtain, by way of Google’s dev channel, so not all attributes will get the job done, and not each individual laptop and configuration will be supported. So, assume to run into a handful of bugs or troubles whilst working with it as Google irons out the closing establish. 

Method necessities to install Chrome OS Flex

There is certainly a very lengthy listing of equipment on Google’s Chrome OS Flex assist page, each and every a person marked with different levels of aid. I would not check out the record as a little something that if your laptop computer or laptop is just not on the checklist you can not consider Chrome OS Flex. In actuality, I employed a Huawei MateBook D — which is not on the list at all — for this incredibly posting. 

Google does list the minimal unit demands for a Computer, Mac, or Linux machine to operate Chrome OS Flex. Here it is, taken specifically from a Google guidance page:

Least product necessities:

  • Architecture: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit compatible unit
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Inside storage: 16 GB
  • Bootable from a USB generate
  • BIOS: Complete administrator obtain. You’ll have to have to boot from the Chrome OS Flex USB installer and make some changes in the BIOS if you run into challenges.
  • Processor and graphics: Components manufactured in advance of 2010 might final result in a poor knowledge.
  • Notice: Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, and 3650 graphics hardware do not satisfy Chrome OS Flex efficiency criteria.

As you can see, the needs are small. Chrome OS Flex is created to operate on, a lot more or a lot less, any personal computer designed after 2010. 

Other necessities

In addition to a computer that satisfies the least requirements, you’ll want a computer system with the Chrome browser and an 8GB USB drive that you can use to flash the functioning procedure to the old laptop. 

Develop a Chrome OS Flex USB installer


Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

To install Chrome OS Flex on an additional personal computer, you are going to to start with will need to generate what’s called a USB Installer. The USB travel has all of the documents and facts vital to set up the operating method. Google designed it easy to produce the installer employing the Chromebook Restoration Utility extension. Sure, it’s an extension in the Chrome browser. Great, huh? 

You want to add the extension to your browser from the Chrome World-wide-web Shop. This is a direct url to it

At the time it really is included, open up the extension and then comply with the prompts in the window. The approach consists of formatting the USB drive you happen to be employing (erasing anything which is at present on it, so make sure it does not have everything important). On the next display, you’re questioned to detect your Chromebook. Click on Choose a product from a list, adopted by the Manufacturer dropdown, then find Google Chrome OS Flex in the checklist and select it. Next, click Select a products and click on on the only alternative, Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable). Last but not least, click Go on.

From here, join the USB generate to your computer system, find it from the dropdown, and click Continue adopted by Make now. The extension will consider a number of minutes to obtain all of the essential data files, and then produce them to the USB drive you are using. 

Experience free of charge to go for a wander, get a cup of espresso, or do some buying on Amazon even though the extension does its occupation. It took below 5 minutes for me, but a lot of that is dependent on how speedy your world wide web connection is. 

How to put in Chrome OS Flex on a Computer system, Mac, or Linux machine


Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

After the installation generate has been produced, you happen to be ready to attempt out or set up Chrome OS Flex on your aged laptop or computer. 

With the previous computer turned off, plug the USB set up travel into it. Press the ability button, and then right away commence pressing your computer’s boot critical. If you will not know what that is, Google has a record of frequent keys damaged down by brand name.

On a Mac, for instance, you maintain the Choice crucial. On a Dell, you are going to press F12. If your computer system just isn’t on the listing, you could have to restart it a few situations and attempt various keys even though it really is booting up. Alternatively, you can research your notebook product additionally the boot crucial to come across it. 

The method from this position will fluctuate dependent on the style of laptop or computer, but the necessary actions involve you to select the USB installation drive as the drive you want to boot the laptop from, which in convert reboots the pc, launching the Chrome OS Flex installation resource. 

If you have problems with this phase, I recommend seeking for your particular laptop or computer product together with “How to boot from USB” in the question. 

The moment you have booted from the USB put in push, you might be questioned if you want to check Chrome OS Flex ahead of absolutely wiping your previous computer’s push. If that’s the route you select, then the OS will run on the USB travel. 

Or, if you’ve got by now produced up your brain, set up Chrome OS Flex and abide by the prompts. You will want to have your Wi-Fi info helpful, and as soon as it is all carried out you will require to signal in using a Google account — so make sure you have that information nearby as well. 

Immediately after the set up completes, your pc will reboot and you can be greeted by the common Chrome OS indication-in web page, the place you can then log in with your Google account and start off making use of your outdated personal computer, with a manufacturer new running system.