Do you have an old laptop lying around, which works, but is very outdated to run the latest OS and software? No don’t throw it out just yet, we have a solution for you, and guess what- It’s free!
Now we’re not asking you to upgrade your RAM or use an SSD, nothing of that sort at all. In-fact what we actually are going to do is simply install Chrome OS on it. Chrome OS is a very light operating system based on the Chrome browser. The hardware it currently runs on are very basic ARM based chipsets, and your old machines are far more powerful than these chipsets so your user experience is going to be nothing but bliss.
Moreover, It has a good bunch of apps by Google and other third party developers which aren’t power hungry, as compared to the Windows or Linux OS’es. You’ve got all of Google’s Apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets etc, and many other third party apps from the Chrome Web Store.
A New York based start-up called Neverware is using this project to help schools upgrade their old machines to perform better and stay up to date. The best part is that it’s available for free for home users, And we’ll do this in just 5 easy steps. Let’s get started.
Step 1: Checking compatibility with Neverware’s CloudReady system
You need to first check whether your current machine supports Neverware’s CloudReady system. Simply head over here to check the compatibility. Once done, you’ll need to decide whether you need a standalone installation or a dual-boot installation.
With a standalone installation, CloudReady will be installed as the only operating system on the computer. Any existing content on the computer’s hard drive will be erased and overwritten.
With a dual-boot installation, CloudReady will be installed alongside your existing Windows operating system. When your computer starts up, you will be given an option to select CloudReady or your previous copy of Windows.
Existing content on your computer’s hard drive will not be overwritten when CloudReady is installed. Not all computer models and operating system configurations are compatible with a dual-boot installation of CloudReady. Check the compatibility page for the machines that support dual-boot.
Also make sure you back up all your data before proceeding for any of these methods as there is always a risk of data loss, so back up just to be safe.
Step 2: Installing Chrome OS on the USB drive
Start by downloading your CloudReady installation file by going on this link. Don’t unzip the file as the steps ahead, will do it for you.
Open the Chrome web browser and install the Chromebook Recovery Utility plug-in from the Google Chrome Web Store.
To install it, visit the link and click “Add to Chrome. “After the plug-in has installed, click “Launch” from the Web Store page to open the Chromebook Recovery Utility.
In the Recovery Utility, click the gear icon on the upper right-hand side and select “Use Local Image”. Find and select the CloudReady .zip file that we downloaded earlier.
When prompted, insert an 8/16 GB USB drive that you want to turn into a CloudReady installer. Make sure it has no important files on it, as it will be completely erased. Select your USB drive from the drop-down menu and click “Continue” and then “Create Now.”
The process of creating your CloudReady USB installer will take around 20 minutes. Some Windows installations may display a security prompt, click “allow” to let the process proceed.
Note: The progress bar in the Chrome Recovery Utility may go over 100% and show incorrect time estimates. This is not a problem.
When the process has completed you will see a green check box. You can now remove your CloudReady USB installer and use it! You can create as many additional USB installers as you want using the process above.
Step 3: Booting with the USB drive
Once your thumb drive is ready, it’s time to load the OS on the hard drive. For this you’ll need to make sure that your machine must boot via the USB drive and not the on board hard drive.
You can change that by entering the Bios of the machine by either hitting Del or F2, depending on your system configuration, while keeping the USB drive plugged in.
Step 4: Installing Chrome OS on hard drive
Boot your computer from USB. When your CloudReady USB installer has finished starting, you will see a network configuration page. Ignore the network configuration box at the center of the screen – you do not need to configure networking before installing CloudReady.
Open the system tray by clicking on the bottom right corner of the screen, where the clock is. On the menu that appears, click the option labelled “Install CloudReady”.
An installation wizard will pop up to walk you through the steps for installation. Please read everything carefully – a standalone installation of CloudReady will erase everything on a computer.
Step 5: Setup after Installation
Once the installation is complete, you just need to sign in to your Google account and set things up like Wi-Fi, and customise the OS accordingly and enjoy your Chrome OS installation.