Google announced Chrome OS Flex earlier this year to revitalize the aging Windows PC lineup and older Macbooks. Since Google supports third-party hardware, Chrome OS Flex is distinguished by its streamlined installation process and extended support window. Previously, the beta version of Chrome OS performed flawlessly. Chrome OS Flex’s stable build makes it look even more impressive. This guide explains Chrome OS Flex and how to install it on a Windows laptop, PC, or Macbook.
About Chrome OS Flex:
A few years ago, Google acquired Neverware, a New York-based company that was working on developing CloudReady. It allows users to breathe new life into older-generation PCs and run Chrome OS. CloudReady was essentially built on the open-source Chromium OS base. Google took over this project in February 2022 and released the first beta of Chrome OS Flex (CloudReady 2.0) based on Chrome OS. It was Google’s official desktop operating system, with support for Google Assistants and other Google services. It came with full Linux support, but the Google Play Store did not appear. After 6 months, Google released the stable version of Chrome OS Flex with support for over 295 certified devices.
Google offers Chrome OS Flex for free for enterprise users and for educational purposes. Normal users can also install Chrome OS Flex on their old Macbooks and Windows PCs. The main goal behind this project is to take advantage of old hardware and offer fast performance on par with modern computers. Since Google maintains this project for hundreds of devices, you can expect greater support from countless different manufacturers, including Apple, HP, Asus, and more.
Prerequisites for installing Chrome OS Flex
- A USB flash drive with a storage capacity of 8 GB or more.
- A Windows PC with an Intel or AMD x86 64-bit processor (ARM processors are not yet supported).
- 4 GB of RAM or more
- The internal memory must be at least 16 GB.
- Check if your PC is certified to run Chrome OS Flex here. If your PC is on this list, you’re good to go. If your model doesn’t appear on this list, don’t worry. You can still proceed with the installation. Chrome OS Flex will also work on non-certified PCs, with the only difference being that some of the features may be limited. Over time, Google will add more computers to its certified list.
How to flash Chrome OS on a USB drive.
- First, you should install the Chrome extension of the Chromebook Recovery Utility this link. This is an extension that allows you to flash the Chrome OS Flex build to a USB drive.
- Then open the Chromebook recovery program and plug in your USB drive. Once you have done that, click “Get started”.
- On the next page, click the “Select model from a list” option.
- Now click on the drop-down menu “Select manufacturer” and then select “Google Chrome OS Flex.” From the next drop-down menu, you should select “Chrome OS Flex” and then click “Next.”
- Select the USB stick and then click “Next”.
- Finally, click “Create Now” and the Chromebook Recovery Utility will create a bootable Chrome OS Flex drive. The entire process can take between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on your internet speed.
How to install Chrome OS Flex on your Windows laptop or Macbook
- Once the flash process is complete, you should reboot your PC and then press the boot button. Keep pressing the boot button until you see the boot selection page. If you are installing Chrome OS Flex on a custom-built PC, find the boot key based on your motherboard on the Internet.
- On the boot selection page, you should select the USB drive using the arrow keys and then press Enter.
- Now you will see that the “Welcome to CloudReady 2.0” screen has appeared. Here you should click on “Get Started.” Then go through the instructions on the screen and log in with your Google Accountant.
- You should explore Chrome OS Flex before installing it on your hard drive. This way, you can check the compatibility of your Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mouse, keyboard, touchpad, and other hardware devices.
- If you’re sure you want to install Chrome OS Flex, open the quick settings panel in the lower-right corner, then click Sign Out.
- Click on “Install CloudReady” at the bottom left.
- Finally, you should click “Install CloudReady 2.0” and then click “Install” again. Note that this step will erase your entire hard drive, so make sure you create a full backup before performing this action. Once the installation is complete, you should shut down your PC and then remove the USB drive.
- That’s it. Chrome OS Flex will launch smoothly on your device. You can then activate the new Chrome OS Launcher on Chrome OS Flex and use all its features.