Have an old Windows laptop at home and don't know what to do with it? You'll learn today how to turn it into a Chromebook by installing on it Chrome OS for free and voila, now you have a new and fun computer. We will be downloading and installing an Operating Sustem called CloudReady, which is a free version of Chromium OS (similar to Chrome OS, used on Chromebooks). The installation steps are similar for a laptop or a desktop computer.
Download the Operating System
Simply download the OS here. The file is less than 700 MB in size. Note that there is a 64 bit and a 32 bit version. Depending on the computer type you want to install Chrome OS, select the version you need. If you are not sure if the computer is a 64 bit or 32 bit, simply Google your computer brand and number (usually printed on the front or back) followed by "specks" word and you'll find the details there.
If you decide to install Chrome OS on the old rusty laptop you didn't used since years, chances are that it is a 32 bit computer.
Things You'll Need to Install Chrome OS
- An old laptop or a desktop PC where to install Chrome OS
- A 8GB or 16GB USB stick to create the installer
- A Mac, Windows PC or Chromebook running Chrome browser
- An internet connection (since we are installing a browser based OS)
- Unzip the downloaded Chrome OS zip file
- From your Chrome browser, navigate to this link and install (click on the Add to Chrome) the Chromebook Recovery Utility extension.
- Navigate to your Apps page in Chrome browser and the Chromebook Recovery Utility will show up there.
- Launch the App and click on the "Get started" button.
- Locate the gray gear icon in the top right and select "Use local image"
- Now select the unzipped OS file and follow the onscreen instructions.
- When prompted, insert the 8GB or 16GB USB stick into your computer.
- You have now successfully created the USB installer.
- Turn off the computer on which you want to install the Chrome OS and plug in the installer USB
- Boot from USB (on Dell, HP and Lenovo press F12 when the Logo appears. On other computers is usually the F1 or F12 key).
- Follow the onscreen instructions and wait for the installer to finish.
- After the installation is done, the computer will shut down. Disconnect the installer USB and turn on the computer again.
- Complete your installation by adding your Google account and eventually your network details if you decided to skip this step during the installation.
- Done. You now have a fun new toy to play with.
What is Chrome OS?
Basically Chrome OS is an Operating System designed to by fast and dedicated to those that are doing all their stuff online. From reading emails, chatting, listening to music, using online document editors like Google docs to playing online games. If that type of a person are you, than you might not need a "full" computer OS. Just think about if it makes sense to you to open your computer if the internet is down. The guys from Google are explaining it better:
Now you know what Chrome OS is and how to install it for free on your old PC or laptop. Let us know how it worked out.
P.S. Microsoft works on a alternative Cloud based OS called Windows 10 Cloud. We have covered it in depth here.