How I Installed Chrome OS Flex in 30 Minutes

Old Windows 7 PC

It is a very good display screen, however do you discover one thing lacking? That is appropriate. There are not any icons. This Home windows 7 PC was functionally ineffective.

Photograph: Stephen Vaughan Nichols

Certainly one of my favourite outdated computer systems is a Dell Inspiron One 2320. This All-In-One PC (AIO) with a 2.4GHz Intel Pentium Twin Core i5 Processor, 6GB of RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT525M, and a 320GB HDD is a good machine… for 2012. Ten years later? Not a lot.

However this one-time Home windows 7 PC nonetheless has a 23-inch high-resolution show. What it will probably’t do is run Home windows 10 simply effective, and let’s not even discuss Home windows 11. I can run Linux on it, however I have already got loads of Linux computer systems, so I attempted one thing completely different: I made a decision to put in Google Chrome OS to bend it.

additionally: How I revived three outdated computer systems with ChromeOS Flex

I left Home windows 7 on this machine, which is a customized accounting system. I disconnected it from the Web, as a result of operating Home windows 7 on a pc related to the Web is only a request to hack. Like most aged Home windows PCs, it is slowed all the way down to the purpose the place it is mainly ineffective. Simply turning it on will take – I am not kidding – three minutes.

However Chrome OS Flex, which is basically Linux, can run on low-powered computer systems. How low can it go? In accordance with Google, the minimal necessities for Chrome OS Flex are:

  • Intel or AMD x86-64-bit appropriate gadget (won’t work with 32-bit processors)
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Inner Storage: 16 GB
  • Bootable from a USB drive
  • BIOS: Full Administrator Entry (You will must boot from the Chrome OS Flex USB installer and make some BIOS tweaks in case you run into issues)

It boils all the way down to the truth that when you have a pc in-built 2010 or later, it ought to work. It might work with older parts in case you’re feeling adventurous. Nonetheless, in case you’re operating a field with Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, or 3650 graphics {hardware}, you are asking for an issue.

If you wish to be fairly positive that it’ll work in your outdated laptop, you’ll be able to verify to see if it is on Google’s record of authorised Chrome OS Flex fashions. Inspiron One 2320? Nope, I used to be taking the lifetime of my laptop in my arms. I am effective with that.

Earlier than you comply with in my paths, there are some things it’s best to bear in mind. First, transferring your PC from Home windows, macOS, or no matter to Chrome OS Flex is a one-way journey. All the things — the apps, your dad or mum photographs, your QuickBooks recordsdata — in your outdated drive will evaporate. If you wish to maintain something, again up your vital recordsdata to a different laptop, cloud storage, or community hooked up storage (NAS). In any other case, above all bye.

After backing up my recordsdata to a file QNAP TS-253D-4G 2 Bay NASMy subsequent step was to create a Chrome OS Flex USB set up drive. With most Linux distributions, you’ll be able to create and use a bootable CD or DVD. For one-time Chrome OS Flex installations, you could use a USB drive.

The drive measurement have to be at the least 8 GB; Chrome OS Flex is not small. You additionally should not do that with a Sandisk USB drive, as these drives do not at all times work for some purpose. I used a file PNY 32 GB Complement 3 to chop. Since these solely assist USB 2.0, they don’t seem to be preferrred for newer gadgets (for these, I will be utilizing a PNY 32 GB Turbo Attache 3, which helps the sooner USB 3 commonplace). For the reason that outdated field solely had USB 2.0 ports, cheaper, slower USB drives would do exactly effective.

One of many causes I take advantage of giant USB drives is that I needed to check my gadget earlier than I dedicated to putting in Chrome OS Flex on it. How? Google permits you to run Chrome OS Flex from a USB drive.

It really works similar to a full set up. However as a substitute of utilizing a tough drive or strong state drive (SSD), it boots from the USB drive itself, whereas nonetheless utilizing your laptop’s processor, reminiscence, community connection, and all that jazz. By doing this, you’ll be able to ensure that the brand new working system will work in your laptop with none threat of dropping your present setup. The one actual distinction is that it’ll not be as quick because the put in model since you are utilizing USB drives.

To create a USB set up drive, you do not want a third-party USB burner software program. Alternatively, you should use any Chrome OS gadget, Home windows or Mac with the present model of the Chrome browser. Sadly, you can’t do that on a Linux laptop.

On some other laptop, simply open the Chrome net browser and add the Chromebook Restoration Utility extension by clicking on the extension hyperlink. Thats all about it.

As soon as that is accomplished, guarantee that your USB flash drive is able to go. Remember that by making it an set up drive, you’ll delete every part on it.

Then comply with these steps:

  1. Begin the Chrome Restoration Utility extension.
  2. Click on Get began.
  3. Click on to pick a mannequin from the record.
  4. Choose the producer, seek for Google Chrome OS Flex and click on on it.
  5. Choose a product, discover and click on Chrome OS Flex.
  6. Choose the pen drive from the dropdown record – be certain that the proper drive is chosen.
  7. Click on Proceed, adopted by Create Now.

That is easy sufficient.

It should take a couple of minutes to obtain Chrome OS Flex, relying in your web pace. On my machine with a 1Gbps (Gbps) fiber connection, it took lower than 10 minutes. Your entire set up drive creation course of took quarter-hour.

Then I went to my outdated Dell machine and plugged within the USB drive and turned it on. Subsequent, I pressed the boot choice key.

You most likely do not know what that is in your chest; Most individuals do not should hassle with it. This key allows you to choose an alternate method to begin your laptop. You normally at all times use the principle drive of your laptop. Right here, although, you may wish to select a USB drive. On my Dell machine, that is the F12 key. For different computer systems, verify Google’s record of frequent laptop keys.

Then, as I discussed above, I counsel you strive it out first to verify Chrome OS Flex works for you. If it does, restart your gadget, select to put in Chrome OS Flex, and also you’re in your method.

Not for you? Merely eject the USB drive, reboot your gadget, and use the alternate boot key to return to the principle drive. You’ll be again the place you began.

On my outdated machine, it took about quarter-hour from selecting to put in it to turning it on.

If you’d like greater than Chrome OS Flex, you’ll be able to set up Linux on it as effectively. You employ precisely the identical approach you employ to put in Linux on a Chromebook (that is elective; you do not want to do that). Nonetheless, you can’t set up Android or a dual-boot working system, equivalent to Home windows, on the brand new Chrome OS Flex.

Chrome OS Flex

I now have a totally practical Chrome OS Flex laptop that serves as a video conferencing station.

Photograph: Stephen Vaughan Nichols

You’ve got gone from having a very damaged laptop to having a useful Chrome OS Flex. In actual fact, it has develop into my digital video conferencing workstation. If you happen to even have an outdated {hardware} that wants a brand new lease for all times, I am unable to advocate Chrome OS Flex extremely sufficient. It is simple to put in and may make outdated computer systems helpful once more.

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