Google has published Chrome OS Flexible to breathe new life into aging Windows PCs and older MacBooks. We’ve already written a detailed guide on how to install Play Store powered Chrome OS on a PC, but this one is based on Project Brunch and the installation process is quite cumbersome. However, with Google directly supporting third-party hardware, Chrome OS Flex stands out for its smooth installation process and longer support window. I tried the new Chrome OS Flex OS on my windows laptop and it worked like a charm. So, if you want to learn how to install Chrome OS Flex on PCs and Windows laptops, follow our detailed guide below.
How to Install Chrome OS Flex (2022)
In this guide, we’ve included step-by-step instructions for installing Chrome OS Flex. However, we explained what Chrome OS Flex is and my experience with Google’s new operating system. You can expand the table below and learn about all the techniques.
What is Google Chrome OS Flex?
Two years ago, Google acquired Neverware, the New York-based company that developed CloudReady. It allowed users to breathe new life into old computers and run Chrome OS. CloudReady is built on the open source Chromium OS base. They recently added Linux support as well. Google took over the project and has now released Chrome OS Flex (aka CloudReady 2.0) based on Chrome OS, Google’s official desktop operating system. With support for Google Assistant and other Google services. There is also Linux support, but not available in Google Play Store, Chrome OS Flex.
Currently, Google primarily offers Chrome OS Flex to Education and Enterprise users for free. But regular users can also install Chrome OS Flex on their old Windows PCs and MacBooks. The aim behind this project is to use legacy hardware and deliver fast performance almost on par with modern computers. We can expect more support from numerous different manufacturers, including HP, Apple, Asus, and more, as Google is currently pursuing the project.
Requirements for Installing Chrome OS Flex
1. A USB pen drive with at least 8GB or more of storage.
2. Windows PC with Intel or AMD x86-64-bit processor. ARM processors are not yet supported.
3. At least 4GB of RAM or more.
4. Internal storage must be 16GB or more.
5. Check your computer’s compatibility at: here. If your computer is on the list, you are good to go. If your model doesn’t appear in the list, don’t worry. You can still continue with the installation. Chrome OS Flex works even on non-certified computers, as we tested below, but some functionality may be limited.
Flash Chrome OS Flex on USB Drive
1. First go ahead and Chromebook Recovery Utility Chrome extension using the link here. This is an extension that will allow you to flash the Chrome OS Flex build on your USB drive.
2. Next, open the Chromebook Recovery Utility and insert your USB drive. After this, “To start“.
3. On the next page, “Choose a model from the list” choice.
4. Click the “Choose a manufacturer” drop-down menu and click “Google Chrome OS Flex“. Select “Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable)” from the next drop-down menu. Now, click “Continue”.
5. After that, select your USB flash drive and click “Go on“.
6. Finally, “create now” and the Chromebook Recovery Utility will create a bootable Chrome OS Flex drive. The whole process will take between 10 and 15 minutes depending on your internet speed.
Install Chrome OS Flex on Windows Laptop or MacBook
1. Restart your PC after the flashing is complete and press the boot key. If you do not know the boot key of your computer, check the table below. Keep pressing the boot key until you see the boot selection page. If you are installing Chrome OS Flex on a custom-built computer, find the boot key for your motherboard manufacturer from the internet.
2. On the boot selection page, Choose your USB drive using the arrow keys and press Enter.
3. Now, the “Welcome to CloudReady 2.0” screen will appear. Here, “To start“. Now review the on-screen instructions and sign in with your Google account.
4. I suggest you first explore Chrome OS Flex before installing to your hard drive. This way you can check the compatibility of your Wi-Fi, keyboard, mouse, Bluetooth, touchpad and other hardware devices.
5. Once you are sure you want to install Chrome OS Flex, open the Quick Settings panel from the bottom right corner and click “sign out“.
6. Then, “Install CloudReady” in the lower left corner.
7. Finally, “Install CloudReady 2.0” and then click “Install” again. Note that this step will wipe your entire hard drive, so be sure to take a backup before performing this action. After the installation is complete, turn off your computer and remove the USB drive.
8. That’s it. Chrome OS Flex will open without any problem on your device.
Chrome OS Flex on Windows Laptop: First Impressions
It would not be wrong to say that Chrome OS Flex is quite performant compared to Windows 11 or 10. I regularly use an 8th generation i5 Chromebook and, by contrast, on my 6th generation Windows laptop, the performance of Chrome OS Flex is different. The surprising part is that Google has added Google Assistant support to the awesome Chrome OS Flex. However, remember that there is No Android app supportGoogle has not announced that it will add the Play Store to this build in the future.
Still, there is full fledged Linux support, and that in itself is great. You will be able to use desktop-class Linux apps on your Chromebook. With Wine, you can even run lightweight Windows apps on your Chrome OS Flex powered Chromebook.
Meanwhile, available Chrome OS Flex build based on Chrome OS 100, this is great. In a month or two, Chrome OS Flex will be stable for anyone to boot and use. To sum it up, if you have an aging PC or MacBook and need something for mundane browsing and daily tasks, Chrome OS Flex is a great alternative.
Are You going to Install Chrome OS Flex on Your PC or Laptop?
This was our guide on how to install Chrome OS Flex on aging PCs and Windows laptops. While I haven’t tested Chrome OS Flex on an Apple MacBook, rest assured the installation steps are similar, so you can give it a try. Other than that, I tried to dual boot Chrome OS Flex side by side with Windows 11, but currently the bootloader has some issues. When it works properly, we will definitely let you know. Anyway, that’s it for us. If you want to learn about the best Chrome OS tips and tricks, go ahead and check out our detailed article linked here. And if you have any questions, comment below and let us know.