Do you have an old computer that can barely keep up with Windows? If you do, you can breathe new life into it if you install Chrome OS. Being based only on Chrome browser, it is lightweight compared to Windows. You won’t be able to do everything you could on a Windows machine, but at least your computer can do most other things. You can still watch videos, play music, browse the web, edit photos and play a little game. Just don’t expect any AAA titles to run on your machine. Now, we know that Google doesn’t release an official version of Chrome OS for other devices. That means anyone interested will have to rely on unofficial builds of Chromium OS, not Google either. One of the best ways to install Chrome OS or Chromium OS on a laptop is Cloudready.
Cloudready is basically Chromium OS with some additional management features and mainstream hardware support. Neverware sells Cloudready to businesses and schools that want to run Chrome OS on existing hardware. For home users, Cloudready is completely free. To me something being free is reason enough to get it, but here’s why you should consider it too. Older PCs, especially those from the Windows XP era, can be given a new lease of life with a lightweight browser-based operating system such as Chromium OS. Instead of running a full operating system like Windows, old hardware just needs to run a browser.
Create Chrome OS Installer on USB
Creating the installer used to be a simple process. Neverware, however, made it as simple as possible. All you need to do is go to the official website and navigate to the Cloudready Home Edition page. Scroll down and click DOWNLOAD USB MAKER. Once downloaded, insert your USB drive and run USB maker. Remember that the USB manufacturer will first download the entire operating system and then write it to the USB disk. You can also refer to my dedicated guide on how to run Chrome OS from a USB drive.
- Select your PC’s CPU architecture. If you actually have a PC that came with Windows XP, chances are it is based on 32-bit architecture. Even if you install a 32-bit version on 64-bit hardware, it should technically work. The only problem would be that your system will not be able to use more than 4GB of RAM.
- Click Next when you have selected the right architecture and click Next again on the next page. If you haven’t already inserted a USB drive, you won’t be able to click Next on here.
- Select your USB drive and click Next again. The installer will now begin downloading Cloudready. Immediately after the download completes, it will start installing it on your drive.
- This process can take a while, even if you have relatively good Internet speeds.
Install ChromeOS on your laptop
Now that you have a Chrome OS bootable USB drive, shut down your PC, insert the USB drive and boot your PC with the USB drive. Make sure you have enabled the necessary requirements in the BIOS to be able to boot from a USB. If you are able to boot from the USB drive, you will see a bright white screen with the Cloudready logo. After that, you will be asked to login with your Google ID. You can log in and try Cloudready or Chromium OS before installing it. In my experience though, login seems to do something, which I can’t pinpoint exactly. The end result for me has always been that the installation hangs.
- Regardless of your choice of login, click the lower right corner of the Shelf (taskbar in Chrome OS) and select Install Cloudready…
- In the window that opens, select READY CLOUD INSTALLATION again, and then ERASE THE HARD DRIVE AND INSTALL CLOUDREADY. Needless to say, this will erase your entire hard drive and install the benefits of CloudReady/Chromium OS+ on your PC.
- This process is very long and all you will see is an animation that gives you no idea if things are moving forward. It can be frustrating to wait, so you should probably go for a walk or something.
When it’s complete though, you can reboot your system and pull out the USB drive. You should see the Cloudready logo on a bright white background when your computer starts up. Now that you have installed Chrome OS on your old laptop or computer, you should also try these must-have apps for Chrome OS.
Read Next: How to Create a Bootable USB on Chromebooks