How to install Chrome OS Flex on your PC or Mac
Installing Chrome OS Flex is a new option to consider for anyone who wants to revive an old Mac or Windows PC. The operating system is still in a very early stage of development, but it is already possible to install it to start testing it.
As we already told you in Hipertextual, Chrome OS Flex is based on Chrome OS but it is not exactly the same. This means that several options will continue to be exclusive to Chromebooks, such as compatibility with Android apps and Google Play services, among others.
It is important to note that as this is an early version, the software is unstable and may not yet take advantage of all the features on your computer. What does this mean? That you shouldn't be surprised if some ports or other features—a fingerprint sensor, or even the CD drive—don't work or work poorly.
As is common with these types of procedures, if you decide to proceed with the installation of Chrome OS Flex, do so at your own risk. Anyway, a friendly tip that will be obvious to many, but maybe not so much to others: don't install this operating system on your everyday PC or Mac because you'll just get a huge pain in the ass. head.
With all that said, let's get to work.
Requirements your PC or Mac must meet to install Chrome OS Flex
To install Chrome OS Flex you need a computer with a 64-bit Intel or AMD x86 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of internal storage. Of course, it must be able to boot from a USB stick, and you also need full administrator access to the BIOS. As for the supported graphics, Google indicates that the Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600 and 3650 are not compatible; in addition, it is recommended to use models released after 2010.
The Mountain View guys have published a list of certified devices that lists all the features that are “guaranteed” to work. Anyway, they mention that the operating system has been developed to work on most Windows, macOS and Linux computers that have been manufactured in the last 10 years.
How to download the operating system?
Google offers a single way to download and install Chrome OS Flex. Unfortunately, the Californian firm does not allow us to obtain the software image and create the bootable USB memory on our own. The only option available is through Google Chrome; Please note that if you try to do it from Microsoft Edge which is based on Chromium, it won't work.
For this reason, we must install an extension called “Chromebook Recovery Utility” in the aforementioned web browser. Once this is done, we click on the icon that will appear next to the address bar and the following window will open.
We click on “Start” and on the next screen we will have to choose the operating system. Don't panic when asked to identify the type of Chromebook to use; you just have to click on “Select a model from the list”.
Once this is done, they will have to search for “Google Chrome OS Flex” in the first box, and “Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable)” in the second .
On the next screen you will choose the USB stick to use to create the bootable installation media. Please note that all content on the storage drive will be deleted; then click on “Create now”, and all that remains is to wait for Chrome OS Flex to be downloaded and installed on the pendrive.
Installing Chrome OS Flex
Once we have our flash drive with Chrome OS Flex ready to install, we must insert it into the PC or Mac and turn it on. Make sure the boot procedure is set so that the priority is set to the USB storage drive and not the local hard drive. Otherwise, the computer will not be able to start the installation process.
When starting the procedure from the USB memory we will find the CloudReady 2.0 welcome screen. It is worth mentioning that this is the name of the software developed by Neverware, precursor of the OS that we are trying to install; Since Google acquired that company, all existing CloudReady users will be upgraded to Chrome OS Flex when the stable version is released.
But going back to the procedure, we will find ourselves with two options: try Chrome OS Flex, or install it directly. The first option allows us to explore some of the functions of the operating system, before we finally implement it on the computer; but since it is the live-boot function of software that is still very unstable, it is not highly recommended. In any case, as we said at the beginning, everyone runs their own risk.
It's worth noting that if you choose to try Chrome OS Flex, you must sign in with a Google account. In any case, proceeding with the installation deletes all temporary data that could remain on the PC or Mac.
If you are convinced that you want to use Chrome OS Flex, you should click “Install CloudReady 2.0” and wait for the process to complete. Once it is finished, the computer will turn off, and when you turn it on you will be able to use Google's new OS based on its “almost namesake” for Chromebooks.
What to do after?
With Chrome OS Flex already installed on the computer, the operating system itself will show you the following to comply with. It is worth noting that the configuration procedure is exactly the same as that of Chrome OS on a Chromebook; this means you can sign in with an existing Google account, create a new one, or browse as a guest.
Those of Mountain View clarify that, in case you want to use the Google Admin console, it is necessary to buy an educational or business update of Chrome for each computer with Chrome OS Flex.
This is all. As we have mentioned on several occasions, the new software is in full development and may present instability and other inconveniences. Various improvements will be added as Google's work progresses, but for now it seems like a more than valid option for those who want to give new life to a PC or Mac that would otherwise be obsolete.