The Chrome operating system (OS) was reserved only for Chromebook users, but now, it’s available for other devices. It’s a great alternative to Windows or Linux, and you can run it without an installation. You need to download Chrome OS to a USB drive and use Etcher or some other software to make it bootable. In this article, you will learn how to get Chrome OS working on any computer.
Chrome OS Pre-Installation Considerations
Chrome OS is technically made for Chromebooks that are designed to be lightweight and straightforward. Google does all of the updates. It’s one of the simplest operating systems you can get. Chromium OS (not Chrome OS) is an open-source version of Chrome OS, and it can work with all devices, including Mac, Linux, and Windows. Some hardware won’t work perfectly, but most PCs can run Chromium without any issues.
The company behind Chromium is called Neverware. They used the open-source code to create Neverware CloudReady, which is the same as Chromium OS, but with some extra features and mainstream hardware support. Their OS is now used in schools and businesses all over the world.
The open-source version of Chrome OS is ideal for older Windows XP and Windows 7 PCs because it provides more protection and it’s easier to update. However, you can also use it on newer computers or laptops using Windows 10 or Linux. It’s an operating system that doesn’t take too much space, and it works great for basic operations and surfing the internet. Don’t expect high-level gaming functionality, though.
Installing Chromium OS on Your Device
Before getting to the installation, there are some prerequisites you need to fulfill. After that, you start the installation process. Here’s what to do.
1. Prerequisites to Installing Chromium OS
First, you have to download the latest version of Chromium for your particular device. You will also need a program to work with the OS image. In this example, Etcher was used, along with a USB with at least 8 GB capacity and the PC for the Chromium installation.
Here are the links to software you should download to make things work:
Download 1: 7-Zip for Windows, Keka for macOS, or p7zip for Linux
Download 2: Etcher for Windows, macOS, and Linux
Prepare your USB, but ensure it’s empty. Transfer all valuable data to your PC before you begin. When you’ve got everything ready, here is what to do:
2. Download Chromium OS
Google offers an official Chromium OS build you can download to your PC. You can find many websites that provide Chromium for free, but we advise you to get it from Arnold the Bat. You will see a long list of Chromium versions because it’s continuously updated with new releases. Follow the on-site instructions and download the latest version.
3. Extract the Image
When the download is completed, you will have to extract the image using 7-Zip. Right-click on the downloaded file and extract the data to a new folder. The process takes a few minutes to complete.
4. Prepare Your USB Drive
- Get the USB you want to use to boot Chromium and plug it into your PC. If you are using Windows, find the USB in My Computer, right-click on it, and select Quick format.
- When the pop-up window appears, choose FAT32 as your file system and click Start. Know that all of the data on your USB drive will be wiped clean. For Macs, skip to Step 3.
- macOS users can use the Disk Utility to format the USB as FAT32. If it says MS-DOS DAT instead of FAT32, don’t worry because it’s the same format. Complete the process to prepare your USB.
5. Use Etcher to Install the Chromium Image
You have done most of the preparation by now. Your Chromium is downloaded and extracted, and the USB is formatted, so you are ready to continue. Download Etcher using the link provided above. Here is what you have to do from there:
- Run Etcher.
- Click Flash from file and find the Chromium OS image you have previously downloaded and add it.
- Click Select Drive and select the USB you prepared.
- Hit Flash, and Etcher will install a bootable version of Chromium to your USB device.
The creation process takes a few minutes to complete. When it’s done, wait for Etcher to verify that everything works as expected. You are now ready to install Chromium on your PC.
6. Restart Your PC and Enable USB in the Boot Options
You have to run BIOS to set USB as your primary boot device.
- When the PC is first starting up, you can run BIOS by pressing F8, F10, F12, or Del. The key you need to press will vary based on your BIOS.
- Every PC has different-looking BIOS, but you should look for an option labeled Boot Manage or Boot.
- Set the USB as your primary boot device and then select Save & Exit; the actual name may differ in your BIOS.
On a Mac:
- Mac users also have to restart their computers and hold the Option key to enter the boot menu.
- Select the USB drive instead of Macintosh to boot Chromium from your USB drive. Restart your Mac when done.
7. Boot into Chrome OS Without an Installation
The great thing about Chrome OS is that you don’t need to install it, and it doesn’t take any space on your hard drive. You can boot it right from the USB without installation, so your primary OS won’t be affected. You can set up your Chrome OS with a Google account and use it only for surfing the internet.
8. Install Chrome OS on Your Device
If you’ve tested everything and found it to your satisfaction, then it’s time to install it.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve included this section to answer more of your questions about installing Chrome OS.
Should I install Chrome OS Flex instead?
Users can get early access to Chrome OS Flex using this link. It is a lightweight and secure operating system that is designed to refresh older hardware. While it works well with a lot of devices and it’s certainly worth downloading, users should check the certified device list before downloading.
The installation steps are relatively simple, and you can try the operating system for free.
Install Chrome OS to Any Device
Now that Chrome OS is running, you can try it out on any device. You will be surprised at how well it works. Better yet, it supports software from all platforms, including Mac, Windows, and Linux.