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Give your previous laptop computer a brand new lease of life with Chrome OS Flex

Google Chrome OS Flex running on an Acer Aspire V5

(Picture credit score: Google)

We have all bought them, I am positive, previous laptops which have seen higher days. Machines that had been as soon as very important companions to our gaming and work however are actually left to collect mud underneath a settee or in a drawer someplace. Programs that after upon a time might fortunately run Home windows however now battle to remain up-to-date with the bloat of Microsoft’s working system. There is a good probability they cannot even replace to Home windows 11 (opens in new tab), and Home windows 10 is pushing their ageing arduous drives a bit too arduous for consolation too. 

You’ve got at all times had the choice of operating Linux on such machines, and as time has handed the free OS distros have undoubtedly made the entire set up course of a a lot simpler expertise. The likes of Ubuntu (opens in new tab), Zorin OS (opens in new tab), Arch (opens in new tab) et al. make for the same sufficient surroundings for anybody coming from Home windows to not be too freaked by the entire expertise. 

The actual fact that Valve’s Steam Deck (opens in new tab) runs on Linux and by some means is not a dumpster fireplace exhibits what Linux is able to and likewise proves that loads of us are prepared to step exterior of our working system secure zones. 

Nicely, that is good, as a result of an alternative choice has popped up lately, Google’s Chrome OS. Particularly, Chrome OS Flex (opens in new tab) is a model of Chrome OS that has been examined on a good quantity of {hardware} already and was launched final week. That is Google’s proprietary code, by the best way, to not be confused with the open-source undertaking, Chromium OS (opens in new tab). What you lose by way of open-source goodness, you probably make up for in ease of use.

Google has licensed near 400 gadgets with Chrome OS Flex, together with laptops from the likes of Acer, Asus, and even Apple. The minimal necessities are very lenient, albeit with one necessary proviso on the GPU entrance:

  • Structure: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit appropriate system
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Inside storage: 16GB
  • Bootable from USB drive
  • BIOS: Full administrator entry. You’ll must boot from the Chrome OS Flex USB installer and make some changes within the BIOS in case you run into points.
  • Processor and graphics: Elements made earlier than 2010 would possibly end in a poor expertise. Be aware: Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, and 3650 graphics {hardware} don’t meet Chrome OS Flex efficiency requirements.

I’ve tried Chrome OS Flex on a few previous laptops, with combined outcomes. The HP Pavilion 15 I attempted it on clearly wasn’t joyful in regards to the graphics drivers and produced a corrupt show on boot. 100% unusable. The marginally newer Acer Aspire V5 labored flawlessly. 

Be aware that not every thing is assured to work: issues like webcams, fingerprint readers, and even operate keys could also be tough. Positively attempt it out first. 

The excellent news is you may attempt Chrome OS Flex with out truly putting in it.

The excellent news is you may attempt Chrome OS Flex with out truly putting in it. At boot time you get the choice to both set up it or run it straight from the USB drive. Go for the latter to attempt it out. This can be a great way of creating positive that it truly works in your {hardware}. Plus you get to see if Chrome OS is for you. There is no level changing Home windows in case you uncover turning an previous laptop computer right into a Chromebook isn’t one thing you really need or need in your life. 

The precise set up is slightly odd, in that you simply create the boot picture by means of a Chrome browser extension, not from a standalone app. As a result of Google, clearly. Nonetheless, it really works, and it is at all times available do you have to ever must create a boot USB in an emergency—yeah, I am not satisfied both.

Head to the Chrome net retailer in Chrome and seek for Chromebook Restoration Utility (opens in new tab) after which add the extension. Now click on the extension’s icon in Chrome (it seems to be like a jigsaw puzzle piece), and choose Chromebook Restoration Utility from the drop-down checklist. Click on Get Began, and on the following display screen elect to Choose a mannequin from a listing. Click on the Choose a producer field on the high and decide Google Chrome OS Flex from the checklist. 

You may want an 8GB USB stick to carry the picture, so when you’re positive there’s nothing on there that you will want, you may pop that drive into your machine and hit the Proceed button. As soon as the picture has been written to the drive, you may eject it and boot your laptop computer with the USB stick in place. 

You’ll most likely must get into your laptop computer’s BIOS and permit it besides from the USB stick, as many have this turned off by default. The way you try this relies on your machine: for some, it is F1, F2, or Del. For others it could be totally different. Do a search utilizing your search engine of alternative. As soon as in your BIOS, merely set the boot choice to scan for USB drives first. Save the adjustments and reboot with the USB stick in a port and you will be requested whether or not you wish to set up Chrome OS Flex or simply boot into it.

Google Chrome OS Flex running on an Acer Aspire V5

(Picture credit score: Google)

Google Chrome OS is a stripped-back working system that depends on an web connection to get just about something completed. You are in net apps nation now. Severe work is dealt with by Google Docs, Google Sheets, and many others. with sufficient apps obtainable from the Chrome net retailer to cowl most bases. There are a number of video games on there too, though Linux+Wine or sticking with Home windows is a greater possibility if that is what you are actually on the lookout for.

The light-weight nature of Chrome OS makes for an honest little searching machine which you can rapidly seize to seek for one thing whereas chilling on the couch. Clearly what you utilize it for relies on how massive the machine you are putting in it on is—a skinny and lightweight system goes to be a greater accomplice for Chrome OS than a cumbersome gaming machine, however work with no matter you’ve got bought.

You would do all this after which cross this machine onto somebody that would truly get some use out of it. A pupil perhaps. Or a kiddy that may’t rise up to a lot mischief with it. Higher than returning it to some dusty nook within the attic, or including it to a landfill. 

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since earlier than 3D graphics playing cards existed, and nonetheless vividly remembers having to struggle with MS-DOS simply to get video games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the primary time. He is very glad {hardware} has superior as a lot because it has although, and is especially joyful when placing the newest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops by way of their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession however limits this to MTG Enviornment as of late. blind fold fuck. queen of bath sheeba nude. sexvid block head.