The Chrome operating system (OS) was only for Chromebook users, but now it's available for other devices as well. It's a great alternative to Windows or Linux, and you can run it without installation. All you need is to download Chrome OS to a USB stick and use Etcher or another software to make it bootable. In this article, you'll learn how to get Chrome OS working on any computer.
Is it a good idea?
Chrome OS is designed for Chromebooks designed to be light and simple. Google does all the updates. It's one of the simplest operating systems you can get. Chromium OS is an unofficial 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 additional features and standard hardware support. Their operating system is now used in schools and businesses around the world.
The unofficial open source version of Chrome OS is much more stable and has better support than the original OS. It is ideal for Windows XP and Linux users because it offers more protection and is easier to update. It is an operating system that does not take up too much space and performs very well for basic operations and Internet browsing.
Installing Chromium OS on your device
Before you can access the installation, you must download the latest version of Chromium for your device. You will also need a program to work with the operating system image, we will use Etcher in this example, a USB stick with a capacity of at least 4 GB and your PC. Here are the links to the software you need to download to get things working:
Download: 7-Zip for Windows / Keka for macOS / p7zip for Linux
Download: Burner for Windows / macOS / Linux
Have your USB drive ready, but make sure it's empty, so transfer all important data to your PC before you begin. When you have everything ready, here is what you need to do:
1. Download Chrome OS
Google doesn't offer an official version of Chromium OS that you can download to your PC, so you'll need to get it from an alternate source. You can find many websites that offer Chrome for free, but we recommend getting it from Arnold the Bat. You will see a long list of Chromium versions as it is continuously updated with new releases. Follow the instructions there and download the latest version.
2. Extract the image
Once the download is complete, you will need 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.
3. Prepare your USB key
- 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 file system and click Start. Be aware that all data on your USB key will be erased.
MacOS users can use the Disk Utility to format the USB drive as FAT32. If he says THAT MS DOS instead of FAT32, don't worry because it's the same format. Complete the process to prepare your USB drive.
4. Use Etcher to install the Chromium image
You have already done most of the preparation. Your Chromium is downloaded and extracted and the USB drive is formatted, so you're good to go. Download Etcher using the link provided above. Here's what you need to do from there:
- Run Etcher.
- Click on Flash from File, find the Chromium OS image you downloaded earlier and add it.
- Click on Select Drive and select the USB you have prepared.
- Hit glow and Etcher will install a bootable version of Chromium on your USB device.
The creation process takes a few minutes. Once done, wait for Etcher to verify that everything is working as expected. You are now ready to install Chromium on your PC.
5. Restart your PC and enable USB in Boot Options
You need to run the BIOS to set USB as the primary boot device.
- When the PC boots for the first time, you can run the BIOS by pressing F8, F10, F12, or Du, the key you need to press varies depending on your BIOS.
- Every PC has a different looking BIOS, but you should look for an option labeled Manage startup ou Boot.
- Set USB as the primary boot device, then select Save and exit, the actual name may differ in your BIOS.
On a Mac:
- Mac users should also restart their computers and maintain the Option key to enter the boot menu.
- Select the USB key instead of Macintosh to start Chromium from your USB key. Restart your Mac when you're done.
6. Boot into Chrome OS without installation
The advantage of Chrome OS is that you don't need to install it and it doesn't take up space on your hard drive. You can boot it directly from USB without installation, so your main operating system will not be affected at all. You can set up your Chrome OS with a Google account and use it only to surf the Internet.
7. Install Chrome OS on your device
If you have tested everything and found your satisfaction, it is time to install it.
Install Chrome OS on any device
Now that Chrome OS is running, you can try it out on any device. You will be surprised how well it works. Best of all, it supports software from all platforms including Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Have you tried installing Chromium OS on your computer? What are your first impressions of this operating system? Share them with us in the comments below!