Turn your old laptop into a Chromebook

Turn your old laptop into a Chromebook

Chrome OS has been around for a few years and despite low expectations (me included) the budget operating system is gaining on popularity. Chromebooks have been praised as a cheap alternative to Windows run laptops or Macs.

Google’s operating system is based on a Linux kernel and is cloud based, making it practically useless without an internet connection, there are no real alternatives for programs like photoshop etc. in the Chrome Web Store BUT you do not need a lot of computing power to do what most people do on a laptop today – surf the internet, write/read emails, stream movies or music and virtually interact with friends and family on diverse social media sites.

For all those who, like me, are reluctant to buy a Chromebook, Neverware has a good and free alternative – CloudReady, a Chrome OS version that can boot on Windows computers.

Their main objective is to get old hardware back into use, especially for schools or other organizations who can not afford newer, more potent computers.

I decided to give it a try on an “old” Acer Aspire I have that is running on Vista, which it being a good computer at the time I purchased it, now just lags and is frustrating. The Home version of CloudReady is free but with no support and no Google Management Console enrollment, no big problem for me.

The whole process is well documented and all you need is an 8 or 16 GB USB stick, an internet connection and the Chrome Browser to use the Chromebook Recovery Utility.

I followed the instructions and after less than an hour I had Chrome OS running on my laptop, and I love it. It is not such a big step for me because I use Chrome, Google Mail and Docs most of the time so I felt immediately at home, I still have to get used to the whole Web Store/ App stuff, but my laptop is working fluidly again and the boot process takes only around 15 seconds.

If your laptop has  Windows 7 or upwards you might be able to use CloudReady’s dual boot option, it didn’t work for my Vista computer, if you have time, patience and are not scared to fool around with your hard disk’s partitions, there are a few workarounds on the internet.

For those who have an old laptop that is lying somewhere in the corner and always wanted to try the Chrome OS, CloudReady is worth the try. It is advisable to read through the website to make sure your hardware is compatible and backup any data that you do not want to lose, common sense.