Turning an old laptop into a Chromebook

Laptop with Windows 10
The guinea pig for this experiment

Having previously converted an old Windows laptop to Linux, I’m now going to turn my hand to another OS. Again, I’m using a spare laptop, this time one that’s about 10 years old and is creaking under the weight of trying to run Windows 10. And so, I’m going to have a go at turning it into a Chromebook. Neverware, the people who have made this experiment possible, have a checker where you can see if your the laptop is supported (click here) Happily, my laptop has made the cut so on to the next stage.

What you’ll need

  • A compatible laptop (obviously). Before you start, check to see if it’s a 32 or 64 bit machine.
  • USB memory stick with a capacity of at least 8GB.
  • A copy of CloudReady USB Maker. The Home version is free.
  • An internet connection and your Wi-Fi password.

7-001

We’re good to go

  • Insert the empty USB stick into any computer or laptop. (I learned that this stage of the process moves along more quickly when you use a faster computer)
  • Run the CloudReady USB Maker program and select which type of operating system you want.
  • Wait while the installer automatically downloads, extracts and creates the CloudReady USB Installer. This can take a while.
  • When it’s done, insert the USB drive into the “guinea pig” computer.
  • Reboot the computer, making sure that when it comes back up it shall be booting from the USB drive. This is usually done by pressing F9 or F12, depending on the computer manufacturer.
  • CloudReady’s version of Chrome OS will soon load up. It’ll ask you for your WiFi password and Google ID. The latter isn’t compulsory – you can look around without one At this point, you haven’t installed anything so if you think Chrome OS is the spawn of Satan you can still back out
  • If on the other hand you’d like to install Chrome OS, click on the clock/wi-fi symbol in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

Screenshot 2019-06-05 at 17.00.21

First impressions

IMG_20190607_003722

  • Chrome OS has definitely made this old laptop run more smoothly. Web pages are loading up more quickly.
  • It looks like playing audio CDs and DVDs could be tricky – neither play “out of the box”. This probably won’t matter any more because most new laptops don’t come with disk drives anyway.
  • Chrome OS would be ideal for someone who only wants to use a laptop for the internet, online video and other light use. Or indeed, someone who isn’t comfortable using Windows and just wants a simple operating system.
  • It’s primarily designed to be an online machine, though some apps are designed to also work offline

Here is a slideshow of the process, should you still be interested…

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