Want to turn any old computer into a Chromebook? Google doesn’t provide official builds of Chrome OS for anything but official Chromebooks, but there are ways you can install the open-source Chromium OS software or a similar operating system.
These are all easy to play with, so you can run them entirely from a USB drive to try them out. Installing them on your computer is optional.
Should You Really Do This?
The Chrome OS software is made for Chromebooks. Chromebooks are designed to be simple, lightweight, and get updates directly from Google. Chromebooks aren’t just about Chrome OS—they’re about the total package of a computer with a simple operating system. It’s also possible that not all your computer’s hardware will work perfectly with the below operating systems, while Chromebook hardware will definitely work perfectly with Chrome OS.
But you may want to get a browser-focused operating system on some old PC hardware you have running around—perhaps it used to run Windows XP and you’d rather have a more secure environment. Here are some ways you can do this.
Chromium OS (or Neverware CloudReady)
Google’s Chrome OS is built on an open-source project named Chromium OS. Google doesn’t offer builds of Chromium OS you can install yourself, but Neverware is a company that takes this open-source code and creates Neverware CloudReady. CloudReady is basically just Chromium OS with a few additional management features and mainstream hardware support, and Neverware sells it directly to schools and businesses that want to run Chrome OS on their existing PCs.
Neverware also offers a free version of CloudReady for home users. It’s basically just Chromium OS modified to work on existing PCs. As it’s Chromium OS-based, you won’t get a few extra features Google adds to Chrome OS, like the ability to run Android apps. Certain multimedia and DRM features may also not work on some websites.
While this isn’t the official version of Chrome OS produced by Google, it’s better and more well-supported than previous solutions created by enthusiasts. It even automatically…
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