The Chrome operating system (OS) was only available to Chromebook users, but is now available for other devices. 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 drive and use Engraver or some other software to make it bootable. In this article, you will learn how to get Chrome OS working on any computer.
Chrome OS pre-installation considerations
Chrome OS is technically designed for Chromebooks designed to be light and simple. Google does all the updates. It is one of the simplest operating systems you can get. Chromium OS is an open source version of Chrome OS, and it can work with all devices including Mac, Linux, and Windows, unlike Chrome OS. 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 open source version of Chrome OS is ideal for Windows XP and Windows 7 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 that works great for basic operations and internet browsing.
Installing Chromium OS on your device
Before proceeding with 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. In this example, we will use Etcher, a USB flash drive with at least 4 GB capacity, and your PC. Here are the links to the software you need to download to get things to work:
Download: 7-Zip for Windows / Keka for macOS / p7zip for Linux
Download: Etcher for Windows / macOS / Linux
Prepare your USB drive, but make sure it’s empty, so transfer all important data to your PC before you start. When you’ve got everything ready, here’s what you need to do:
1. Download Chromium OS
Google offers an official version of Chromium OS that you can download to your PC. You can find many websites that provide Chromium for free, but we recommend getting some from Arnold the Bat. You will see a long list of Chromium versions as it is continually updated with new versions. Follow the on-site instructions 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, look for USB in My computer, right click on it and select Quick format.
- When the pop-up window appears, choose FAT32 as the file system and click Start. Be aware that all data on your USB drive will be erased. For Macs, go to step 3.
- MacOS users can use the Disk Utility to format the USB stick as FAT32. If he says MS-DOS DAT in the place 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, locate and add the Chromium OS image you downloaded earlier.
- Click on Select Drive and select the USB you have prepared.
- Hit Sparkle and Etcher will install a bootable version of Chromium on your USB device.
The creation process takes a few minutes. When 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 the boot options
You need to run 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, Where Delete, the key you need to press varies depending on your BIOS.
- Each PC has a different looking BIOS, but you should look for an option titled Manage startup Where Boot.
- Set USB as the primary boot device, and then select Save and exit, the actual name may differ in your BIOS.
On a Mac:
- Mac users should also restart their computers and keep the Option key to enter the start menu.
- Select the USB drive instead of Macintosh to boot Chromium from your USB drive. Restart your Mac when you’re done.
6. Boot into Chrome OS without installation
The great thing about 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 for surfing the Internet.
7. Install Chrome OS on your device
If you’ve tested everything and found your satisfaction, it’s 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 at how well it works. Best of all, it supports software from all platforms including Mac, Windows, and Linux.