The Chrome OS has reached a new high point in its existence. Not only it is affordable, customizable and easy to use, it is also in a constant improvement process and can be used on almost any laptop. So, if you don’t have a Chromebook but you would still want to try Chrome OS, you can install it on an old laptop that has CloudReady installed.

Theoretically, all you need is an old laptop, Neverware’s CloudReady app and since the Google’s Chrome OS can’t be installed by users, you will need the Chromium OS or the Chrome OS open source base. Don’t worry, the CloudReady app will guide you through the Chromium installation and will make all the technical modifications without getting you through hard details. So, even though it might look complicated, it isn’t; after all, searching for compatible driver files for an actual OS installation is more time consuming.

But before beginning, there are a few things you should take into considerations in order to make the proper adjustments for them.

The most important thing you should know is that the process isn’t reversible and you won’t be able to re-install the old OS back on the machine, so make sure you backup your data. You shouldn’t try this on your main laptop because it is a permanent change and you might not like it.

Although this method should work on all laptops (or desktops) since 2007, we can’t say for sure that this will actually work on everything. There is a list of tested models on the CloudReady page and system requirements. And considering that the Chromium OS was created to work with light hardware, it could introduce new features to on an old computer.

Keep in mind that this isn’t the official version of the Chrome OS. The Chromium is a developer version and although it’s almost the same as the user version, there are a couple of differences you should note. First of all, you won’t have access to official Google support or receive updates and you won’t have Flash in the beginning; after the installation process is over, the CloudReady will instruct you on how to install it while booting for the first time.

If you’ve got covered all the above, proceed. You’re about to get pretty close to the Chromebook experience.

How to install Chromium OS on a regular laptop

1. Requirements:

  • You’ll have to install the Chromebook Recovery Utility on the computer, a tool that will help you create the USB install stick guided by the CloudReady app.
  • Download the CloudReady .bin file from the website and save it on the computer.
  • And of course, the installation stick which should be either an 8GB or 16GB USB stick; other sizes could cause problems, according to CloudReady, so you should probably take this seriously and make sure you respect this requirement as well.
  • If possible, download these tools on a second laptop, just in case you’ll need it again to recreate the installation stick.

2. Installing CloudReady

Now we’ll guide you through creating the USB installation stick -this process isn’t dangerous and you can do it on any PC. Here are the steps to it:

  • Open the Chromebook Recovery Utility, click the Settings icon (top right corner) and click on Use local image;
  • Browse for the CloudReady .bin file previously downloaded;
  • Now insert the USB stick in the computer and add it to the Chrome Recovery Utility;
  • After the USB stick appears on the left side of the app’s screen, click Continue -> Create Now

Now we’ll proceed to the installation of the Chromium OS on your old laptop if you’re sure you’ve backed up all your data and that you won’t need this machine in its current state in the future.

Here’s what you need to do next:

  • Open the CloudReady live interface and click on the clock icon located in the bottom right corner.
  • A new menu window will appear and here you should click on Install CloudReady;
  • Confirm that you are sure you want the installation when prompted so; This is the step that wipes your hard drive clean so proceed only if you are sure you’ve taken all the precautions; Now click on Erase Hard Drive & Install CloudReady.

It will take a couple of minutes, but as soon as the installation process is over you will be able to customize your old PC like it’s a new Chromebook. As we were saying, when you’re computer will boot for the first time, you will also have to install Flash software and CloudReady will instruct you on how to install that manually.

And now you’re good to go! Enjoy your new Chromebook and tell us in the comments how it worked for you.