How to download and install Chrome OS

360 14/10/2021

Download and install Chrome OS

The first question in your head is "why would I want to install Chrome OS, even on my old laptop, when there are perfectly adequate awesome full-fat Linux distros to choose from?"

Good question, and the answer is not everyone wants a full-fat distro, nor can everyone use a full-fat distro. Part of the success of Chromebooks – and they are successful with 5.7 million Chromebooks being sold in 2014 and 7.3 million predicted for 2015 – is their cut-down, lightweight Gentoo-based OS.

If you want to give someone easy, no fuss access to Google services it should be a tempting choice. The good news is that it's easy to install Chromium OS, which is the open source project name for the official Google Chrome OS, which is only available through officially licenced Chromebook PCs.

While it looks superficially different with a blue-theme running through it, Chromium OS taps into the same Google Accounts and services and it offers the same advantages of automatically picking up your plugins and the rest, which are stored in the Google cloud.

Built on Gentoo, it is Linux based and so has all the advantages of the Linux kernel, but keep in mind it was only rolled out in late 2009, so if you're planning on trying it on hardware older than that you might not have as much luck.

Having said that we tried it on a standard Lenovo X200 laptop from 2008 and everything worked without a hitch. A general rule of thumb is: any standard Intel hardware should work without a hitch.

One thing we do know is that non-Intel wireless adaptors do cause issues, we'll go into this in more detail in a moment.

A number of sites have maintained builds of Chromium OS. It's unlikely you'll want t

o build it yourself from source, so there are versions ready for VirtualBox and for running and installing off a USB drive. We're

using this Chrome OS build

, which is kept current.

Another popular build is over at the

Hexxeh website

. This doesn't appear to be maintained as of April 2013, but it will still work.

Take Chromium OS for a spin

You've got an array of options for trying Chromium OS. The easiest of them is to download an image, write it to a USB drive or SD card and boot this from your laptop or PC.

There are live disc versions too, but with writable media you're able to save your settings and carry the OS around with you.

It's not advertised within the OS but there's a command which easily copies the OS partitions to an internal hard drive.

This does wipe all existing data but with cheap SSDs it's not beyond the realms of possibility you could buy a dedicated drive.

We did try dual-booting Chromium with Linux Mint, but it seems Chromium saw this as a repair state and wouldn't play ball.

Let us know if you have more luck, as it seems a relatively straight-forward process of recreating the two ROOT-A and STATE partitions, dd over these from the USB drive and update Grub.

Read more:

The best

Chrome VPN extension

Latest: How to Print a List of Files in a Windows Directory
Next: How to format a Hard Drive or Disk in Windows 10
Popular Articles/span>
Back to top