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How to try Google’s new Chrome OS variant and turn your old PC or Mac into a legit Chromebook

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Google is today introducing a new early access program for a brand-new variant of Chrome OS, but this variant isn’t meant for your existing Chromebook.

How to turn your old PC or Mac into a legit Chromebook

  1. First visit Try Chrome OS Flex
  2. Enter your info into the fields
  3. Select the Try Chrome OS Flex button

Before you begin

What you need

  • Device to create the USB installer
    • Chrome OS, Windows, or Mac device with the current version of Chrome browser.
    • The device that you use to create your USB installer can be different to the device you plan to install Chrome OS Flex on.
  • USB drive
    • 8 GB or more.
    • From time to time, Sandisk or other USB drives might not work as installers. Find out more in Known issues.All contents on the USB drive will be erased.
  • Windows, Mac, or Linux device to install Chrome OS Flex on—your target device
    • Google only guarantees Chrome OS Flex functionality on certified models.
    • Variants of certified models might have unexpected issues.
    • Chrome OS Flex might work on non-certified devices but performance, functionality, and stability are not guaranteed.
    • Minimum device requirements:
      • Architecture: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit compatible device
      • RAM: 4 GB
      • Internal storage: 16 GB
      • Bootable from USB drive
      • BIOS: Full administrator access. You’ll need to boot from the Chrome OS Flex USB installer and make some adjustments in the BIOS if you run into issues.
      • Processor and graphics: Components made before 2010 might result in a poor experience.
        Note: Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, and 3650 graphics hardware do not meet Chrome OS Flex performance standards.

Step 1: Install Chromebook Recovery Utility

  1. On your Chrome OS, Windows, or Mac device, open Chrome browser "".
  2. Go to the Chrome web store.
  3. At the top right, click Add to Chrome.
  4. When prompted, click Add extension.

The Chromebook Recovery Utility is now an extension in your Chrome browser.

Step 2: Make sure Chrome Recovery Utility extension is turned on

  1. At the top right of your Chrome browser window, click Extensions and thenManage extensions.
  2. Next to Chromebook Recovery Utility, toggle the switch to the right.
    Optional: You can also click Details and toggle the switch to the right.

After you turn on the Chromebook Recovery Extension, in the extension panel in your browser, click on the extension to open the pop-up.

Step 3: Build the USB installer

  1. In Chrome browser, launch the Chrome Recovery Utility extension.
  2. Click Get started.
  3. Click Select a model from a list.
  4. For Select a manufacturer, find and click Google Chrome OS Flex.
  5. For Select a product, find and click Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable).
    Chromebook Recovery Utility
  6. Click Continue.
  7. When prompted, insert your USB drive.
  8. From the dropdown menu, select the USB drive.
  9. Click Continue.
  10. Click Create now.
    Note: During the process, it is normal for Chrome Recovery Utility to show unusual percentages.
  11. When you get a message that your recovery media is ready, remove your USB drive from the device.

Use the USB installer that you just created to boot the device you want to run Chrome OS Flex on.

Before you begin: Read the notes and installation instructions specific to your device. See Certified models list.

  1. Turn off the device you want to run Chrome OS Flex on.
    Note: Make sure the target device is completely powered off, and not asleep or idle.
  2. Insert the Chrome OS Flex USB installer.
  3. Boot the device from the USB drive. If you’re unsure which key to use, see Boot keys below.
    1. Press the power button.
    2. Immediately begin repeatedly pressing your device’s boot key.
  4. Select your USB installer as the boot device using:
    1. One-time boot menu—If your interrupt triggers a one-time boot menu, you’ll see a list of boot options on your screen. You can use arrow keys, or mouse in some cases, to select your USB installer.
    2. BIOS or UEFI menu—If your interrupt opens the full BIOS or UEFI setup menu, you’ll need to find settings related to Boot or Startup. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to set your USB installer as the first, primary, or preferred boot device.
    3. Other menu—If you see other options on screen, navigate to an option that matches one of the menus described above. Then proceed as described in those steps.

After you have successfully booted Chrome OS Flex from your USB installer, you can permanently install Chrome OS Flex, erasing the device’s existing OS and replacing it with Chrome OS Flex. If you’re not yet ready to install Chrome OS Flex on devices, you can temporarily run it using the USB installer. That way, you can test and verify that device functionality, such as networking and input tools, works as expected.

Start using Chrome OS Flex

Google recommends that you fully install Chrome OS Flex, not live boot from the USB installer. Live booting has performance and storage limitations, and does not support automatic updates or enrollment for management. Live booting is only recommended for temporary exploration or testing. We strongly recommend full installation for the best Chrome OS Flex experience.

Two ways to try Chrome OS Flex

Chrome OS Flex provides the option to live boot, running the OS directly from your USB device without actually installing it. Live boot helps to preserve your device’s current data and OS, so you can test Chrome OS Flex before you install it.

On the device that you booted using the USB installer:

  1. On the Welcome to CloudReady 2.0 screen, click Get started.
  2. On the Start using CloudReady 2.0 screen, click Try it first.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions.
  4. Sign in to the device.

After you’ve finished testing or exploring Chrome OS Flex, to permanently install Chrome OS Flex:

  1. Sign out of the device.
    1. At the bottom right, click the time.
    2. Click Sign out.
  2. At the bottom of the sign-in screen, click Install CloudReady 2.0.
  3. Carefully review the on-screen warning about erasing data.
  4. Click Install CloudReady.
  5. When installation is complete, you’ll see a message on screen. The device turns off automatically.
  6. With the device completely turned off, take out the USB installer.
  7. Turn on the device and start using Chrome OS Flex. 

Note: After you install Chrome OS Flex, user data—such as downloads and settings—collected during live booting does not persist.

Install Chrome OS Flex

Before you begin: Back up your data to the cloud or a separate drive. Be sure to disconnect all backup and storage drives.

  1. On the Welcome to CloudReady 2.0 screen, click Get started.
  2. On the Start using CloudReady 2.0 screen, click Install CloudReady 2.0.
  3. Carefully review the on-screen warning about erasing data.
  4. Click Install CloudReady.
  5. When installation is complete, you’ll see a message on screen. The device turns off automatically.
  6. With the device completely turned off, take out the USB installer.
  7. Turn on the device and start using Chrome OS Flex.

Format your USB drive

If you want to reuse your USB drive after you successfully install Chrome OS Flex on devices, use the Chromebook Recovery Utility to format it.

  1. On the Chrome OS, Windows, or Mac device that you used to create the USB installer, open Chrome browser "".
  2. Launch the Chrome Recovery Utility extension.
  3. Click Settings ""and thenErase recovery media.
  4. Insert the USB drive you want to format.
  5. From the dropdown menu, select the USB drive.
  6. Click Continue.
  7. Click Erase now.

When you see the message Your recovery media has been erased, click Done.

Set up and enroll Chrome OS Flex devices

To set up your Chrome OS Flex device after installation, follow the on-screen instructions. Setting up Chrome OS Flex devices is the same as setting up a Chromebook. For details, go to Set up your Chromebook.

To manage Chrome OS using the Google Admin console, you need to purchase a Chrome Enterprise Upgrade or Chrome Education Upgrade for each standalone Chrome OS Flex device you want to manage. Learn more about Chrome OS device management

When you reach the sign-in screen on your Chrome OS Flex device, enroll devices in the Admin console. After a device is enrolled, you can start enforcing policies to manage its use. For instructions on how to enroll devices, see Enroll Chrome OS devices.

Note: Chrome Enterprise support is only available for certified devices that are enrolled in the Admin console. For information about support options available, go to Get support.

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