Chrome OS Flex is the new Google operating system designed for PC and Mac systems: how to install and try it.
Chrome OS, the operating system that Google preinstalls on Chromebooks, has matured a lot over the years. When it launched in 2010, Chrome OS was essentially just the browser and little more. There was no desktop, no taskbar, and the app offering was minimal to say the least.
In recent times i Chromebook they scored aescalation he continues: previously low-cost systems, with mediocre hardware characteristics and with important limitations, Chromebooks have become truly practical and often advantageous solutions not only in the educational field but also on the corporate and personal side.
Chrome OS has also become capable of supporting the Google Play Store then to install and run le directly app Android. A strategy, that of the Mountain View company, which clearly aims to steal market share from Windows in the notebook and convertible segment.
After the acquisition of Neverware and of the Cloudready project, still available (also in the form of an image for virtual machines) and even recommended by Google, the company founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin presented Chrome OS Flex, an operating system that follows the functioning of Chrome OS and which is meant for i old PCs and Macs.
Why retire a car that feels the weight of the years? Instead of installing Windows, for example, you can opt for a lighter one Linux distribution.
A further alternative wants to be Chrome OS Flexa solution particularly suitable for those who use Google applications and services.
What it is and what Chrome OS Flex offers
Chrome OS Flex is an operating system that brings back all the main features of Chrome OS so that you can use them on older PCs and Mac systems.
Google engineers wanted to carry on the work done by Neverware so much so that at the moment, on the first screen of Chrome OS Flex still appears Cloudready 2.0. In short, Chrome OS Flex is the direct successor of Cloudready even if it is Google itself that warns that the version currently published should be considered as a preview that may suffer from various youth problems.
Unfortunately, those who already looked forward to a Google operating system for PC and Mac that directly supports the app Android will be disappointed: Chrome OS Flex does not yet offer this type of function. It is therefore not possible to use either the Google Play Store nor install solutions for virtualization of other operating systems such as Parallels Desktop per Chrome OS.
It is said that the situation cannot change: indeed, we bet that in the future – also considering the work that Microsoft has done in Windows 11 with WSA (Windows Subsystem for Android) – it will be possible install android apps also in Chrome OS Flex and virtualize Windows/Linux.
How to install Chrome OS Flex
Chrome OS Flex can be installed on your system or tried by one USB pendrive in “live” mode without the need to change the configuration of hard disks and SSD units.
To use or install Chrome OS Flex an 8GB or larger USB stick is required as well as a system with at least 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
The CPU must be 64-bit while integrated GPUs such as Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600 and 3650 are not considered adequate in order to offer sufficient performance.
The procedure to follow to prepare the USB stick with Chrome OS Flex is quite simple:
1) Launch your Chrome browser then install the Chromebook Recovery Utility extension.
2) Click on the icon of Chromebook Recovery Utility to the right of the Chrome address bar.
3) Click Start to start Chromebook Recovery Utility.
4) Click on Select a model from a list.
5) From the two drop-down menus, do not select any Chromebook but choose Google Chrome OS Flex e Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable).
6) The next step is to choose the USB stick on which you want to load Chrome OS Flex.
Since Chrome OS Flex can also be run in “live” mode without installing anything, if you want to take advantage of this possibility, it is good to opt for a sufficiently fast USB drive: the device should be Gen 2 (up to 10 Gbps) or Gen 2×2 (up to 20Gbps) to maximize read and write performance. The USB drive must also be connected to a compatible USB port otherwise you will not be able to take advantage of the best performance in the data transfer phase and therefore run Chrome OS Flex with maximum performance.
7) Chromebook Recovery Utility will download the Chrome OS Flex image from Google servers and temporarily store it in the folder %temp% on Windows systems. It will then prepare the bootable USB stick (remember to give Chrome permission to change the system configuration otherwise you won’t be able to write to the external USB stick).
8) At the end of the USB drive preparation procedure, you can restart the machine making sure that the correct boot sequence is set at the UEFI BIOS level.
In Windows, you can press to request a restart of the machine and immediately access UEFI Windows+R then type shutdown /r /fw /f /t 0.
Alternatively you can use the command shutdown /r /o /f /t 0 to reboot the system and indicate willingness to boot from USB.
9) Once Chrome OS Flex has finished loading (boot phase), the operating system asks if you want to try it in “live” mode without changing anything or if you want to install it on a hard disk or SSD. You are also asked to configure the network connection (for example WiFi) and to enter the credentials of a Google user account to log in.
In the image the list of apps that will be installed since the first launch of Chrome Flex OS.
For the rest, you will find yourself in front of a desktop with the Google icon, the file manager and the apps running in the central part, a bit like in macOS and Windows 11.
Pressing the circular button in the lower left or the Windows key takes you to the search box, the most used apps and thedigital assistant Google.
In case you want remove Chrome OS Flex from the USB stick you can just start it again Chromebook Recovery Utilityclick on the small gear icon at the top right then choose Reset Recovery Media. It will obviously be necessary to indicate the USB device to be “reset”.
At the end of the procedure it will have to be reformatted with the function integrated at the operating system level.