Chrome OS can run on the most basic of hardware, thanks to its cloud-based structure. This has made the best Chromebooks a popular option for students and budget home computers.
But what if you didn't even need to buy a new machine? Google is releasing a new version of Chrome OS that is designed to work on old PC and Mac machines. Aimed at businesses and schools, the Enterprise solution allows you to simply install the operating system on your outdated machine to replace the MacOS or Windows platform.
This is ideal if you have machines that can no longer be updated to the latest Mac or Windows OS. It could save hundreds or at least mean that you could pass on the machine to someone else to make use of.
Chrome OS Flex is completely free to download from the Chrome Enterprise page. The OS is still officially in development though, so expect some bumps along the way. The file has to be downloaded onto a USB drive and then used to boot your machine to install it.
Unlike with dedicated Chrome OS devices that have a Google Security chip, the Chrome OS verified boot procedure is unavailable on Chrome OS Flex. Google Play and Android apps are not supported and some hardware connected might not work properly. However, if you just need basic functionality, you're set.
There are still some minimum requirements. It must be an Intel or AMD 64-bit device (no ARM machines) with 4GB RAM and 16GB of storage. You can find a full list of certified models on the Chrome OS Flex help page (opens in new tab). Remember that installing a new OS will completely erase all of your files, applications and settings, so don't try it on a current machine.
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