Google announced Chrome OS Flex in February 2022 to breathe new life into aging Windows PCs and older MacBooks. We have already written a detailed guide on how to install Chrome OS with Play Store support on a PC, but it’s based on Project Brunch, and the installation process is a hassle. However, with Google now supporting third-party hardware, Chrome OS Flex stands out with its seamless installation process and longer support window. I tried the Chrome OS beta build earlier, and it worked like a charm. And now with the stable build of Chrome OS Flex, things are looking even more impressive. So if you wish to learn how to install Chrome OS Flex on your old MacBoooks, Linux PCs, and Windows laptops, follow our detailed guide below.
How to Install Chrome OS Flex (Updated July 2022)
In this guide, we have included step-by-step instructions to install the stable build of Chrome OS Flex on PCs and Macs. Along with that, we have explained what is Chrome OS Flex and my experience with Google’s new OS. You can expand the table below and learn about all the technicalities.
What is Google Chrome OS Flex?
Two years back, Google acquired Neverware, a New York-based company that was developing CloudReady. It allowed users to breathe new life into older PCs and run Chrome OS. CloudReady was built on the open-source Chromium OS base.
Google took over the project in February 2022 and released the first beta build of Chrome OS Flex (aka CloudReady 2.0) based on Chrome OS — Google’s official desktop OS with support for Google Assistant and other Google services. It also brought full Linux support, but Google Play Store did not make an appearance. And after six months, Google has now released the stable build of Chrome OS Flex with support for more than 295 certified devices.
Google is offering Chrome OS Flex to Education and Enterprise users for free. But regular users can also install Chrome OS Flex on their older Windows PCs and MacBooks. The aim behind this project is to utilize old hardware and offer speedy performance, almost on par with modern computers. As Google is now maintaining the project for hundreds of devices, we expect greater support from a myriad of different manufacturers, including HP, Apple, Asus, and more.
Requirements to Install Chrome OS Flex
1. A USB pen drive with at least 8GB or more storage.
2. Windows PC with an Intel or AMD x86-64-bit processor. ARM processors are not supported yet.
3. At least 4GB RAM or more.
4. Internal storage must be 16GB or more.
5. Check if your computer is certified to run Chrome OS Flex here. If your PC is on the list, you are good to go. In case your model does not appear in the list, do not worry. You can still proceed with the installation. Chrome OS Flex works even on non-certified PCsas we’ve tested below, it’s just that some of the functionalities might be limited. Over time, Google will add more computers to its certified list.
Flash Chrome OS Flex On a USB Drive
1. First, go ahead and install the Chromebook Recovery Utility Chrome extension using the link here. It’s an extension that will allow you to flash the Chrome OS Flex build on your USB drive.
2. Next, open the Chromebook Recovery Utility and plug in your USB drive. After that, click on “Get Started“.
3. On the next page, click the “Select a model from a list” option.
4. Click on the “Select a manufacturer” drop-down menu and choose “Google Chrome OS Flex“. From the next drop-down menu, select “Chrome OS Flex”. Now, click on “Continue”.
5. After that, select your USB thumb drive and click on “Continue“.
6. Finally, click on “Create now“, and the Chromebook Recovery Utility will create a bootable Chrome OS Flex drive. The whole process will take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your internet speed.
Install Chrome OS Flex on a Windows Laptop or MacBook
1. Once the flashing process is complete, restart your PC and press the boot key. If you don’t know the boot key for your computer, check the table below. Keep pressing the boot key until you see the boot selection page. If you are installing Chrome OS Flex on a custom-built PC, find the boot key based on your motherboard manufacturer from the internet.
2. On the boot selection page, select your USB drive using the arrow keys and hit Enter.
3. Now, the “Welcome to CloudReady 2.0” screen will appear. Here, click on “Get Started“. Now, go through the on-screen instructions and sign in with your Google account.
4. I suggest you first explore Chrome OS Flex before installing it on your hard drive. This way, you can check the compatibility of your Wi-Fi, keyboard, mouse, Bluetooth, touchpad, and other hardware devices.
5. Once you are sure you want to install Chrome OS Flex, open the Quick Settings panel from the bottom-right corner and click “Sign out“.
6. Next, click on “Install CloudReady” at the bottom-left corner.
7. Finally, click on “Install CloudReady 2.0” and then click on “Install” again. Note that this step will wipe your complete hard drive, so make sure to take a backup before performing this action. Once the installation is complete, shut down your computer and remove the USB drive.
8. And that’s it. Chrome OS Flex will boot up on your device without any issues. You can now enable the new Chrome OS launcher on Chrome OS Flex and do a lot more.
Remove Chrome OS Flex and Reinstall Windows on PCs
If you wish to go back to Windows and uninstall Chrome OS Flex, well, you can easily do so. We have written a detailed tutorial on how to delete Chrome OS Flex and reinstall Windows 11/10, so follow our guide for step-by-step instructions. You need to create a bootable USB drive for Windows and install it on your PC. Note that following this process will wipe the data stored on your hard disk, so make a backup beforehand.
Chrome OS Flex on a Windows Laptop: First Impressions
It’s safe to say that Chrome OS Flex is quite performant in comparison to Windows 11 or 10. I use an 8th-gen i5 Chromebook regularly, and in contrast, the performance with Chrome OS Flex on my 6th-gen Windows laptop is on a different level. The surprising part is that Google has added Google Assistant support in Chrome OS Flex, which is awesome. However, do note that there is no Android app support, and Google has not announced that it will add the Play Store to this build in the future.
Nevertheless, there is full-fledged Linux support, and that is great in itself. You will be able to use desktop-grade Linux apps on your Chromebook. And with Wine, you can even run lightweight Windows apps on your Chromebook powered by Chrome OS Flex.
The current stable build of Chrome OS Flex is based on Chrome OS 103, which is amazing. To sum up, Chrome OS Flex is a great alternative if you have an aging PC or MacBook and need something for casual browsing and day-to-day tasks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Chrome OS Flex free?
Yes, Chrome OS Flex is free to download and install on your old MacBook, Linux, or Windows PC. Chrome OS Flex is based on the open-source Chromium OS platform and is officially released by Google, so it does not cost any money.
Is Chrome OS Flex same as Chrome OS?
Chrome OS Flex can be called a stripped-down, lightweight version of Chrome OS. You can use the Chrome browser for all of your everyday tasks, install Linux apps, and more. In comparison to the standard Chrome OS, it does not support Play Store and Android apps. Also, not a lot of people know that Chrome OS Flex and the standard installation don’t have same keyboard layout. Therefore, some common Chrome OS keyboard shortcuts may not work in Chrome OS Flex.
Is Chrome OS Flex safe?
Yes, Chrome OS Flex has officially been released by Google and is safe to install on any Chromebook, MacBook, or Windows computer. The process of installing Chrome OS Flex is also simple, and you get a Chrome browser-focused lightweight OS with all the bells and whistles.
Can Chrome OS Flex run on 1GB/ 2GB RAM?
As per Google’s official requirements, you need at least 4GB of RAM on your old PC to install Chrome OS Flex. So the installation may run into issues and render your computers with 1GB or 2GB of RAM useless, so we wouldn’t recommend doing that.
Does Chrome OS Flex support Android apps?
No, Chrome OS Flex does not have support for Android apps. However, if you wish, you can enable full-fledged Linux support and install Linux as well as Windows apps on your Chrome OS Flex machine. But be considerate with the apps and software you install after moving to this lightweight Chrome OS build.
Will You Install Chrome OS Flex on Your PC or Laptop?
So that was our guide on how to install Chrome OS Flex on aging PCs and Windows laptops. Although I didn’t test Chrome OS Flex on an Apple MacBook, rest assured, the installation steps are similar, so you can give it a try. Apart from that, I attempted to dual-boot Chrome OS Flex with Windows 11 side-by-side, but currently, the bootloader has some issues. When we have it working properly, we will surely let you know. Anyway, that is all from us here. If you wish to learn about the best Chrome OS tips and tricks, go ahead and check our detailed article linked here. And if you have any questions, comment down below and let us know.
You didn’t explain how to open Chrome Ready Recovery after installation. You simply said open the Chromebook Recovery Utility and plug in your USB drive.
You already know it but you have to explain it keeping newbies in mind. I ddin’t know how to open Chrome REady Recovery after insallation. I had to search how to do it on Youtube.
chrome os flex is installed in my drive but i am unable to connect it to wifi so plzz help me
I can not see Boot Option Menu . There is a different option it’s Boot Option Priorities. Plz help
Getting error while creating recovery image
Unable to write to the selected USB flash drive or SD card. Your device’s write permissions may be disabled, or your domain administration may have disabled writing to USB storage.
Tried with multiple systems but getting the same error everytime. I am using 32GB Sandisk pendrive
Try using google chrome
What happens to the files and data which was already present in the laptop?
How to turn on Developer Mode on chrome os in pc
How do you enable Developer Mode?
Turn off your Chromebook.
Turn your Chromebook back on.
While your Chromebook is restarting, simultaneously hold the Esc key, Refresh key, and Power button.
Press and hold the Ctrl and D keys at the same time when a warning pops up. …
The device will now restart and set up Developer Mode.
but in pc do not work
After Installing Chrome OS, Touch pad in not working on my lenovo laptop
can any one help me
Is your laptop on the certified list?
mine is not certified,should i install it?
I have installed chrome OS on my HP laptop, but wifi is not getting connected. What to do now ??
I’m facing the same issue. Can’t access to my wifi so can’t log in to Chrome OS after installation process 🙃
After done in the installation process, it shows brunch installed instead of chrome os installed. Does it work if I wait, after booting there’s a choices of chrome os and idk what is the other one I think it’s settings. I choose Chrome OS then, it show root fs and patches are being applied, I wait a couple of minutes and nothing happen.
Hi, I have installed Chrome os flex, my kid wants to play som basic games, from where can I download?
Thanks for this article which helped to me regain my older laptop in greater speed but my USB DRIVE is gone for now after using the pendrive for chrome os i cant even format it or doing anything with it. Everytime i connect it to my another lap it just shows many USB drives and thats all i am unable to access it and its just got wasted. KINDLE FIND ANY SOLUTION FOR THAT.
Plug the USB drive on a Windows Computer and press Windows + X and open Disk Management. Find the USB disk on bottom-left corner, right-click on it and format. By the way, you can also format the USB drive using Chrome Recovery extension that you used for flashing Chrome OS Flex. Click on the gear icon on top.
if i install chrome os flex in my laptop the data will be lost or not ?
I used the try it first option, and then restarted with my Windows, but now the time zone is changed and is not updating/not able to sync now. What to do
I installed the chrome os, but if I want to use windows 11 for some time so I will need to go to boot menu and then do it or there is any other way to switch easyly
How many gb of internet is required to download chrome os?
After I restarted my laptop it was stuck on the Chrome screen for 6 hours,Please help.(Do I need to format my Usb Drive ??)
Can Try install dual boot type not real dual boot just swap spare hard disk to install and then remove it from laptop and plug it with hard drive case
Change boot sequence 1st from usb. 2nd fom hardrive
when there is no hard drive in usb port it will boot windows from laptop hardrive
I have 2gb ram and 32 bit can it still work if not plz tell alternative
Installed Chrome os flex in Asus Vivobook. Bluetooth is not working for me. Does anyone face the same issue.
Can we revert back to Windows 10 if Chrome OS Flex isn’t working properly? If yes, can you give a step by step process?
I tried to install chrome os flex on my 5400 rpm hard disk when it installs and shut down it boot loops i tried another 5400 hard disk it did the same when i tried my main kingstone ssd it worked i think the have a software bug that blocks booting for hard disks
can i install it on dell inspiron N4010 because it’s name is not on the supported devices
Can I install Chrome OS Flex on Windows 11 laptop and Switch between Windows and Chrome OS when required?
My laptop has 3GB RAM can I give it a try?
Bro im going through the same damm issue bruh the cursor stuff is pretty
Hi Arjun, Thanks for this article, this is very helpful. I like the work you and team is doing.
I’ve old HP Dm1 (very old, using since 2009). Which is running on Win 10 and having AMD Vision processor and 2 GB of RAM. This pc is very slow & lags a lot, I don’t want to invest anything on upgrading the h/w at the moment. Please suggest any OS which I can use which is suitable for above config. This is my spare system and I don’t want to scrap it as of now.
Along with Chrome OS Flex, you can try Linux Mint.
Bhai install to krlia ab wapis se mujhe remove krna h chrome os flex aur windows install krna h.. Windows ki flash pendrive h mere pas but ho nhi rhi boot manager se kya kru reply asap wrna pitai padegi bro
Follow this guide: https://beebom.com/install-windows-11-from-usb/
Even the External MIC is not detected.
I installed the Chrome OS Flex but while enabling the Linux on it, it says, “Error starting the virtual machine. Please try again.” Help me out.
Try this: https://beebom.com/fix-linux-not-installing-error-chromebook/
I have installed on my Lenova laptop with AMD a6 chip. When I tried it worked like a charm. When I installed it, its not going ahead from the chrome logo. It gets stuck there or either black screen comes and I cant do anything. Now I cant even go back to windows. Please help!!!
I have the same issue
Hey so i tried booting it again and again but it is still stuck at the logo
Process is stuck on creating the recovery drive.
Anyone else faced this issue?
Brother. I have a old sony vaio vpceh36en which does not support uefi or gpt. Can I install it on this laptop as sony brand is not listed in the google list of devices
Give it a try.
the usb drive just freezes on chrome os screen tried on 2 laptops and one actually runs arch the other windows any solution?
My screen gets stuck in the chrome screen need some help my laptop is HP Notebook – 15-da0326tu (5AY34PA) please need help
What about windows drivers ?Will it work fine with 3rd party hardware ?
Bro I’ve old Samsung Laptop with 3GB of RAM. Can I install this OS in it?
I`ve tested the cloudready chrome, gonna visit a friend and give him the update – lets see im very excited, you have spoken nicely about this product and I already love it before i tried 🙂 I think I downloaded a 10th gen i7 laptop version of Chrome OS, does it need to be “Under Development” version, abselute?
i booted the Chrome OS with my flash drive, but my PC was still lagging heavily, could it be that my flash drive was slow??
are you on the try mode? or did you really installed it?
Cant it be installed beside windows , like we do with linux
guess not, is not a shareble os like the one you mention it
No it can’t … google does not offer manual partitioning
I have an old Chromebook dell 7310.
I was hoping to install Chrome OS flex, but when I try to boot on the usb stick, it says me : the device inserted does not cointain Chrome OS
Any idea to make it work ?
After installing Chrome OS how to get back to the windows is plese suggest me
yhanks for sharing such amazing blog for new computer user
Brother I cannot play the .mkv video files in the chrome is flex.
Like the audio part is all good but for the video part all I get is a black screen!
Is there a app or extension for that? And if it does get played will I be able to use and change the subtitles given along with the video file?
Install the Linux version of VLC. https://beebom.com/how-use-linux-chromebook/
I’ve installed Chrome OS Flex in my old dell latitude and everything is working fine. But I can’t able to find the developer option to enable the Linux environment. Can anybody help to find the developer option?
Open Settings and move to “Advanced” in the left pane and open “Developers”.
My laptop screen is going black after showing the chrome logo while trying to install it. is it because my laptop( hp notebook pentium processor) dont support chrome os flex? will i get to install it after a stable release of the chrome os flex arrives? what is the expected release date of it?
And i used sd card put in a card reader for installing it, will it cause any problem?
I just wanted to know, Will it only erase my data available in C Drive . Or Will erase all C,E and D together?
It will wipe all the drives.
Every time I finish downloading using the extension, Chrome crashes. What do to do solve it?
Try using Chrome in guest mode. brother. That might change something.
Or creating a different profile is very much recommended
I tried it but the wifi isn’t connecting but ethernet connection works fine. I want to revert back to windows 10 till the stable build is released for the flex. How to do it ? Please help.
Just do a fresh windows install:
Sorry, this reply was for Kaspian Fuad
Hey , I tried it’s good but it’s just working with after removing pd it’s boot and stucks at chrome logo ..Now what to do how to reinstall it
Same is happening to me. What should i do now?
same issue here
When i booted it with usb stick it worked fine but after i signed out and installed it, then after removing usb and starting up it started with the chrome logo stuck.
Same is happening to me. Please help
I’m having the same issue. Running fine with USB boot, but after installation stuck at a black screen after Chrome logo. Let me know if there is any solution to this.
Can you run chrome os virtually? just to test everything out?
Can you install this without losing your files/documents from your directory?
Hey, I just installed it and now it is stuck on chrome logo, and yes I have reinstalled the OS. Now what should I do? Dell Inspiron 3043
And yeah it’s an AIO. So no battery.
Hey! So I installed chrome os flex yesterday and initially I tried it with the usb stick and the os was performing fine. I could connect to my bluetooth earphones and listen to music. But after installing it in my hard drive, the bluetooth menu does not show any bluetooth devices to pair although all of them are in pairing mode. I later booted the os from my usb stick and now it doesn’t work there too. I reinstalled the os but the issue persists. Can I help me out here?
When I tried to create a recovery image, it shows that its unable to unzip the files and try again.
I tried for like 3-4 times and it still dosent work.
What should I do ?
So while installing Chrome OS flex i used my hard disk. The main problem is that the expansion is not showing in my pc and i am not able to access the files of my hard disk
IT WILL WIPE OUT THE WHOLE HARD DRIVE OR JUST THE C DRIVE OR THE DRIVE WHERE I WILL BE INSTALLING IT?
It will wipe the whole hard drive.
SDHC( sd card) is or showing in boot menu please help
3. On the next page, click on the “Select a model from a list” option.
Question – Which Model to select from the list. my laptop is not there in the list. lenovo – G570
You don’t need to specify your laptop model. Just select “Google Chrome OS Flex” and “Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable)” from the drop-down menu.
I did that and OS installed Successfully, but OS is not loading and it shows blank screen after “start chrome screen” while loading OS. What should I do?
No i don’t think so
How much time does it take to create a recovery image?
Atleast Installing Chrome OS is easier than ever now. Just Like windows.
nothing gets downloaded to my pendrive though it shows all processes like downloading, verifying download, unpacking etc
Can I install SAP Gui on Crome OS
Hello can I install this in it uefi 32bit and 2gb ram
No. Only 64-bit systems are supported having at least 4GB of RAM.
I tried this version earlier using rufus and brunch, the thing here is i dont know how to go back to windows now, pls help
You need to clean install Windows. https://beebom.com/how-download-windows-11-iso-clean-install/
I have an 8gb sd card
I did everything just that it is not showing in boot option in the boot menu
Open BIOS and move removable media to first priority order.
Asus flash utility doesn’t seem to have that option, tried scanning the whole are in it. Please guide further
Can I flash this OS in Desktop??
Can we use pendrive after the process like how we use them before installing boot image on them ( not only for Chrome flex ,for windows as well) or the pen drive just become useless and only be used to install chrome flex/windows
You can format the pen drive with the same Chrome Recovery Utility extension. After that, you can use it on Windows or any platform.
How can we go back to windows after installing chrome os?
Can you suggest something?
When i booted it with usb stick it worked fine but after i signed out and installed it, then after removing usb and starting up it started with the chrome logo but then there was a black sceen with the cursor. even now it works fine with usb stick but the same problem with internal storage
Can you reinstall the OS?
Can we revert back to windows,just in case?
How to dual boot chrome os and windows
We are currently looking into a way to dual boot Chrome OS Flex and Windows.
Maybe the size of the partition in which chrome os is installed could be shrinked to create space for windows.
What about laptop with 2gb of ram. Is it compatible?
Hi, thank you so much for this,
I wanted to know if e can run MS word and all the windows office apps as on Windows OS?
Follow this guide: https://beebom.com/install-microsoft-office-on-chromebook/
Will it erase the exiting data while installing?
Should I make backup of my data before starting?
Yes. It will wipe the whole hard drive.
will this format my pc
i mean will i be logged out of netflix account and other things ???
This will completely wipe your hard drive so make sure to back up.
Thanks. Good article.
Can you install a persistent instance to a USB stick rather than your hard drive?
Yes. The USB stick keeps all your data.
How to use both windows and chrome os ?
Hi Yousuf, we tried dual-booting Chrome OS Flex with Windows 11 but faced bootloader issues. We couldn’t dual boot Chrome OS and Windows 11, but we plan to share a guide for the same if we get it working.
Did you figure out dual booting?
Install virtual box then install chrome os .