How to install ChromeOS Flex on any laptop

ChromeOS Flex is a lightweight operating system from Google, which you can install on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers with older hardware, such as an old laptop or desktop computer. The operating system is based on Linux which uses web apps and the Chrome browser as the main interface.

The operating system also gives you security protection from threats such as malware and ransomware, and users will get a fast and modern work environment with background updates reducing downtime while boosting productivity.

Although Google offers many Chromebooks from different manufacturers that come preloaded with ChromeOS, the company now provides the ChromeOS Flex variant to give old computers a second life, especially for devices not compatible with Windows 11.

This guide will teach you the steps to install ChromeOS Flex on an old Windows-based computer.

ChromeOS Flex system requirements

Although Google only supports specific devices, you can still install the operating system on virtually any hardware as long as it meets the minimum requirements:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit.
  • Memory: 4GB.
  • Storage: 16GB.

The requirements to run ChromeOS Flex are minimal, but Google says that processors and graphics made before 2010 may result in a poor user experience.

Aside from system requirements, you will also need a USB flash drive of at least 8GB to create the installation media.

Create ChromeOS Flex USB flash media

To create a ChromeOS Flex installation media, connect a USB flash drive of 8GB, and use these steps:

  1. Open Chromebook Recovery Utility page on Chrome.
  2. Click the Add to Chrome button.
  3. Click the Add extension button.
  4. Click the Extension button and select the Chromebook Recovery Utility extension.Chrome Recovery Utility
  5. Click the Get started button.
  6. Select the Google ChromeOS Flex option.
  7. Select the ChromeOS Flex option.
  8. Click the Continue button.
  9. Select the USB flash media from the list.Select USB create Chrome OS Flex media
  10. Click the Continue button.
  11. Click the Create now button.Create Chrome OS Flex media
  12. Click the Done button.

Once you complete the steps, you can proceed with the clean installation of ChromeOS Flex.

Install ChromeOS Flex

To install ChromeOS Flex on a Windows device, use these steps:

  1. Start the laptop with the ChromeOS Flex USB.Quick note: If the computer can’t boot from USB, you may need to update the BIOS/UEFI settings. This process usually requires pressing one of the function keys (F1, F2, F3, F10, or F12), the ESC, or the Delete key. For more accurate instructions, visit your PC manufacturer’s support website.
  2. Click the Get Started button.Chrome OS Flex get started
  3. Select the “Try it first” option.Chrome OS Flex install setupQuick note: In this guide, we’ll use the “Try it first” option, but if you plan to dedicate the device to the operating system, select the “Install CloudReady 2.0” option.
  4. Click the Next button.
  5. Select the wireless network.
  6. Confirm the Wi-Fi password.Chrome OS Flex connect to W-Fi
  7. Click the Connect button.
  8. Click the Accept and continue button.
  9. Select the You option to create an account.CChrome OS Flex create account
  10. Click the Next button.
  11. Confirm your Gmail account.Confirm Gmail account
  12. Click the Next button.
  13. Confirm the account password.
  14. Click the Next button.
  15. Complete the account verification.
  16. Click the Next button.
  17. Click the Accept and continue button.Chrome OS Flex sync settings

After you complete the steps, the operating system will install on the computer.

If you are ready for Windows again, you can use these steps to reinstall Windows 11 or Windows 10.

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