Sunday, January 3, 2016

Convert your SLOW old PC into a Chromebook

I had a cheap version of an Acer 11" laptop that was not performing well after a few years. The machine was practically not usable so I decided to research and install the open-source Chromium OS that would make this old laptop a relatively fast "Chromebook".

Before I get into the instructions, let me share the final results. The Chromium OS boots up in 10sec on this "Chromebook". Browsing internet is super fast and YouTube works great, but there are a few things that you have to watch out for if you are already used to using regular Chromebooks and you are doing a direct comparison:

  1. Chrome Web Store:  This will not work as Chromium OS is not compatible with Chrome OS Web Store.
  2. You will not have access to Google Drive through the Chromium File Explorer the way you can do it in Chrome OS. This may not be important to you because you can still access Gmail, Google+ and Google Drive through your browser which is how I typically access it anyways. 
  3. Chromium browser does NOT support Flash. So if you are used to playing games with Flash or watching movies from websites that are powered by Flash, you are out of luck. Keep in mind that you can still play HTML5 games but you will have to find them outside the ChromeOS web store (i.e. )

After doing some quick research on YouTube, here are the exact steps for getting Chromium install on your USB drive and using it as a boot-up drive, or fully converting your PC into a Chromebook so you don't have to use USB drives as boot-up.

  1. Download and install Win32 Disk Imager that is used for creating your boot-up drive:
  2. Download the Chromium OS build from: and extract the file from the zip file.
  3. Use one USB drive that you don't need. Keep in mind that everything on this USB drive will be formatted so make sure you save its data somewhere before using it.
  4. Use the Win32 Disk Imager:  Create a boot-up USB drive using the Chromium OS build image file by selecting it within the Disk Imager tool.
  5. After the Disk Imager is done creating a boot-up drive, you can leave the USB drive connected and reboot your computer and the boot-up time, you need to make sure that the boot-up is done from the USB drive instead of your hard-drive. Depending on the type of your PC, you press different function keys to get the boot-up menu. For example, on my Acer laptop I pressed F2 while the computer was being rebooted and it presented me with a menu where I was able to select the order of drives used during boot-up.
  6. After you let it boot up from the USB drive, you will get the Chromium screens that will walk you through initial setup with your Gmail address.

If my instructions are not clear, you can watch these two videos:

If you want to fully/permanently convert your PC into a ChromiumBook/Chromebook without needing to use the USB drive, you can do that by following the instructions below, but you need to be very careful; you will NOT have access to your Windows OS anymore and you will first need to back up files from your computer if you plan to do so. Here are the instructions:

- - 

#Chromium #Chrome #ChromeOS #Chromebook #PC 

No comments:

Post a Comment