For the first time about the project Chrome OS Flex became known in February this year, when Google made public a preliminary version of the system, which can be installed on almost any computer compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux, and not just branded Chromebooks. The basis of the new platform were the developments of Neverware, which the IT giant took up, which developed its own CloudReady OS based on the open source Linux distribution Chromium OS with a view to devices with outdated equipment. The result of the transaction and the work done was the release of a lightweight edition of Chrome OS, which received the prefix Flex in the title and was made publicly available to all interested parties.
differences from the original chrome operating system
Chrome OS Flex is a stripped down version of Chrome OS with limited functionality. Key differences for the average user include the lack of support for Arm processors, the Google Play Store, and Android applications. In addition, the operating system lacks Parallels Desktop software for running Windows programs in a virtualized environment and built-in automatic BIOS/UEFI firmware updates. It also reports possible problems with various hardware and peripherals, be they fingerprint sensors, CD/DVD drives, FireWire, infrared ports, webcams, styluses, docking stations, Thunderbolt devices. For a full list of available restrictions, see via this link.
Chrome OS Flex requires a PC with an Intel or AMD processor with x86-64 architecture, at least 4 GB RAM, 16 GB internal storage and USB boot support. At the moment the system has been tested on numerous configurations of machines from Apple, Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Toshiba and other manufacturers – in the version released by the developer list There are about three hundred supported devices, the number of which is replenished when conducting compatibility checks. According to Google, 10 years ago the platform could easily be used on almost any computer. For example, in our case, Chrome OS Flex fit like a glove on a 2010 Sony VAIO VPC-Y11M1R laptop (1.3 GHz Intel SU4100 processor, 8 GB RAM, SSD, integrated Intel GMA X4500MHD video). In fairness, the more sophisticated Windows 11 and the latest Ubuntu releases still get along well on this machine. Incidentally, this is about the objectivity of judgments about modern software and old hardware.
operating system installation
To deploy Chrome OS Flex, you need to equip yourself with a flash drive with at least 8 GB of memory and create bootable media from it. There is no need to download ISO images for this – all the preliminary procedures are performed using the Chrome browser and the Chromebook Recovery Utility extension downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.
The process of creating a bootable flash drive is divided into three steps. In the first step, you need to specify Chrome OS Flex in both drop-down lists instead of the preferred Chromebook model.
Next, connect the device to the USB port of the computer…
… and wait for the installation files to finish copying.
When the drive is ready, you need to go to the BIOS/UEFI settings and enable the computer to boot from an external USB drive. After that, you can start deploying and running Chrome OS Flex.
There are two options to choose from: install the system on the device or use a flash drive in live mode and run Chrome OS Flex without replacing the operating system on the computer. The latter method is preferable for those who want to evaluate the novelty in the case without running the risk of damaging the installed system. The first option involves the complete installation of the software platform on the internal media of the PC. This will erase all partitions and files on the disk, so backups are required in case of a rollback.