Why install Chrome OS Flex on a Windows PC and how to do it

The pandemic has brought a host of new technology products to help us focus and improve our work from home experience. At that time, many users were puzzled by buying a new device or restoring an old one. If you, too, have been looking for a way to breathe new life into your old desktop or laptop, then Google Chrome OS Flex could be the answer to all your prayers.

Let’s take a quick look at this new OS from Google and how you can use it to your advantage. 

What is Chrome OS Flex?

Chrome OS Flex is Google’s new desktop operating system focused on ease of deployment and a way to reduce e-waste around the world. Chrome OS Flex is a lightweight desktop OS designed to deliver modern security and performance on older devices. 

Chrome OS Flex is built on top of Google’s Chrome OS and offers the ability to run most web applications efficiently and effectively. Thus, it gives you the ability to perform 90% of modern workflow tasks on your old device without having to upgrade or buy a new one.  

Why should you install Chrome OS Flex?

There are many reasons why you should install Chrome OS Flex for your PC, but there are also a few limitations that you should be aware of. If these limitations are features you rely heavily on, Chrome OS Flex might not be the best option for you. 

Functions

  • Improved and updated security
  • Blocked executables and sandboxing
  • Comprehensive IT control
  • Easy Cloud Deployment
  • Huge library of web applications
  • Google Admin Console Compatibility
  • High energy efficiency
  • Secure Boot Support (supported devices only)

Who Should Buy Chrome OS Flex?

If you have an older device that’s struggling to run Windows 10 or 11, then Chrome OS Flex is for you. In addition, if you have an unsupported Mac system, you can also take advantage of Chrome OS Flex for updated and enhanced security for your system. 

However, Chrome OS Flex is not recommended for users who use non-Chromium-supported 64-bit applications in their daily work. Also, if you use virtual machines a lot, then unfortunately Chrome OS Flex doesn’t support them yet. 

Limitations of Chrome OS Flex

Here are all the notable limitations of Chrome OS Flex that you should be aware of. 

  • No Verified Boot and Google Security Chip (Supports Secure Boot on some models)
  • No automatic BIOS and UEFI updates
  • Devices without TPM are vulnerable despite encryption
  • Google Play and Android apps are not supported
  • Some keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys may not be active when using Chrome OS Flex.
  • Unsupported ports with limited functionality on some devices
    • CD and DVD drives
    • FireWire ports
    • IR and other face recognition systems
    • Other proprietary ports
    • Stylus support and input
    • Lightning port
    • Biometric scanners
  • Unsupported SCEP protocol
  • Forced re-registration is not supported

If you’re an IT administrator and want to deploy Chrome OS Flex for your organization, these limits can be good or bad depending on your setup. If you’ve been looking for the enhanced security and administrative control of Chrome OS, then unfortunately Flex may not be the right fit for you. 

How to install Chrome OS Flex on your computer

Now that we’re familiar with Chrome OS Flex, let’s see how you can get it on your system. 

Necessary

  • Windows, Mac or Linux device
    • Processor: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit processor
    • RAM: 4 GB or more
    • Disk space: 16 GB or more

Note. You will also need administrator access to the system as well as access to the BIOS.

  • USB storage: 8 GB or more
  • Google Chrome | Download link
  • network connection

Note. The company recommends using systems released after 2010 for maximum compatibility. Chrome OS Flex also does not support the Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, and 3650.

What should you know?

Before proceeding, we recommend that you keep the following disadvantages in mind. This can make it difficult for you to perform tasks that were much easier in your previous OS. 

  • Chrome OS Flex does not support Google Play apps and Android apps.
  • While you can find alternative web apps for most desktop apps, they may not work as efficiently or effectively. 
  • You won’t be able to run third-party executables and programs unless you choose workarounds.
  • You will get limited security on certain devices due to limited TPM support and Secure Boot. 
  • This is a DEV channel build, which means it’s still in the early stages of development. You will run into issues and errors that can break your system, forcing you to reinstall for the time being.

Step 1: Create a bootable USB

Note. When installing Chrome OS, the selected drive will be cleared. We hope you have backed up all your important data before continuing with this guide.

  • Chromebook Recovery Utility | Download link

Open Chrome and click on the link above to download the Chromebook Recovery Utility extension. Click Add to Chrome.

Now plug in your USB drive and click on the “Extensions” icon.

Select Chromebook Recovery Utility.

Select Start.

Instead, click Select a model from a list. 

Click the first drop-down menu and select Chrome OS Flex.

Now select Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable) from the next dropdown menu.

Click Continue. 

Select your USB drive from the following dropdown menu. 

Note. If you have not yet backed up your USB data, we strongly recommend that you do so now. After that, all your data on the USB drive will be permanently deleted. 

Select Continue.

Click Create Now. Keep the device connected to the wall during this process. 

The utility will now download the necessary files and create your USB. This may take some time depending on your settings and network speed. 

Once completed, you will be asked to verify your identity in order to write files to the USB drive. Click Done when finished. 

You have now created a bootable Chrome OS Flex USB drive. Use the next step to help you install the same on your computer. 

Step 2: Install Chrome OS Flex

Make sure your USB is connected to the system and reboot your system. 

Most systems boot into the BIOS by holding down a key F2during the reboot process. If your system uses a different key, use it to enter the BIOS menu. Mac users can instead hold  Option  down the key. Go to the Boot section once you’re in the BIOS menu. 

Now set the USB stick as the priority boot device. 

Save your changes and exit the BIOS menu. Your system will now boot directly from the USB stick. 

Note. If your BIOS looks different and you can’t find the settings you need, we recommend that you contact your OEM’s support website for further assistance. 

After booting from USB, click “Start”. 

Select “Install CloudReady 2.0” and click “Next”. 

The installer will now warn you that all your data will be deleted. Click Install CloudReady 2.0 to begin the process. 

Click “Install” again to confirm your choice. Now you can leave your device and go get some coffee. The process should be completed within 20-30 minutes. 

When the process is complete, click “Start”. 

Connect to a network by selecting the one you want from the list on the screen. Click next. 

You will now be shown the TOC and Google’s privacy policy. Click “Agree” and continue. 

Click “You” if you plan to use the PC yourself. If you plan to give it to a younger user, you can choose Child instead. This will activate parental controls for your PC and allow you to restrict actions and behaviors on the system. 

Now click Next. 

Sign in to your Google account now. This account will be used to configure your system. Enter your email ID at the top and click next when you’re done. 

You will now be shown the sync settings for your account. Turn on the radio buttons for the items you want to sync and click Accept and Continue. 

Select the data you want to allow Google to collect from your system and click Accept and Continue. 

If you would like to use Google Assistant, please click Agree. Click “No thanks” if you want to turn it off.

Everything will now be set up and you will be greeted by OOBE. Click Get Started to set up Chrome OS Flex on your PC. 

Frequently asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about Chrome OS Flex that will help you stay up to date with the answers. 

Does Chrome OS Flex come with the Google Play Store?

No, Chrome OS Flex does not support the Android and Google Play apps. Chrome OS Flex only supports web apps and is the successor to CloudReady, not the successor to ChromeOS.

What is the difference between Chrome OS and Chrome OS Flex?

ChromeOS is Google’s native OS that supports Android and Google Play apps. It comes with Google enhanced security and is only available on Google hardware. 

Chrome OS Flex is a cloud OS version of the same platform that supports web apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Chrome OS Flex provides enhanced security depending on your system but loses out compared to ChromeOS and its hardware security. 

Is Chrome OS Flex different from CloudReady?

CloudReady and its parent company were recently acquired by Google. Chrome OS Flex is the successor to CloudReady with changes and improvements from Google. 

We hope this post helped you get familiar with Chrome OS Flex and install it on your computer. If you run into any issues or have additional questions, feel free to reach out using the comments section below. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.