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Turn your old, slow-moving laptop into a kid's Kickass Chromebook



  01 PC to Chromebook

A computer and an 8 GB flash drive are all you need for Chrome.


Sarah Tew / CNET

School will start for my children in a few weeks and all three will work on Chromebooks in class. We have a home, but with growth, they also have the time they need to spend on it, and they are not always the best when it comes to sharing. There are certainly some good deals for new but I was hoping to find another way.

In a cupboard with technical flotsam was a 201

1 HP Pavilion dm1z an 11.6-inch netbook, based on an AMD E-350 processor with integrated graphics, 3 GB of RAM and 320 GB Hard disk was executed. I made the mistake of updating the laptop's operating system from Windows 7 to Windows 10 in 2016, making it essentially a battery-powered paperweight, but also a perfect candidate for a new start as a Chromebook.

Google's Chrome OS isn & # 39; I chose the next best product, the CloudReady Chromium OS from Neverware. It looks and feels almost identical to Chrome OS, but can be installed on almost any laptop or desktop, Windows or Mac. And although Neverware has paid for corporate and educational users, the Home Edition is free for personal use. You do not get technical support and it can not be managed with the Google Admin console, it's free.

  03-pc-to-chromebook "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/L_UoSEcL0d5wmL-HcQWViK07uyk=/2019/07/29/feb07e4c-bfb5-413c-9df9-905284a9a9 -pc -to-chromebook.jpg

You can start CloudReady from a flash drive if you want to try it first.


Sarah Tew / CNET

You choose: Install or Dual Boot

Installing CloudReady is completely straightforward. In fact, you do not even have to override your current operating system to test it. If you have a Windows 7 PC or later, you only need an 8 GB or 16 GB flash drive to create a bootable USB drive (SanDisk drives are not recommended). Here are the basic steps to help you see how little is affected. For complete instructions, see the Neverware installation page. Note, however, that older Windows PCs and Macs require manual installation.

  • Download CloudReady and install it on the flash drive (it takes about 20 minutes and you do not have to babysit it).
  • Turn off the laptop or desktop on which you want to run CloudReady, and then connect the flash drive.
  • Turn it on and press the softkey required to enter your computer's Startup menu options. (CloudReady has a list of feature keys for different manufacturers if you are not sure.)
  • You should then see a screen where you can boot from either internal memory or the flash drive (see photo above). Select the USB drive and press Enter.

CloudReady starts live from the flash drive and you can use the operating system as if it were installed on the computer. You can continue to use it that way or delete and install your internal drive. Instead of overwriting my laptop's old drive, I simplified the process by inserting a Kingston SSD for 20,120 GB. I've just removed the old hard drive – a few screws and a cable – and replaced it with the SSD and then booted it back from the flash drive. Plus, that way I still have the original Windows installation if I need it for some reason.

  06-pc-to-chromebook "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/XrrhS35l7Bj_duzs_DZ5hH_mAt4=/ 2019/07/29/227b2305-d622-44b9-9e16-d459ac7dcf78 / 06-pc -to-chromebook.jpg

If you want to install, click on the clock in the bottom right and selet


Sarah Tew / CNET

Once you're back in CloudReady, you can click on the clock in the lower-right corner of the screen. The settings menu will open and you will see an option to install the operating system. After it is installed, you do not need the flash drive, it is only booted from the internal drive.

Ta-da, Chromebook! At least close enough to the needs of my children. It does not start up as fast as an actual Chromebook, but it still takes 30 seconds to sign up. The performance depends on what your PC has. With the Pavilion dm1z's netbook specifications, loading websites and opening web applications can take a few seconds longer, but is much faster than with the same tasks under Windows 10.

If you have a USB port A flash drive and an old laptop – testing is definitely worth it and is free.

Have you tried CloudReady? Or would another Linux operating system be better for an older laptop? Let me know in the comments.

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