CloudReady Runs Chrome OS on Regular Computers


My wife's Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 Laptop is now over two years old. While it is still functional, the hardware is struggling to run Ubuntu 16, and I don't have much hope that Ubuntu 18 will be any faster. We considered buying a new laptop, however, she didn't think the expense was worth it as she doesn't use her laptop very often these days. She tends to favor her tablet, which handles most of her computing needs, however, she still uses her laptop when a keyboard or bigger screen is nice to have.

With the decision made to keep using her existing laptop, I was planning to just install Manjaro over her current Ubuntu install, as Manjaro is currently my preferred OS. I was thinking that I could make it feel snappier by using a faster Window Manager / Desktop Environment like Xfce.

After thinking on this for a bit and knowing her minimal use cases for the device (mainly just Google Docs), I thought Chrome OS might be a nice solution for her. Some benefits that make is desirable are:

Wondering if I even could install Chrome OS on her laptop led me to this article by Chris Hoffman which describes how to do this very thing using Neverware's CloudReady software. So I followed the instructions, created a bootable USB installer and (after backing up her files) installed CloudReady on her laptop. Even though that specific laptop model is not listed on their supported devices page, it worked!

She has been using it for over a month now with no issues. She was able to get used to the new interface very quickly, and after updating a couple settings, like setting up the printer, she hasn't needed any more help with using it. She also finds it more responsive to use than the former Ubuntu 16 setup.

I'm really happy with this outcome and glad that Neverware provides this OS free for personal use. While I will always recommend Linux for most tech savvy users, in the case of someone like my wife who doesn't want to do very much with their computer and really just "wants it to work" and stay updated, I think Chrome OS is a fine solution.

While this isn’t the official version of Chrome OS produced by Google, it’s better and more well-supported than previous solutions created by enthusiasts.

– Chris Hoffman

Tags: software operating-system chrome-os