How to install Chrome OS Flex on your Windows PC and MacBook

This article will guide you on how to install Chrome OS Flex on your Windows PC and MacBook. Google has released Chrome OS Flex to breathe new life into aging Windows PCs and older MacBooks. How to Create a Local Account on Windows 11.

With Google directly supporting third-party hardware, Chrome OS Flex stands out with its seamless installation process and longer support window. I tried the new Chrome OS Flex OS on my Windows laptop, and it worked like a charm. How to Install TPM 2.0 Module on Windows PC for Windows 11

So if you wish to learn how to install Chrome OS Flex on PCs and Windows laptops, follow our detailed guide below.

As an admin, you can install Chrome OS Flex on Windows, Mac, or Linux devices so your users can get many of the features that are available on Chrome OS devices. First, you’ll create a USB installer. Then, you can use the USB installer to temporarily try Chrome OS Flex on devices. When you’re ready, you can use it to erase the current OS from devices and permanently replace it with Chrome OS Flex.

Before you begin the Chrome OS Flex installation:

  • Check to see if your device models are certified—Google regularly tests, maintains, and certifies Chrome OS Flex features and functionality on many individual models. While Chrome OS Flex might work on non-certified devices, we do not guarantee performance, functionality, or stability.
  • Chrome OS Flex differs from Chrome OS

What you need for successful installation of the Chrome OS Flex:

  • Device to create the USB installer
    • Chrome OS, Windows, or Mac device with the current version of Chrome browser.
    • The device that you use to create your USB installer can be different to the device you plan to install Chrome OS Flex on.
  • USB drive – 8 GB or more
  • Windows, Mac, or Linux device to install Chrome OS Flex on—your target device
  • Google only guarantees Chrome OS Flex functionality on certified models.
  • Variants of certified models might have unexpected issues.
  • Chrome OS Flex might work on non-certified devices but performance, functionality, and stability are not guaranteed.
  • Minimum device requirements:Architecture: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit compatible device
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Internal storage: 16 GB
  • Bootable from USB drive
  • BIOS: Full administrator access. You’ll need to boot from the Chrome OS Flex USB installer and make some adjustments in the BIOS if you run into issues.
  • Processor and graphics: Components made before 2010 might result in a poor experience.
  • Note: Intel GMA 500, 600, 3600, and 3650 graphics hardware do not meet Chrome OS Flex performance standards.

Chrome OS Flex installation guide 1: Create the USB installer

Create the USB installer for installing the Chrome OS flex. The device that you use to create your USB installer can be different from the device you plan to install Chrome OS Flex on.

Step 1: Install Chromebook Recovery Utility

  1. On your Chrome OS, Windows, or Mac device, open Chrome browser .
  2. Go to the Chrome web store.
  3. At the top right, click Add to Chrome.
  4. When prompted, click Add extension.

Step 2: Make sure Chrome Recovery Utility extension is turned on

  1. At the top right of your Chrome browser window, click Extensions >>Manage extensions.
  2. Next to Chromebook Recovery Utility, toggle the switch to the right.
    Optional: You can also click Details and toggle the switch to the right.

Step 3: Build the USB installer

  1. In Chrome browser, launch the Chrome Recovery Utility extension.
  2. Click Get started.
  3. Click Select a model from a list.
  4. For Select a manufacturer, find and click Google Chrome OS Flex.
  5. For Select a product, find and click Chrome OS Flex (Developer-Unstable).
  6. Click Continue.
  7. When prompted, insert your USB drive.
  8. From the dropdown menu, select the USB drive.
  9. Click Continue.
  10. Click Create now.
  11. Note: During the process, it is normal for Chrome Recovery Utility to show unusual percentages.
  12. When you get a message that your recovery media is ready, remove your USB drive from the device.

Chrome OS Flex installation guide 2: Boot device using the USB installer

Booting the device using the created USB installer is the next step in our guide to install the Chrome OS flex on your laptop.

Before you begin: Read the notes and installation instructions specific to your device. See Certified models list.

  1. Turn off the device you want to run Chrome OS Flex on.
    Note: Make sure the target device is completely powered off, and not asleep or idle.
  2. Insert the Chrome OS Flex USB installer.
  3. Boot the device from the USB drive. If you’re unsure which key to use, see Boot keys.
    1. Press the power button.
    2. Immediately begin repeatedly pressing your device’s boot key.
  4. Select your USB installer as the boot device using:
    1. One-time boot menu—If your interrupt triggers a one-time boot menu, you’ll see a list of boot options on your screen. You can use arrow keys, or mouse in some cases, to select your USB installer.
    2. BIOS or UEFI menu—If your interrupt opens the full BIOS or UEFI setup menu, you’ll need to find settings related to Boot or Startup. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to set your USB installer as the first, primary, or preferred boot device.
    3. Other menu—If you see other options on screen, navigate to an option that matches one of the menus described above. Then proceed as described in those steps.

Chrome OS Flex installation guide 3: Start using Chrome OS Flex

After you have successfully booted Chrome OS Flex from your USB installer, you can permanently install Chrome OS Flex, erasing the device’s existing OS and replacing it with Chrome OS Flex. If you’re not yet ready to install Chrome OS Flex on devices, you can temporarily run it using the USB installer. That way, you can test and verify that device functionality, such as networking and input tools, works as expected.

Install CloudReady 2.0 on the Chrome OS Flex

Before you begin: Back up your data to the cloud or a separate drive. Be sure to disconnect all backup and storage drives.

  1. On the Welcome to CloudReady 2.0 screen, click Get started.
  2. On the Start using CloudReady 2.0 screen, click Install CloudReady 2.0.
  3. Carefully review the on-screen warning about erasing data.
  4. Click Install CloudReady.
  5. When installation is complete, you’ll see a message on screen. The device turns off automatically.
  6. With the device completely turned off, take out the USB installer.
  7. Turn on the device and start using Chrome OS Flex.

Chrome OS Flex installation guide 4: Set up and enroll Chrome OS Flex devices

To set up your Chrome OS Flex device after installation, follow the on-screen instructions. Setting up Chrome OS Flex devices is the same as setting up a Chromebook. For details, go to Set up your Chromebook.

To manage Chrome OS using the Google Admin console, you need to purchase a Chrome Enterprise Upgrade or Chrome Education Upgrade for each standalone Chrome OS Flex device you want to manage. 

When you reach the sign-in screen on your Chrome OS Flex device, enroll devices in the Admin console. After a device is enrolled, you can start enforcing policies to manage its use. For instructions on how to enroll devices, see Enroll Chrome OS devices.

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