Please take a look at my detailed video walk through above.
A Chromebook is a basic laptop that runs the Google Chrome operating system (Chrome OS) – effectively based around a web browser. Chrome OS relies heavily on a network connection, but has fewer hardware demands than the latest version of Windows.
Neverware has released a version of Chrome OS called CloudReady, that will turn almost any old laptop into a Chromebook for free. It’s a great way to revive an old laptop and in this walk through I’m going to install it on a Samsung NC10 netbook that came with Windows XP (around 8 years old).
The installation process is fairly straightforward – all you need is a USB stick and an Internet connection.
Download the latest version from neverware.com/freedownload. Choose 64-bit for most computers, but I’m installing onto an Atom-based netbook so I had to choose the 32-bit version.
Insert a USB stick (minimum 8GB) into your computer, and if you don’t already have the Chrome web browser installed, install from here. In Chrome, download and run the Chromebook recovery utility. This will allow you to create a USB installer that you can use to install CloudReady on the old laptop.
Click on the cog in the top right of the Chromebook recovery utility, and select local image. Now browse for the file you downloaded previously and let the the program create the USB installer.
We’re now ready to install CloudReady on the old laptop. Make sure you have a backup of any files off this laptop if required.
We need to boot from this USB stick, which can be the trickiest part. You need to tell the laptop to boot from this drive before it looks anywhere else. This can be done in the BIOS, which can usually be accessed by pressing a function key immediately after turning the laptop on. You’ll need to Google the specific key to press, but for the Samsung NC10 it’s the F2 key. Sometimes they’ll be some text as the laptop boots, that tells you what to press.
So in our case, insert the USB drive and turn the laptop on whilst repeatably pressing the F2 key. In the BIOS we need to go into boot settings and change the USB stick to be the first device the laptop checks. Save the settings and restart the computer. The CloudReady logo should be displayed.
You can try out the operating system directly off the USB stick, without actually installing it to the hard drive. You’ll be guided through the setup process which is very straightforward.
To install CloudReady to the hard drive, click the bottom-right of the screen and choose Install CloudReady. You will be given the option to dual boot with your current operating system, but on an older laptop I’d recommend the standalone option. This will wipe the drive so do ensure you don’t need any files, or they’re backed up if you do.
The procedure is very straight forward so just follow the prompts. You’ll need to sign in with a Google account (a Gmail account) – so create one before the installation if you don’t already have one.
That’s it – enjoy your new Chromebook. It couldn’t be easier to use since it’s basically a web browser!
Please let me know how you get on in the comments below!