For undecided users who don't know if they want a Chromebook, ChromeReady can be installed on an older machine, showcasing the possibilities of the new operating system.
The tool also gives a good understanding of how Chromium is different from other popular OS options such as Windows 10 and Mac OS X. The installation process is quick and straightforward, so here goes.
As with any tech installment, you should have some appropriate hardware and software equipment at hand.
If you have a PC that's around eight years old, that is the perfect machine to load your first CloudReady. The full OS requires a blank canvas, which means that the content of your HDD will get deleted during the install. So keep your current notebook or PC with your important data and feel free to experiment on a slightly older device.
Dual booting is not supported, at least not yet. The only way to have CloudReady OS and Linux or Windows on the same machine is to install them on separate hard drives. You can easily select which HDD and operating system you use during the initial booting of the computer.
Armed with an 8 GB or 16 GB flash memory pen, march to the CloudReady website. Choose the system and OS that you are currently running and download the install package suitable for that configuration. Remember where the downloaded .bin or .bin.zip. file goes.
From the Chrome Web Store, download Google's Chrome recovery tool. After the completion of the download, launch it from the same page to make sure it is properly installed. You now have all you need to create the CloudReady OS installer.
The CloudReady Installer
Go to the Chrome Recovery App. In the top right corner, click the cog icon. This gives you access to the Settings menu. Select Use local image and go to the package previously downloaded from the CloudReady site. Select the .bin file. (If the file was a .zip, you need to unzip it first so you can select the .bin file.)
The app asks you if it is ok to clear the contents of your USB stick. This means that the flash pen gets formatted, so use a stick without any important data on it.
A quick and important note: as long as the CloudReady installer is on the USB stick, the memory pen will become useless for Windows or OS X data. To use it with these two operating systems once more, you have to reformat it accordingly.
Before using the installer, you have to enable USB Boot on your PC. Systems that are older ask you to enter UEFI/BIOS and enable it manually. Newer machines that feature Secure Boot may need you to turn the feature off. Bad news for computers where Secure Boot is untouchable: you won't be able to use CloudReady on them.
Once the option is enabled, insert the flash drive in a USB port and boot the installer from USB.
You now have two options: run CloudReady OS from your flash drive if you just want to test it out, or install CloudReady on your machine for a committed new OS relationship. The latter option will fully wipe the data from your PC, so make sure all your files are safe before clicking that "OK" button.
The installation wizard takes you further in simple and transparent steps.
Most devices should support the new operating system on them, but if you would like to be sure whether your hog is worth the trouble, Neverware compiled a list of compatible systems.
A full backup is strongly advised before any new OS installation, and CloudReady is no exception. It secures your data and is good preparation for that rare, but irritating black out that can compromise both the installation and important data in one blitz.