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Chrome OS Flex can turn any computer into a Chromebook

Oh, the best part? It’s free.

chrome os laptop chromebook
Image: KnowTechie

One of the things in short supply during the pandemic is computer hardware. Everything from PC components and Macs to Chromebooks has been scarce, but what if you could turn an aging computer you already own into a Chromebook?

That’s the promise of Chrome OS Flex, now available in early access. Instead of sending aging Windows or Mac hardware to landfills, the idea is to turn them into a Chromebook.

That gives you a few more years of life out of your hardware, without any cost involved. Google has aimed this at enterprise or school use, although there’s no reason home users couldn’t also get onboard.

READ MORE: Chrome on iOS can soon autofill passwords across any app

chrome os flex features
Image: Google

READ MORE: You’ll soon be able to use your Chromebook as a 5G hotspot

At the tail end of 2020, Google purchased a company called Neverware. That company made a product, CloudReady, which tweaked Chrome OS to work on older laptops or end-of-life Chromebooks. It seems that Chrome OS Flex is the same product, tweaked to Google’s satisfaction.

It’s nice to see Google do something with a company it purchased, instead of stripping them for their patents. Google says that Chrome OS Flex can be “installed in minutes,” after creating a USB installer.

READ MORE: ChromeOS Flex will let you turn any computer into a Chromebook

Repurposing older devices like this keeps them usable, and more importantly, keeps them out of the landfill.

Got an aging laptop in a cupboard that would be good for Chrome OS Flex? You can find more details and instructions on how to set up the new operating system on Google’s Chrome Enterprise website.

READ MORE: How to turn an old laptop or Mac into a Chromebook

It’s important to note that it’s still in early access, which means it’s likely to have bugs. So, keep that in mind if you decide to try it out.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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