Google’s Chrome OS is here to stay. In fact, Chromebooks have been dominating the education segment in the US, to the point that it accounts for 51% of its market share. And now, to capitalize on the same, the tech giant has decided to take things a step further by introducing Chrome OS Flex.

install chrome os flex on windows

Chrome OS Flex can run on both Windows and Mac. So users can install it on their old, slow laptops and turn them into smooth-functioning machines again. Since Chrome OS Flex is pretty lightweight, it should technically work a lot smoother than the Windows operating system on the same laptop.

Moreover, the process to install Chrome OS Flex on Windows is extremely easy and seamless. In fact, we revived our 12-year-old Sony Vaio laptop by installing Chrome OS Flex on it. Here’s how we did.

What Is Chrome OS Flex?

Chrome OS Flex is a cloud-first operating system for PCs and Macs. It’s free to use and built on the same code base as Chrome OS. So you can think of it as a modified version of Chrome OS—similar to CloudReady—that’s lightweight and can quickly transform your old PC hardware into a fast, modern machine.

Chrome OS Flex is essentially designed for businesses/students. What makes it a lucrative option for this purpose is that it can be quickly deployed across a fleet of devices and managed remotely using the Google Admin console.

Not just that, if you’ve got an old Windows or Mac lying around, you can install Chrome OS Flex on it and revive it into a fully-functional machine capable of performing most day-to-day internet operations.

Chrome OS Flex System Requirements

Before thinking about Chrome OS Flex download, you’ll need to ensure you have a machine with at least these specifications:

  • An active internet connection
  • Minimum 8GB USB Flash Drive
  • A 64-bit Intel or AMD CPU
  • Four gigabytes of RAM
  • Support for booting from USB
  • Administrative access to the BIOS/UEFI settings

How to Install Chrome OS Flex on Windows

Installing Chrome OS Flex on Windows is a two-step process.

Step 1: Create a Bootable USB Drive

Chrome OS Flex Download

  1. Download and install Google Chrome on your PC and navigate to this link.
  2. Click on Add to Chrome to add the extension to Chrome.
    chrome os flex extension
  3. Click on the extension you recently added and connect your external USB drive to your PC.
  4. Once done, click on Get started.
    Get started Chrome OS Flex
  5. Choose Select a model from a list option and pick the Chrome OS Flex option. Again select Chrome OS Flex in the option below it and hit Continue.
    Chrome Os Flex on Windows
  6. Click on Choose media installation device and select your USB drive.
    Select Chrome OS Flex USB drive
  7. Again hit Continue and tap on Create now. Once done, wait till it writes Chrome OS flex to your USB drive.
    Create Chrome OS Flex USB drive

Step 2: Install Chrome OS Flex on Windows Using USB

  1. Connect the ChromeOS Flex USB drive to your Windows PC.
  2. Turn on your PC and enter the boot menu by pressing the F8 key during boot.
  3. After entering the boot menu, choose your external USB drive and press enter. Different PCs may have different boot menu screens depending on the manufacturer, but the process stays the same nevertheless.
  4. You will now see the new ChromeOS Logo. Wait for the PC to boot and hit Let’s start.
  5. Once done, you will see two options. Since we are installing ChromeOS permanently on our PC, select the Install CloudReady 2.0 option.
    (Note – Your entire Data on the HDD/SSD will get wiped, so make sure to perform a backup in advance.)
    Chrome OS flex setup on windows
  6. After choosing the Cloudready 2.0 option, accept the disclaimer on the pop-up window.

Now, sit back and relax and watch Chrome OS get installed on your Windows machine. Once the installation process is complete, remove the USB drive and restart your Windows PC.

Follow the on-screen steps to set up Chrome OS Flex.

2. Download Chrome OS Flex ISO manually and install it on your PC with ease

For some reason, if you are not able to create a bootable USB drive using the Chrome utility, you can easily download Chrome OS Flex ISO and manually create a bootable drive using Rufus.

Note: Unlike Windows, which uses a .iso image format, Chrome OS, on the other hand, uses a .bin image for creating a bootable USB drive. Nevertheless, the process stays the same, so let us have a look.

Chrome OS Flex ISO Download and Installation

  1. Download the Chrome OS Flex .bin zip file using this link.
  2. After the download is completed, extract the zip file on your PC.
  3. Now, install rufus on your PC and open it.
  4. Once done, connect your USB drive(Minimum 8GB recommended) to your PC. Please note- All the data on the USB drive will get wiped.
  5. Here. Select your connected USB drive in rufus.
  6. After that is done, just below devices, there is an option to choose an ISO file. Click on the Select ISO option and choose the Chrome OS Flex .bin file. (Click on the ISO image next to the file name option, and select All files or the Chrome OS .bin will not be visible)
  7. Hit Start, and it will now start to create a Chrome OS Flex bootable drive.
    Bootable Chrome OS Flex USB Drive
  8. That’s it, restart your PC and enter the boot menu by pressing the F8 key during boot.
  9. After entering the boot menu, choose your external USB drive and press enter. Different PCs may have different boot menu screens depending on the manufacturer, but the process stays the same nevertheless.
  10. Once done, you will see two options. Since we are installing ChromeOS Flex permanently on our PC, select the Install CloudReady 2.0 option.
    (Note – Your entire Data on the HDD/SSD will get wiped, so make sure to perform a backup in advance.)

Experience Chrome OS Flex on Windows without actually installing it

While installing Chrome OS Flex on Windows is one way to get Chrome OS on your desktop, you can also experience the software without installing it. This is a good way to test out the operating system before installing it, to see whether you like it or not.

To do this, all you need is a live USB stick. We’ve already created one in the previous method, and here’s how you can use it to run Chrome OS Flex on your Windows desktop:

  1. Connect the ChromeOS Flex USB drive to your Windows PC.
  2. Now, turn on your PC and enter the boot menu by pressing the F8 key during boot.
  3. After entering the boot menu, choose your external USB drive and press enter. Different PCs may have different boot menu screens depending on the manufacturer, but the process stays the same nevertheless.
  4. You will now see the new ChromeOS Logo. Wait for the PC to boot and hit Let’s start.
  5. Once done, you will see two options. Select Try it first since we are booting Chrome OS from the PC.
    Chrome OS flex setup on windows
  6. Now, follow the on-screen instructions to set up Chrome OS.

If you ever wish to return to Windows in the future, shut down your PC and disconnect the USB flash drive. Once disconnected, turn on your PC like usual.

Restore Your Old Windows Desktop With Chrome OS Flex

As you saw in the guide above, Google has made it extremely easy to install Chrome OS Flex on Windows, and it actually works quite well on laptops with old hardware. So if you’ve got an old Windows machine lying around that’s no longer functioning normally, you should try putting Chrome OS Flex on it to make it functional again—at least for casual internet-based operations.

Let us know in the comments below if you found this article helpful and successfully installed Chrome OS Flex on your Windows machine.

FAQs About Using Chrome OS Flex on Windows

Well, you indeed can roll back to Windows 11 if you happen not to like Chrome OS Flex. But how? Actually, it is effortless; you just need to create a bootable Windows 11 USB drive from the ISO file using software known as Rufus. Having said that, we are already working on a detailed guide to making the process ever so simpler.

There are a couple of reasons for installing Chrome OS Flex on Windows. Firstly, Chrome OS Flex is comparatively lighter than Windows and does not require fewer resources to work smoothly. Secondly, Chrome OS has some neat tricks up its sleeves like tight integration with Google services, parental controls, and much more.

Yes, you can install and run Mozilla Firefox on Chrome OS Flex, and the process is not a colossal fuss either. We have already covered a detailed guide on how you can install Firefox on Chrome OS Flex.

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