ChromeOS Laptop

Google released the first preview version of Chrome OS Flex earlier this year, which is a customized build of Chrome OS that can run on traditional PCs (and some old Mac computers). Starting today, Chrome OS Flex is ready for everyone.

Google announced today that Chrome OS Flex is leaving early access, and is now stable enough to rely on for typical day-to-day use. Just like the CloudReady OS that Neverware used to offer before it was aquired by Google, Chrome OS Flex is an installable operating system that looks and works just like the Chrome OS software on Chromebooks. There are a few differences, like the Google Play Store missing (so you can’t run Android apps), but it’s more or less the same experience as using a Chromebook.

Google is pitching Chrome OS Flex to large companies and organizations, since it offers most of the benefits of Chromebooks (especially regarding security and remote management) without spending money to replace fleets of laptops and desktops. Chrome OS Flex is also available to download for personal use too, which can be a great alternative to Windows or desktop Linux for older PCs.

image showing Settings in Chrome OS Flex
Chrome OS Flex

Compatibility is still a toss-up with Chrome OS Flex, but Google has now certified over 400 devices, so you might be able to tell if the software will work with your PC before you try it. Some of the computers tested to work include the Mid-2012 MacBook Pro, 2018 ASUS Vivobook Flip 14, and Dell XPS 13 9300. Chrome OS Flex can also run from a bootable USB drive without any installation first, much like most desktop Linux distributions.

Google previously said that anyone running the older CloudReady OS would be automatically upgraded to Flex once it was stable, so that should be happening soon. You can try out Chrome OS Flex on your own PC by visiting Google’s website.

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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