How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: Will You Use (or Completely Switch to) Chrome OS When It is Released?

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
(Links may not work, downloads have not been recently tested for safety)

With the end of 2010 fast approaching, it is almost time for the release of Google’s long awaited Chrome OS. This week we would like to know if you will use Chrome OS in conjunction with your other operating systems or switch to it as your primary OS.


Photo by Wikipedia.

Chrome OS is an entire Linux-based operating system built around Google’s Chrome web browser. The browser itself will act as the primary interface, with all of the apps being web-based as opposed to locally installed. This will definitely be a bit different from what most people are used to.

The official version of Chrome OS will be shipped on specific computers available from Google’s manufacturing partners. So at the moment there is no indication that it will be made available for general download. That is not good news if you are wanting to try (or use) the operating system without buying a new computer. But there is good news though!

The code for Chromium OS is open source and available to work with just like the Chromium version of Google’s browser. So there is no doubt that new versions of the operating system will be compiled and made available for download. In fact there have already been some initial builds compiled and released this year for those who are eager to try the operating system for themselves (see links below).

What are your thoughts on Chrome OS? Will you use or try the operating system for yourself? Do you plan to make it your primary operating system after it is released? Let us know in the comments!

[polldaddy poll=”4065068″]

Now that you have finished this week’s poll, you can try out an early independent copy of Chrome (Chromium) OS for yourself. A young programmer from England has compiled two different versions of Chrome (Chromium) OS and made them available for download. The first version called Flow is a modified/enhanced version that provides support for extra hardware types and has additional features. The second version is called Vanilla and is an unmodified “Plain Jane” build of Chrome (Chromium) OS. You can learn more about both builds and download them using the following links.

Hexxeh’s Blog

Chromium OS Flow

Chromium OS Vanilla

Like the idea of trying Chrome (Chromium) OS out but would prefer to do so in a virtual environment? Then you will definitely want to see our article on running Chrome (Chromium) OS in VirtualBox.

How To Run Chrome OS in VirtualBox

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 11/10/10

Comments (60)

  1. Deadly

    What advantage does this OS offer besides locking everyone into a browser window? I don’t really see what the point is unless you have a netbook and a 20gb hard drive.

  2. Ashutosh Mishra

    Unfortunately I live in the land of horrendous bandwidth (India) so there’s no way I can actually use Chrome OS as my primary OS. Of course I’ll be sure to try it out, and maybe put it on my netbook if supported. :)

  3. sam

    I don’t have a computer that would get an advantage by being locked into a Linux browser.

  4. Hatryst

    Not a full switch, but i’ll install it in my USB flash drive, and will use it on public computers. Useless though, but that’s how i’m going to try it out ;)
    What about you? ^_^

  5. simon

    “Not a full switch, but i’ll install it in my USB flash drive, and will use it on public computers. ”

    Interesting idea… with built in VPN, that might actually be useful.

  6. Nivekian

    I can’t even get the chrome browser to work right……

  7. Hatryst

    Oh yeah… Install it on a USB, and here’s how you do it:

    Original post from lifehacker:

  8. Grant Johnson

    I will try it out, and maybe use it on the road, but I will probably just stick with Debian Testing.

  9. Vincent

    I’ve got questions:

    Such computers would not need a hard drive bigger than what the OS requires, would it? I fail to see what a hard drive would be for on such a computer, on which you wouldn’t be able to install software, making it hard to open files from your hard drive, making it kind of useless.

    But then, such a computer with no hard drive would basically forbid buyers from installing another operating system if they don’t like Chrome OS.

    Guessing that webapps as Google Docs and I hope Picasa would be available offline (How would I transfer pictures from my camera straight to Picasa? Wait and see), how would you watch videos/movies? Online? Ok but when you’re offline? Cached videos? What media player would be used ? Youtube ? Youtube is fine but how about other kinds of videos? And what if I have videos on a flash drive or CD, what piece of software would play that? The browser? I fail to see how it can be. I’m looking forward to knowing how I’ll be able to efficiently edit videos in a browser, too.

    And music ? Does Google even have a webapp for that ? Again, I fail to see how it’s going to be working in a browser. When I look for music on Youtube it’s a real mess, dozens of tabs opened just to find the one I want. I really don’t want to be reloading pages to add music or anything.

    And games ? I’d pretty much be stuck with what the web can offer, isn’t that right ?

    What’s wrong with a normal kind of operating system anyway ?

    Chrome OS doesn’t seem really handy. My phone does better than that.

  10. Chirag64

    It is very important that Chrome OS has support for multi-boot. But from what I’ve heard (and seen) so far, it doesn’t :(

  11. KB Prez

    If I do switch, it won’t be for some time. I’m not the early adopter type. I’d rather have other people work out the kinks.

  12. Sammy

    I will be For sure Trying it out. Maybe there have been improvements since last time I Tried it. I have a Dell Mini 1010 And its SUPER Picky because of the GMA500 Polusbo Chipset that is in it. It isnt really Linux Friendly. Maybe I can talk the Wife into taking over my Netbook so I can get another one :)

    But yea, I plan on goofing about with it atleast in a vbox environment.

  13. Jonneh

    I’ve given it a test run through virtualbox a while back, but I’m sure it’s changed quite a bit since then.
    If the final version has support for tethering, I’ll almost definitely be installing it as a partition on my laptop alongside my Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04 partitions. Having the option to boot quickly and directly into a browser would be great for use on the train during commutes.

    If it doesn’t have support for tethering, then I’ll still consider it.

    Either way, I’ll be doing extensive virtualbox testing before deciding to install anything.

  14. Demon Lord

    This kind of OS is good for simple tasks like reading mails, surfing the web, watching videos and writing blogs. But for hard-core tasks I doubt that. It’s also good for on-the-go use.

    I’d surely try it out and will probably install (if possible) alongside my other OSes.

  15. Mohammad Elsheimy

    I would try it first on a virtual machine before installing it on my main computer (dual-booting with Windows) :)

  16. Anti-Google

    I don’t think I’d even try Google’s OS – or their browser!!! Think about it, it’s from Google! Haven’t we had our privacy violated enough from “Heir Google” and their search engine? I mean if you want a name to go with George Orwell’s “Big Brother” it’s not “the government,” it’s Google! No sir! I don’t trust these people any further than I can throw them. If I must stick to a non-Windows / non-Apple OS I’ll keep using Ubuntu or Linux Mint.

    Don’t misunderstand me either. I’m saying I think Google is perhaps the most evil entity out there. Google is worse than most other greedy giants like Microsoft, Apple, etc. They all claim to need gobbs of money just to survive – which is bull! It’s how they get their money that I have serious concerns with. Microsoft and Apple are at least up front about it and maybe charge you a thousand percent or more above what their products are really worth. But Google is worse! Google is sneaky!! Google will use your information to make a buck rather than charge you or tell you what they do with it. They have demonstrated this behavior over and over again. And now they want you to not only use their search engine but use their browser and soon their OS? I say, NO WAY!!! It’s bad enough that Google’s search engine is like “digital dope” (and it’s not as though Bing were any real choice either). I won’t use or even install “their” browser and I sure as heck won’t use their OS – as long as I have a choice, that is.

    So go ahead and follow the other Lemmings. Go ahead and trust Google. Go ahead and be a sheep – be an idiot too! I mean, just look at Facebook if you want to count the digital dummies out there. That’s not me! I feel trust is something that is earned. And as far as I am concerned, Google (along with others like Facebook) has a log way to go just to get out of the deep hole they have put themselves in as far as any trust goes.

  17. dannY

    I tried the then available system quite a long time back.
    But I was locked up at the login (start up) where I have to sign in using the Google account.
    I typed in the gmail and the password, but it would not sign me in, and hence the system would not start up and proceed to the user interface. It kept telling me that network connection error/check your internet connection error etc.
    Can anyone give me the universal username and password, if there is any, which I think there is?
    I would be glad to try it and have it log me onto the user interface.
    Thanks in advance!

  18. julia

    I will not fully rely on web-apps. I live in a rural area, and while I get decent bandwidth when it work, there are too many outages for me to fully rely on it. I’d like to be able to edit a document even when the power is out. Also, if I am in an airport, there is no way I am going to pay for wifi just to use the most basic applications.

  19. A340-600

    I’m already using Chrome (browser) so I want to try out its OS version, but switch from Windows? Probably not.

  20. Jim

    Would be nice if Google provided this in a VM format where we could download and install in VirtualBox / VMWare to at least try it out.

  21. Thomas Skov

    With all the privacy issues Google have had, and their love for the BETA badge…
    – I would never trust to use their products for anything important.

  22. dannY

    Today, I just downloaded and installed the OS onto a Flash drive. But as I reach the login screen, my user name and pw are accepted (not every account though), and the screen says “Signing in…..” on the right. And that’s it. It never goes anywhere – the mouse cursor appears on the screen but is not movable. Like the whole computer is paralyzed/hanging mode. Is it because my hardward/graphics card are not good enough or anything. I am trying to run on a 1.25 GB Ram Compaq PC.
    Anybody has thoughts?
    Thanks again and hope to be able to use it actually in the next attempt!

  23. Matt S

    I totally wouldn’t switch to a “web-based” OS unless it became the only thing available. I enjoy having all of my data right where I can see it.. and choose to back it up online, but online isn’t where it will live.

  24. Asian Angel

    @Jim – You can download the premade OS images using the links I provided at the end of the article. ^_^

  25. Asian Angel

    @dannY – If you downloaded it from Hexxah’s website, then he would be the best one to ask concerning your computer’s particular hardware specs.

  26. Asian Angel

    I think it would be fun to try out…to see what it is like but I would definitely not make it my primary OS.

  27. ReynaldoRiv

    If I can get it as an Instant-On OS then I’m very likely to use it.

  28. Chronno S. Trigger

    Full switch, no. But I have a tablet at home running Windows 7 Beta that needs a new OS. I only use it for the web so Chrome sounds like a perfect option.

    I’ve got a new project for tonight.

  29. Nope

    Hell no, Have you read the terms and agreement on chrome browser? I could not imagine terms and agreement for the OS. What i mean is, them tracking you, knowing what you are doing etc. On google’s chrome Browser I will not give them a shot let alone their Operating System, Hell No. Google is nothing but invasion.

  30. DiazA

    I’ve just been testing both Android and Chrome OS on an old Dell Latitude D620 (512MB RAM), both installed without problem and started correctly, the only problem in both cases was the WiFi, maybe Wireless adapter is not supported, anyway, I think this is not a replacement for the OS we are used to, however certain kind of tasks (roles) could be accomplished well (Terminal Replacement).

  31. TeraJL

    i plan to use it on a pen so i can have access to all my files and apps on any pc

  32. streetwolf

    Now there will be more data for Google to harvest. First it was Google search data, then it was the entire Internet via Chrome, now it’s everything on the device Chrome OS is running on.

    Google is evil.

  33. John Paul

    I would like nothing more than to be able to get out from under the clutches of Microsoft, however, until there is an adequate speech-recognition package available for Linux that is comparable to or better than Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows, then unfortunately I’m stuck being a slave to Microsoft!

    Note to Linux Developers: Please develop a robust speech recognition package so that I can break the chains of Microsoft!


  34. Doctordeere

    I installed Hexxeh’s ‘Flow’ on my Acer netbook and it worked surprisingly well. Given that I mostly don’t use the netbook for anything more than an internet appliance, it’s pretty sweet to avoid the unneeded Micro$oft bloat for such a device.

  35. at0mic

    as soon as i dump my youtube channel, which google has made a horrendous piece of crap, i will be 100% google free. nothing from the worst known virus, aka google, will ever touch anything i own.

  36. Mike

    Does it play games, this is what drove hardware and pc to where it is and is what holds linux back today. I mean wow native not in a shell

  37. Zack

    From what I know, Chrome OS won’t be available unless you purchase a computer with it installed… I’m interested in using it on a netbook or laptop, but I don’t own either. I just have my desktop, so I probably won’t use it for a couple years.

  38. ArashiX

    I won’t want this as my primary OS. However, like everyone else, I would like to try it out or put it on a USB drive for use first. Interesting, but probably fit my needs anyway in general.

  39. ArashiX

    *won’t want it I mean :P

  40. ArashiX

    *will not use it as my primary OS, lol

  41. rino

    the Angel has spoken! =)

  42. Asian Angel

    @rino – ^__^

  43. jikou

    While I appreciate Chromium Browser for its speed and behaviour, I don’t see ChromiumOS invading my computers very soon. First off, USA / South Korea / some other countries might have enough wifi hotspots to support the usage of this kind of OS when on the move, but northern Scandinavia? Hardly. Sure, Docs support offline editing and whatnot, but it’s still intended to be done online in the first place. Another thing pointed out by Vincent is how listening to music is carried out. I don’t see how my hundreds of gigabytes worth of .flac files are going to play out, online hosting and streaming doesn’t seem too appealing.

    I will probably try ChromiumOS at some point (on a USB stick), but for now I’ll stick with my Arch installation.

  44. Cambo

    Man…there’s a lot of people with their Foil Hats on too tight on here.

  45. VW

    I will adopt it when ever my area develops a little more and we get some other form of unrestricted internet access besides Dial-Up. Other than that I am really looking forward to it.

  46. Leo

    What’s Chrome OS? Lol. I won’t stop using Win 7 (Ultimate) or Gentoo, for a junk-OS.

  47. Alphie

    I can’t believe the anti-Google rhetoric I’ve just read. If you don’t want to use it, don’t. It’s that simple. As for privacy, I have nothing to hide — if they’re observing me they must be terribly bored. Have a great day.

  48. john wary

    With the level of snooping surveillance now being practiced by Google, it would seem like the less Google the better. The way Microsoft noses around in your files when you install a Microsoft program is bad enough, and the fact that most antivirus software quietly opens ports to who knows where is even worse, so who needs Google looking over your shoulder every time you go on the net?

  49. VW


    Um, sorry fella but the terms of service is about the same as any software or website they all do the same thing if you don’t want people sniffing about you personal life trying to make a quick buck off of you become a hermit, that is the only surefire method to not be ‘used’.

  50. etherium

    I’m fine with the chrome browser, but the chrome OS? Windows 7 is already excellent, and along with the current Mac OS, there is honestly no need for another OS in the near future.

    I am a chrome user myself, but for Google to start doing operating systems is simply out of their league.

    As of now, the world isn’t ready for a web based OS since internet connection, especially stable WiFi, is nonexistent in many places, and everyone is at a different level in terms of technology.

  51. Nebula

    Hey did you here about how Google has built a secret underground lab in which they experiment on people who have an android phone up the their ear? Or how they mapped the neighborhoods of the world so that they can share those maps to invaders who will use them to find your car and track which grocery store you go to so they can posion the entire population of people with addresses…

    Get a Life.

  52. plano

    I think it is interesting.

    i really don’t see it taking off, though. I don’t think is will gain more popularity than they already great Linux platforms. I understand the whole Google ideology, with the (not-so-“free”) Android platform, their online applications, drawing people into their still #1 source of income, Search. Chrome is just the next step into that system. User information is so valuable.

    I imagine there to be some sort of local machine space…they can’t expect you not to run applications locally at all. That’s simply ludicrous. Everything can’t require Internet access. Though of course, I don’t know, haven’t tried those links. Probably never will. I’m perfectly content with Ubuntu. 10.1 is great.

    Driver support for Ubuntu has made such great strides. You don’t have to manually install anything anymore, not that is was particularly hard in the first place, but still. Okay, well almost. But I was super surprised when my wifi and bluetooth drivers were both found via the driver utility. It’s developing a sort of ‘plug-and-play’ functionality, which I really like.

    There’s just no room in the jockeying third-pillar OS ring.

  53. Justin

    Um, I don’t see the point of Chrome OS or a system like it.
    Why would anyone want to limit their computers to just the options on the internet?
    With a normal Operating System like Windows, or GNU/Linux systems you can:
    1. Use full featured office suites which can create complex documents you don’t have with web apps.

    2. Play games that use your graphics card for great graphics.

    3. Use external devices like capture cards to record TV and GPS devices to track things (for a laptop in car for instance).

    4. Use 3D rendering and Image Editing tools (Like Photoshop) for images and movies.

    5. Lots of storage space you pay for one time for drive instead of paying a cloud company like Google for more storage space each year (which also is far less space then an average hard drive stores).

    6. Using Applications offline for when Internet Service goes down.

    Also what about tech support for Chome OS and Google’s web apps, last I checked there is no phone support or on site support for Web Apps from companies like Google or Microsoft. Which would be a major disadvantage for most people.

  54. rroberto18

    All one has to do to decide whether or not to switch your OS to Google is to read various Help Forums to note the mess they’ve been making of GMail and Calendar with each added build and feature. To get these apps to work after being “new and improved,” you might even have to give up older features like spell-checker, let alone the more recent perks. It’s not easy changing EMail and Calendar apps. But it’s a nightmare thinking you might have to turn off your keyboard just to keep Chrome OS working with each new build — or go back to the OS you left behind before you switched. The big G’s lack of any customer support — including failure to moderate their own Help Forums — makes the limited free access to Microsoft techs look a whole lot better by comparison.

  55. phil

    Until I see it running, I’m not about to change. I’ve had too many bad experiences with installing new software. Most companies release it but it’s still full of bugs and takes a lot of patches to get it to run correctly. So until I see it run, read some reviews that it works without bugs in it, I might try it.

  56. Terry Hollett

    Call me Old Fashion, but the idea of always requiring an on line connection to do every little thing on my computer does not appeal to me. I rather take my chances with a bloated apps on my system. I recently tried the Chrome web browser but removed it from my system when I discovered that Google in their great wisdom and arrogance decided I wasn’t allowed (or smart enough) to control or disable the Automatic updating. I assume they will carry this over to the OS. Thanks but NO Thanks. We all have enough to put up with Microsoft as is.

  57. Jon

    No way, no how.

    1. I am a Microsoft person by nature and Windows 7 does everything I want and need.
    2. If I wanted to use Linux I wouldn’t need Google to show me how. Linux Mint is actually quite a good Linux distro.
    3. I don’t use anything Google.

  58. Derald H

    If Chrome OS is anything like the browser I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole. I have had nothing but trouble with google chrome crashing,not loading settings,completely disappearing from my desktop,and generally being a pain in the a–. I can just imagine firing up the computer and the operating system is GONE! Or start it and everything you added has DISAPPEARED! Google chrome has done this to me several times-I should post something to see if it’s just me. So,my answer is no-I would never trust chrome os. IE works for me DH

  59. Anti-Google

    To those of you who trust Google, go ahead and BEND OVER! Go ahead and trust that Google won’t violate your information – OR YOU! You’re nothing more than a just another lemming in the long line of sheep waiting to be “used” if you think Google cares about, or even respects you. Google wants nothing more than a way to make a buck off of you and as far as that goes I’m OK with it – it’s how they DO it that I have problems with.

    Now, if you have some sort of sudden urge to start flaming me about now then I would suggest you go educate yourself and find out just HOW Google makes the billions of dollars they make EVERY YEAR when presumably everything they offer is for “free”! Perhaps, you will begin to see the light if you do.

    As for me, Google has not even come close to assuring me that they even care about my, nor anyone’s privacy. So do I trust them? HELL NO! But it gets better. Google then comes out with a browser which specifically requires anyone using it to agree to allow Google to collect and use any information on those users that Google sees fit. That sounds a lot like “Big Brother” if you ask me (that’s a reference to an evil entity in George Orwell’s book “1984” for any of you illiterate types out there). And now Google wants to provide an operating system that is based on a free kernel (Linux) but then turn around and require the same EULA conditions — that I agree to certain terms with regard to MY information and MY PRIVACY? Can I say “HELL NO” any louder?!

    The only thing that amazes me is that so many other people will allow themselves to be potential victims and allow Google to do whatever Google wants with their information and presumably to them. Then again, there’s another saying, “God sure must love stupid people cause he sure made a lot of them.” I suppose the responses I’ve seen here and other places is just one more example of just how true that saying is. About all I can say more is don’t start crying when Google turns out to be just another Facebook – especially now that you have been warned!!!

  60. chris


    Win 7 & Firefox are just fine

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

    Besides – we’ll have to wait a while for v 3 to arrive,
    (geek joke)

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