Converting Your Old Laptop into a Chromebook

We recently got a bank of new laptops for our school as we had 10 windows xp devices that we needed to retire. I hate throwing  anything out,  so I had a think about how we could make use of them in the school. After some research I decided to give these machines a new lease of life by installing the super-fast Chromium OS (essentially the same thing as ChromeOS that you find on Chromebooks) onto each machine. Effectively I turned them into Chromebooks and we now use them for pupil work in school.


This can be done using CloudReady, a version of Chromium OS capable of  turning your old windows xp device into a Chromebook.

The following is an account of how I did it:

First, download CloudReady for free from the official website, selecting the 32-bit or 64-bit version as appropriate. Next, extract the zip file in whatever folder you downloaded it to.

Download the Chromebook Recovery Utility from the Chrome web store, then from the Chrome apps page, run the app called “Recovery.”

In the Recovery tool, keep following instructions until you reach the “Identify your Chromebook” screen, where you need to click the gear icon at the top right and select “Use local image.” Choose the flash drive you want to create the CloudReady image on (it needs to be 8GB or 16GB), then click Continue.

It may take a while for the recovery image to get created. Once it’s ready, eject the flash drive and insert it into the PC that you want to install CloudReady on. Switch the PC on while pressing F12 repeatedly (this may be F1, F10 or another “F” button depending on your PC), then from the boot screen select the USB flash drive with CloudReady on it.

After a moment, CloudReady will load, and you’ll be asked to enter your information, including your Google account details. Do all this and eventually you’ll get to the CloudReady desktop.

From here, you can either continue using CloudReady from your USB flash drive, or you can try installing it on your hard drive either as your sole OS (which will delete all your previous data) or as a dual-boot OS where you can select whether to boot to CloudReady or Windows. I opted to install it on the hard drive which erased everything else.

To go to the installation screen, reboot your PC and boot to CloudReady again, this time without logging into your Google account. Instead, at the sign-in screen, click the notification center at the bottom-right corner of CloudReady, and then click “Install CloudReady.” Select whether you want it to be your only OS or if you’d like to dual-boot it, and follow the instructions.

CloudReady is an excellent alternative to Windows that’s particularly useful when your PC starts slowing down or the os becomes obsolete. It has given us fast reliable machines that can be used by the pupils. The Chrome os will have google docs etc installed so the children can create documents, presentations etc but you can also install a huge range of free apps from the Google Playstore. You do need to make sure your PC is on CloudReady’s list of certified devices before installing it. Just check Neverware’s list of supported devices. If you’re uncertain, just boot it from the USB drive instead.

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