Install & Run Chromium OS on a MacBook Air

Jul 19, 2011 - 6 Comments

Chromium OS on a MacBook Air

If the prospect of installing Mac OS X Lion isn’t your thing, you can try running Chromium OS on the MacBook Air instead. Chromium OS is the open-source version of Google’s Chrome OS, which is an operating system based almost entirely around the Chrome browser – you boot directly into a browser, and that’s basically it.

All hardware works with the exception of Bluetooth, but all the brightness, sound, trackpad, WiFi, and it is said to install on both the MacBook Air 11″ and 13″ models, and possibly even nVidia based MacBook and MacBook Pro’s. The major caveat? You lose OS X, so don’t expect to dual boot here.

We haven’t tested this ourselves and you’ll want to be sure you backup Mac OS X before proceeding because it’ll be overwritten. If you’re brave enough to give this a try, you’ll need a compatible MacBook Air, a 2GB+ USB stick, and the Mac OS X USB Installer key that comes with the MacBook Air.


The following instructions are repeated from Hexxah.net, who got this working, here’s the instructions:

  1. FINAL WARNING: You’re going to destroy all of your data by following this guide! I am not responsible for any data loss, make sure your backup any data first!
  2. Download the install image from here
  3. Extract the archive using your decompression tool of choice (The Unarchiver for Mac works great)
  4. Burn the image to a USB stick using dd (check the wiki if you need help with this, same as Flow/Vanilla instructions)
  5. Insert both this USB stick and the OS X install drive into your Macbook Air while it’s switched off
  6. Hold the “C” key down and press the power button, you can let go of the “C” key once the Apple logo appears
  7. Once the language selection screen appears, pick the appropriate option and click next
  8. Once the install wizard appears, click Utilities on the bar at the top, and then Terminal
  9. Type the following command without quotes: “dd if=/dev/rdisk1 of=/dev/rdisk0 bs=4m count=512″
  10. Once it says it’s finished (basically when it says X bytes copied in Y seconds), hold down the power button until your machine switches off
  11. Remove both your USB stick and the OS X install drive
  12. Hit the power button, wait about 22 seconds
  13. Enjoy

Anyone want to try this? I’m going to stick with Lion on my MacBook Pro, but this could be fun if a dual or triple boot option was easily supported. That won’t be coming from Hexxah at least, who specifically states that he won’t be supporting dual boot configurations, following that up with “don’t ask me for help with dual-booting this.”

Via @MacStoriesNet

Update: If you’re not interested in this approach, you can also run Chrome OS in a virtual machine for free by downloading VirtualBox and a Chrome OS image (Hexxah has those too).

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, Mac

6 Comments

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  1. Diogenesis says:

    If you want to know what Chrome OS is like, just open Chrome browser :)

    • qmcswret says:

      Exactly! Why on earth would I want to do this to my Mac? I’ve tried Chrome browser and wasn’t impressed enough to keep using it, so what’s special about this? I don’t claim to be an expert at anything, so please understand I’m asking a question, not attempting to bad-mouth a product. I simply don’t see much value in this. If I’m wrong, please take a moment to tell me why. Thanks.

  2. Literally all the Canadians says:

    You misspelled “Hexxeh” 3 times in this article, that’s not exactly flattering for him is it?

  3. Steve Austin says:

    If you’d rather not destroy all your data and want to run Chrome OS on your mac and you have Parallels 6, just install it in that. Parallels 6 gives you the option to download and install Chrome OS.

    Simply click

    File – Download Chrome OS

    Try it and if you don’t/do like it, bin it/keep it.

    I didn’t like it so binned it…

  4. Karl says:

    Fantastic !! Chrome OS on a Mcbook Air
    I like it;
    Thamks for posting
    /K

  5. Ploughguy says:

    I bet DOS 5 runs on it too…

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