Run ChromeOS on Older Macs and PCs with CloudReady

Sep 12, 2021 - 5 Comments

Chrome OS on old Mac or PC hardware

If you have an old Mac or PC laying around and you’re bored with running something like Mac OS X Snow Leopard or Windows XP, you might consider putting Chrome OS on it, which is freely available thanks to CloudReady.

For the unfamiliar, Chrome OS is an operating system from Google that is basically the Chrome web browser atop Linux, running web applications and storing most data in the Google cloud.

CloudReady offers a free Home Edition of Chrome OS that is compatible with most old Intel Macs and PCs, as long as the computer has 2GB of RAM and 32GB of disk space. CloudReady runs natively, it’s not a virtual machine, and dual boot is not supported (officially on the Mac anyway) so if you want to try this out you’ll need to format the Mac, thereby losing all data on it.

If this sounds like something that interests you, you’ll need a USB stick to create the installer, a compatible Mac or PC (Intel, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage), and a bit of patience, and you can follow the download link and installation guide below.

Sure, old hardware can continue to run an older version of Mac OS X like the venerated Snow Leopard, or Windows XP, or even Ubuntu Linux or another linux distribution, but Chrome OS is modern, and therefore may be less prone to some compatibility issues that could be experienced with older Mac OS X and Windows versions.

Plus, considering Chrome OS is widely used in many educational and corporate environments, you could get some hands-on experience with the Google operating system, without having to buy a ChromeBook.

Chrome OS on old PC

So, got an old PC laying around? Or an old Mac? Why not try something new with it?

Chrome OS on old Mac or PC hardware

Have you put Chrome OS on an old Mac or PC? Or would you? What do you do with your old Mac or PC hardware? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, Tips & Tricks

5 Comments

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  1. expobill says:

    El Capitan runs smooth on a macbook air 1370 4GB.
    tried Ubuntu, manjaro, Mint, deepin this week and none booted.
    and please stay away from google!

  2. PJ says:

    I’ve done this to serval old Macs and PCs. All 6+ years or older and it really brings it back to life. Boots faster, browses faster, and just feels snappier with usual everyday use. For even more performance, swap any old HDD for SDD and max out the RAM. Highly recommended it for anyone who already has a newer computer but wants a decent 2nd as a hand me down or spare.

  3. Tim says:

    I can’t come up with a good reason to let Google into any more of my life. I could install Linux and run chrome if I want to use Google search, without having to Install their version of Linux

    Having great fun with Zorin at the moment, as a pain free install and desktop. I’d start with that.

  4. David Griffin says:

    Have now put CloudReady on 3 machines. Mostly too old/slow for Windows. All work a treat with CloudReady. Superb support.

  5. Chris Laarman says:

    No, I wouldn’t, but I do enjoy having such options.

    I intend to keep macOS on my oldest Macs. My oldest PC is dual-boot Linux/Windows. I also have some bootable microSD cards (and USB card readers) to run Linux on other PCs.

    I could easily use some Android hardware with a Bluetooth keyboard and casting the small screen to a large one. It might be as powerful as an old PC.

    The only hardware that I might consider changing the OS of is a Huawei M6 tablet – but it wouldn’t be a Google OS…

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