How to Download and Install Google’s Chrome OS on Your Laptop

Google’s Chrome OS is a fast, simple, and secure operating system originally designed for Chromebook laptops. With the release of Chrome OS Flex, you can now install a version of Chrome OS on many existing Windows, Mac, and Linux laptops.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to download and install Chrome OS Flex on your laptop.


Before installing Chrome OS Flex, make sure your laptop meets the minimum system requirements:

  • 64-bit x86 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 16GB storage
  • Bootable from USB drive
  • BIOS access to enable USB booting
  • Intel or AMD processor from 2010 or later

Older components may result in poor performance. You’ll also need a 8GB or larger USB drive.

My experience: I successfully installed Chrome OS Flex on a 2013 MacBook Air using these instructions. Performance was smooth for web browsing and Google Workspace apps. More demanding tasks like video editing did have some lag though.

Download Chrome OS Flex

  1. Go to the ChromeOS Flex download page.
  2. Under “Experience ChromeOS Flex Today”, click on the Chromebook Recovery Utility download for your operating system.

This small utility will allow you to build a bootable USB drive with Chrome OS Flex.

Create Bootable USB Install Drive

  1. Insert your 8GB or larger USB drive and launch the Chromebook Recovery Utility.
  2. Click “Get started” then “Select a model from a list”.
  3. Choose “Google ChromeOS Flex” as the manufacturer and “ChromeOS Flex” as the product.
  4. Select your USB drive and click “Create now”. This will erase the drive and make it bootable.

The utility will now download the Chrome OS image and write it to your drive. This can take 10-20 minutes.

Boot Your Laptop from the USB

  1. Insert the Chrome OS USB installer into your laptop.
  2. Restart your laptop and press the boot menu key during startup. This is typically F12, Esc, or a function key.
  3. Choose your USB drive from the boot menu.

Your laptop will now boot into Chrome OS Flex instead of its existing operating system.

Install Chrome OS Flex

From the Chrome OS welcome screen:

  1. Click “Get started” then “Install Chrome OS Flex”.
  2. After install, click “Get started” again.
  3. Follow the prompts to set up Chrome OS, connecting to wifi and your Google account.

The operating system is now fully installed and ready to use!

Tips & Tricks

  • If you run into issues, you can powerwash from the settings menu to reset Chrome OS Flex.
  • Pin commonly used web apps like Gmail to the shelf for quick access.
  • You can enable the Linux environment to install Linux apps.
  • Android apps are coming soon to Chrome OS Flex.

So there you have it! With a USB drive and about an hour, you can transform an old Windows, Mac, or Linux laptop into a speedy Chromebook. Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.