Turning Old Laptops Into Chromebook May Get Easier

John Lister's picture

Google has bought a company that helps people turn old laptops into Chromebooks. It will turn "CloudReady" into an official way to use the Chrome operating system.

Chromebooks run on ChromeOS, a system that's based largely around using the Chrome browser to access online tools and applications. It's aimed particularly at people who mainly use a computer for web browsing, light document editing, and watching streaming video.

One of the big advantages is that much of the processing is done remotely rather than on the computer itself. That means a Chromebook can run on cheaper low-spec components and often have a longer battery life than comparable Windows or Mac laptops.

The low cost also makes it a popular option in some schools where limited functionality can be a positive with staff needing to control what students can do with the machines.

Old Laptops Revived

While Google licenses Chrome OS to manufacturers to use on new machines, a company called Neverware developed a variant called CloudReady. It's designed for installing on older Windows computers, either replacing or running alongside Windows with an option to choose between the systems when booting up. The idea is to repurpose laptops that no longer have enough power to smoothly run the latest editions of Windows.

Now that Google has bought Neverware, CloudReady will eventually become an "official" Chrome OS variant. The biggest difference is that it will receive user support from Google. (Source: pocket-lint.com)

No Change To Pricing

At the moment, CloudReady is free for home users. Paid Enterprise and Education versions include tech support and the ability to manage multiple devices in a network. Neverware says it has no plans to change this set-up or the pricing. (Source: neverware.com)

Even with the Google acquisition, CloudReady will for now miss a key feature available on most new Chromebooks, namely support for Android applications from the Google Play store. That greatly increases the potential of such devices, particularly if they have a touchscreen.

What's Your Opinion?

Is Google's purchase of Neverware likely to be a positive for users? Have you tried a Chromebook? Would you be interested in running Chrome OS on an old laptop if it was technically easy to install and setup?

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Dennis Faas's picture

This is an interesting idea. Another option would be to do away with Windows on an old laptop (which can't run Windows 10, for example) and install a Linux distribution on it. There are even distributions that look like Windows, such as "WindowsFX".

buzzallnight's picture

Say goodbye to this software....