Have you ever thought how great it would turn your old computer into a Chromebook? Think about it, most manufacturers who choose to do with Chrome OS computers with a specification rather outdated little they could do with a complete operating system, but work great with that of Google. Would not it then possible to give a second life to your old companion use it?
NeverWare is a company that is willing to make this possible with CloudReady, their own version of Chromium OS, the open-source project on which Chrome OS is based. It offers two versions of its operating system, a free and basic pay and another focused on the educational field and with some extra features. We could not avoid trying to tell which have been our first impressions.
CloudReady vs. Chrome OS
However, before you start, there are a few things you have to keep in mind about what it is you are going to install. CloudReady is not based on Chrome OS, but Chromium OS. Therefore, although the look, experience and virtually all applications we use are the same, there are some essential differences between the two systems.
The first is multimedia playback. Google has invested a lot of time making Chrome OS can play all, but many of the drivers that have used have not been released in Chromium OS. This means you can not use services like Netflix (look at the screenshot), but in formats like MP3 and MP4 have not found problems.
Nor can we use the command Share on files that are seeing within the Google Drive folder native application files, geolocalization pages and applications, the function of translating web of Chrome, share the screen or draw with Hangouts, use the plugin native Flash or install some apps from Android and Chrome OS. Some of these functions appear, but when we exercise them, we are shown an error message.
In addition, updates to CloudReady always go between one and three versions below Chrome OS, we will not have the advanced security of Chromebooks, and it is possible that depending on the hardware we have some things will not work correctly. For example, in the case of MSI notebooks in which I have conducted independent tests and there are some special keys do not work.
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Obviously, although us the option of adding extra 100GB our Google Drive for having a Chromebook will appear, nor is enabled and clicking on it will tell us that cannot be done. What we do have is telephone support and Google Management Console, although both will be available only if you paid $ 60 for the student version.
However, despite these differences, the truth is that the system works well enough to give him a chance. Therefore, we will first explain the installation process and then pass directly to tell which my first impressions were.
The installation process is quite simple. To start the download page you will lower the free version in a zip, which contains a .bin file you have to ride on a USB. To do this you have to use Chrome, but I installed the plugin first Chromebook Recovery Utility.
After running this web application Chrome, go to the top right of your window and click on the setup icon. In the options you select will appear in “Use local image”, and then find and select the .bin file you downloaded. Continue giving begin the process of creating the USB (must be between 8 and 16 GB free), which will take about twenty minutes to complete.
The newly created USB act as a LiveCD, which when inserted into the computer and turn it on you has to press F11 or the appropriate key on your computer to boot from it. Making you directly to the operating system, where if you click on the control panel will see the option to install CloudReady.
You will have two options, the install in Dual Boot to keep the operating system you have installed and remove all data and only install Chromium OS. Like mine was an old computer and formatted chose the option to install only this system, where the process alone was responsible for everything and install CloudReady delete it.
When you finish formatting the disk and install the new operating system the notebook automatically shuts off so the next time it is turned on and you directly to CloudReady.Again you will have to set your language, keyboard, and WiFi, after which the system will automatically update and ask you to sign in with your Google account. There, your old laptop has become a Chromebook.
If somehow I have to describe my experience, using CloudReady would say that going full speed and has not given me a single problem. I have not encountered bugs and everything goes fast and without LAGEOS. In addition, my fears vanished when to flash when the computer starts for the first time you install a third – party driver so that the user experience is not affected.
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I cannot say that it is testing a particularly old laptop, as has just four years. However, it is the same with which I usually test all GNU / Linux distorts, and this Chromium OS me is offering more fluid and fewer bugs than many of the distributions that have been tested in recent years.
I am using Firefox, Chrome so I have quite forgotten. Still, all web apps that had installed and extensions work properly. None of the online tools that I use has given me any problems, in fact, this whole article with screenshots and images cropped I have since my old new “Chromebook” No problem.
The special keys of Chrome OS are implemented. This can be a mess since the F5 shows all open applications and if we want to refresh a page have to give the F3 in place, but it ‘s nothing to what we cannot get used to using them after several hours.
The one negative we have in the concept of Chromium OS. It is an operating system that has Chrome and a handful of offline applications so that games and apps are limited to catalog Chromium. Still, he is competent enough to work with him, which is more than you can say for some teams with the same specifications and other operating systems.
In short, CloudReady is a good way to bring back to life underpowered computers with which you can navigate without problem on the network and benefit from the advantages of a very fluid known environment (Chrome) and. It is not up to Windows, OS X or GNU / Linux in versatility, but requires less specific (although there is equal distress light) and offers enough for the ordinary mortals can do most things you would any another laptop or desktop.