How to Turn Your Netbook into a Chromebook

by Jacob

How do I to turn my netbook into a Chromebook? Can this be done?


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Installing Chrome OS

by: Andrew

Hi Jacob,

This reply explains:

1) How to turn your netbook into a Chromebook.

2) After the 'How to', I let you know how I got on with my custom Chromebook! And I do a Chrome OS vs Chrome Browser comparison.

Some Important Background Info!

Google released their source code for Chrome OS in November 2009. This code is known as "Chromium" and it has been developed and added to by enthusiasts ever since. Meanwhile, Google carried on developing their code, this time commercially, behind closed doors.

What does this mean?

samsung nc10 running chromium os

It means there is 1) The official Chrome OS that is only available to those who buy a genuine Chromebook PC and 2) "Chromium OS" which is available to everyone for free.

Chromium OS has Chome OS at its heart - but since 2009 it has been updated by expert volunteers and not by Google.

This guide shows you how to install Chromium OS on a netbook. In other words, how to make a 'Chromiumbook'!

How to Install Chromium OS

by: Andrew

To install Chromium OS, you first need to download a copy of it, then you burn it onto a USB disk. You must boot off the USB disk into the Chromium system, where you can then try it out or actually install it onto your PC.

chrome os login screen

1. To download Chromium OS, look for Hexxeh's Chromium uploads and instructions.

2. Next, download Image Writer by going to and clicking "" from the right-hand side.

3. Insert your USB disk.

4. Right-click the "win32diskimager-binary" zip file that you downloaded in Step #2 and select the unzip/extract option to expand the contents of the file.

5. Open the Win32DiskImager.exe file when Step #4 is complete.

6. When the Win32DiskImage program opens, select the Chromium ".img" file you downloaded in Step #1.

7. Select your USB disk in the Device drop-down.

8. Click the Write button.

Chromium OS is now installed onto your USB disk. You now simply need to boot from your USB disk into the Chromium system. Follow the link if you need instructions on how to do this.

You should now be able to use Chromium OS on your computer.

Make it a Chrome Book!

Both Chromium and another operating system (e.g. Windows) cannot exist on your computer's hard disk simultaneously. So the only way to dual boot Chromium OS is to keep your current operating system in place and simply use your Chromium USB disk each time you want to use Chromium OS.

I recommend that you keep Chromium on a USB disk and simply use it when needed.

However, you CAN wipe everything on your hard disk and install Chromium onto it, should you choose to. To do this, boot Chromium OS from your USB disk, and once it has loaded:

1. Hold Ctrl + Alt + T
2. Type 'install'

This will wipe your hard disk and install Chromium OS as the sole operating system (resulting in a proper Chromebook computer)! Do NOT do this step if you want to keep Windows!

chrome os welcome screen

How to Turn Your Netbook into a Chromebook

by: Andrew

Is it actually worth running or installing Chrome OS?

Chrome OS consists of the Chrome web browser, and that's it. There are no shiny extras. Chrome OS is simply a way of switching your PC on and very quickly getting access to the Chrome web browser.

It's cool to get super fast access to the web (and to Angry Birds!). But taking my Windows 7 netbook out of hibernation mode isn't much slower and - when I do that - I get access to Chrome Browser, plus my other Windows programs too.

chrome browser running angry birds

The fact is, if you want to experience Chrome, simply install the Chrome web browser onto your current operating system. Why? Because running Chrome Browser is an identical experience to running Chrome/Chromium OS.

If you have a really old PC that's slow and never used, it might be worth installing Chromium onto it, since it could give it a new lease of life.

But, ultimately, while switch-on to surf-time in seconds is handy, it's also limited. It may permit me to check emails rapidly. But I couldn't develop this website in Chrome OS...

chrome os browser

You need to be a very specific type of computer user for the advantages of Chrome OS to outweigh the advantages of using Linux or Windows with Chrome Browser installed. I think most people would struggle to migrate fully to Chrome OS.

Hopefully it will one day be possible to dual boot Chrome OS with other operating systems. That would be truly useful because it would enable you to have a main OS, plus a way of accessing a really decent web browser at speed, when needed.

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