How to turn your PC or Mac device into a Chromebook

 How to turn your PC or Mac device into a Chromebook

Chrome OS is designed only for Chromebooks, although over the years, many initiatives have attempted to bring the operating system to ordinary PCs. Neverware's CloudReady OS, for example, is a Chromium OS variant built with the objective of offering updated software for present PCs in schools and businesses. Google acquired Neverware in late 2020, and CloudReady OS is presently being rebranded as "Chrome OS Flex".

Google said in a blog post “To assist even more enterprises to adopt a modern computing solution, Google purchased Neverware in 2020. They’ve helped countless organizations and schools, like Nordic Choice Hotels, ABN AMRO, and MyGate, modernize PCs and Macs as the makers of CloudReady, a Chromium OS-based operating system. Since then, we’ve been working hard to incorporate CloudReady’s benefits into a new version of Chrome OS.”

Chrome OS Flex is a modified version of Chrome OS that can be installed on most PCs and Macs and delivers the same user interface as a Chromebook, just as the original CloudReady product. Chrome OS Flex has "the same code base and release cycle as Chrome OS," according to Google, and PCs running it can be remotely managed in the same way as Chromebooks can, which is a significant bonus for schools and businesses. Chrome OS Flex has Google Assistant, Family Link account support, Smart Lock, Instant Tethering, and Nearby Sharing.

How to turn your PC or Mac device into a Chromebook

In a recent support post, Google clarified some of the distinctions between Chrome OS Flex and CloudReady. Command-line access and the ability to disable rootFS verification are available in CloudReady Home Edition (which is accessible for free download), however, neither of these features are available in Chrome OS Flex. However, it appears that you will be able to use the same Linux virtual machine that is available on normal Chromebooks. “Future changes are planned to allow users to optionally re-enable these dev-mode style features,” according to one portion of the support website, but the same item also says “Linux environment can be installed if approved by admin policy,” so it’s unclear if that functionality is read. Google is also consolidating all previous CloudReady editions into a single downloaded image.

There are still minor differences between Chrome OS and Chrome OS Flex. Android app support and Parallels Desktop aren’t available, and secure boot isn’t as solid as it is on genuine Chromebooks, according to Google. Google also does not support ARM PCs currently, so Surface Pro X and MacBook Pro 2021 won’t be able to run Chrome OS Flex.

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