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Google turns old Macs, PCs into Chromebooks with Chrome OS Flex

Enlarge / Google Chrome OS Flex. (credit: Google)

Whether you have an aging Windows PC in the classroom or a dated Mac in your home office that can’t handle macOS 12 Monterey, Google wants to turn it into a Chromebook. Google today announced early access to Chrome OS Flex, which makes the Chrome OS operating system found on Chromebooks downloadable onto a Mac or Windows PC.

Chrome OS Flex is basically the official Google version of CloudReady, which Google acquired when it bought Neverware in 2020. Flex allows individuals, schools, or businesses to download Chrome OS onto a USB drive for free (CloudReady charges a fee and annual subscription rate to schools and businesses, respectively) and install it onto their Mac or Windows PC. The OS could also be booted from a USB drive instead of installed or launched via network deployment by an IT department.

Google is positioning Chrome OS Flex as an answer to old Mac and Windows PCs that might not be able to handle the latest version of their native OS and/or that might not be owned by folks with budgets to replace the devices. Rather than buying new hardware, consumers or IT departments could install the latest version of Chrome OS Flex.

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