CloudReady – The easy way to set up Chrome OS on your computer

After publishing my last article about my experience with Chrome OS, the first reaction I got was why I didn’t just install CloudReady instead of dealing with such a complicated installation method. The answer is simply that I had no idea that CloudReady even existed. It seems I’m pretty new to the Chrome OS game…


After reading about CloudReady a little, it did arouse my interest, so I decided to take it for a test-drive.

What is CloudReady?

CloudReady is a free Chrome OS alternative based on Chromium OS by Neverware. The company was acquired by Google in 2020 and is part now of the Chrome OS team, but will continue its services independently in the foreseeable future.

Why Cloudready?

Before CloudReady you had two options if you wanted to use Chrome OS. Either you bought a computer preinstalled with it or you followed complicated howto-s and hoped for the best results. The first one was great if you wanted to get a great laptop on the cheap and the second one is awesome if you like to tinker with such stuff.

With CloudReady you now have a third option: Easy installation on almost any computer.

Installing CloudReady

Visit the official website and follow the directions to create a bootable pendrive for the installation:

https://www.neverware.com/freedownload#home-edition-install

If you are using Windows, there is an option to download an installer which will create the installation media for you. This is the easiest way and I used it to see how well it works. (Really well!)

There are also instructions on how to create the installation media manually in Windows, Mac, Linux and even using a Chromebook.

When the installation media is ready, plug it into the target computer and reboot from it. If you have no idea how to boot from a pendrive, follow CloudReady’s instructions here:

https://guide.neverware.com/install-and-setup/boot-usb/#plug-the-cloudready-usb-installer-into-your-device

If you have problem booting from the pendrive, you will have to dive a bit deeper into your computer’s BIOS. This will take a little bit of research, but there are great guides like this one:

https://www.groovypost.com/howto/bios-uefi-setup-guide-boot-from-cd-dvd-usb-drive-sd-card/

If you succeed booting from the pendrive, the computer will boot into a “live” version of Chrome OS that is not installed yet on the computer, but will be fully operable. Many popular Linux distributions like Ubuntu or Linux Mint do this, so if you ever tried those, you will know what to expect.

The operating system runs straight from the pendrive, which is safe if you just want to see if everything will work, but be aware that because it runs from the pendrive, it will be way slower than after installation.

You will be presented with the Welcome screen where you can log in with your Google account.

CloudReady Welcome screen

If you want to test-drive CloudReady and Chrome OS on your device, go ahead and log in. You can initiate the installation from within Chrome OS by clicking on the clock at the bottom right corner and choosing the corresponding option. (This is what I did)

If you want to continue the installation process from the Welcome screen, you also have to click on the clock in the bottom right corner and initiate the installation there.

Be aware that CloudReady will erase your HDD or SSD, so if you want to dual-boot or have important stuff on your device, CloudReady is not for you!

The installation proccess is quite simple, just follow the on-screen instructions or take a quick peek here in the official documentation:

https://guide.neverware.com/install-and-setup/home-edition/#installation-process

Verdict

CloudReady is awesome if you want to try Chrome OS. It is really simple to set up and has great support. Unfortunately it does not give the full current Chrome OS experience as it lacks the capability of running Android apps. (Linux works)

For me, the lack of Android was no biggie, but I still had to abandon CloudReady as my laptop started locking up randomly. It is possible that there is a solution for that, but I did not have the patience this time, so I reinstalled Chrome OS the way I did before CloudReady.

The good
  • Really easy to install
  • Updates and support from Neverware
  • All the pros from my previous article except for Android apps
The bad
  • The button to start the installation is a bit hidden away, was looking for it for a few minutes (Of course I didn’t read the manual)
  • There is no option for advanced installation, no way to dualboot, and no way to not erase your HDD or SSD
  • No Android apps or Play store
  • Stability issues with my device
  • Tablet functions didn’t work with my device except for the touchscreen
  • My printer still didn’t work (Samsung SXC-3200)
  • As Android apps are not available, can’t use Viber on it

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