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How to turn your old PC into a speedy Chromebook for free

How to turn your old PC into a speedy Chromebook for free


A step-by-step guide to making your old machine into a Chrome capable computer

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One of the great ironies of the cloud computing age is that the five to ten year old laptop gathering dust in your desk drawer probably has more horsepower than a top of the line Chromebook which just hit the market. That means you can take a long dormant unit out of retirement and it will typically run quite quickly when paired with a lightweight operating system like Chrome.

Today we're going to walk you through the process for converting an old Mac or Windows PC into a Chrome capable computer. We'll be using a program called CloudReady made by a New York City startup named Neverware. The software actually uses a modified version of Chromium, the open source version of Chrome that Google makes available to third party developers. For the most part Neverware works with schools, helping them convert abandoned computer back into working units students can use. But they also offer the software as a free download for individuals.

For a long time using CloudReady meant ditching your old operating system completely and deleting everything you had stored on your computer's hard drive. But last month Neverware rolled out a new feature, allowing CloudReady users to dual boot their machine, choosing between Chrome or the older operating system every time it's powered on. This lets you enjoy the speed boost of CloudReady without forcing you to ditch all those amazing MP3s you downloaded through Napster.