Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Google Chrome OS Flex Is Now Available For PC And Mac

Google is today releasing Chrome OS Flex, a new version of Chrome OS designed for businesses and schools to install and run on older PCs and Macs. Google began testing Chrome OS Flex earlier this year in an early access preview, and the company has now fixed 600 bugs to roll out Flex to businesses and schools today.

Chrome OS Flex is designed primarily for businesses running older Windows PCs, as Google has tested and verified devices from Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Toshiba, and many other OEMs. Flex will even work on some older Macs, including some 10-year-old MacBooks.

Legacy hardware support is Chrome OS Flex’s biggest selling point, because businesses don’t have to ditch legacy hardware to get the latest modern operating system. Over 400 devices are certified to work, and installation is as simple as using a USB flash drive to install Chrome OS Flex.

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“We’re working on more and more certifications every day, and even if your device isn’t yet certified, you can still try out Chrome OS Flex,” says Thomas Riedl, director of product, enterprise and education at Google. On devices that are not officially supported, you may experience minor glitches, instability, or boot issues.


Chrome OS isn’t just for Chromebooks anymore.

Chrome OS Flex was made possible by Google’s acquisition of Neverware, which previously sold an app called CloudReady that allowed users to convert older PCs to Chrome OS systems. It comes less than a year after Microsoft released Windows 11 with stringent hardware requirements that left millions of older PCs behind.

Google is introducing Chrome OS Flex to businesses and schools that want to modernize and simplify their IT setup or improve security and manageability. It’s even a good flex for sustainability-focused businesses, which enables certain organizations to reduce e-waste and energy consumption.

But the biggest appeal will likely be Chrome OS Flex as a response to the growing ransomware threat, especially for companies that have been affected and are open to moving away from Windows. Chrome OS is much more locked down than Windows, making it harder for hackers to attack.

Nordic Choice Hotels was hit by a ransomware attack in December, shutting down operations at its 200 hotels across Scandinavia. The Conti ransomware, which the US government has been aggressively pursuing, encrypted the hotel computers and held them for ransom. The hotel chain had considered switching to Chrome OS as a sustainability effort and was able to immediately convert its 2,000 Windows machines to Chrome OS Flex in less than 48 hours. Employees received USB sticks with a one-page document on how to perform the upgrade.

Not every business and school will be able to easily switch to Chrome OS Flex, especially if they rely on existing Windows applications and systems designed for Windows. Virtualization software like Cameyo certainly helps, but Microsoft has dominated PCs for over 30 years, so there are deep-rooted dependencies that can’t always be solved by virtualization alone. Relying solely on a cloud-powered operating system also has downsides, as we saw last year with two bad Chrome OS updates that left some stranded out of their Chromebooks and others with performance issues.

Chromebooks have certainly shown the world that there is a solid alternative to Windows, especially for education where it has thrived thanks to Chromebooks. Chrome OS Flex is yet another choice for those who want to move away from Windows.

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