How to Download and Install Chrome OS

The Chrome operating system (OS) is reserved only for Chromebook users, but now, you can install Chromium OS on other devices because it’s the open-source version of Chrome OS. It’s a little different than Chrome OS but a great alternative to Windows or Linux, and you can run it without an installation. You need to download Chromium OS to a USB drive and use Etcher or some other software to make it bootable. This article will teach you how to get Chromium OS working on any computer.

How to Download and Install Chrome OS

Chromium OS Pre-Installation Considerations

As previously stated, Chrome OS is made for Chromebooks only and is designed to be lightweight and straightforward. Google does all of the updates. It’s one of the most straightforward operating systems you can get. Chromium OS (not Chrome OS) is an open-source version of Chrome OS, and it can work with all devices, including Mac, Linux, and Windows. Some hardware won’t work perfectly, but many PCs can run Chromium without issues.

The company behind Chromium is called Neverware. They used the open-source code to create Neverware CloudReady, the same as Chromium OS, but with some extra features and mainstream hardware support. Google now provides CloudReady and calls it Chrome OS FLEX. Their OS is now used in schools and businesses all over the world. The only drawback is that this OS lacks support for Android apps and proprietary Google software/applications.

The open-source Chromium OS is ideal for older Windows XP and Windows 7 PCs because it provides more protection and it’s easier to update. Numerous flavors are available for Windows 7,8,10,11, Mac, and Linux from various developer teams, including versions such as FydeOS, Solus, and Gallium OS. It’s an operating system that doesn’t take up too much space and works great for basic operations and internet surfing. Don’t expect high-level gaming functionality, though.

chromium os

Installing Chromium OS on Your Device

Before getting to the installation, there are some prerequisites you need to fulfill. After that, you start the installation process. Here’s what to do.

1. Prerequisites to Installing Chromium OS

First, you must download the latest Chromium version for your particular device. You can also try Chrome/Chromium OS alternatives like FydeOS or Solus (formally Evolve OS), which maintain current updated versions. Follow the installation instructions for those options using their website.

For Chromium OS, you will also need a program to boot the OS image from USB. In this example, Etcher was used, along with a USB with at least 8 GB capacity and the PC for the Chromium installation.

Here are the links to software you should download to make things work:

Download 1: 7-Zip for Windows, Keka for macOS, or p7zip for Linux

Download 2: Etcher for Windows, macOS, and Linux

chrome logo

Prepare your USB, but ensure it’s empty. Transfer all valuable data to your PC before you begin. When you’ve got everything ready, here is what to do:

2. Download Chromium OS

Google offers an official Chromium OS build you can download to your PC, but there are usually bugs and other issues, and it is just the base system. Many websites provide Chromium for free, but we advise you to get it from Arnold the Bat. That website’s last update was in 2022 but they should still work. You will see a long list of Chromium versions because it’s continuously updated with new releases. Follow the on-site instructions and download the latest version.

chromium download

3. Extract the Image

When the download is completed, you must extract the image using 7-Zip. Right-click on the downloaded file and extract the data to a new folder. The process takes a few minutes to complete.

4. Prepare Your USB Drive

  1. Get the USB you want to use to boot Chromium and plug it into your PC. If you are using Windows, find the USB in My Computer, right-click on it, and select Quick format.
  2. When the pop-up window appears, choose FAT32 as your file system and click Start. Take note that all your USB drive’s data will be wiped clean. For Macs, skip to Step 3.
  3. macOS users can use the Disk Utility to format the USB as FAT32. If it says MS-DOS DAT instead of FAT32, don’t worry because it’s the same format. Complete the process to prepare your USB.

5. Use Etcher to Install the Chromium Image

You have done most of the preparation by now. Your Chromium is downloaded and extracted, and the USB is formatted, so you are ready to continue. Download Etcher using the link provided above. Here is what you have to do from there:

  1. Run “Etcher.”
  2. Click “Flash from file,” then find and add the “Chromium OS image” you downloaded.
  3. Click “Select Drive” and select the USB you prepared.
  4. Select “Flash,” and Etcher will install a bootable version of Chromium to your USB device.

The creation process takes a few minutes to complete. When it’s done, wait for Etcher to verify that everything works as expected. You are now ready to install Chromium on your PC.


6. Restart Your PC and Enable USB in the Boot Options

You have to run BIOS to set USB as your primary boot device.

  1. When the PC is first starting up, you can run BIOS by pressing F8, F10, F12, or Del. The key you need to press will vary based on your BIOS.
  2. Every PC has different-looking BIOS, but you should look for an option labeled Boot Manage or Boot.
  3. Set the USB as your primary boot device and then select Save & Exit; the actual name may differ in your BIOS.

On a Mac:

  1. Mac users must restart their computers and hold the Option key to enter the boot menu.
  2. Select the USB drive instead of Macintosh to boot Chromium from your USB drive. Restart your Mac when done.

7. Boot into Chrome OS Without an Installation

The great thing about Chrome OS is that you don’t need to install it; it doesn’t take up any space on your hard drive. You can boot it from the USB without installation, so your primary OS won’t be affected. You can set up your Chrome OS with a Google account and use it only for surfing the internet.

8. Install Chrome OS on Your Device

If you’ve tested everything and found it satisfactory, it’s time to install it.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve included this section to answer your questions about installing Chrome OS.

Should I install Chrome OS Flex?

Users can access and try Chrome OS Flex, but Google took away Android and Play Store app support. You do, however, get Google apps like Gmail, Sheets, Files, Drive, and more. It is a lightweight and secure operating system designed to refresh older hardware. While it works well with many devices and is worth trying, users should check the certified device list before downloading.

The installation steps are relatively simple; you can test out the operating system and keep it for free.

30 thoughts on “How to Download and Install Chrome OS”

Sri ram says:
Sir,is it possible to run chrome os on lenovo tablet m8 hd tb-8505f 32gb. Or any other android device to run android studio
steve clilverd-cross says:
wish i had read the comments didnt work Etcher destroyed my usb and my chromebook still dont work
vvv says:
the download source you recommend only has 1 year old versions. is the development of chromium os stopped, or the guy just not bothering with new builds? and why should we rely on some rando (no offense mr. bat, and thank you for the years of service, but thats how it looks like to me) to have to make builds? article says “Many websites” have them but i find none. why is there nothing official for download?
Steve Larner says:
There is nothing official to download Chromium OS because it is technically not Chrome OS. It is an open-source project that companies/developers can use to build their own OS. Chromium OS is a bare-bone system, which means it acts as the base of an OS but without drivers, licenses, etc., and it is generally is full of bugs. The website knows as arnoldthebat tries to compile various OS options and makes it easy to identify what could work on your PC. It is outdated for some reason but should still work. However, Google Chrome OS FLEX is another alternative you can try.
Adam says:
Which Etcher version for running Linux on a Framework 12th Gen – 32-bit or 64?
Dadata says:
Crome Os is complete rubbish!
Theres no option to download it!
This kind of computers are only good for …. Throwing them in rubbish bin!
Steve Larner says:
Chrome OS is only for Chromebooks. Any other device needs to use Chromium OS.
vvv says:
and where are the 2023 chromium os downloads?
Steve Larner says:
They are on arnoldthebat, as mentioned in the article.
David says:
Chromium is just another rubbish locked down version of the diabolic flex. Where are the downloads for ChromeOS?? Not that other rubbish
Steve Larner says:
Chrome OS is for Chromebooks only.
Charles Todd says:
Hi – great article. Works really well, easy to follow.
How can I install the image on the computer hard drive? This is a new, blank SSD.
Many thanks for your help.
(I am in Perth, Western Australia.)
Steve Larner says:
Installing Chromium OS to a hrad drive may depend on where you obtained the OS. If you used Arnold the Bat, go to
Eddie Bryant says:
If I can’t get passed the email API issue, how do I get Chromium to book from my laptop?
Shiva says:
I’ve Tried Using Etcher 3x to Install ChromeOS on a Flashdrive & every time It says it Completed Successfully but The Drive is Completely Empty.
Steve Larner says:
There are several possibilities here. First, perhaps the disk failed, which has happened with new sd cards as well, and some are incompatible or fake replicants. Second, the partition(s) created are not readable, or the bootup partition is not readable on the device.
Andy says:
How do I start speech output on chromium OS? Currently, I use NVDA on Windows10
Sara says:
Hello, May I know if I can directly install it on my phone? My phone is already Windows 11…
Pam says:
You can’t download Windows 11 on a PHONE and you can’t download ChromiumOS on a phone either…
Gus says:
i think you could, google made a tablet that used Chrome OS
Fredrik Erlandsson says:
When booting into chromium, it says I need api keys. And it also says I can’t add new users. How do I fix this?
Steve Larner says:
As of March 15, 2021, Google limited private APIs on Chromium OS and the Chromium browser that allowed Google features to work. That prompts Chromium to say you need API keys. It was a rule but never enforced fully, that is, Google APIs keys were and are not to be publicly distributed in or out of developed applications. Many developers used existing Google API keys in their public distributions (Ubuntu Chromium, custom Linux Operating systems, Sync apps, etc.) to make Google features like Sync function work. Google rarely quivered over it but started taking action. Even though the Chromium Browser, including forks of it, and Chromium OS are open-source software, they technically cannot use Google APIs. This is why you cannot add new users either, simply because it wants the Google accounts (just like Chrome OS), which requires Google APIs. On the brighter side of things, developers are creating their own iterations for sync, accounts, applications, etc. Microsoft Edge is using Chromium and doing that now. Launch Chrome on any other OS and API keys work fine but launch Chromium and they will be missing. Therefore, those features that the Chromium OS or browser desire cannot get Google API keys.
Kevin says:
Can I install Chromium or ChromeOS Flex as a dual boot?
Steve Larner says:
Use CloudReady.
Rob says:
If you’re creating a USB drive and it is not booting READ THE INSTRUCTIONS (I had to!). Make sure you’re downloading the correct image for your hardware. From the image listing…

“CARMOS builds denote ARM processors, Camd64OS builds denote x64 processors and Cx86OS builds denote x86 processors”

I had to download an x64 to get mine booting which worked fine. However, that was just a “Live USB” boot environment. I wanted to try installing it on the SSD drive on the PC it was booted with. That’s a MUCH more involved process (see instructions link on the 2nd line of the build list).

Me says:
Etcher DOESNT work.
CheeseTechBoi says:
What happens if you install it to a partition on your mac?
Human being says:
Hello. Is there any way to install it instead of live usb run? I remeber there being a terminal for chrome os but can it work in chromium os?
Mark says:
When i connect USB…. Operating system not found
Fess says:
I have Chromium on my PC now but I want to revert it back to Windows. My PC will not boot into USB nor can I get it to go into the boot menu. Can you please help me?
Steve Larner says:
Try resetting your Bios or UEFI to reset the firmware code and replace the OS-controlled software that starts up.
Fadi Sana says:
I followed all the steps but I ended up with my usb drive divided into multiple drives and did not boot and nothing worked
Tom David Lindved says:
Me too; it do not boot on the USB.
When extracting: CARMOS-20211210231251.img.7z it makes a .bin file, not a .img.
What is wrong?
john says:
I now have two completely useless USB drives each with partitions D thru N, who knows where the image file ended up.
WEEEOO says:
Luis Rivas says:
I followed your instructions using the file Camd64OS-20201118200101.img.7z from Nov 19th 2020 at 12:18am. When I boot from USB pendrive made by Etcher, it ONLY allows me to run Chrome OS from the USB drive. There is no option to install to boot from laptop hard drive. How can I install Chrome OS x64bits in my laptop?
Sarah says:
Thank u for detailed explanation but when I run Etcher there is no select image button. There are 3 buttons as:
flash from file, flash from URL and clone drive.
would you please tell me what to do next?thanks
Marcos Loureiro says:
“Flash from file”
Then you search the file in your machine and choose it.
Me says:
Flash from file Really which file?? there’s enough of them Why cant it just run the setup file?
Sarah says:
Thank you for detailed explanations;but after that l run the Etcher,I do not see any” select image”.l only see :”flash from file” ,”flash from URL” and “Clone Drive”. what should I do from now on? .appreciated.
Akshaj Gupta says:
This is really helpfull!
Brian Bonner says:
just flash the image to the hard drive
Alk says:
So, I’m planning to buy a used laptop without any operating system installed. Will it be possible to install Chrome OS on these types of computers?
cat1092 says:
Alk, yes it’s possible!

Although Neverware maintains a list of “known” working computers with their version of Google OS, I’ve installed to at least 10 not on the list. Everything simply works.

However, there’s one con & why I’m happy not to have purchased a Chromebook, as it seems simply to be Google Chrome on hardware. No option for gaming, checking files, adding apps, nothing other than run the browser. This is why I took Neverware for a spin, to get a feel for the OS before spending $1,600 on a particular model Chromebook with an i7 CPU & 1 TB NVMe SSD.

So yes, I’d reuse an older machine for Neverware, just won’t purchase an overly expensive model (many has low quality eMMC SSD’s, rather than SATA-3). If I were to buy one, $150 would be my max price range, unless Google offers more features other than a browser on hardware.

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