Make your old laptop faster – for free! Chrome OS guide

You probably have that one laptop lying around in the corner of your house which you no longer use becasue it is terribly slow and powering it up seems like a very bad idea. Today let’s fix that. These old laptops still have capable hardware and if you run equivalent Operating System on this machine, like Chrome OS it can perform reasonably well.

Before you begin though there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Chrome OS unlike MacOS and Windows do not run most standalone apps like Microsoft Word, Photoshop etc.
  2. ChromeOS can now run your Android applications within your ChromeOS.
  3. Laptops having atleast 2GB or more of RAM is recommended for the installation.

Okay, so before you begin, I recommend you back up your laptop’s files/folders or check for items that you might need to back up. CloudReady software that we are going to use for this process does support DualBoot option that preserves your laptop’s existing OS and files, but it is not recommended. You should probably do a full installation that will completely wipe out your hard disk of it’s contents and install ChromeOS afresh. This will not only help perform your laptop better but also be the only OS on the system which is far better considering you are trying this on an old laptop you rarely use.

Okay so let’s get started with the actual process:

Step 1 : Getting the software ready. For this we will use a software called CloudReady from a startup company called Neverware. Just head over to this link and get the USB installer –  if you are on Windows or get appropriate installers as per your OS.

Step 2 : We shall continue assuming you have an Windows Machine and you download the USB maker. Continue with the .exe file you download in the first step and run it, the steps are pretty standard self explanatory and you should probably have no problems in getting through them. However CloudReady for some reason doesn’t allow you to have Sandisk usb drives or usb drives above 16GB in capacity. So kindly keep a USB drive that isn’t made by Sandisk and is above 8GB, but less than 16GB in capacity and start the USB maker process. It says it shall take 20 minutes but that is just for the USB making process and does not include the download time of the Chrome OS software which might take different times based on the speed of your internet connection.

Step 3 : Once your USB is ready, plug it into the old laptop you wish to install the CloudReady software on. Then boot the device into the USB drive. Now there are several ways a laptop can be booted into a connected USB drive and it usually varies manufacturer to manufacturer. All you need to do is Google ” how to get into <manufacturer name>’s boot options menu” and you shall probably get a clear cut answer. If you are having troubles regarding the same kindly drop a comment with your laptop model or email at [email protected] and we shall help you out in a jiffy.

Note – Once your machine boots into the USB drive you shall see the Cloudready Logo on a white background followed by the Let’s go Screen. Now hold on, Clicking on let’s go will boot up the Operating System from the USB drive. This will allow you to test the OS without even installing anything on the machine. However remember, the OS might run a little slow since it mostly runs off your USB drive which has low read/write speeds.

Step 4 : Once you reach the Let’s Go Screen, you can either hit on Let’s go and complete the Set up process which includes logging into your Wifi, Google A/c etc which is again self explanatory. Once you complete it shall take you to the desktop.


Instead of clicking on Let’s Go you click on the Wifi/battery symbol at the bottom right corner of the screen and hit on Install Cloudready. Click on the Install CloudReady button, followed by pressing the Install button again to confirm following which Cloudready will be installed, wiping out your hard drive and all it’s contents. Next time you boot up your laptop will boot up into the new ChromeOS and run a lot lot faster.

So what if you pressed on Let’s Go? Once you are on the desktop you can go ahead and try the OS and once you are happy with the OS you can click on your profile photo on the bottom right corner of the screen and click on Install Cloudready and follow the same steps as in Step 4 (second para).

Q. Can I dual boot it with my existing Windows/Mac Installation?

A. Yes you can, to do the same on the Install Cloudready screen, click the small text at the bottom left of the window to continue with dual boot. This will preserve your existing OS and also all existing files. However though neither Cloudready, nor Windroidica recommends the same and as Neverware says, they are slowly going to phase out support for dual boot in future releases. So it is best to just go with standalone installation. 

I hope that will help you in re-using your old laptop again. In case you have any questions or doubts please drop a comment below or e-mail me at [email protected] for help!



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Ayan Sarkar

I make YouTube videos and write here on Windroidica to help you improve your digital life. I post three videos every week and they contain mainly of Video Podcasts, Tutorials and much more. I am very happy to help. Say Hi!

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