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chromium osLike this idea of Chrome OS, but don’t want to fork out money for a ChromeBook? Good news! Chromium Lime brings the Chrome OS experience to a huge number of laptops and netbooks, thanks to a wide variety of drivers added by developer Hexxeh.

What’s Chrome OS? Basically: it’s an entire operating system that runs nothing but the Chrome browser. Obviously this isn’t for everyone, but it does have its advantages. It runs much faster on my netbook (EEE PC 900a) than Windows or Ubuntu, for example, and integrates really well with Google’s services. I spend so much time using my browser that which operating system I use really doesn’t matter anymore Mac, Linux or Windows: It Really Doesn't Matter Anymore [Opinion] Mac, Linux or Windows: It Really Doesn't Matter Anymore [Opinion] It matters less and less every year what operating system you use, because every year we all spend more time on our computer using nothing but the browser. And browsers are cross-platform. Want to have... Read More , so I’m a best-case user in many ways.

For everyone else, though, Chrome OS can turn a slow netbook into a fast netbook you can use to browse the web, with few hiccups. Everything, from YouTube to reading, goes faster with this operating system. It boots entirely from a flash drive or SD card, so it’s worth having around as an option.

Chrome OS, as released by Google, doesn’t really work on every computer: it’s mostly made to support the line of “ChromeBooks” already out there for sale. To use Chrome OS on your computer you need to use third-party releases bundled with extra drivers.

We’ve shown you how to download and run Chrome OS on your computer How To Run Google Chrome OS From A USB Drive [Windows] How To Run Google Chrome OS From A USB Drive [Windows] Read More , but that guide was written in 2009. A lot has changed since then: the operating system is now mature and third-party developers are getting much better at working with Chrome OS.

The highlight of this work is Chromium Lime, as released by developer Hexxeh. It’s updated daily, includes plugins such as Flash and Java and, most importantly, comes with enough drivers to run on pretty much any netbook or laptop. Here’s how to use it.

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Download, Set Up, Boot

To use this system you’re going to need a 4 GB flash drive. If your netbook has a card slot, use a 4 GB SD card: it will fit nicely into your computer instead of sticking out, allowing you to easily dual-boot.

Got your drive? Good. Head over the to the Chromium Lime download page to get started. Here you will find instructions for creating a bootable disk, with clear explanations for Linux, Mac and Windows users. Follow these instructions!

Once you’ve created your disk, restart your computer. You’re going to need to boot from your USB disk; enter your system’s “Setup” and change the boot order if your disk doesn’t boot automatically.

You might see a black screen for a while: be patient, the system will boot eventually.

Using Chromium OS on your netbook!

Once you get Chromium OS booted, you’ll see a few questions followed by the login screen. What’s the username and password? Your own Google or Gmail account, of course! Log in with this and you’ll be ready to start! Chromium OS will remember you next time you boot up, meaning you’ll only need your password to get started.

If you use Chrome Sync, all of your bookmarks, apps, extensions and settings will follow you here. This makes for an extremely fast setup!

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Browsing is pretty much what you’d expect: it’s Chrome, only faster. You can look at any website you like, or waste a few hours on Reddit.

chromium os review

Naturally, being an operating system, this version of Chromium features a few settings the browser does not. For example: network settings.

chromium os review

My netbook had no problems connecting to my WiFi, though I did type my passcode wrong a few times. Other settings include mouse speed, brightness and accessibility.

chromium os

Sometimes you’ll be downloading files, of course. Chromium OS comes with a built-in file browser, so don’t worry: you can download stuff and easily move it to a flash drive if necessary.

Why?

So, why would anyone want to use this system instead of the full-featured ones out there? Well, like I said, it’s fast. Chromium OS is built to do one thing very well: use the web. If you use a lot of web apps, other operating systems are slowing you down.

Beyond that, though, Chromium OS is simple. If you know how to use a web browser, you know how to use this system. There’s not much to learn here: it just gets you onto the web. This probably isn’t what you want on every device, but it sure can make your netbook feel like a brand new toy. Try it out before you judge more.

Or you could just tell me I’m an idiot for liking this in the comments below. That’s fun too.

  1. Craig Cooper
    July 11, 2015 at 3:03 am

    I have tried 4 of these images, each time (using Rufus latest) it just skips and goes onto HDD boot option. This was all done with Win32DiskImager. I will try again with unetbootbin, and see if I have more luck (Intel HD 3000 Graphics - Acer Aspire 4752 - 8GB RAM).

  2. Tom Miller
    January 26, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    "Arnold the Bat" has taken up creating the Chromium OS binaries for 32 bit, 64 bit and ARM cpus. If you haven't had luck before try it again.

    In the previous binaries mentioned above there was no support for Radeon HD video cards. So the system would boot on my Acer Aspire One 722 but not display anything. Now it will display the first boot screen but locks up. I have a smaller/old original netbook it will boot on but can't find the mouse pad. It will find a mouse if I add it via a usb port.

    I have had good luck with multiple netbook friendly/user-friendly ubuntu-based distros. So I was very happy when I finally stumbled across an (active) project to put a Chromebook look-alike desktop on top of a mainstream Linux kernal. Try: http://chromixium.org/ you may find it will boot and work where Chromium OS won't.

    Tom

    • Justin Pot
      January 27, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      It might be time for an updated version of this article, looking at the options that exist now. Thanks for the starting point!

  3. T
    May 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I have an older MSI Wind (U100) netbook with an Atom (cpu270-1.60g) processor. Know any issues (or anything about) with this unit before I whack it and try a clean install?

  4. LinuxVsWindoze
    March 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    how do u jail break chromium?

    • Player863
      March 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      *facepalm*

      You can't jailbreak this -.-'

      • Brayan Habid
        May 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm

        You don't have to. Why would a person do so?

  5. Anup
    February 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Is it possible to use Chromium Lime on a non-netbook? I have an old Compaq NC4000 and could boot Ubunti from a Live CD. I tried the USB boot for Chromium Lime, and I think it is booting. However, there is nothing coming up on the screen. Wondering whether Chromium works only on netbooks?

    • jhpot
      February 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm

       The drivers provided are mostly for netbooks. Getting this to work on anything else would mostly be luck.

      • Anup
        February 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm

        Thanks for the response. Would have been nice if it supports older hardware :(

  6. Doreen S
    January 26, 2012 at 2:07 am

    Has anyone updated their 8.9" Acer Aspire One netbook,  8GB SSD, Intel Z-P230, 512 MB RAM?  If so, would appreciate your opinion/suggestions. Also, does this system work on an ethernet connection as well as WiFi?  Thanks.

    • jhpot
      January 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      This worked well with WiFi for me, just so you know. I don't think someone with your exact laptop is going to read this comment, so why don't you just give Chromium a chance? You won't have to overwrite anything. 

  7. Bruce Craig
    January 11, 2012 at 2:59 am

    how can I get netflix on lime?

  8. Al
    January 8, 2012 at 1:13 am

    I put the latest image on a usb drive using the image writer program, set the laptop to boot from usb, but it simply goes past it to windows. When in windows it wants to format the usb as well. Anything I'm missing?

    • jhpot
      January 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      What kind of computer are you using? Some older computers struggle with booting from USB. Failing that, can you manually set the boot device at startup? Sometimes that helps.

      • Al
        January 8, 2012 at 3:42 pm

        A newer Asus laptop. I set the usb to boot up first. It lights up at boot up time but doesn't go through with it. I'll try again with a netbook at work. Thanks.

        • Al
          January 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm

          Nope didn't work on my Asus EEE netbook either. Clearly my usb image isn't a keeper. I'll try to set it up again.

        • Al
          January 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

          Did the whole thing again from scratch. The image won't boot on Asus EEE either. I give up. Good idea. Perhaps a different imaging program may work.

        • jhpot
          January 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

          I used uNetBootin with an EEE PC, in case you're interested. Hope you get this working

  9. Claude Champagne
    January 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Can you burn the image on a CD instead of a USB stick? And then install ChromeOS on a old laptop?

    • jhpot
      January 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      This setup is a bootable environment that needs write permissions, so it won't work from a CD. You could try writing the system directly to the hard drive of an old laptop, but the focus in terms of drivers is really on recent-ish netbooks.

  10. UUUnicorn
    January 1, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    How is this OS different than Joli OS or Peppermint Ice?

    • jhpot
      January 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Simply put: it's Chromium, the browser, and not much else. It's very integrated with Google. It runs fast.

  11. Davel
    January 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    I tried this with an SD card but it won't boot up. I changed the boot order but it just boots into Windows. Win 7 wants to Format the SD card. I thought maybe I'd try a USB stick but the same thing happened, wants to format the USB stick.
    I'm kind of stuck here so I formatted the USB stick and the capacity was reduced from 4gb to 1gb. I will have to do the same thing with the SD card to get a quarter of the cards original capacity back I guess. Looks like I'll end up with two devices at 1/4 of their original capacity. Great idea if it worked. Sucks if it doesn't. Dave

    • Xx
      January 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      To recover the original capacity reformat the USB with HP USB disk storage format tool

      • Dave
        January 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm

        Took a little fiddling around but that worked perfectly on both devices. Thank you very much. Dave

        • Xx
          January 1, 2012 at 3:31 pm

          Happy to hear that

        • jhpot
          January 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm

          This doesn't work on all computers, but is nice when it does. Glad you got your drive back, Davel.

  12. Piratelex
    January 1, 2012 at 6:27 am

    lol @e8707b267b0c276f2774b27a0c20b89d:disqus 
    Will give it a try since all I do with my eee 1005HA is browsing :)

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