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google chromium osChromium OS (or Chrome OS) is a new breed of open-source operating system, and like much of Google’s product suite is completely free of charge. The Google Chromium OS relies on the web for all but the bare-bones, and aims to bring the whole internet to your fingertips within seconds of turning on your PC.

The only problem is that Google’s official builds How To Run Google Chrome OS From A USB Drive [Windows] How To Run Google Chrome OS From A USB Drive [Windows] Read More suffer from poor hardware support, driver issues and are unlikely to work unless you’re using a brand new netbook. Enter Flow, an exciting Chromium OS build with much improved compatibility allowing you to sample your first taste of a lightning-fast web-reliant operating system, all from the comfort of a 2GB USB flash drive.


Mimicking Google’s popular Chrome web browser, the Google Chromium OS contains no applications or programs and instead uses web-based services such as Google Documents and Picnik. This is all part of Google’s plan to essentially turn their web browser into an operating system, and by doing so they’ve managed to drastically speed up the whole process of “getting online”.

Flow is a third-party build by an enthusiast called Hexxeh that provides a straight-forward means of test driving this new platform. I will be using Windows to create the bootable USB image, although once you have created your bootable Chromium OS build it will work in any other compatible system. Linux users may want to look here, and for the trickier Mac install there’s a handy YouTube video with full walkthrough.

Before starting it’s best to check whether your particular netbook, laptop or desktop is listed as a known compatible device. If you’re not listed, then you’ll probably want to try it anyway. If it works, you might want to let the author know!

Installing Chromium OS To USB

The first thing you’ll need to do is grab a copy of the USB image from Hexxeh’s main page. You can download directly from the server, or via a torrent link if you’d like to help seed and share the project afterwards. You’ll need a BitTorrent client if you’d like to be a good citizen.

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google chromium os

Once downloaded, extract the CD image file (.img) from the archive. If you’re stuck, you can use 7Zip 7Zip - A Free Program to Unzip Uncommon Archive Formats 7Zip - A Free Program to Unzip Uncommon Archive Formats Read More for this. Lastly, download a copy of Image Writer for Windows as you’ll need this to transfer the image file you just downloaded to your spare (2GB or larger) USB stick. Extract all the files within the Image Writer archive to their own directory, and run Win32DiskImager.exe.

Note that you may need administrator permission to write the image to USB, so ensure you are logged into Windows with full privileges.

Within the Win32 Disk Imager window navigate your way to the Chromium OS CD image (.img) file and select it. Select the USB drive you wish to use by choosing its corresponding letter within the drop down box. When you’re ready, hit Write. You’ll be warned that you are about to potentially corrupt your USB drive, click Yes and proceed.

google chromium

Once the progress bar reaches its destination – you’re done.

Booting

Restart your PC and enter your BIOS setup. Depending on your PC, this will entail hitting something like the Del or F2 key as your PC first boots. Within these settings you’ll need to schedule your PC to boot from USB before it tries to launch your primary OS within your boot devices. Save your changes and restart your computer, making sure that all-important USB stick is inserted.

If you have problems booting from USB, or your computer does not support it then you can try PLoP Boot Manager. This program allows you to burn a CD image ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App Read More or write a floppy that will load an interface from which to launch the USB drive.

google chromium

Once Chromium OS has loaded (don’t worry, your first boot might take a while) you can log in with your Google account. If you have trouble logging in, the default Flow username is facepunch and the password is the same. This will allow you to log in and play around, even if you have network troubles.

google chromium os

If you’re familiar with a web browser you’ll instantly be able to use Chromium, so it makes for a nice lightweight OS. It’s by no means perfect yet, but it’s handy if you “just need the web”.

Have you experimented with Google Chromium OS? Does Flow work on your PC? Let us know in the comments.

  1. Thomas_bielefeldt
    October 5, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I Have an extra laptop, How do I Install Chrome OS on that??
    Can I just writhe the images on a disk and the reboot my labtop with the disk in and then reboot and install Chroe OS as I would install any other OS??

  2. Thomas_bielefeldt
    October 5, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I Have an extra laptop, How do I Install Chrome OS on that??
    Can I just writhe the images on a disk and the reboot my labtop with the disk in and then reboot and install Chroe OS as I would install any other OS??

  3. Tim Brookes
    August 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Hmm... seeing as Chrome repartitions the drive, I think you may have lost those items.

    Have you tried any recovery programs? I've always got Recuva (http://www.piriform.com/recuva... on my PC as it's so handy when I clear memory cards and USB sticks.

    It's freeware, and may just be worth a go.

    You might need to delete those three partitions as well, in order to create a new usable volume. Open Windows Disk Manager (on Win 7/Vista and probably XP this is Start > (right click) Computer > Manage then "Disk Management" in the window that opens), delete the three listed volumes on your USB drive and create a new one.

    You could even try using Recuva on this new partition again, though I'm not sure whether it'll work.

    Good luck, hope you've got a backup :)

  4. aj
    August 8, 2010 at 2:48 am

    i may have loaded it successfully onto my usb with 1 or 2 things still saved on it :D and thus... I'd now like to get those things back... and it says i've corrupted the device and need to re format the usb, i've tried the trusty advice at ...
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/h...
    but no joy. any words of wisdom?

  5. aj
    August 8, 2010 at 12:48 am

    i may have loaded it successfully onto my usb with 1 or 2 things still saved on it :D and thus... I'd now like to get those things back... and it says i've corrupted the device and need to re format the usb, i've tried the trusty advice at ...
    http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-recover-data-from-a-corrupt-memory-card-or-usb-drive/
    but no joy. any words of wisdom?

    • Tim Brookes
      August 9, 2010 at 3:28 pm

      Hmm... seeing as Chrome repartitions the drive, I think you may have lost those items.

      Have you tried any recovery programs? I've always got Recuva (http://www.piriform.com/recuva) on my PC as it's so handy when I clear memory cards and USB sticks.

      It's freeware, and may just be worth a go.

      You might need to delete those three partitions as well, in order to create a new usable volume. Open Windows Disk Manager (on Win 7/Vista and probably XP this is Start > (right click) Computer > Manage then "Disk Management" in the window that opens), delete the three listed volumes on your USB drive and create a new one.

      You could even try using Recuva on this new partition again, though I'm not sure whether it'll work.

      Good luck, hope you've got a backup :)

      • aj
        August 10, 2010 at 6:42 am

        cheers for the advice mate. no joy though.

      • aj
        August 10, 2010 at 8:59 am

        actually, with a bit more tinkering it works. thanks a heap.

  6. Mixaorfa
    July 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I receive an error message when i am trying to write the image to the flash drive with the Win32 Disk Imager "An error occurred when attempting to get a handle on the file"

  7. Mahmoud
    July 24, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for your reply.
    I return it to its original size successfully.

  8. Sam Luks
    July 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    YouTube video = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  9. Sam Luks
    July 23, 2010 at 3:20 pm
  10. Al
    July 23, 2010 at 10:01 am

    How about installing it on a Mac?

  11. Tim Brookes
    July 23, 2010 at 2:11 am

    You'll need to repartition the drive.

    If you open up Windows Disk Manager (on Win 7/Vista and probably XP this is Start > (right click) Computer > Manage then "Disk Management" in the window that opens), delete the three listed volumes on your USB drive and create a new one.

    You'll hopefully find it has returned to its full size again!

    Hope this helps.

  12. Yousef
    July 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Very cool. I'll be trying this out and will be telling my friend about this. I recently advised him to use Puppy Linux but all he wants is a browser that he can use on any computer without restrictions. I'll let him check this article out.

    • Jessica Cam W.
      July 26, 2010 at 3:44 am

      BrowserLinux is just that, and has two versions: one that has Firefox as the browser and the other one that has Chrome. The .iso is 77MB (smaller than Puppy!)

  13. Mahmoud
    July 22, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing. i tried it and it works.
    Now i am trying to format my 8 gb flash disk but it was seen as a 256 mb flash.

    How can i make it return it back to its original size 8 gb ?

    Thanks in advance

  14. Mahmoud
    July 22, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks for sharing. i tried it and it works.
    Now i am trying to format my 8 gb flash disk but it was seen as a 256 mb flash.

    How can i make it return it back to its original size 8 gb ?

    Thanks in advance

    • Tim Brookes
      July 23, 2010 at 12:11 am

      You'll need to repartition the drive.

      If you open up Windows Disk Manager (on Win 7/Vista and probably XP this is Start > (right click) Computer > Manage then "Disk Management" in the window that opens), delete the three listed volumes on your USB drive and create a new one.

      You'll hopefully find it has returned to its full size again!

      Hope this helps.

      • Mahmoud
        July 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm

        Thanks for your reply.
        I return it to its original size successfully.

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