Google’s Chrome OS has been in the limelight for a while now, but many of us have come to assume that the operating system is only available to those using Google’s Chromebooks. Samsung and Acer are the two brands selling Chromebooks in international markets.

So what do you do in such cases, where an operating system that’s deemed to be free isn’t really available on Google’s site? Well, you download it from a third party developer’s page. In this case, we’ll show you how to download and install a Chromium OS build on a USB drive. It’s quite simple really and it doesn’t take more than five minutes once you have the 240-odd megabyte image downloaded.

What you need

Here’s what you’ll need to get Chromium OS running.

Downloading the Chromium builds

Hexxeh is the person behind the Hexxeh Chromium builds. The site contains a bunch of builds and the Flow build though stable, is a little outdated. The newer builds can be found here.

Vanilla builds are updated regularly

Vanilla builds are updated regularly

Remember that the Chromium builds aren’t official stable builds, so there’re bound to be some issues and glitches that you’ll notice. They might offer better compatiblity with your hardware. Find the build you need and download it. The download size of the archives is likely to be between 240 and 327 MB.

Uncompress the image

The downloadable images are available as .tar.gz files, which can be extracted using a compression tool such as 7zip. The only file within that archive will be a .tar file. Follow the same process and extract that file again. The file you should end up with is a .IMG file.

Writing the image to the flash drive

Before you write the Chromium OS image to the Flash drive, ensure that you have all the data from it securely. Next, start Windows Image Writer and select the drive letter for the flash drive.

Selecting the flash drive on which ChromiumOS will be installed

Selecting the flash drive on which ChromiumOS will be installed

Choose the .IMG file and click on the Write icon. This process should take a few minutes. Chromium OS will then be installed on your flash drive.

Reboot into Chromium OS

The next step is to boot your notebook or desktop using the connected flash drive. Enter the CMOS by pressing the F1, F2 Or Del key. This differs from one motherboard to another. Enable USB booting, as well as set the boot order to let the USB flash drive boot first. Once this is done, save settings and reboot the PC. The flash drive should automatically boot into Chromium OS.

Chromium OS - powered by the Google Chrome browser

Chromium OS – powered by the Google Chrome browser

Once booted, simply login using your Google account and you should be able to install web apps available on the Chrome store and use your own notebook as if it were a Chromebook.

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