For the first time, the Chrome OS Flex project became known in February of this year, when Google publicly placed a preliminary version of the system, with the possibility of installing almost any computer compatible with Windows, MacOS and Linux, rather than only the branded limps. The new platform was based on the work done by the IT giant Neverware, which developed on the basis of a Linux-distributive with open source code Chromium OS of its own CloudReady OS with a focus on devices with morally obsolete equipment. The result of the transaction and the work done was the release of an easy-to-read version of Chrome OS, which received the Flex in the title and was made publicly available to all interested persons.
== sync, corrected by elderman == @elder_man
Chrome OS Flex is a cut-off version of Chrome OS with limited functionality. Of the most important differences for a private user, there is a lack of support for Arm processors, Google Play and Android applications, and the operating system is not available from Paralles Desktop software to run in virtualized Windows environments and built-in tools to automatically update BIOS/UEFI embroidery. Possible problems with various hardware and peripheral equipment, be they fingerprint sensors, CD/DVDs, FireWire, infrared ports, web cameras, styles, docks, devices with Thunderbolt interface, are also reported. A full list of restrictions available can be found on this link.
♪ System requirements
To work with Chrome OS Flex, a PC based on an Intel processor or AMD with an architecture of x86-64, a minimum of 4 Gbytes of operational memory, 16 Gbyte on a built-in storage device and with the support of downloading from a USB storage device. The system is currently being tested in multiple vehicle configurations from Apple, Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, Toshiba and other manufacturers — the published list contains about 300 supported devices, which are replenished as the compatibility tests are carried out. According to Google's assurance, the platform can be deployed without problems on almost any computer 10 years ago. In our case, for example, Chrome OS Flex as it fits into the 2010 version of Sony VAIO VPC-Y11M1R.
♪ OS installation
In order to deploy Chrome OS Flex, you need to arm a flash drive with a memory of at least 8 Gbytes and create a loading medium. No ISO layouts are needed to download it; all preparatory procedures are done with the Chrome browser and downloaded from the Chrome Web Store expansion of the Chromebook Recovery Utility.
The loading flash drive process is divided into three steps. In the first step, the preferred Chromebook model should be replaced by Chrome OS Flex in both drop-out lists.
The next thing we do is connect the device to the USB-port of the computer...
...and wait to finish copying the installation files.
When the storage device is ready, it will be necessary to switch to the BIOS/UEFI settings and activate the upload of the computer from the external USB medium. Then you can start opening and launching Chrome OS Flex.
Two options are proposed: installation of the system on the device or use of the drive in Live mode and launch of the Chrome OS Flex without replacing the OS on the computer. The latter option is preferred for those who want to evaluate the innovation in the case without risking harm to the installed system. The first option involves full installation of the software platform on the internal PC medium. All sections and files on the disk are removed, so backup is mandatory in case of a back-up.
♪ User interface
The working environment of Chrome OS Flex is minimalistic and largely repeats some of the components of Windows 11 and MacOS, so it won't be hard to figure it out.
Of the main controls in Chrome OS Flex, only the task panel, supplemented by a kind of "Pusk" menu, is available. The task panel is automatically folding down.
The "Pusk" menu includes application start-up labels and a search line. The program icons can be moved, sorted and stored on the taskbar via the context menu. Tools are also available to remove the applications from the system and switch to the settings of the selected software.
A little more room for manoeuvring in the right-hand centre of the notifications. It not only shows various system messages, but also contains elements for the quick control of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen brightness, sound volume, display mode and other settings. You can also block or turn off the PC from the notice panel, complete the user session and switch the account, activate the screen record, and open a window with the main settings of Chrome OS Flex if necessary.
Speaking of operating system settings, they're done in the style of a common multi-browser Chrome, and they allow for flexible configuration of the platform's various parameters. They can be used to set up the network resources, with mobile devices and peripheral equipment, to change the theme of the OS interface, to define security and confidentiality policies, and to adjust many other parameters up to the default search engine. For example, instead of Google, you can use the Yandex search engine -- there are no restrictions on this part of the Chrome OS Flex.
♪ System features and application set
The central element of Chrome OS Flex is Chrome ' s browser, and the system is closely integrated into Google ' s cloud services ecosystem. As a result, web applications are used instead of standard software applications, the basic set of which can be expanded through the Chrome Web Store store. To worry that without a network connection, the system will become a pumpkin, it is not worth it: many of the programs supplied with the Chrome OS Flex package maintain offline mode and can function perfectly without the Internet. Among these products are the GoogleDocs office package, the Gmail postal client, the calendar, the expansion of the Gallery to view and edit photos, and the reproduction of media files. When the network is restored, the listed applications automatically synchronize all necessary data with Google services.
In addition to the software mentioned above, the following applications and services are included in the Chrome OS Flex distribution: file manager, text editor, Google disc, YouTube, YouTube Music, Google Meet, Google Chat, Play Books, Play Movies, Google Maps, Google Kep, calculator, web-cam software, screen record and drawing. The OSH and VPN clients, print service, document scanning application, ZIP archives tool, tools to assess the current state of the system and equipment diagnostics.
The Phone Hub function for easy work with smartphones on Android is worth mentioning. It allows a computer with Chrome OS Flex to check the state of the mobile battery, to exchange files, to look at notifications, to respond to messages, to use the phone as the Wi-Fi access point, and to use the Smart Lock mark to automatically unlock the OS. For the correct operation of the Phone Hub, it is necessary that the smartphone and Chrome OS Flex use the same Google account and be activated by Bluetooth on both devices. Depending on the mobile device model and the Android version, the Phone Hub functionality may be limited.
The focus of the developer is on security. Google assures us that the platform is better protected than Windows: when using web applications, it is less likely to attack one of the extortion viruses that have become a serious problem in recent years.
♪ the general impressions and conclusion ♪
The first thing you're looking at when you interact with Chrome OS Flex is the smooth operation of the system and the instant response to the user's actions. If you're working with Windows 11 on the same laptop sometimes you have to experience delays in switching between the application windows, then in Chrome OS Flex these cases are almost eliminated. In this way, the new Google database is actually better optimized and suitable for old computers.
The second observation concerns the web observer Chrome. In the Chrome OS Flex environment, all of the priority in the system process list is given to the browser, and therefore it literally squeezes all the juices out of the existing "iron" and works, albeit not very much, but faster than in Windows 11. The tests we've done using Octane 2.0, MotionMark, JetStream, Basemark and Speedometer 2.0 confirm this fact. Especially the acceleration of the browser manifests itself in complex tests that simulate the performance of typical tasks for most Internet users.
Another positive development is the built-in support of parental control functions. Through Family Link and the same-name mobile application, you can remotely monitor the use of Chrome OS Flex as a child and protect the Chad from unwanted content. The solution allows you to adjust access to applications, monitor the time of use of the computer, and set rules for accessing online resources.
Finally, one cannot fail to note the flexibility of the system in terms of configuration for various tasks: it is no accident that the name Flex appears in the platform's name. The LS "from the box" allows you to correct documents, view videos, work on the Internet and cover the needs of most users. If you want to expand the system's capabilities and install additional software from the Chrome Web Store store, the range of which, according to the ChromeStats analytical resource, currently includes over 145,000 web applications and browser structures, almost 92% of which are free of charge. I do not want to choose! Moreover, Chrome OS Flex has already come to the attention of enthusiasts, who have found ways to bypass the platform of hard-to-run Linux applications, including Steam's client for the launch of games, which can be easily found in YouTube.
The benefits of Chrome OS Flex are enormous, but there are also a lot of unfortunate failures, usually on uncertified Google devices, which are similar to the lottery, lucky or not. On the relevant Internet forums, there are many criticisms of Google innovation, most of which are due to the inability of some PC components after installation. Some do not have sound, others do not recognize the Wi-Fi module, others complain about the faults of the video card drivers, problems do occur. It is not by accident that Google has created and rashly maintained a register of compatible devices — in setting up a Chrome OS Flex, it is better to target it.