Neverware wants to turn your old computer into a speedy 'Chromebook'

By Shawn Knight
Feb 18, 2016
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  1. There's no shortage of options when it comes to deciding what to do with an old computer once it has been replaced. Repurposing an old machine is certainly a noble cause but when it takes 10 to 15 minutes just to boot into Windows, what good can it really server?

    New York City startup Neverware has a pretty great idea – transform that old clunker into a speedy "Chromebook." And now, you can give it a try without wiping your hard drive thanks to a new dual boot option.

    Chromebooks have been one of the surprise hits of the past few years. Unlike netbooks which attempted to run desktop-class versions of Windows on underpowered hardware, Chromebooks utilize a lightweight (albeit limited) OS that's far less demanding. As a result, manufacturers have been able to churn out slim Chromebooks that are deceptively quick and affordable enough to cause major disruptions in the entry-level laptop market.

    Using Neverware's CloudReady software (free for individuals), you can essentially create your own Chromebook (it's not technically a Chromebook as Google owns the trademark for that name). The software is a variation of Chromium, the open source version of Chrome.

    Odds are, your old laptop or desktop is probably still faster in terms of raw processing power than most new Chromebooks so you'll end up with a very usable system absolutely free.

    If you're interested in giving it a try, you can learn all about installation over on Neverware's website.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Axiarus

    Axiarus TS Addict Posts: 217   +91

  3. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 488   +123

    Or..... install a actual Linux distro that is also resource light and still feature rich, win win?
    fredBG, Reehahs and Magneto10 like this.
  4. Arturo

    Arturo TS Member Posts: 81   +26

    It's a good idea. I have an old laptop around to try later.
  5. Magneto10

    Magneto10 TS Member Posts: 23

    Did not Google say they will merge Chrome OS and Android?
  6. mgwerner

    mgwerner TS Enthusiast Posts: 31   +23

    Already have multiple Linux distros, no need for this. Find another business model, I smell ads or pay for content in this.
  7. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Guru Posts: 318   +253

    OTOH, this would be great for, say, schools that have large numbers of old laptops. Our district has far too many carts of the very same netbook pictured in the article, that we cant really use right now. Linux is not an option, as we have no current ability to manage them, and they cant use our software. ChromeOS, however, is already used for testing on chromebooks, I'm sure the board would be interested in having multiple free carts of chromebooks added to their inventory when testing rolls around again.
  8. kokopeli

    kokopeli TS Rookie

    You can use ANY Linux disto to do the same thing on those machines by just installing the Chrome browser on the Linux OS. Just pick one of your unused machines and try it, :)
  9. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Guru Posts: 318   +253

    Oh really, so how can we control system update with a chrome browser, or distribute the state's secure testing portal, which works on chromeOS, but not general web browsing or on linux.

    Setting up a new chromebook takes less than a minute, and just works. Something wrong? reset the whole system in 30-60 seconds, instead of taking the system out of commission for hours so you can move it back to your office, diagnose it, fix it, and return it to the room.

    Like I said, we tried linux, it is not suitable. That is in my earlier comment. Not sure why trying it again would change anything.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  10. kokopeli

    kokopeli TS Rookie

    I wanted to try this just for personal use.
    Then I bumped into the FREE TRIAL business model.
    It is not FOSS enough for me.
  11. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 48   +15

    I like to see things matched for the need. I'm interested if this works out for you. My daughter's school faces the same predicament (extending usefulness while saving $). I'm downloading the free version now just to see what I see. I have an older netbook which ran Win 7 Starter (albeit, slowly) & max RAM is 2GB on the thing! (insult to injury). Maybe I can eke out some more mileage w/Neverware's ware?

    Signed: Linux Mint fan since 2009 ;)
  12. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 488   +123

    I both like and dislike what the schools have done with chromebooks and chrome OS. I remember when we got our grants for laptops when I was in grade school and my ******* aunt (she had a say in what was purchased for the district) wasted it all on apple ibooks, we could have bought twice as many dell laptops and actually learned a useful OS (windows XP) earlier in life, ended up with 2 carts that were constantly fought over for time, could have had 4-5 of them at that price, all the IT guys in the district had to basically learn the ins and outs of Mac OSX since they were all MS certified not mac. The chromebooks now are a great bang for the buck, using the google accounts with google docs allows the teachers to see what the kids are working on, kids can submit there homework without having to print it and turn it in and the google docs is available on both mobile and windows/mac systems at home for free, and the computers for the schools are freakin dirt cheap. You pointed out the benefit to the IT staff already the management capabilities are a lot easier and the machines can be so heavily locked down that the kids can't mess with anything and if they manage to some how it can be reset with minimal time and effort on the IT staff. But I would still prefer this was windows and office being taught, that's still what the vast majority of business are using and that's what the kids need to be taught, imo. I have seen some schools that refused to go chromebooks or mac (other than for multimedia) simply because it would be teaching something that's not as relevant in the real world, will that change? Maybe but not for at least 5-10 years MS has a large hold on the professional and consumer market.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  13. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    Well, the article did say, "startup". Most startups carry the hope of turning a profit. (In some cases naively, I might add).

    If Chromium is open source, why not load that? (IDK, if there's such a thing as a "Chromium distro", just turning a question into a suggestion to save face). :oops:

    In any case, Ubuntu si, Chromium no!

    Although, judging by its performance on my oldest machine, I think Ubuntu's hardware requirements possibly now equal, or slightly exceed those of XP SP-2.
  14. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 488   +123

    Lubuntu would be a lighter option, but you lose Unity and have LXDE instead.

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