Boot Chrome OS from a USB drive

By on November 25, 2009, 11:47 AM
You don't have to wait until sometime in 2010 to try Google's web-centric operating system on your netbook. Since its unveiling to the world a few days ago people have been eager to know how well it performs -- even at this early stage -- and with the source code available online details on how to set up and run a virtual machine version were quick to emerge.

Today a new build is doing the rounds on torrent sites, one that will let you run Chrome OS from a USB drive instead of on a virtualized environment. The folks over at Engadget were able to put it to the test on a Dell Vostro A90 netbook and were pleased with its performance as well as the improved boot time. From power up to the login screen, Chrome OS took around 22 seconds to load and was immediately ready to start browsing.

One major setback right now is that its device drivers are in the very early stages of development. That means some parts of your computer may not respond when using Chrome OS, and in fact Engadget's demonstration didn't include Wi-Fi functionality. Nevertheless if you are feeling adventurous, you can try it out on your netbook by grabbing the bootable image based on the Chromium OS build of Twitter user Hexxeh.

Setup instructions are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Also, be sure to check out Google's list of devices that are known to work with the latest development version of the upcoming OS.

User Comments: 53

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fwilliams said:

I hope someone comes out with a 3D FPS. Hopefully a variation of Robin Hood.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I really hope that Chrome OS does well, one day maybe it will be suitable to replace windows on more than just netbooks. That 22 second load time is probably dependent on the USB drive being used too.

yangly18 yangly18 said:

well just load that on a USB 3 and you're all set

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Mmm good for on the go e-mail with dual-booting, will check and give some feedback.

Puiu Puiu said:

since it is based on linux i doesn't come as a surprise that they were able to put it on a thumb drive. Lately i've been playing around with bootable thumb drives. A few days ago i made one with windows xp setup on it. very useful when you need to install windows on a netbook (or you simply just don't have a working CD-ROM).

Guest said:

Its asking me for my gmail user name and password at the main login screen when i try to boot.

codefeenix codefeenix said:

I am not going to enter my gmail uname/pword into something not prepared by someone i trust.

fref said:

What sort of an OS is this exactly? Is it only for web related stuff or could someone install a photo edition program, word processor, etc.?

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I personally love google android but idk about this os it seems like it would be nice for a netbook which with limited space and no cd drive would help a lot still i have to question the reasons why google wants to bring this os out. dont get me wrong if they get this thing going and it can compete with windows then im all for it.

Serag said:

I share the same concerns of other comments...Though it seems like an awesome idea

paynetrain007 said:

Sounds cool. Might wait for a bit though.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wish the download was not a torrent, as I've had bad experiences with them in the past. I've used Chrome OS on a virtual machine, but the performance was very poor, so I would really like to try it out natively on my netbook.

gobbybobby said:

Technochicken, I am glad they released it as a torrent, it means that if loads of people trys downloading at same time, the servers won't crash/ people get uber slow download speeds.

Now Seed away peeps!

ColdPreacher said:

Nice to see another OS being able to boot up from USB. I like the fact that you can carry a Os around that you are use to and run it on any PC that supports USB boot up.

AtomicPlayboy said:

Chrome OS is definitely NOT for me, but I can see myself getting all of my relatives (to whom I provide endless tech support) using it on their laptops as soon as possible.

BlindObject said: to find them USB drives.

redtigerdragon said:

I don't think testing it now is such a great idea. From the sounds of it, when it does release it will only release on certain hardware, and be very cloud-limited...

Nirkon said:

That's exactly what I said today!

my post was like "it would be perfect if I could run it off a usb stick"! lol

I'm definitely trying this out on the eeepc, it makes surfing much faster than XP i would imagine

levar said:

Really? This is awesome news wow, I told myself, the GoogleOS is going places.

Fada said:

i cant really see this taking off at all, its only use that i can see is on mobile platforms like iphones, but they already have android for that so...?

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Im sure google has there reasons but i think if your just going to surf the net and do simple tasks this would be great for portable devices and the like.

drasho said:

im not sure if this os will take alot of the share but it a nice start for peolple that just feel like surfing the web =)

harby said:

Well, I'm not exactly impressed. I'd hardly call it an operating system at this point. But who knoes how it will evolve, lets wait and see.

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

I don't really know what to think about Chrome. There are lots of separate Operating Systems that have had minor success, but those have mostly been freeware such as Ubuntu Linux and whatnot. I don't really see how Chrome would bring very much that's "new" to the table when Windows 7 is already grabbing hold so darn well.

Rapidhic said:

I was really been looking forward this ver. of ChromeOs. Its supposed to be an os only for basic internet needs and messaging. Lite 'n Simple :P

manintech said:

I really hope chrome os could compete with windows, but sadly it's unlikely to happen.

Guest said:

Why wait for Chrome OS? Just try one of the many Linux distros. Ubuntu is really nice and ready to go right now.

Fragrant Coit Fragrant Coit said:

Downloading now, I'm interested in giving it a try just for interests sake. Only thing that concerns me slightly is the reported lack of Driver support.

saintbodhisatva said:

or netbooks, wouldn't it be still faster to use the instant-on Linux? Ive heard that you could be up and running in 5 seconds.

bedouinrising said:

not sure if i'm crazy about the cloud computing yet. having my applications and information stored and accessible through a server that isnt physically in front of me isn't my idea of secure.

tonylukac said:

Tried it and I think it works well. Better than the virtual machine version mentioned last weekend on Techspot as this one doesn't crash at all and has sound. It also has more applications. Ironically, Google's YouTube videos display choppily, but the sound works. Who needs to store music on the hard drive when you can get all of it from YouTube or imeem in the cloud? No more lost songs/pictures from crashed hard drives. No worry about backup. No time consuming scanning (a week on a full 3 terabyte drive?--ridiculous). No viruses or drive by poisoned downloads. My internet connection has only been down twice in the last 5 years. Hail to cloud computing!

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Nice! I wanna try this out on my older laptop and see how it is, although i might wait till it has wi-fi support just so I can fully give it my impressions.

MrAnderson said:

Was that random or what?

IvanAwfulitch IvanAwfulitch said:

I seriously don't understand the appeal of any of the freeware Operating Systems. I mean...seriously? Ubuntu and Linux practically have you reconstructing your machine every time a new revision comes out. That's an intense amount of hassle for just maintaining an operating system. Windows and Mac just apply the patches without screwing with your whole install. Where are the benefits? Maybe certain functions are slightly faster. But you get only the basics. To top that off, and talk about ironic, you have to install an XP environment or something if you want to play any games at all. If you fully intend to just use these Operating Systems for office applications and the internet...feel free. I wouldn't touch them with a 10 yard pole until they offered support for Windows and Mac based games. Even SOLITAIRE would be good to have on a Linux machine.

danteoz said:

could be fun to try it out and see how well it work on my acer aspire one

GACrabill said:

I would love to have an OS on a USB stick in my pocket. That's the perfect solution for trying to fix someone else's dorked up PC that won't boot into Windows. As long as it can access and change the C drive without adding stuff to it, then it would come in very handy at times. But I don't see anyone I know wanting to convert to a different OS ..... heck, most of them are frustrated every time the look of IE changes!

Razerblade said:

I've had a look at this OS and it is just simply a chrome browser. I know its only the first release but I couldn't do anything. There are no settings for the computer which i could find and there is no shutdown button! It will be good for Netbooks but I don't think i will be using it as my main operating system!

guyfred26 said:

Having another OS on the market will force the existing OS makers to cut down prices. These will be a price war and also performance war of OS. Its only on its initial stage so expect many bugs and patches to come. Hope this will compete with Windows 7.

Doctor_hv said:

does it have drivers for ethernet cards? I mean, what's the purpose of web based OS if you cannot access web.

Inioch said:

We'll just have to see, how goo Chrome OS is in real usage. I mean, can you do all the things that you want to do with a laptop or netbook eg. video, surfing, storage, light office tasks etc.

yorro said:

I've installed this on my VMware, performance was bad. Hopefully loading on a USB with the performance as they say it is, I might give this a try.

ajickes said:

Wow, looking forward to trying this out on my netbook. I hope it'll work smoothly.

BlackIrish said:

Still, I would just boot it in Vmware - a lot easier and no need to reboot my PC.

Plus, you can use VMware Player, which is free so you don't have to pay anything

Guest said:

this software is a peice of crap... i want nothing to do with the cloud i want all my files local! sorry google

timljh said:

Google just made the linux distro more colorful but they thought of why linux still fails to get the majority. They even made the OS with less functionality =-='' Maybe a handful of people out there plan to use their computer to surf net alone will try it, I will rather stick to any main linux distro instead.

Flannelwarrior said:

Don't forget guys, Google has tons of utilities online. This replaces the need for things like Word or Excel to be accessable, when you can open and edit MS office documents online. Remember that Google has web based storage options in Google Docs. This would be great to carry around, boot from real quick on any PC, and then access your regular documents from your Google account once you've connected to the internet. I'm no pro in Google Docs (in fact I hardly use it), but obviously online storage and management is the way Google is pushing, and they're utilizing Chrome OS to set this trend in motion.

Google already stated they have no plans to make Chrome OS a replacement for Windows OS's - they intend to keep it a lite web based portable OS for netbooks, laptops - and something you can pop on a USB drive and take with you anywhere

Chrome OS could rapidly become the BEST way to sync and store your files over all your devices.

Has Google ever let us down before? Have a little trust.

holyPaladin said:

Hmm interesting maybe Google can become Microsoft rival in future ...

Concorde said:

Anything that makes others look over the fence (as the saying goes) must be good for all, cannot wait for a fast startup computer with just the basic needs of many, ie searching the Web for information ,and e-mail to spread this information. Go for it Google.

jerry53 said:

google is living the linux life, i hope it brings more functionality and user friendliness to linux to make it the best third choice alternative.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

A nice light alternative to Windows would be great for smaller devices. I really wish Microsoft would make a slim version of Windows with nothing but whatever is absolutely necessary for the OS to run.

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