Chrome OS notebooks from Acer and Samsung are expected to launch next month at $349 and $429, respectively. The fact that you can get a more powerful netbook with Windows 7 pre-installed for roughly the same price, or even less, is already putting some people off. But that doesn't mean you should disregard Google's operating system without so much as giving it a try -- especially since it's available as a free download for you to test on your own hardware.

While you'd normally have to build Chromium OS from source to try it out on your computer, several developers have released installable builds that will save you the trouble. We'll show you how to create a bootable USB flash drive with Chrome OS or run the it using a free virtual machine.

Read the complete guide.