ChromeOS Flex can revive your old PC or laptop — here’s how

Laptop computer displaying logo of Google Chrome, a cross-platform web browser developed by Google.
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google launched the cloud-based ChromeOS Flex back in February 2022. Now, the company is bringing the operating system out of its beta phase and making it available to the general public. As such, ChromeOS Flex is receiving a number of improvements, including added device compatibility and security updates.

For those who don’t know, ChromeOS Flex is a version of ChromeOS that can run on a wide range of computers, including the best Windows laptops and the best MacBooks. Since ChromeOS Flex is cloud-based, it can run on older machines that may not be able to update to the latest version of Windows or macOS. As such, you can effectively resurrect old computers thanks to this operating system. 

The newly-launched public version promises better security features to safeguard against ransomware, malware and errors. The operating system can be deployed via USB or through your company’s network. To encourage businesses to adopt this cloud-based OS, Google advertises that ChromeOS Flex won’t slow down over time and that background updates reduce device downtime to improve productivity.

Macbook air 2020 review

You can run ChromeOS Flex on older machines such as the Intel-powered MacBook Pro from 2020. (Image credit: Future)

ChromeOS Flex is certified to run on over 400 devices, according to Google. Presently, the operating system only supports Intel and AMD CPUs. ARM-based machines like the Microsoft Surface Pro X and Apple computers packing Apple M1 or Apple M2 chips aren’t supported. However, if you have an old Intel-powered MacBook Pro (for example) then you should be able to run Google’s operating system on it.

ChromeOS Flex seems like a solid way for people and businesses to get work done on older computers and laptops. And considering the current state of the world economy, some people or companies may not be able to afford new devices. To that end, ChromeOS Flex could be useful to a great number of people and organizations.

Though ChromeOS Flex isn’t exactly like ChromeOS (it lacks native support for Android apps, for example), Chrome users should be able to acclimate to it without too much fuss. Since the operating system is cloud-based, it could feel like working on one of the best Chromebooks for those using ChromeOS Flex on a laptop.

You can try ChromeOS Flex by following this link and before you go converting your laptop to a Chromebook, here's everything you need to know about ChromeOS Flex first. 

Next: These are our top 5 tips to help your old laptop last longer.

Tony Polanco
Computing Writer

Tony is a computing writer at Tom’s Guide covering laptops, tablets, Windows, and iOS. During his off-hours, Tony enjoys reading comic books, playing video games, reading speculative fiction novels, and spending too much time on X/Twitter. His non-nerdy pursuits involve attending Hard Rock/Heavy Metal concerts and going to NYC bars with friends and colleagues. His work has appeared in publications such as Laptop Mag, PC Mag, and various independent gaming sites.