Google has launched a new version of its fast booting web based operating system Chrome OS. It has a completely new interface, called Aura, which gives you more control over the apps and tabs you have open, and provides access to files, so you can work offline.
Google doesn’t make it easy to try Chrome OS without a Chromebook or Chrombox, programmer Liam McLoughlin, releases easy to use Chrome OS builds on a daily basis via his own website.
Of the two options you can try, our favorite is the USB version. You need to have a USB flash drive of 4GB or larger to install it on, and will have to set your computer to check for an operating system on the USB ports before defaulting to the hard drive. This setting can be found in your BIOS. Just watch your OC screen when restarting for instructions on how to get to it.
The other version requires you to use VirtualBox, which takes a little more setting up but runs within Windows. This is a good way of giving Chrome OS a go without having to buy a USB memory drive.
Step 1 : Go to chromeos.hexxeh.net. If you don’t have a 4GB flash drive move on to the Step 3. Under ‘Download links’, click the USB icon for the latest version. 1 Copy the disc image contained in the zip file onto your PC.
Step 2 : Download Image Writer for Windows. Install and run it. Select the image file from your PC 1 and the USB drive your’re installing it to. 2 Click the Write button. 3 Restart with the USB drive in the computer and skip to Step 6.
Step 3 : To install on VirtualBox, download and install it, then download and unzip the latest VirtualBox version of Chrome OS. Click the new button, 1 give the virtual PC a name 2 and choose Linux 3 and Ubuntu 4 from the drop-down menus.
Step 4 : Use the slider to assign memory to the operating system. The minimum is 1GB, but it will work better with 2GB. Use the slider 1 or type the required amount into the box. 2 Remember that 1GB is 1,024MB.
Step 5 : From the Virtual Hard Disk section, tick Start-up Disk 1 and select ‘Use existing hard disk’. 2 Choose the unzipped VirtualBox version of Chrome OS you downloaded by clicking the small folder with the green arrow. 3 Click Next, 4 then Start.
Step 6 : You’ll be taken through Chrome OS’s installation process, which will take a few minutes, but only happens once. Choose your language, 1 keyboard 2 and network 3 from the options provided, then sign in to your Google account.
Step 7 : Auro differs from previous versions of Chrome OS. Click the icons bottom-right to change basic settings such as the network connection, 1 brightness 2 and volume. 3 You can shut down from here, too. 4 Click Settings 5 for more options.
Step 8 : Chrome OS’s settings are in a long list, like the browser’s. There are many of the same options, but you can also configure the network 1 and adjust the mouse sensitivity. 2
Step 9 : You can now pin Chrome Apps (downloaded from the Chrome Web Store) to the botton of the screen. The Apps button 1 shows all your apps. Right-click one to pin it to the launcher. 2 The Chromium button 3 opens a new browser or tab.
Step 10 : There’s also a new file manager. Press Ctrl+M to open it and you’ll be presented with a list of files. Choose from your drives on the left. You can Open or Delete files at the bottom. Right Click a file to copy, move or rename it.
NOTE : If Hexxah’s basic version of Chrome OS (called Vanilla) dosen’t work with your hardware, install Lime a USB version with better hardware support. Chrome OS runs well from a USB drive, starting over a minute faster than Windows 7 on the PC we tested it on. Installing it onto your hard drive is complicated.