Reviving old laptops w/ CloudReady
23 Oct 2016
Reading time ~1 minute
People sometimes give me their discarded technologies. Maybe it is because they somehow sense my fondness for such things, or because I unknowingly transmit a deep belief that the life and utility of most everything should be longer. Maybe it is because I used to work in a sort of natural history museum for discarded formats and standards, and that a small part of our work was to transcode any recently found bits of sound or video on tape, or laserdisc, or betamax, or …. into other, newer standards. Or maybe they just saw a bunch of junk on a desk of mine and wanted thought it would be convenient to add their old laptop to it.
Whatever the reasons might be, I recently adopted a couple of old windows laptops. One had a cracked screen, but otherwise worked. The other was interminably slow in everything it tried to do. Not really wanting to run windows, but still hoping to stave off planned obscelence for a little while longer, I got curious about whether I might be able to turn them into Chromebooks.
It turns out you can’t, really, turn them into official Chromebooks, but you can install Chromium OS, the open-source version of the Chromebook software. I did this fairly painlessly with Neverware’s Cloudready, and I’ve been very happy with the results.
While it doesn’t do everything a Chromebook can do, it gets pretty close, and as a way to save a your old laptops from an untimely and unfortunate fate, it is a pretty wonderful thing.
I should mention that the onboard wifi didn’t work for either laptop, but an affordable Wi-Pi Raspberry Pi 802.11n Wireless Adapter did the trick.