Chromium OS Fork ‘CloudReady’ Allows Windows Dual-Boot

February 17, 2016 - Written By Daniel Fuller

If you own an older PC that’s not very useful anymore, chances are you’ve thought about trying a different OS to try to breathe some life into it. Whether you have an old desktop laying around that you want to convert to a home server or an aging netbook that would make a good portable workhorse, Linux is normally the first OS group to turn to. Through the open-source Chromium OS and forks of it, however, using Google’s Chrome OS, the default OS of Chromebooks, is also an option for such a scenario, of if you own a more modern PC that you’d like Chrome OS on. One fork of Chromium OS aimed at being well-supported and easy to use is CloudReady. Although Chromium OS requires some work to get going, let alone dual boot with Microsoft Windows, CloudReady takes care of most of the hard work for you and, as of an update announced on February 17, can also dual boot with Windows on fairly modern PCs.

CloudReady’s new dual boot feature, already baked into the newest free personal use download, allows a PC utilizing the UEFI boot system to dual boot its current Windows installation alongside Cloudready, provided it has at least 32GB of hard drive space free. If your PC is one of the roughly 200 supported models, it’s pretty much guaranteed to work with no issue, but free users don’t receive any customer support. If your computer isn’t listed, you can still give it a whirl on your system, but don’t expect things to go swimmingly; you may need a bit of elbow grease and Linux knowledge to get everything going as it should.

For paid customers in education or in the enterprise beta program, you’ll have to contact Neverware to get an updated download link and go through the registration and administrative processes to get new machines set up. If your PC is listed in the supported models, you can expect Neverware to hold your hand throughout the process. If you decide to try the software out on unsupported machines, you’ll be largely on your own, since Neverware likely hasn’t tested your hardware with their OS in the past. Users who have disabled UEFI on their PC, such as to dual-boot Linux or roll back to an older Windows version, will be out of luck on the dual boot option, as will those whose PC doesn’t support UEFI at all. If you’d like to give CloudReady a shot, hit up the source link for the update release announcement.