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How to Run Google’s Chrome OS from a USB Drive

How to Run Google’s Chrome OS from a USB Drive

Easy to follow step-by-step guide to installing and running Google’s Chrome OS: the open source, lightweight, and secure operating system that’s optimized for the Internet.

For those looking to run Google’s Chrome OS without having to purchase a new laptop or desktop PC this is the guide for you.

Google may have introduced the Chrome OS a little over two years ago, but it wasn’t until just recently that consumers were able to purchase a device with it preinstalled. Last month Acer and Samsung released “Chromebooks” that range in price from $379 to $499.

So what’s so special about the Chrome OS?

  • Same experience everywhere ‚Ä” Your apps, documents, and settings are stored safely in the cloud.
  • Uber fast boot times
  • Amazing Web apps
  • Designed to defend against the ongoing threat of malware and viruses.
  • Easy to share with family and friends. They can log in to experience all of their own Chrome settings, apps, and extensions.

To make a Chromebook of your own is fairly easy and involves just a few simple steps. All you’ll need is a 4GB USB stick, a laptop, netbook, or even desktop PC, and about 10 minutes of your time.

(Updated December 5th, 2011)

1. Download Google’s latest Chrome OS Vanilla build for USB HERE.

*If you find that the Vanilla build doesn’t work try the Lime build instead. It supports a number of additional Wi-Fi and graphic cards.¬†

2. Use Winrar or 7zip to extract the ‘tar.gz’ file into ‘.tar’, then extract again to view the folder with the Chrome OS image (.IMG) file.

3. Download Image Writer 0.2 HERE.

4. Insert formatted 4GB USB stick.

5. Open Image Writer and select the extracted Chrome OS .IMG file. Also make sure the selected “Device” is the one for your USB stick (should be automatic).

6. Select “Write.”

7. Restart the computer and change initial boot drive to USB so that it boots in USB mode.

8. Finally, log in to Chromium OS with your gMail username and password or “facepunch” for both if you don’t have one. I recommend setting up a gMail account if you don’t have one already so that you can maintain and save your settings, documents, etc..

It’s that easy…….

Stay tuned.

[email protected]


Jared Moya
I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates. Twitter | Google Plus

I just use win32diskimager to write chrome OS on my 4GB usb, but when finish writing  I could not boot from usb and make matter worse explore usb there is nothing getting error message ... the volume is not accessible... trying to format it I just have only one option of 1GB... does anyone one now what does this mean? how can I get my 4GB back??  thank you


Giving a try at the moment with the latest release of Chromium...! Will do it in a 4GB USB stick..!


i gave this a try with a 2Gig USB stick. the image writing program says the 1.91 Gig image file will not fit onto the completely erased USB stick. That's annoying.

Boomer The Dog
Boomer The Dog

Looks cool, I'll have to try it out. I don't see why there's a push to store everything in a 'cloud' on the net when we can get such big hard drives for cheap. I've been barking to others to always have a local backup of stuff you have in the 'cloud', because using the cloud only, someone else is in control of your information. One day they could turn around and charge for your access to it, or cut you off from it for some reason. Just something to be aware of.. Boomer



Don't know if you've managed to fix this yet, I had the same issue so I'm sure I'm not the only one. I used MiniTool Partition Wizard to manually delete all the partitions and then be able to format at full capacity again.


So that special interests can run automated scripts looking for illegal mp3's, movies, etc. Why do you think?

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