Sometimes you happen upon something so cool, you just gotta share it with the world. That moment came today when I turned my Chromebook into my new favorite system (of many!). Here is the step by step how I used Linux to create this awesome laptop.
Step 1: Purchased a new HP Chromebook from Amazon.com. The exact system I got is actually a little cheaper today! HP Chromebook 11 G5, 11.6″, Celeron, 4GB, 16GB, X9U02UT. I picked this system because of the price/hardware ratio. The one little issue is that you have to perform an additional step of changing the firmware, but I think it was well worth it.
Step 2: I popped the Chromebook into Developer Mode and changed the firmware to allow the installation of a new Operating System using the detailed and clear instructions here: https://wiki.galliumos.org/Installing/Preparing . Notice that I decided on the GalliumOS version of Linux since it is optimized for the Chromebook and the reviews of this product have been excellent. I am so impressed I am donating after I post this!
Step 3: I downloaded GalliumOS to a thumb drive. Notice that I decided to completely get rid of ChromeOS on the device. For me – it was Linux or bust. I do wish I had created a recovery drive before I moved forward so I could have put ChromeOS back in the event I was not happy, but as it turned out – I am not going back after all. 😋 The instructions for this step are here: https://wiki.galliumos.org/Installing
Step 4: I followed these instructions for creating the bootable thumb drive for the installation. https://wiki.galliumos.org/Installing/Creating_Bootable_USB
Should you have any questions on this, I would love to help in the comments area below.
Yes – I am composing this post on the new Chromebook. I must say – I LOVE THIS MACHINE.
The first big test that this machine passed was…what about running two apps that I desperately need – Microsoft Word and my online poker software. For the first challenge – MS Word – I utilized the online version available with my Microsoft OneDrive account. Worked like a champ in the Google Chrome on the Chromebook.
For the second challenge, the online poker software, I called upon the Google Chrome Remote Desktop app. This also worked like a charm, allowing me to access the home PC and run the software from that machine while accessing it seamlessly in the Chrome browser on the Chromebook.
Some other things I loved about the Chromebook from initial usage:
- Battery life – as advertised – it is excellent
- The overall size and feel
- The amazing boot and shutdown times
- The overall simplicity of the OS
For the next big test, I will see how well I can function with this machine OFFLINE. Several of you have asked about this and I have yet to do any testing with it.
So I would love a new Macbook Air – who wouldn’t??? My main motivation would be battery life. But alas, I have a first world problem. I already own a powerhouse Macbook Pro system. The battery life depresses me on that tricked-out retina display system, but I just cannot bring myself to sell it and “step down” to the Air.
So I was poking around a local Best Buy and was reminded of Chromebooks thanks to a display unit. Hmmm, this would scratch my itch for a 9 hour battery life laptop device. Yes, yes, I know – they are strange Internet-only devices, but at $299 from Amazon.com, I decided I had to give it a try.
EDITOR’S NOTE: There are cheaper Chrombooks – I went with the highly rated and pricier Samsung Chromebook 2 model with twice the RAM of typical Chromebooks. Typical seems to be 2 GB. There is no way I am trusting a system with only 2 GB of RAM. 🙂
In this series of posts, I will be detailing my results with this grand experiment. I, like you I am sure, am hoping for the best. My unit just arrived (depicted above) and tomorrow’s post will feature what the hell happens when I turn it on. 🙂