Steps for running Chrome OS via USB.

If you want to buy a Chromebook just because you’re eager to experience the features of Google’s Chrome OS operating system, there’s really no need. In fact, you only need a desktop computer and a USB stick to experience this operating system.

As of now, Google has not released an official trial version of this operating system. However, developers have discovered a solution that allows users to try out an unofficial and open source alternative called Chromium. This method is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems, without causing any interference to the currently used operating system.

  • 10 tips and tools for Chromebook newbies
  • Do you already know how to run Windows apps on your Chromebook?
  • Experience Chromium OS on a virtual machine

Tools to prepare before starting

  • A working computer with a USB port.
  • A USB with a minimum capacity of 4 GB.
  • 7-Zip decompression software for Windows, Keka for Mac and p7zip for Linux.
  • Etcher image burner for Windows, macOS or Linux.

Notice: While installing, all data on the USB will be permanently deleted. If you have any important files on the USB, make sure to back them up elsewhere.

Step 1: Download the latest version of Chromium OS

Currently, Google does not offer an official version of Chromium OS. As a result, the most reliable alternative download source at the moment is the one provided by Arnold The Bat.

Please provide the link to download the latest version of Chromium OS.

Chromium OS download page interface

Step 2: Extract the Zip file

It is time to utilize the 7-Zip compression tool on the hard drive. Please extract this file using the aforementioned 7-Zip application.

Extract the downloaded file with 7-Zip

Step 3: Format the USB drive

Please insert the USB into the computer and format it as FAT32. This is a straightforward process on Windows and can also be easily done on macOS and Linux.

Format USB to FAT32

The Disk Utility feature in macOS enables you to format your USB drive as FAT32. If you come across it labeled as MS-DOS FAT, there is no need to fret as the two formats are synonymous and interchangeable.


If you encounter difficulties when using the methods on Windows or Mac, you may utilize the official Card Formatter app offered by the SD Association.

Download the free SD Card Formatter application for either Windows or Mac operating systems.

For Linux users, we suggest using the GParted application.

Please download the GParted application for the Linux operating system.

For additional convenience, when prompted to assign a name to the new drive, please name it “Chrome”.

Step 4: Download and install Etcher

There are numerous software options available for installing files to an external drive, but we consider Etcher to be the top choice. Etcher is a versatile application that functions seamlessly on Windows, macOS, and Linux distributions. The most significant feature of Etcher is its validation of the burning process. This means that it performs a verification check after creating the file on the USB to ensure its accuracy.

Download Etcher for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Etcher's Process

Step 5: Run Etcher and install the file

Now, you will need to use Etcher. Start by opening the Etcher program on your computer. Once it’s open, click on the “Select image” button to choose the extracted image file of Chromium OS. Locate the Chromium OS image file on your computer and select it.

After choosing the image file, click on the “Select USB drive” button to choose the fully formatted USB drive named “Chrome”. Ensure that you have already plugged the USB into a port on your computer before proceeding.

Once you have completed the necessary steps, click on the “Burn” button to initiate Etcher and begin burning the Chromium OS image file to the USB. Please be patient as this process may take a while. Wait until the process is finished before proceeding.

Once the burning process is finished, you have successfully utilized Etcher to produce a USB drive that contains the Chromium OS operating system. Now, you can employ the USB drive to install Chromium OS on your computer.

  • Click Select Image and browse where the Chromium OS image file is located. Add it in Etcher.
  • Click Select Drive and choose Chrome USB Drive that you have created.
  • Click Flash to start the image installation and confirm the installation.

Using Etcher

After Etcher finishes, this USB drive will be transformed into a bootable Chromium OS USB drive.

Step 6: Restart the computer and click the boot options

“Boot” refers to the procedure of selecting an operating system. In every computer, you have the option to select the drive from which the operating system should boot, which can be a hard drive, USB drive, or even a DVD drive.

Select the drive to boot to the operating system

For Windows or Linux computers: Each computer may have its own unique BIOS settings. To access the Boot options menu, you can utilize keyboard shortcuts such as F5, F8, or F12. If you are unsure, you can access the BIOS settings on your computer.

For Macs: To access the boot menu on your Mac, press and hold the Option key when shutting down and restarting. Continue holding the key until the boot menu appears, displaying options for selecting either the Macintosh hard drive or the connected USB (often labeled EFI).

Choose Macintosh or USB hard drive (EFI boot)

Step 7: Boot into Chrome OS

Choose the USB drive from the boot menu and press Enter. Your computer will then start up using this drive. By doing so, you can run Chrome OS without making any changes to your hard drive or the primary operating system.

Chrome OS on Windows

This configuration is only set during the initial boot. Each time you wish to use this operating system, it will automatically take you directly to the login screen.


Running an operating system from a USB drive offers various advantages. This approach allows you to easily transform any computer into your personalized operating system using just one USB drive, without modifying the original operating system.

If you wish to use Chrome OS on your computer, please proceed with the following steps immediately.