ChromeOS Flex on Windows 11 PC

How to install ChromeOS Flex on unsupported Windows 11 hardware

If you have an old computer that doesn't support Windows 11, you can still modernize it with ChromeOS Flex – here's how.

  • To install ChromeOS Flex on unsupported Windows 11 hardware, create a USB media with the “Chromebook Recovery Utility,” connect the bootable media to the computer, click “Get started,” select “Install ChromeOS Flex,” continue with the wizard, connect to the network, choose “For personal use,” and create an account with a Gmail account.

You can install ChromeOS Flex on unsupported Windows 11 hardware, and in this guide, I’ll show you how to complete this setup. ChromeOS Flex is a lightweight operating system variant of the ChromeOS from Google. The biggest difference between the two versions is that ChromeOS is the system that comes preinstalled on Chromebooks, while ChromeOS Flex is the same operating system, but it’s the version that anyone can download to install on virtually any Windows, Mac, or Linux computer.

Although you can install this operating system on any device, it mainly makes a great alternative for unsupported Windows 11 computers), so instead of producing e-waste, you can give incompatible Windows devices a second life with a modern operating system.

What’s ChromeOS Flex

Google’s ChromeOS Flex is based on Linux, which uses web apps and the Chrome browser as the main interface. The operating system also gives you security protection from threats such as malware and ransomware, and you get a fast and modern work environment with background updates that reduce downtime while boosting productivity.

ChromeOS Flex hardware requirements

Google only supports specific devices, but you can still install the operating system on virtually any hardware as long as it meets the minimum requirements:

  • Processor: Intel or AMD x86-64-bit.
  • Memory: 4GB.
  • Storage: 16GB.

The requirements to run ChromeOS Flex are minimal, but the company notes that processors and graphics made before 2010 may result in a poor user experience.

In this guide, I’ll teach you the steps to install ChromeOS Flex on an old Windows-based computer.

Install ChromeOS Flex on Windows 11 unsupported hardware

The installation of ChromeOS Flex is a two-step process. First, you have to create a USB bootable media and then go through the setup experience.

1. Create ChromeOS Flex USB flash media

To create a ChromeOS Flex installation media, connect a USB flash drive of 8GB and use these steps:

  1. Open Chromebook Recovery Utility page on Chrome.

  2. Click the Add to Chrome button.

    Install Chromebook Recovery Utility

  3. Click the Add extension button.

  4. Click the Extension button and select the Chromebook Recovery Utility extension.

  5. Click the Get started button.

  6. Select the “Google ChromeOS Flex” option from the “Identify your Chromebook” page.

    Google ChromeOS Flex

  7. Select the ChromeOS Flex option.

  8. Click the Continue button.

  9. Select the USB flash media from the list.

    Select USB create Chrome OS Flex bootable media

  10. Click the Continue button.

  11. Click the Create now button.

    Create Chrome OS Flex install media

  12. Click the Done button.

Once you complete the steps, you can proceed with the clean installation of ChromeOS Flex.

2. Install ChromeOS Flex

To install ChromeOS Flex on an unsupported Windows 11 hardware, use these steps:

  1. Start unsupported Windows 11 PC with the ChromeOS Flex USB.

    Quick note: If the computer can’t boot from USB, you may need to update the BIOS/UEFI settings. This process usually requires pressing one of the function keys (F1, F2, F3, F10, or F12), the ESC, or the Delete key. For more accurate instructions, visit your PC manufacturer’s support website.
  2. Change the installation language (if applicable).

  3. Click the Get Started button.

    ChromeOS Flex setup

  4. Select the “Install ChromeOS Flex” option.

    Install ChromeOS Flex

    Quick note: The “Try it first” option allows you to run the operating system from the USB flash drive. It even saves the setup and profile, so the next time you start the computer from USB, you can continue using the operating system. If later on you want to install the operating system, on the sign-in screen, you will find the “Install ChromeOS Flex” option.
  5. Click the Next button.

  6. Click the “Install ChromeOS Flex” button. (This process will delete everything on the computer.) 

    Before ChromeOS Flex details

  7. Click the Install button to continue with the setup.

  8. Click the Get started button after the installation.

  9. Choose the wireless network.

  10. Confirm the Wi-Fi password.

    ChromeOS Flex Wi-Fi setup

  11. Click the Connect button.

  12. Click the “For personal use” option.

    ChromeOS Flex for personal use setup

    Quick note: At this point, the system will download any available updates for the operating system. The computer will also restart. You can always click the “Skip and remind me later” button.
  13. Click the Next button.

  14. Confirm your Gmail account.

    ChromeOS Flex account setup

  15. Click the Next button.

  16. Confirm the account password.

  17. Click the Next button.

  18. Complete the account verification.

  19. Click the Next button.

  20. Click the “Accept and continue” button.

  21. Click the “Accept and continue” button again.

    ChromeOS Flex review sync options

  22. Clear the option to allow Google to collect information about your device.

    ChromeOS Flex disable data collection

  23. Click the “Accept and continue” button one more time.

  24. Click the “Change touchpad scrolling direction” option.

    Change touchpad scrolling direction

    Quick note: If you’re coming from a Windows environment, it’s recommended that you adjust the scrolling setting.
  25. Click the Next button.

  26. Turn on the Reverse scrolling toggle switch.

    Enable Reverse scrolling

  27. Click the Next button.

  28. Click the Get started button.

After you complete the steps, the operating system will be installed on the computer.

If you are ready for Windows again, you can use these steps to reinstall Windows 11 or Windows 10.

Update February 20, 2024: This guide has been updated to ensure accuracy and reflect the changes to process.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].