Google's Chrome OS Flex for old PCs and Macs is now out of beta

Google announced today that Chrome OS Flex, its operating system for old PCs and Macs that can be loaded on a thumb drive, is now out of beta with support for more than 400 devices.

The company first announced Chrome OS Flex's preview back in February, with support for more than 250 devices. Now, it releases a stable version of the operating system for people to use on their old machines.

Google said that apart from increasing sustainability by giving old machines new life, the operating system protects users from ransomware and malware threats, and updates in the background so users don't have to face downtime. Notably, Chrome OS Flex is on the same release cycle as Chrome OS, so it receives all the updates on-the-fly.

"By installing ChromeOS Flex on your existing hardware, you’re not only getting a great experience, but you’re also contributing to an important cause. Worldwide, 40 million tons of e-waste is generated every year – that’s like throwing away 800 laptops per second. Upgrading devices to ChromeOS Flex rather than replacing them altogether is an impactful way to reduce waste and prevent this growing problem. And if you really need the fans running to stay cool, you can feel better knowing that devices that run ChromeOS Flex consume 19% less energy on average than other devices," the company said in a blog post.

Chrome OS Flex was available for end-users to try in the developer channel if they wanted to put in the effort of loading the operating system on a thumb drive and figuring out the booting sequence by going to the BIOS menu at the time of the system start. We've asked Google if individual users can install the operating system on their old PCs and Macs and use it for free.

As we noted in our story in February, this lightweight operating system is built on top of CloudReady by Neverware, a company Google acquired in 2020. So the company offers business customers an enterprise upgrade to use Chrome OS Flex across their devices used for work in the organization.

In its blog post, Google said that during the preview period, it had Nordic Choice Hotels, a hotel company present in more than 200 locations, as a customer, which deployed the operating system across 2,000 devices in 48 hours.

Google offers you to try out Chrome OS Flex for 30 days on 50 devices, before you have to buy the licenses. We've asked Google about the pricing for the upgrade.