What to do with an Aging Computer?

NeverWare CloudReady to the Rescue

Recently I was asked by my daughter what she could do to get a malware ridden iMac running again. After taking a look, the damage was extensive including browser and search hijacking, a hacker placed password on the firmware to prevent normal reinstallation of the OS and who knows what else. I used Macs for a decade before moving to Chrome OS and I’ve never seen malware like this on OS X. I used to tell people that they didn’t need any virus protection on a Mac because malware on OS X just didn’t happen. Obviously, those days are over. In reality, this looked more like something I’ve seen on a Windows machine.

Since my daughter has two, nearly teenage kids (read malware magnets), I thought I would recommend something different. After asking a few questions about the family’s use of the device, I recommended that we get rid of OS X in favor of Chromium. Her family was already using Chromebooks for most of their mobile computing needs so it was a fairly easy choice to make. I had her try out her mom’s iMac that had been repurposed to run Chromium some time ago and she thought that would work.

My wife’s 10 year old iMac, while it didn’t contain any malware that I know of, had slowed to a crawl, and was unusable until I replaced the operating system on the device with Chromium. That was 18 months ago and the device flies and has been problem free ever since. The best part is that she and I can both log in with our Google accounts and everything looks the same as on our primary Chromebook devices.

While Chromium is an open source operating system, it is nearly identical to Chrome OS. And the easiest way to get this open source OS installed is with Neverware CloudReady. Don’t let the home page scare you, for personal use on your home computer, this software is completely free.

Preparing for the OS Change

There are just a few things that must be done before a decision can be finalized, and moving on to the installation process can begin.

  • Ensure that your device, Windows, Mac or Linux is supported for use with Chromium. This is easy to do by looking for your hardware listed by manufacturer and model at https://guide.neverware.com/supported-devices/ Just like all Chrome OS devices there is also an end of life date provided for each model. This tells you how long Chromium updates will be provided for your device. Neverware says that CloudReady is certified to run on more than 200 of the most common PC and Mac models.
  • If you don’t already have one, sign up for a free Google account at https://accounts.google.com/signup
  • Purchase an 8gb or 16gb usb flash drive. While there are many comments online about SanDisk drives not working, I’ve always had good luck with the SanDisk Cruzer Glide 16gb, less than $8 at Walmart. You will always have better luck with a new drive fresh out of its packaging instead of repurposing a used drive.
  • If you are installing on a Mac desktop computer, a Windows keyboard will work much better than the Apple keyboard that came with the computer. If you don’t have a keyboard that you can repurpose, a great inexpensive keyboard and mouse combo is the Logitech Desktop MK120 wired combo, available at Amazon and Best Buy as of this writing for less than $15 bucks.
  • Final prep is to look at everything on the computer if it is functional, and back up photos, purchased music, documents, email, etc. before moving forward. It will be easier to move these files to Google Drive and Photos before you reinstall the OS, but at least ensure they are backed up to some cloud or other area that is accessible to you.

Moving on to the Installation

Rather than regurgitate the Neverware Cloud Ready intructions in this post, let me just direct you to the source at https://www.neverware.com/freedownload

These instructions will lead you through downloading and installing the CloudReady USB installer, and provide step by step instructions to complete the installation. Note, it is very important to follow each step in order to ensure a successful installation.

Some, like me, find it easier if we can watch someone else perform the installation first. Thanks to Robby and our friends over at ChromeUnboxed.com, you can do just that by reviewing the video at https://chromeunboxed.com/install-chrome-os-on-your-old-laptop-pc-or-macbook/

Thanks for reading and let me know in the comments below if you have questions. J

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