Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chromium OS install and boot from USB from Windows or Mac

Google had recently released the source code for their much hyped Chromium Operating System. Google had positioned itself to be the king of cloud computing, everything from email, spreadsheet, writing documents and doing everything you need on the web. This particular OS can be installed to old and new computers alike, and it is basically a stripped down version of the Linux OS. There is currently a Vmware version which you can install and run using Vmware or VirtualBox. However, most review shows that it is really slow and it is no fun in running it in visualization. This article will show you how to install Chromium OS onto a USB drive. Then you can keep your old OS, and boot from this usb drive anytime if you want to. It is also a breeze to install and it won't touch any of your current file system.
This is what you will need

Computer that can boot with USB thumb drive
USB with 4GB of space, new version only requires a 1 GB drive.

A version of pre build Chromium OS - I will show you where to find it.

Preparation - This instruction will show you how to use a pre build version of the Chromium OS, thus you won't need a linux machine to build it from source. You can start by downloading a pre-build version of the Chromium OS. There is a version online made by Hexxus which is good to go and easy to install on any USB drive.  Use the Windows Version or Mac  instructions to write that image to your USB drive.

Caution - Major issue with Chromium OS is that the hardware drivers are still in development stage.  Therefore it might be hard to get a few hardware to function, most errors reported were sound device or wifi drivers.  If there are any keyboard or Mouse problems, try to connect a USB version of it.

Boot up - Chromium requires your computer to be able to boot from USB, and once in the OS, it would ask for a username and password.  The default for Hexxus's image is facepunch/facepunch.  That is for the initial offline login, if you have internet connection you can try it with your usual gmail login.

Navigator - It is fairly easy to use the chromium OS, as there is only a browser and some simple settings of the machine.  Most noticeably is the use of the F8 command.  This command shows a translucent version of your keyboard, and the shortcuts available when hitting any of the combination of and shift.  I think it is great, you can even use it as a guide to know the keyboard shortcut to your normal chrome browser.  Since Chromium was built (strip down) from Linux, there is a way to bring out a prompt to by pressing - T.  This way you would have better access to most of the basics of your computer. 

Have fun hacking.

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