Dear Writers With Slow Laptops: Have You Heard About Chrome OS Flex?by@ritathecopywriter
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Dear Writers With Slow Laptops: Have You Heard About Chrome OS Flex?

by Crossover SaaSJuly 5th, 2023
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Chrome OS Flex is a new version of Chrome OS that you can install on almost any computer. It's supported by more than 400 devices and you can upgrade the performance and security of your device without spending a dime. Devices running on Chrome OS Flex consume 19% less energy than other devices.
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I was going through hell before Chrome OS Flex.

Every time I sat down to work, I had to account for two more hours of giving my laptop attention. I was experiencing all the signs of a dying laptop:

  • The laptop freezes frequently
  • It's slow to load
  • The keyboard stops working for no reason
  • The laptop randomly restarts by itself

In the end, the black screen of death appeared. The 'Preparing Automatic Repair' message is on the screen. It was a cry for help, and I knew that I would lose my laptop and my job if I didn't do something at that moment.

Enter Chrome OS Flex

I went searching for solutions online.

Redditors said expanding my laptop's RAM from 4GB to 8GB can solve my problem. My wallet didn't agree. Try a lighter browser like Opera Mini? No. I am basically a slave to Google Chrome. Get rid of software that you rarely use? Way ahead of you.

And then there it was. What if you give your laptop a fresh new happy-go-lucky personality?

Chrome OS Flex is a new version of Chrome OS that you can install on almost any computer, even the ones that are too old to properly run Windows or Mac OS. It's free, and it's supported by more than 400 devices.

You can upgrade the performance and security of your device without spending a dime.

And that's not all:

  • Devices running on Chrome OS Flex consume 19% less energy than other devices because of their limited features. My battery lasts twice as long as it did when I was using Windows 10.

  • It's minimalist and easy to use. My laptop feels just like an Android smartphone.

  • There's a huge library of web apps.

Here’s the catch: you almost exclusively rely on web technologies. No more Microsoft Office Word for you, it's Google Drive Word now.

And there were so many bad reviews:

Chromebook Recovery Utility reviews

Additionally, installing Chrome OS Flex also means:

  • You'll lose all your data, so be sure to back it up.
  • Google Play and Android apps aren’t supported.
  • Some keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys might be inactive.
  • Unsupported ports like CD & DVD drives.

I did find hope in one comment:

Chromebook Recovery Utility review

It was do or die. I followed the step-by-step process on how to install Chrome OS Flex. I spent the next few hours trying to download the image into my flash disk with no success. I set it up at night, went to sleep, and woke up to the same error message.

The problem was obvious: my laptop was fighting back, but it had to die so she could be reborn as a modern computer. I persisted and finally succeeded at about noon the next day.

Chrome OS Flex vs Windows OS: What's Different?

My touchpad turned into an encrypted surface the moment I launched Chrome OS Flex. I couldn't figure out how to right-click.

Chrome OS Flex touchpad gestures

I took a while to learn how to navigate the touchpad and unlearn some Microsoft habits and Windows shortcuts. Now, I am in love with Chrome OS Flex.

While I miss installing apps and software (like MS Office and Photoshop) on my PC, I certainly don't miss the mess of icons and files on my desktop.

The major difference between the two is that while Chrome OS Flex is a very lightweight operating system, Windows comes with a heavy desktop UI (user interface) and loads of features.

Since Chrome OS Flex is very lightweight, it can run on PCs with even 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. For Windows, Microsoft recommends at least 4GB of RAM and 30GB of storage to run the latest one.

Even so, depending on the processor and the type of storage your PC has, Windows may or may not run smoothly. It certainly didn't for me.

That said, Windows is a much more capable and flexible operating system as it can do more than Chrome OS. However, if you’re only looking to execute basic tasks like watching videos and creating documents, Windows could be overkill.

Chrome OS Flex may be less familiar to you than Windows, but the intuitive and simple interface of the former is unbeatable. It also takes the win in terms of raw speed.

The transition might not be as easy for macOS users, especially if you rely on Mac's deep integration with your iPhone. Apple's and Google's ecosystems may be too different to make the transition smooth.

Do I Recommend Chrome OS Flex?

Yes, BUT you need to know exactly what you're getting in return for your old OS.

Speaking as some who's used it for months now, Chrome OS Flex is a glorified browser that can run web apps, and if your hardware can support it, Linux apps.

For most writers, web apps such as Gmail, Microsoft Office Online, Google Drive, and Chrome browsers are everything they need to run a successful freelance business from home.

In fact, take coding, gaming, and video editing out of the equation, and a browser is all anyone needs in a laptop.

But what if you don't have unmitigated access to the internet?

This is where it gets interesting.

Linux apps can expand the capabilities of Chrome OS Flex, particularly offline. After some research, I was able to install these apps in my system:

  • Libre Office: Similar to Microsoft Office, this program includes a word processor, a spreadsheet program, a graphics editor, and a presentation platform.

  • VLC Media Player: one of my favorite multimedia players

You could argue that it’s better to install a lightweight Linux distribution that gives you more control over your computer. However, Chrome OS Flex is an easy solution that doesn't lead you into the Linux rabbit hole.

The system requires little maintenance (just your regular updates) and no technical know-how. It’s definitely the route to take especially if you just want to use your computer for writing.

After Two Months of Using Chrome OS Flex,

My laptop is still faster than ever, and I've mastered the art of the Chromebook. I rarely shut down my system, except to update, and only when I need to. (I know, I need to do better.)

All I am saying is I wouldn't go back to Windows OS on this laptop. Granted, there have been a few issues along the way:

  • My Bluetooth stopped working for no reason, but it started working again after a few weeks.

  • The screen (but not the audio) turns off when I am playing a movie with VLC (installed through Linux). I have to keep tapping the touchpad to remind the system that a movie is on.

I believe I ran into most of these problems because ChromeOS Flex is currently still in its early stages. Once it reaches its stable release, there should be little to no complaints.

Ultimately, the only thing that matters is that my laptop is performing at its best.

If your laptop is slowing you down and you can't afford a new one yet, give Chrome OS Flex a chance. All you need is a USB drive (8GB or more), patience, and a little know-how—all basic requirements for a writer with a slow laptop.

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