Google has quietly bought Neverware, a company that's created a variant of Chrome OS called CloudReady, which turns old Windows PCs into Chrome OS machines.
CloudReady could be the perfect answer for those continuing to stick with, say, Windows 7 PCs – despite Microsoft having stopped delivering free patches since January 15. Importantly, CloudReady still gets patches and fixes just like Chrome OS, served up every six weeks.
ZDNet's Steven J Vaughan-Nichols recently explained how to use CloudReady to replace Windows 7. As he notes, it could suit the average user who doesn't want to venture into Linux land.
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CloudReady is typically offered to schools to breathe life into old PCs with G Suite for Education. The devices are managed via the Google Admin Console. But businesses and individuals can use it, too. Old Macs can also run CloudReady.
The Home edition is free, does not integrate with Google Admin Console and lacks technical support. The education subscription costs $20 per year per device with one year of technical support, while the enterprise option costs $49 per year per device. The paid-for options include one year of technical support.
Neverware and CloudReady are joining Google and the Chrome OS team, Neverware said in a statement.
There are no changes to Neverware's existing prices.
"As CloudReady becomes an official Chrome OS offering, you can expect the release mechanics to fall in line with official Chrome OS releases," Neverware notes.
There are two notable catches with switching to CloudReady. After installing it, there's no returning to Windows, so users should make a backup of their files.
Also, after transitioning, accessing a local drive becomes difficult because this Chrome-OS variant relies almost entirely on Google Drive for storage.