Remember yesterday’s post about the official Google chart enumerating Chrome OS-friendly hardware? Well, forget that, because there’s something better.

Since Chrome is built on Linux and the Chromium OS source is freely available, it’s fairly easy for some (not yours truly, unfortunately) to dig in and hack the code into something more usable. Enter Diet Chromium OS.

Built by developer Hexxeh, Diet Chromium is about 1GB when expanded and only a 300MB download. That’s less than 5% the size of Dell’s enthusiast build, and it will run on a heck of a lot more than a Mini 10V.

Like what? Like your favorite notebook, or even a  full-sized laptop. I was able to run it flawlessly on my 15.4″ Acer Aspire 5100 via a USB flash drive.

Here’s how to take Diet Chromium OS for a spin from a system running Windows:

  1. Download the torrent (or grab a direct dl link from the list of mirrors here)
  2. Download and extract Image Writer for Windows
  3. Extract the Diet Chromium .tar.gz file using 7-zip (or you favorite archiver)
  4. Launch Image Writer, browse for your newly-extracted .img, and write it to a 2GB or better SD card or USB flash drive
  5. Reboot, and force your system to boot to your Chromium OS drive

On my system, the 802.11G connected to my wireless router without a hiccup and suspend/resume worked flawlessly (which is something Ubuntu still can’t get right). Surfing was smooth, and the only real glitch I noticed was occasional clipping on the tab bar. A quick pass over with my pointer and things re-drew properly.

Have you tried Chromium OS yet? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Lee Mathews

Computer tech, blogger, husband, father, and avid MSI U100 user.

31 replies on “How to preview Google Chrome OS on a netbook”

  1. Followed the instructions to the letter, but my Acer Aspire One found an “invalid operating system” on the USB. Ah well!

  2. me again…was able to burn image to usb stick and was able to boot from it pretty easily. I followed the same steps as heulenwolf (see below). I do love the quickness of the OS. It would be, and I hope to be able to, actually install it on my HD.

  3. Couldn’t even burn the image. Got the following error: “An error occurred while trying to get a handle on the file. Error 8:” Will try again but this time burning to a DVD.

  4. Does anyone know how to install drivers to support other wireless card, I have a dell latitude 2100, and i saw a video earlier of someone booting up w/ chrome on it, but they never mentioned the Wifi compatability. If anyone knows i would be much appreciated.

  5. Does anyone know how to install drivers to support other wireless card, I have a dell latitude 2100, and i saw a video earlier of someone booting up w/ chrome on it, but they never mentioned the Wifi compatability. If anyone knows i would be much appreciated.

  6. trying on a Lenovo N200. it started, but i can not workout the details at consol. but a nice try. 🙂

  7. Yep – worked perfectly on my Samsung NC10 as described. Wifi and Ethernet connected straight away.

    Now I can choose whether to boot to windows or plug in the USB and run web only Chrome OS.

    1. It’s working on a my old Asus 701, but I did’t find the way to localise the keyboard

  8. what’s the offline user password?
    I heard something about
    but none of them seems to work…

  9. tried it on my eeepc 1000he, couldn’t get wifi up and running. not sure if that’s because it’s a protected network or not. Might try again in a moment by plugging in the ethernet cable. without wifi, it seems a lot like the chrome browser without the internet.

  10. Why does an OS that is basically just a kernel and a web browser need a 2gb memory card?

      1. I doubt it, the Ubuntu kernel which includes all the drivers is only 30mb installed.
        I am guessing it is a whole bunch of debugging cruft?

  11. flash video – super choppy. can’t find “hidden” wireless networks, nor can i find an option to setup a specific network.


  12. I got hexxeh’s diet version working on my EEEPC 1005HAB last night via an SD card. All the hardware I tried works except the custom Fn Buttons (didn’t try the webcam). WiFi worked great: Just click the network and type the password. The Hulu “app” plays back too choppy to bother with but youtube seems to work well enough. After logging in once with the default username and password of “facepunch” and connecting to my WiFi, I rebooted and logged in using my google account credentials without major trouble. It really does boot in <10 seconds. It looks like WiFi negotiations take longer than loading the browser so the gmail and gcalendar tabs start by saying "page not available, click here to reload." After a few seconds, they load just fine. Its a great start. If the project can get web apps working offline with access to local files, improve hardware compatibility, power saving, and the UI, they've got a chance at changing how we use the internet.

  13. Too bad even Hexxehs Chromium OS build doesn’t support the wireless chipset on the HP Mini line.

    HINT HINT, Your picture, Lee.

    I believe he mentioned working on it in a future build.

  14. You say Ubuntu cant resume properly but Chromium uses the ubuntu kernel.

  15. As an aside – I was having real trouble with suspend/resume using Linux Mint on a Dell Studio laptop until I changed a bios setting to emulate the hard drive as IDE or ATA (not AHCI). Once I changed that setting suspend/resume worked like a charm.

    It might help…


  16. Haven’t tried it (no reason to really >_>), but this is the beauty of open source. This is what people thought would happen, Linux + Big name = An OS for the people, by the people. Even with all the doubt surrounding ChromeOS, it’s still making the headlines, seems like Google knows what it’s doing to me.

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