Mar 10 2022

Chrome OS Flex Extends the Life of K–12 Districts’ Hardware

The recently unveiled cloud-based operating system allows schools to revitalize aging laptops with Chrome OS.

K–12 school districts thinking of mothballing their aging fleets of laptops and other end-user computing devices now have an opportunity to give them a new lease on life.

Last month, Google began rolling out Chrome OS Flex, a cloud-based, free-to-download operating system that can turn older PCs and Macs into Chrome OS devices. The software holds out the promise that schools can reduce electronic waste, extend the life of older hardware, and save time and money in the process.

According to a Google blog post, Chrome OS Flex is easy for IT teams to install on end-user devices either via a USB stick or a network deployment, depending on how many devices are being updated. As Ars Technica reports, “Chrome OS Flex is basically the official Google version of CloudReady, which Google acquired when it bought Neverware in 2020.”

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“After login, a user’s cloud profile gets downloaded and automatically syncs their settings, bookmarks, and policies,” Thomas Riedl, director of product for enterprise and education at Google, says in the company’s blog post. “And with the cloud-based Google Admin console, IT has a powerful and simple management experience.” Even with more than 500 policies and controls, Google’s recommendations make it easy to get started, he says.

IT teams can manage Chrome OS Flex devices and Chrome OS devices such as Chromebooks at the same time in the Google Admin console, Riedl says.

Chrome OS Flex can help schools facing budgetary concerns more easily update their older devices and also allow districts to set up new backup or loaner devices.

KEEP READING: K–12 districts choose Chromebooks for educators to elevate teaching.


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