I’ve owned many Chromebooks over the years and one of my favourites was my Toshiba Chromebook 2. It has a fantastic display, but in September 2021 it received its last Chrome OS update. If you’re not aware. All Chromebooks have an AUE date, which stands for Automatic Update Expiry date.
Once the AUE date has expired your Chromebook will stop receiving updates. This means you will not get any further improvement updates to the operating system. What is more important is that no further security updates will be received. This means you may not be secure when using your Chromebook. The latest Chromebooks receive updates for at least eight years, but earlier devices only received updates for five years.
At the moment there is no streamlined way of doing anything about this. Essentially, your Chromebook becomes redundant because you can’t guarantee you’ll be safe when surfing online. One way around this is to install Cloudready.
What is Cloudready
Cloudready was created by the company Neverware. It provides an operating system alternative to Chrome OS. I recently installed this onto my Toshiba Chromebook 2. I was surprised by how similar it was to Chrome OS. The only main difference is that you do not have access to the Chrome browser. Instead, you have access to the Chromium browser.
The Chrome browser created by Google is an improved version of the open-source Chromium browser. Therefore, Chromium isn’t as advanced as Chrome, but it’s still perfectly usable. The main advantage is Chromium receives updates. This means you can continue to use your Chromebook after the AUE date safely.
Cloudready is similar to Chrome OS
The great news is Cloudready is very similar to Chrome OS. In fact, the way it looks is identical, which you can see in my video about installing Cloudready on my Toshiba Chromebook 2. It’s important to remember Cloudready will not support Android Apps. This is not a major issue for anyone who has an AUE Expired Chromebook. This is because my Toshiba Chromebook did not support Android apps, as Android apps were not available back then.
This may be different in the future when people who own Chromebooks that support Android Apps get to their end-of-life date. This means Cloudready will not offer the same functionality as Chrome OS. It’s also important to note that Cloudready is not as secure as Chrome OS. Chrome OS is a very secure operating system. Cloudready is open-source and therefore not as secure.
Cloudready is about as secure as any other operating system you may have used in the past. This includes operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple iOS. It may not be as secure as Chrome OS. However, It’s far safer to use Cloudready on an AUE expired Chromebook than continuing to use Chrome OS.
Installing Cloudready is not easy at the moment
Google acquired Neverware in 2020. This may mean in the future Cloudready is automatically available once your Chromebook AUE date has expired. At the moment though. To install Cloudready on your Chromebook once auto-updates have stopped isn’t an easy process.
This is because it isn’t just a software change. You also need to open up your Chromebook to remove the write protection. If you’re not comfortable opening up a computer. You may not want to install Cloudready. That being said, I don’t like opening up computers, but I decided to do it and it wasn’t too difficult. It was more fiddly and a tad frustrating rather than being hard to do.
Create a Cloudready USB install
The first thing you’ll need to do is to create a Cloudready OS USB install. You’ll need a formatted USB stick to do this. You can create this from your Chromebook or any other computer. Visit this web address to find out how to create a Cloudready USB.
Once you’ve done this. You may want to backup any local files from your downloads folder. Once you’ve installed Cloudready any files you have saved on your Chromebook will be wiped. I moved all of my download files to my Google Drive. I created a folder in Google Drive called ‘my downloads’. Once you’ve installed Cloudready you can then simply move all of these files back to your Chromebook downloads folder.
Removing your Chromebook write protection
Removing the write protection will be different depending on the Chromebook you own. Therefore, I would recommend searching YouTube for a video for your particular Chromebook. If you own a Toshiba Chromebook 2. Then you can follow the video I watched.
If you want to remove the write-protect on your Toshiba Chromebook 2. Then you’ll find many videos on how to do this. This is the video I watched to remove the write protect from my Toshiba Chromebook 2. I found some of the screws difficult to remove, so be prepared it may take some time. I’m not sure how long it took me, but I think it was possibly 30 to 40 minutes.
Installing Cloudready on your Chromebook
You should have now created a USB stick of Cloudready OS and removed the write-protect from your Chromebook. If you’ve done this you can now go onto the final stage. The final stage is to install Cloudready on your Chromebook.
I followed the instructions in this video from YouTube to install Cloudready. You need to ensure you follow the steps carefully. You can easily assume you know what to do once you get to a screen you remember from Chrome OS. However, the instructions are different, so watch the video carefully to ensure you don’t miss any steps.
Cloudready should now be installed on your Chromebook
If you’ve followed all of the steps correctly. You should now have Cloudready installed on your Chromebook. You can now use your Chromebook safely. Updates will happen automatically just like they did with Chrome OS. You can also manually check for updates to the Cloudready OS manually. This is exactly the same as how you would have checked when using Chrome OS.
Although you can now use your laptop with Cloudready. I would still recommend buying a new Chromebook sometime in the future. This is because Chromebooks are continually improving. Also, you’ll be missing out on all the essential Chrome OS improvements.