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Neverware turns your tired laptop into a speedy Chromebook

Your old machine may suck on Windows, but it's easily powerful enough for Chrome OS.

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When your old laptop takes five minutes to boot Windows, you may start to think about giving it away or worse, tossing it. A company called Neverware has a better idea -- why not convert it to run Google's Chrome OS? Using the company's free Cloud Ready software, you can convert it into a dual-boot system that runs both Chrome and Windows. Chrome OS is not demanding of resources at all; in fact, your old machine may be more powerful than many new Chromebooks. That means it'll run all of Google's apps and be peppy enough to browse the internet, work on WordPress or do other web-based chores.

As The Verge details in a feature on Neverware, the company is also offering its Cloud Ready software to schools at $59 a seat. Educators are thrilled to save money and reuse perfectly good laptops, given tight budgets. However, the move threatens traditional educational resellers, most notably Apple and Microsoft. (Google is fine with it, but would rather you didn't call the converted machines "Chromebooks." Sorry?)

Not every machine will work, but most will. "Dualboot will only work with a pre-existing Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10 build which is installed in UEFI mode," according to Neverware. That means that older legacy BIOS Windows systems won't work, but machines less than 10 years old or so should meet the requirements. If you've got an old laptop (or desktop) lying around, you can give it whirl by downloading the Cloud Ready software from Neverware's site. Personally, I've got an eight-year-old Dell that's labeled for this.

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