How to Install Google's Chromium OS in a Windows Virtual Machine

Why install Chromium OS?

As a digital marketer, it might be beneficial to have insight into projects outside of pure SEM that could one day affect the way we work. Take the Nexus One for example. Google are working on projects in many different industries that one day could impact our lives as fundamentally as organic search does today. To that end, it’s probably worth following these instructions and giving Chrome OS a try.

How to Install Google’s Chromium OS in a Windows Virtual Machine

Quite a bit of fuss has been made about Google’s new browser based operating system, Chromium OS. Although the operating system is intended to be installed on a netbook, early adopters who can’t wait to try out Chrome can see what the future holds by installing it on a virtual machine.

VMWare is the most widely known name in virtual computing; however, we are going to see how we can run this on the open source virtualization project known as VirtualBox. Originally created by Sun Microsystems, VirtualBox is still available after Sun was bought by Oracle and can be obtained from here. If you’re using Ubuntu, you might want to try this primer on how to install Virtualbox before installing Chrome OS.

Installing VirtualBox

VirtualBox is a pretty standard installation. After you choose the host operating system (the operating system of the computer where you are installing VirtualBox), you can click on the Run button to begin or Save the .exe file to your desktop and launch it from there.

Once you launch the Setup Wizard, you are presented with a welcome screen. Click Next to advance. The next screen is the License Agreement. Read over this and if acceptable, select “I accept” and click on Next.

The next screen you are presented with is the Custom Setup screen pictured below. This allows you to choose the different options for installing VirtualBox. We are going to keep the defaults and press Next, but you are encouraged to explore the options when you are more comfortable with what the software can do.

Installing Virtualbox

On the next screen, choose where you would like a shortcut to be created and click the Next button.

Once you have chosen the location of the shortcuts, you will be warned that continuing with the installation will temporarily disconnect you from your network while the connections are reset. This is perfectly fine so click Yes to continue.

continuing with the installation will temporarily disconnect you from your network

At the next screen, click Install to begin. This will take a few minutes to run depending on your computer.

At the next screen, click Install to begin. This will take a few minutes to run depending on your computer.

If you are alerted to compatibility issues, you can click “Continue Anyway” each time it appears. As the installation process continues, you will be reconnected to your network before you are informed that the installation is complete.

Click Finish and you are done

Click Finish and you are done. Now, VirtualBox will open for you as seen in the following screen shot (Click to enlarge):

Sun VirtualBox

Installing Chrome

The first part of installing Chrome OS is complete. We now have a working copy of a virtualization software application to install to. Before we can proceed, we need to get a copy of Chrome OS. There are plenty of torrent sites that have copies available but we are doing to use one that can be downloaded directly from a recommended web site because we know it has been tested on VirtualBox. Browse to this download site and create an account. Once you have downloaded Chrome, extract it to a location where you can easily find it.

Going back to VirtualBox, click on the New button in the upper left hand corner. This will start the wizard to create your Chrome OS virtual machine. At the welcome screen, click Next and you will be taken to the “VM Name and OS Type screen”. Name your machine and under “OS Type”, select Linux for the Operating System and leave the Version set to Ubuntu and click on the Next button.

Installing Chrome 1

The next screen allows you to set the memory that will be allocated to your virtual machine. The default will provide enough for you to test out your machine, but this can be adjusted if you choose. When you have this set, click on Next to continue.

Installing Chrome 2

The next screen asks you to select the hard disk image that will be used to boot Chrome OS. Since we downloaded a pre-built machine, we will select Use existing hard disk. If we had installed Chrome OS already, we would be able to select it from the list. Since this is the first installation, we will need to browse to the virtual machine we extracted earlier by clicking on the browse icon which is the little folder.

Installing Chrome 3

The browse icon opens the Virtual Media Manager where we can select the hard disk we wish to use. Since Chrome is not yet listed, click on Add and then navigate to the extracted Chrome OS file, chrome-os- Select this file and click Open. Now that Chrome has been added to the Media Manager, highlight it and click on Select. You will be brought back to the Virtual Hard Disk screen. Here, click Next.

Virtual Media Manager - Virtual Box

At the Summary screen, look over all of the parameters. If everything checks out, click on Finish.

Running Chrome OS

Now that everything has been installed, it’s time to take Chrome for a test drive. Chrome OS should now be listed as an option. To boot it up, highlight it in the list (it may be the only one) and click Start.

Almost ready to run Chrome OS

Once the boot process starts up, you will be alerted that the Virtual Machine will auto-capture your keyboard. This screen also gives you directions how to uncapture the keyboard so you can work on your host machine as well. After reading these instructions, click OK to proceed. When Chrome OS boots up you will be asked to login.

Use your Google account credentials and start playing around in your new operating system!

Login screen - Chrome OS

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