Installed ChromeOS Flex

I have a Lenovo ThinkPad X130e laptop. It came with Windows 10 Home Edition, which does not work nearly as well for me as the Profession Edition I have on other systems. It hangs frequently. I have also installed Ubuntu Linux on it, which does better.

These days Chromebooks are everywhere, so I have become curious about Google’s Chrome OS Flex, the installation of which can turn an ordinary old (but not too old) PC into a Chromebook. Looking at Chrome OS Flex installation guide, the ThinkPad X130e is not on the list of supported models, but the X131e is. Seems close enough to try. So I entered it into the dropdown for choosing the model to install when building the installation USB drive . This was a mistake. See below.

I created the boot USB device, but it did not work on my ThinkPad. The USD drive seems to have GRUB installed with multiple boot images. It defaults to ‘Verified Image A,’ which does not work. It starts to do something and then reboots. Same with one of the other images. A third started, but left my machine completely hung with a blank screen. CTRL-ALT-DEL did nothing. Likewise the power button. Finally had to turn the machine over and remove and reinsert the battery.

According to How To Turn Your Old PC Into a New Chromebook with Chrome OS Flex I was not filling in the dropdown correctly when entering the model number. I should have simply choosen “Google Chrome OS Flex” and “Chrome OS Flex” from the dropdowns. So I created a new USB boot disk with these choices.

Booting my ThinkPad with the new USB drive quickly gave me the message, “Loading vmlinuz.A,” which indicating that there is Linux under the hood, as I already knew. The setup hung up early when I first started, but a reboot let it proceed smoothly. Afterwards it booted cleanly into ChromeOS Flex, and then took me through the usual post-installation steps for an OS, just like Windows or Linux.

Saw Chrome OS Flex unable to boot on ThinkPad x131e, but apparently it is on my x130e. Having done this, I don’t know how much I will actually use ChromeOS Flex. Linux and Windows meet all my needs. But it is nice to know there is another option.

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