An old laptop given new life

With many of us having the children at home and needing a computer to do their work, what better time to mention Neverware.

Neverware, which was recently acquired by Google, provides a tool that helps you convert an old laptop into a Chromebook.

What you will need;

  • A memory stick or USB drive (min 8GB)
  • About an hour, but you can watch tv, read a book or entertain yourself in some other way whilst checking the screen
  • Another device connected to the internet to download the files.
  • Your wifi password (often more of a challenge than you would think!)
  • Eventually, a Google account.

How to do it;

  1. You will need the home edition. Note the minimum requirements of your old laptop.
  2. If you are using a Windows computer to prepare this, click download the USB maker.
  3. Follow the steps in that programme to prepare the USB stick for use.
  4. Once complete, you need to power up your old laptop. Here, the guide gives tips to enable your device to start up using the USB drive you created.
  5. Note, you can use the stick plugged in, but that will be slower than a full installation. Useful to check though.
  6. The full installation will wipe irreversibly*, your old files and programmes, so do be sure you have backed things up.
  7. Once you have completed the installation, you can remove and reuse your USB stick.
  8. I would personally change the laptop to start up on the hard drive again (i.e. back to how it was) as this will make the startup quicker.
  9. When you boot up, you will be asked for your Google account. Note that you can always create a new one and have multiple accounts on the laptop. In another post, I will suggest how to make your home wifi faster and safer for families, but also look when setting up a Google account for your children at the Google Family setup – whereby you can restrict, monitor and manage your children’s account.

A quick wipe down and you are ready to go. Covid secure and ready to work.

* In theory, it is possible to reverse the process and recover data but the cost will be prohibitive and results uncertain!

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