Extending the Life of Older Computers with Chrome OS Flex

Remember that new computer feeling when you first acquired your desktop, laptop, or tablet computer? Recall the anticipation of selecting, ordering, then finally receiving and setting up your new computer. It’s not a trivial decision – or expense. So how can you make the most of your technology investment?

My older adult clients have PCs running Windows 10 or an older version, or a Mac running macOS Big Sur or an older version. These popular operating systems have newer replacements and are approaching their end of life, and the PC or Mac you’re using may not support the latest OS version. What are your options if you’re not ready, willing, or in the market to upgrade?

March 14, 2025

If you’re a Windows 10 user, mark your calendars. After March 14, 2025, Windows 10 stops receiving monthly updates, including bug fixes and security updates. End of life for Windows 10 means persons with computers that won’t support Windows 11 must either upgrade their computer or bear the risk of not getting regular Windows updates.

WIndows 11 incompatibility notice
Windows 11 Incompatibility Notice

November 2023

Mac users have a similar problem. macOS Monterey, the latest version of the Apple operating system, will only run on Macs released in 2015 or later, depending on the model. Apple support for macOS Big Sur, the previous OS version, ends in November 2023. Apple users face a similar decision: upgrade or no future updates.

My Computer is Even Older

I tell my clients that you’re doing something right if you can get five years of use from a computer. However, if Windows 10 or macOS Big Sur were never options for you due to the vintage of your computer, then you may have been limping along for a while now with an unsupported operating system. 

The most significant risk of using an older, unsupported operating system is your potential vulnerability to malware and possible identity theft.

computer and notebook

If I don’t upgrade, what are my options?

Whatever the reason, if now is not the time to upgrade your computer, what are your options? You can ignore the consequences of using an unsupported operating system, risk contracting some form of malware and possible identity theft (which you would never do), or you could look at an alternative you may not have considered.

Chrome OS Flex

If you have used a Chromebook, you’re already familiar with Chrome OS. Chrome OS is a simplified operating system similar to Windows and macOS, enabling you to use the Chrome web browser and install Android apps to do everything you would do with a Windows PC or a Mac. Currently in beta testing, Chrome OS Flex enables you to replace your older, unsupported version of Windows or macOS with Chrome OS.

Chromebook

Chrome OS Flex gets regular updates and provides a flexible way to extend the life of older Windows and Mac computers. If you’re unsure whether you would like to use an operating system that’s different than what you’re used to, you can take Chrome OS Flex for a test drive by creating a bootable USB drive. Then if you decide you like it, you can replace your current OS.

Purchasing a new computer is not a trivial expense, which makes getting as much life as possible from your current computer a desirable outcome. Chrome OS Flex may be a life-extending alternative for older computers ineligible for Microsoft and Apple’s latest operating system upgrades.

To learn more about Chrome OS Flex and the beta testing program, go to https://chromeenterprise.google/os/chromeosflex/.