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What to do when your Chromebook is now not supported

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When Jack Wallen’s Chromebook Pixel fell out of assist, he needed to maintain that machine working. See what he did to eke out a bit extra time from the tools.

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Picture: Jack Wallen

Not too long ago, my Chromebook Pixel 2015 discovered itself now not supported. I actually cherished that Chromebook. The 2 of us wrote a number of novels collectively and the keyboard/display screen was unmatched. To this present day I’ve but to expertise a greater keyboard/trackpad combo. However, as they are saying, all issues should finish. So, once I obtained the notification that my Chromebook Pixel would now not be receiving updates, I felt a tinge of disappointment. Certain, I had a Pixelbook as a backup machine, but it surely simply wasn’t the identical. It had a pleasant keyboard, but it surely was nowhere close to that of the Pixel. And the display screen? There was zero comparability.

I had a alternative: Proceed utilizing the Pixel, despite the fact that it might now not be receiving upgrades, or do one thing about it.

SEE: Analysis: Video conferencing instruments and cloud-based options dominate digital workspaces; VPN and VDI much less widespread with SMBs (TechRepublic Premium)

Now, earlier than we get into this, I am going to warn you this is not a method to defeat the top of life in your Chromebook. As soon as that fateful day comes, ChromeOS will now not obtain updates, which implies the laptop computer will finally develop into weak to safety points. That isn’t a state of affairs you wish to end up in. However once you need (or want) to eke out a bit extra life from that machine, you might have choices. 

First, you might set up a full-blown Linux distribution on that Chromebook. I’ve achieved that earlier than and it really works (principally) nicely. However I needed to retain that degree of simplicity that comes with the Chromebook. In addition to, once I wish to use Linux on a laptop computer, I am going to flip to a machine that is higher able to powering the OS in the best way I am accustomed to. An alternative choice could be to put in CloudReady, from Neverware. However that requires cracking open the chassis and disabling write safety. Nah. 

There’s an alternative choice, one which is not almost as safe as merely buying a brand new Chromebook (one which’s truly supported). However if you wish to preserve utilizing that Chromebook, and achieve this with a browser that is not (finally) dangerously old-fashioned and insecure, you may need to wander down a path less-taken. 

SEE: Why Chromebooks would possibly nonetheless be your greatest laptop computer possibility (TechRepublic) 

My answer is not elegant, neither is it profoundly game-changing. Nevertheless, what it does is enable me to proceed utilizing that Pixel for some time longer (till I chunk the bullet and set up Linux). 

The answer? Set up and use Firefox.

That is proper. As a substitute of working with an out-of-date model of Chrome, I can set up an up-to-date model of a browser and never fear that utilizing mentioned browser could be weak, just because it was outdated.

Now, this is the catch. The one option to get the common model of Firefox on a Chromebook is by way of Android apps. Sadly, that model would not play nicely on regular-sized screens. So, to get a model of Firefox that behaves as you anticipate, you could go the Linux app route. Even then, the one model of the open-source browser that is out there is Firefox ESR. What’s Firefox ESR? Primarily, ESR is a model of Firefox constructed for colleges and different establishments that require a extra examined, steady and safe model of the browser than what’s often launched to the general public. This model would not embrace the entire newest options, but it surely works very well. The ESR model additionally maintains the present safety and stability patches.

Earlier than I present you the way to set up Firefox ESR on ChromeOS, you could first allow Linux. To do this, comply with the method I define in The best way to set up Linux apps in your Chromebook.

After getting that system enabled, you’ll be able to then set up Firefox ESR.

The best way to set up Firefox ESR on ChromeOS

Open the Linux terminal window. As soon as Linux has been initialized, replace apt with the command:

sudo apt-get replace

When that completes, set up Firefox ESR with the command:

sudo apt-get set up firefox-esr -y

The set up will choose up all the required dependencies. When full, you may discover a launcher for Firefox ESR in your ChromeOS menu. Click on to launch the browser, and also you’re able to go.

SEE: Suggestions for changing into a Chromebook skilled (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

One huge caveat

As I mentioned, it is not good. The one huge downside I’ve discovered (and I can’t determine a means round it) is that you just can’t add information from Firefox. Even when you grant entry to the directories housing the information to Linux (see The best way to share information with Linux apps on Chrome OS), Firefox would not appear to have the ability to entry the filesystem within the file add device. To some, that could possibly be a deal-breaker. Should you’re solely utilizing that end-of-life Chromebook to doomscroll, store or learn articles on TechRepublic, try to be good to go.

In the long run, in case your Chromebook has reached its ultimate days of assist, it is best to completely think about buying a alternative. Certain, you may be hard-pressed to discover a higher piece of {hardware} than the 2015 Chromebook Pixel, however there are some critically stable choices out there. And even when you do set up Firefox on that end-of-life Chromebook, please don’t think about the issue solved. You are still coping with an working system that is not get up to date, so it might behoove you to drop the coin for a brand new piece of {hardware}.

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