How to bring an old laptop back to life for free

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How to bring an old laptop back to life for free
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Every few years, or even more often than that, we replace our electronics with the latest and greatest versions. But for most people, it doesn’t mean getting rid of the old ones. For whatever reason, people tend to hang on to their old devices — maybe because they just aren’t the type of thing you toss in the trash.

Read more: Get cash for your old electronics

But if you want to get out of that cycle, or just want to revive an old laptop, there’s a new solution — and it’s totally free!

How to bring an old laptop back to life

Neverware, an operating system developer, now offers a free software called CloudReady — which can turn about 200 old PC and Mac computers into usable machines again. CloudReady is a version of the same operating system found on Google Chromebook laptops, and it’s lightweight enough to be compatible with older, slower computers.

While the software may not be able to fix all of an old machine’s problems, it’s a great way to bring to an old laptop back to life and at least make it usable again without having to pay for new hardware or an expensive repair.

Neverware has a long list of models that the company has already successfully tested the software on — but even if your laptop isn’t on there, it’s still worth a try since it’s free!

Important note: You should back up anything on your old laptop that you don’t want to lose before installing the software.

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How to install the software on an old laptop

  • On a newer computer, download the software from Neverware’s site onto a USB drive (needs at least 8 GB of storage space).
  • Go to the Google Chrome store and download the Chromebook Recovery Utility. Once it’s downloaded, open the program –> click the gear icon –> choose ‘use local image’ –> select the .zip file you already downloaded on the external USB drive.
  • Plug the USB into the old laptop and boot it up from the USB. Here are directions on how to do that.
  • Click on the system tray (or menu bar) and click ‘Install CloudReady.’ The software will take you through a setup process and will give you the option to erase the hard drive and start fresh (as a Chromebook) or keep your old data and operating system on the computer.
  • When the installation process is complete, the computer will shut down automatically. Remove the USB and turn the laptop back on.

If you have an old Mac you want to revive using CloudReady, Neverware has installation instructions on its website.

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Alex Thomas Sadler About the author:
Alex is the Managing Editor of Clark.com and host of Common Cents, a series that makes money simple. By breaking down complicated concepts, Alex shows you how to better understand your money and make smarter decisions — so you can take control of your own life and future! Learn more here.
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