Outside of the obvious benefits, one of the best reasons to own a Chromebook is the perks. Google offers all kinds of free stuff to Chromebook owners, and some of the services offered by the company can be rather pricey if you were to buy them.
Google just added three free months of access to GeForce Now to its Chromebook perks page. This news comes shortly after NVIDIA extended support to Chromebooks for its game streaming service.
How To Get GeForce Now On Your Chromebook
If you're interested in redeeming this GeForce Now perk, all you need to do is head to the Chromebook perks page and click on the Get perk button.
There are some caveats, though. First, you will need to have a Chromebook that was purchased after June 2017 to get the deal. You'll also need to purchase a subscription, as the perk is added in addition to purchased time.
Fortunately, you'll only have to purchase one month of the service to get the three months. Getting four months of game streaming for around $5 is certainly not a bad deal for anyone interesting in gaming on Chromebook.
Other Chromebook Perks
Outside of GeForce Now, Google also offers three free months of Stadia Pro to Chromebook owners. That means there's even more game streaming available for Chromebooks that won't break the bank.
On Acer.com, the company announced its Chromebook Spin 513 and Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513, and they both feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c platform. In fact, they are the first laptops with Chrome OS to include Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7c chips.
These are some ultra-light and thin laptops that feature incredible battery life. They look like solid devices at a reasonable price, though they don't come with processing speed that will blow you away.
What Are the Chromebook Spin 513 Features?
The Chromebook Spin 513's main selling point is the processor. The Snapdragon 7c is certainly not the fastest processor on the market. However, what it gives up in speed (it's actually Qualcomm's slowest laptop chip), it makes up for with its long battery life. Acer claims this Chromebook will get around 14 hours of juice on a single charge.
Along with that chip, Acer also included 8 GB RAM and up to 128 GB of internal storage. That's fairly standard for a midrange laptop, so it's what we'd expect to see on the Chromebook Spin 513.
It features a 13.3-inch full HD IPS touchscreen display with a comfortable design that can be used as a tablet when the need presents itself. Acer touted the device's thin bezel around that screen, citing the devices 78 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Another nice thing about the Chromebook Spin 513 is how light it is. The laptop tips the scales at only 2.64 pounds, which means it should be comfortable to carry around in a bag for long days out and about. It's also 0.61 inches thick, which is quite thin for a laptop.
Acer has included optional 4G LTE connectivity on both the consumer Chromebook Spin 513 and the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513. It also comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2x2 MIMO technology for those times when Wi-Fi is readily available.
The laptops feature USB Type-C ports and a USB 3.2 Type-A port for those devices that don't support USB-C yet.
For the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513, the specs and features are unchanged. Still, many business-focused things are added, such as comprehensive security features, update controls, app configuration, and other features that IT departments will use in an enterprise setting.
When Will the Chromebook Spin 513 Launch?
Acer announced that the Chromebook Spin 513 will launch in North America in February 2021, starting at $399.99. Before that, however, it will launch in EMEA in January 2021, starting at €429.
The company also announced that the Chromebook Enterprise Spin 513 is set to launch in EMEA in February 2021, starting at €699. It will then go on sale in March 2021 starting at $699.99 in North America.
Thinking about trying out the latest version of Ubuntu? It looks amazing, boasts a host of updates, features, fixes, and stands out as the most well-known Linux operating system.
But how do you try Ubuntu without installing it on an old PC, or dual booting with your main operating system? The answer is a virtual machine - and you can make one in seconds with the free Oracle VirtualBox.
Here's how to install Ubuntu 20.04 in VirtualBox on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Why Install Ubuntu in VirtualBox?
There are many ways that you can try Ubuntu or any other Linux operating system (OS).
Install it on an old PC
Dual boot with Windows, macOS, or another Linux OS
This guide explains how to use a virtual machine (VM), a software environment that an operating system sees as a physical PC, to run Ubuntu. It doesn't matter what operating system you have installed on your PC (referred to as the "host"), one or more can be installed in a virtual machine. Operating systems installed in a virtual machine are known as "guests."
A virtual machine is the simplest option for trying out Ubuntu and other Linux operating systems.
How to Install Ubuntu 20.04 in VirtualBox
Creating a Linux virtual machine is straightforward with VirtualBox.
Five main steps are required to install Ubuntu on your computer in VirtualBox:
Download the Ubuntu ISO file
Configure a virtual machine for a Linux operating system
Boot Ubuntu in the virtual machine
Install Ubuntu in VirtualBox
1. Install VirtualBox on Your Computer
Start off by grabbing a copy of VirtualBox and installing it on your computer.
VirtualBox is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Installation will differ depending on your computer's operating system, so check the detailed instructions on the VirtualBox download page.
Once installed, VirtualBox is ready for the creation of a new virtual machine. Before you do that, however…
2. Download the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS ISO File
To install Ubuntu on your virtual machine, you'll need the installation media. For installation on a computer you would typically burn the ISO file to a DVD or USB stick.
Fortunately, if you're installing Ubuntu in a VM, you can just use the downloaded ISO.
Various versions of Ubuntu are available. The safest option if you're trying it for the first time is an LTS release. "Long Term Support" means the operating system receives targeted updates for five years after the point of release. It acts as the flagship Ubuntu operating system; if you experience problems, support can be found, and bug fixes issued.
The rest of this guide will show you how to install Ubuntu in a VirtualBox virtual machine. It's straightforward, but a little intensive, and take a while to get right. You'll learn how to actually install Ubuntu - but what if you just want to get it up and running right now?
Well, you could try a pre-configured disk image that you can simply load up in VirtualBox.
Various operating systems are available as easy-to-use disk images for VirtualBox and VMware at www.osboxes.com. These are available in VDI format, a virtual disk image that you can easily load in VirtualBox. Start by downloading the VDI file.
In the Hard drive screen select Use an existing virtual hard drive file and click on the folder icon
Browse to the downloaded VDI file
Select the VDI and click Open
In the main VirtualBox window, select the new virtual machine and click Settings
In Display increase video memory and Enable 3D Acceleration (this can be disabled if the VM fails)
Click OK when you're done
All you need to do now is select the virtual machine, click Start, and wait for it to load.
3. Configure a VirtualBox Virtual Machine for Ubuntu
If you're installing Ubuntu manually, create and configure the VirtualBox virtual machine while the ISO downloads.
It's important that you get this right or the Ubuntu 20.04 installation may fail.
In VirtualBox click New
Set a Name for the virtual machine (e.g. Ubuntu 20.04)
Set the Type as Linux and the Version as Ubuntu (64-bit)
Set the VM's Memory size - aim for around 25 percent of your computer's physical RAM
To run a virtual machine, you'll need to create a virtual hard disk. This is an area of data stored on your computer's own storage that is only accessible via the virtual machine. It can have a strict storage limit, or can grow "dynamically" as it is used.
Select Create a virtualized disk now then Create
Check the default VDI is selected then Next
Select Dynamically allocated for the virtual hard disk size, then Next
Check the default options for the VDI's storage location and minimum size
The virtual machine is almost ready to launch. All you need to do is attach the ISO as a virtual disc to the virtual CD/DVD drive.
With the Ubuntu 20.04 VM selected, click Settings
Select Controller IDE
In the Attributes pane click the disc icon next to IDE Secondary Master
Click Choose a disk file and browse for the Ubuntu 20.04 ISO
Click OK to add the ISO then OK to finish
The Settings screen is useful for making some other tweaks. For example, you can alter the number of processors, increase RAM, and more. Remember that the configuration of the virtual machine is limited by the physical specification of the host machine - your computer.
4. Boot Ubuntu in the Virtual Machine
Ready to run Ubuntu?
With the ISO file correctly attached to the virtual machine's virtual optical drive as above, select the VM and click Start. Moments later, the virtual machine will load up.
Here you'll have two options: Try Ubuntu and Install Ubuntu.
To look at Ubuntu before installing, the Try Ubuntu option is most suitable. If you want to go ahead and install, click Install Ubuntu.
5. Install Ubuntu in VirtualBox
At this stage, Ubuntu is basically the Live CD version. You can use it, connect to the internet, create files, etc., but they're all stored in the virtual machine's memory. Once you shut this virtual machine down or reboot, everything is lost.
If you like what you see so far, double-click the Install Ubuntu icon on the desktop. This will commence the installation wizard. Select the virtual machine's hard disk drive, then set your language and region when prompted.
A few minutes later, the virtual machine will reboot. It should automatically eject the ISO, so click Enter to proceed. If this doesn't happen, close the VM window then:
Select the Ubuntu 20.04 VM
Click Settings > Storage
Click the Optical Drive icon
Select Remove Disk from Virtual Drive
Then select the Ubuntu guest OS and click Start. Moments later, you'll be using Ubuntu 20.04 in your VirtualBox VM.
Run Multiple Guest Operating Systems With VirtualBox
If you've made it this far, you should have either installed Ubuntu 20.04 in VirtualBox or be ready to. The instructions above should tell you everything you need to know.
You don't have to stop with Ubuntu, however. Multiple operating systems can be installed in VirtualBox, from Windows and Linux OSs, to Chrome OS and macOS. VirtualBox is an incredibly versatile utility that lets you use almost any operating system regardless of what is installed on your computer.
Need more than one operating system on your Raspberry Pi? Several tools are available that help manage the process, such as the Raspberry Pi Foundation's own NOOBS, and its forerunner BerryBoot.
NOOBS is considered by many to be the superior installer, but it misses a few of BerryBoot's options. Interested in trying out BerryBoot to dual boot your Raspberry Pi 3 or 4? Read on!
What Does BerryBoot Do?
Ever had trouble installing an ISO disk image file to your Raspberry Pi's SD card? Want more than one OS (perhaps a retro gaming system and a media center)? The answer is a tool that helps to manage the installation of one or more OSs for your Pi.
That's basically what BerryBoot does. Presenting you with a selection of operating systems to choose from, BerryBoot downloads the OSs and installs them, with minimal interaction from you.
It also provides you with some basic network tools, location settings, and even an editor to adjust the configuration. You might, for example, want to edit your network settings in wpa_supplicant.conf. or you may prefer to change the boot menu timeout in cmdline.txt.
Using BerryBoot is straightforward:
Extract ZIP file to a formatted SD card.
Select and install one or more operating systems.
Choose which OS you wish to use each time you boot your Raspberry Pi.
BerryBoot also makes it possible to install your chosen Raspberry Pi operating systems to a location other than the SD card. If you have network attached storage (NAS), or a hard disk drive (HDD) connected to your Pi, these can be used. This is a great way to reduce data writing on your SD card, and prolong its lifespan.
The SD card will need to remain in the Pi to boot from, however.
How to Get BerryBoot and Dual Boot Your Raspberry Pi
To use BerryBoot, you'll need to download it from Sourceforge. This is an online repository where many applications and utilities are hosted.
BerryBoot is available in one of two downloads. The first option is for all versions of the Raspberry Pi, from the original and the Raspberry Pi Zero through to the Pi 3B+. If you have a Raspberry Pi 4, however, there is a dedicated version available---yes, you can dual boot a Raspberry Pi 4.
Once downloaded, the contents of the ZIP file will need to be extracted and copied to your Pi's SD card.
Start by inserting the SD card into your PC
Browse to the downloaded ZIP file in your file manager
Right-click and select Extract all
In the dialogue box that follows, click Browse
Select the drive letter than matches your SD card, then click Extract
Wait while the data is copied, then ensure that the files are copied to the root of the SD card. If they're copied into a directory, the card won't boot. When you're confident the data is correctly copied, safely remove the SD card from your computer.
The next step is simple. Insert the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and power it up. Make sure you have a keyboard and/or mouse attached. You'll need one or both to select your operating systems.
Configure BerryBoot for Raspberry Pi Multiboot
On your Raspberry Pi's display, you'll initially be presented with a quick configuration screen. The first section, Video, establishes the type of TV you're using. If you can see green borders at the top and bottom of the screen, select Yes (disable overscan). Otherwise, select No.
Next, specify the correct type of Network connection. If an Ethernet cable is connected, choose Cabled. Otherwise, select WiFi, then find your network's SSID in the list an input the password.
Finally, ensure the correct Timezone and Keyboard layout are selected under Locale settings. This will ensure that BerryBoot is able to access the server and download your choice of operating system.
Click OK when you're done.
Install Dual or Multiboot Raspberry Pi Operating Systems
The next prompt invites you to select a destination for the operating system(s) you're about to install.
You'll always have the choice of the local SD card, typically labelled mmcblk0. But if you have a NAS box, a USB drive, or both, you'll also see the options for those.
A USB drive is always labelled sda. The NAS will appear as Networked storage.
With the choice made, click Format (if necessary) and proceed. Leave the file system as the default ext4 option---you probably won't be using the drive with any other devices.
Note that when formatting, any existing files on the disk will be deleted. If you're installing to the microSD card, the space aside from the active boot partition will be formatted.
Once complete, the BerryBoot menu editor is displayed. You'll see various operation systems grouped into tabs by category. Spend a few moments to see what's on offer.
At this stage you can only install one operating system. Once this has been added and the system rebooted, further OSs can be added.
Select the OS, then OK to install. The image file will be downloaded and written to the microSD card. Wait for the system to boot, then at the boot menu click Edit.
You can now install as many additional operating systems as you need---just make sure your storage media doesn't fill up. The numbers in the bottom left corner will display how much space is left on the destination device. Too many operating systems will fill the disk, so keep it down to two or three.
To install an operating system:
Click Add OS to browse for an operating system
Check the box for the OSs you want
Click OK when you're done
Select the OS you wish to Set default, which will boot when your Raspberry Pi powers up
Click Exit to download and install the chosen operating systems.
This may take a while depending on which operating systems you chose, and how many.
Other Advanced Options for BerryBoot
Note that Berryboot offers further menu options for your set up. For instance, the Clone option creates a copy of the selected operating system.
Meanwhile, Backup lets you create backups of single operating systems (or all installed OSs) to a different storage device. You can also use Delete to remove an OS.
One setting you may have overlooked is Advanced configuration, accessed via the chevrons on the right of menu.
Here, you can edit the cmdline.txt and config.txt files (as well as the Wi-Fi configuration file, wpa_supplicant.conf). In cmdline.txt, for example, you can edit the bootmenutimeout property, specifying how many seconds should pass before the default OS is loaded.
bootmenutimeout=<number of seconds>
Also available in the Advanced configuration menu is a Console, while Set password lets you protect installations. Filesystem problems can be fixed with Repair filesystem. This should also run automatically if the file system is damaged (perhaps following a power outage).
Dual Booting Your Raspberry Pi With BerryBoot
With your operating systems installed, the Raspberry Pi will reboot and present you with a boot screen. As noted, the default option will load automatically after 10 seconds. You can make a manual selection using your keyboard or mouse.
Moments later, you'll be enjoying your chosen Raspberry Pi operating system. Want to use a different one? Simply use the restart option and choose again at the boot menu!
There are hundreds of Linux Live CDs available online, and almost all are absolutely free. Many are indispensable for various purposes, such as desktop recovery, security, penetration testing, system rescue, drive cloning, and much more. Then, there are hundreds of Linux distributions that work as a bootable CD.
Of course, you don't want to carry around heaps of CDs. Thankfully, you can combine multiple ISO files into a single bootable ISO image using MultiCD. It saves space, lets you carry a huge range of tools, and is completely free.
What Is MultiCD?
MultiCD is a Linux shell script you can use to build a multiboot CD image. It works with a wide range of bootable Live CDs, including Arch Linux, Debian, Mint, and Ubuntu (full list). There are many options - your only limit is the size of the disk you use.
You can also use MultiCD to create a bootable USB flash drive, although it will be a read-only drive. As most people no longer use spinning CDs for storage, instead opting for super cheap flash memory, it is highly likely you have a spare USB flash drive lying around. You can find details on using MultiCD with a USB flash drive toward the end of the article, plus a few alternative options.
Create a Multiboot CD With MultiCD
Now, here's how you combine multiple ISO images into one.
1. Download and Extract MultiCD
For reference, I'm running this tutorial on Ubuntu Desktop 20.04.
The first thing to do is to download and update MultiCD. Press CTRL + ALT + T to open the terminal. Alternatively, right-click your desktop and select Run a Terminal. Now, input the following command to download MultiCD from its git repository:
Alternatively, you can download the latest MultiCD version via the project's GitHub link.
Next, create a new folder. I've named mine MultiCD to keep things easy. Now, extract the contents of the MultiCD archive to the MultiCD folder.
2. Copy Your ISOs to the MultiCD Folder
Now, you must select the ISOs you want to include in your multiboot CD. You'll have to download the individual ISO files before continuing, making sure to use files on MultiCD's supported ISOs page.
Furthermore, you must rename each ISO before copying it to the MultiCD folder. The MultiCD script expects file names in a certain format. If you don't use that format, it won't work. The specific file names are also available on the supported ISOs page. For example, you would rename your Linux Mint ISO to linuxmint.iso.
Here's how my MultiCD folder looks before running the script in the next section.
MultiSystem has an advanced menu, too. The advanced menu contains the option to download other Linux Live environments for use with MultiSystem. There is a lengthy list to choose from, covering various Linux tools and operating systems.
Once the download completes, you drag the ISO into MultiSystem, ready for use.
The advanced menu also contains the options to test your multiboot USB drive using QEMU or VirtualBox. Also, you can customize GRUB Settings, as well as the addition of command line boot options.
Easy Ways to Merge ISO Files
These two methods allow you to combine multiple ISO files into a single file. It saves physical space (no more piles of discs) and means you can carry around an extensive selection of tools and operating systems.
The first app to try is Xpad, a tool that has been around longer than any of the others on this list. These yellow Post-It-style notes have three fields: a title bar, a text area, and the toolbar. Right-clicking on a note's text area will reveal the context menu, where you'll find the Preferences menu. Use the Startup tab to ensure Xpad loads automatically when you start Linux. The old notes will be restored, but note that once notes are closed, they're gone.
You can install Xpad from default repositories. Install on Ubuntu with
sudo apt install xpad
Note that if Xpad doesn't appear in your apps menu, you can launch it manually from the command line.
Xpad is an easy to use Linux sticky notes app, with formatting options for each note. Task-based color-coding is supported, allowing you to set note-specific colors.
In some cases, Xpad might already be pre-installed on your Linux system, so check before installing.
A Java-based cross-platform sticky notes tool, GloboNote offers a wider range of note types. To-do lists, reminders, journals, and other sticky notes can be created and organized into groups. A useful search tool is also included to help you find old notes.
Another cross-platform, Java-based sticky notes app, Pin 'Em Up has a particularly useful feature. Along with the usual notetaking features, Pin 'Em Up has server support.
What this means is that notes can be imported from and exported to your personal server. This is useful if you wish to maintain backups of your notes, or if you're accessing them from multiple devices.
As with GloboNote, you'll need the Java environment installed on your computer before installing Pin 'Em Up.
Perhaps the most polished sticky notes utility in this list, Indicator Stickynotes offers per-note formatting and settings. You can quickly create a note and set its category and formatting. The resulting note is easy to reposition around your desktop.
You should find Indicator Stickynotes in your Linux package manager, but if not, it can be added from a PPA. Begin by adding the PPA repository (note that PPA's can be a security threat):
Further features are available. A lock feature enables you to protect notes from deletion, for example. Like Pin 'Em Up, Indicator Stickynotes has an import/export feature. You can use this to archive your notes or sync them with another computer.
Intended for KDE desktops (but compatible with many others), KNotes has several features. Install via the command line with
sudo apt install knotes
Once installed, you can run KNotes from the Accessories menu (or equivalent). It will immediately launch with an icon in the system tray section of the desktop panel.
While KNotes lets you configure your own choice of font and background color, it also supports drag and drop. For instance, you can write a note, then email it by dropping into the body of an email. Or you might drag it into the KDE Calendar app to block out a timeslot.
Notes can also be printed.
6. Microsoft-Style StickyNotes for Linux
Considered an open source Linux version of Microsoft Sticky Notes, this app is just as feature packed.
You can sync with Dropbox, set the background and title bar colors, edit notes, use a stylus for "written" notes, and add audio. StickyNotes also supports adding video content, and notes can be imported and exported. For added security, your Linux sticky notes can be password protected.
StickyNotes is best installed as a Snap. Head to SnapCraft to find the link for your distro.
Six Sticky Notes: What's Your Favorite?
We're aware of some other sticky notes apps for Linux, but many of these are no longer maintained. Instead, we've provided you with six projects that seem to be under regular (or semi-regular) development:
Pin 'Em Up
Although the cross-platforms options might be the most useful if you're already using them on a different operating system, we reckon KNotes is the most accomplished sticky notes app currently available.
Remember, it isn't all about sticky notes---other ways to streamline and automate your Linux workflow are available.
One of the most frequently touted positives of a Chromebook is security. A Chromebook is an excellent device for a wide range of computer competency levels because it protects users. Chrome OS comes with enough integrated security that you don't have to worry about viruses, and you won't have to spend time fixing computers for grandma, either.
So, even with those protections, does a Chromebook require antivirus?
How Does Chromebook Security Work?
Your Chromebook uses a range of security features to protect you from malware, viruses, and other threats. There are five main areas of protection:
Automatic Updates: Chrome OS (the operating system on your Chromebook) updates automatically. The automatic updates install security patches and features without bothering you, keeping your machine secure.
Sandboxing: On a Chromebook, each webpage and web app opens within a sandbox environment, isolated from everything else on the system. If the webpage you are using attempts to download something malicious and succeeds, it won't spread to the rest of the Chromebook.
Verified Boot: If malware does manage to escape a sandbox, which can happen, your Chromebook is equipped with "Verified Boot." Each time you switch on your Chromebook, it checks that the operating system is as it should be, free from modification or tampering. If Verified Boot finds that the operating system is corrupt, it will repair itself automatically.
Data Encryption: Another Chromebook security feature uses encryption to protect your data. Your Chromebook automatically encrypts important files, such as your browser cookies, browser cache, downloads, files, and more. If malware did manage to break into your computer, many of your most important files would be out of reach.
Recovery Mode: Finally, if everything goes really horribly wrong, there is always Chromebook Recovery Mode. From Recovery Mode, you can restore Chrome OS to the last known good configuration, or even reinstall the operating system completely.
Furthermore, Chrome OS is based upon Linux. In comparison to Windows, Linux-based operating systems are much safer. As such, Chrome OS inherits some of the features that help keep Linux distros secure, too.
Can A Chromebook Get a Virus?
It is extremely unlikely. Chromebooks are virus-free for the overwhelming majority. Even when people think they have a virus, most of the time, it is attributed to something else. Here are three prime examples of Chromebook behavior that looks like a virus and how to fix them.
Chromebook Website Permissions
For example, websites ask for permission to send notifications, abuse the process, and send hundreds. It appears to be a virus or malware but is, in fact, an issue with website permissions.
To fix the issue:
Click the lock icon in the address bar, then selecting Site Settings. Scroll down and switch Notifications to Block.
Now, click the three-dot icon in the top right corner and select Settings. Type notifications in the search bar. Change the Notifications option to Blocked, which will ensure no site bothers you any longer.
If there are some sites you do want notifications from, you can set individual access using the Site Settings > Notifications method above.
For example, before Facebook introduced a native dark mode option, many people opted for browser extensions to do the job. A small number of developers took this opportunity to create a browser extension that switched Facebook into a dark mode, but also hijacked search engine results for redirection to a completely different site.
If your Chromebook starts playing up out of the blue, check the last few browser extensions installed for the culprit.
To fix the issue:
First, remove any browser extensions installed recently.
Head to Settings> Advanced, then scroll down and select Restore settings to their original defaults.
Now, restart your Chromebook.
Chromebook Browser Redirect
Similarly, sometimes an extension will swap your browser's default search option. Your search redirects to a different website or inputs a different search term each time, which is incredibly frustrating.
To fix the issue:
Head to Settings > Search Engine, and make sure the default search engine is set to Google (or an alternative of your choice).
Now, select Manage search engines and check the list of default search engines. To remove any suspicious or unexpected items, click the three-dot menu and select Remove from list.
Restart your Chromebook, then check if the browser redirect issue is resolved. If not, Head to Settings> Advanced, then scroll down and select Restore settings to their original defaults.
Now, restart your Chromebook.
Chrome OS Has a Built-In Malware Scanner
If you want to scan your Chromebook quickly, you could opt for the integrated scanner included with Chrome OS. Copy and paste chrome://settings/cleanup into your address bar, then select Find.
Does a Chromebook Need Antivirus?
Now, it might look as though your Chromebook requires an antivirus program, what with the browser redirects and malicious browser extensions. The reality is that your Chromebook and Chrome OS, in general, do not require a persistent antivirus program, as you would install on Windows or macOS.
The built-in protections mean your Chromebook is one of the safest computers around.
That said, your Chromebook isn't 100 percent safe. No computer is.
If you follow links to a phishing site from a scam email, Chrome OS might not pick up the threat, and you could enter compromising data. For those Chromebooks that can install Android apps from Google Play, you can still download a malicious app. In short, you must check what you click and consider what you download to your Chromebook.
Two Chromebook Antivirus Apps to Protect Your System
If you want the peace of mind that an extra layer of security brings, there are options for you to consider. Many of the best traditional antivirus and antimalware developers provide a Chromebook option, too.
One of the best options for Chromebook antimalware is the tried and tested Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes for Android works exactly the same on Chromebooks, will scan your system in a few minutes and remove any nasties.
The Kaspersky Antivirus app is a little step up from the Malwarebytes option, providing better overall security and protection against malware and other threats. Again, this is an Android app running on Chromebook, but you still get the full range of scanning and real-time protection.
Oh, and the other thing is that the Kaspersky Antivirus scan is rapid. It took less than a minute to scan my entire Chromebook (with an upgraded 256GB hard drive).
Keep Your Chromebook Safe!
Keeping safe while using your Chromebook is easier than with most other computers. You have less chance of viruses, malware, and other attacks reaching you. Then, the built-in protections of Chrome OS help repel anything that begins to get close.
But it would be best if you didn't become complacent with the additional protections, which means double-checking before committing to a link, download, or otherwise.
Bored with the Raspberry Pi's default desktop? You could try a different distro or desktop, but if you want something that feels more familiar, there's Twister OS.
Designed for the Raspberry Pi, Twister OS delivers a host of alternative desktop themes, mimicking Windows and macOS. Here's how to grab Twister OS, install it, and turn your $50 Raspberry Pi into a $1000 Mac.
What Is Twister OS?
The successor to Raspbian 95, Raspbian XP, and other themed Pi operating systems, Twister OS is based on Raspberry Pi OS and features the Xfce desktop environment.
A selection of desktop themes, inspired by Windows and Mac operating systems, are preinstalled. So, you'll find Windows 95, XP, Vista, and 7 themes, along with the Mac-inspired iRaspbian.
Twister OS also features an administration utility, overclocking tool, pre-installed media software (including Kodi), and an Android remote tool.
Twister is best installed on a Raspberry Pi 4, although it can run on the Raspberry Pi 3B+. You'll need a larger than usual microSD card---32GB is a good option.
Install Twister OS on Your Pi's SD Card
To install Twister OS, first head to the site and download the ISO.
Note that the direct download option is a little slow, even on fast connections. You might prefer to rely on the BitTorrent link instead.
Once downloaded, the ISO image will need to be extracted from the compressed XZ file. If you're using a Windows desktop PC, this can be unpacked with the 7-Zip archive utility from www.7-zip.org. Finally, you'll need a card writing tool such as BalenaEtcher.
Installing Twister OS on the Raspberry Pi is as straightforward as installing any other operating system:
Insert a microSD card in your PC
Select the extracted Twister OS ISO file
Select the microSD card
Click Flash to write the image
Wait for completion, then safely remove the microSD card from your PC's card reader
When you're ready, insert the card in the Pi, and boot up.
With your Raspberry Pi booted, you'll get your first glimpse of Twister OS. Based on Raspberry Pi OS, it includes all the same preinstalled tools.
Twister OS also offers some enhancements. There's the Commander Pi tool for overclocking, the Kodi media library player, and even a tool for remotely accessing your Android device. A version of Chromium is provided that is optimized for streaming Netflix, and you'll find RetroPie is preinstalled too.
There's also a system administration tool, PiKISS. This is a utility that simplifies installing software on Raspberry Pi. It's packed with scripts to keep software installation streamlined, requiring little input from you.
Then there's the ThemeTwister. This is what Twister OS is all about and you'll find the icon to launch it on the desktop.
Turn Your Raspberry Pi into a Windows PC
ThemeTwister is simple to use. It presents a simple menu to select a new look for the Twister OS desktop, prompting you to reboot. After restarting, the new look is applied.
For example, if you wanted to add a Windows style appearance to your Raspberry Pi (hey, it's your computer…) then you would select one of:
(Note there is no Windows 8-inspired option.) Each new theme requires a reboot, so tap Enter when prompted to confirm the choice.
With the new look applied, you can then consider installing new, suitable software. For example, with a Raspbian 95 or RaspbianXP look, you might add games in DOSBox. You can then enjoy some cracking retro gaming action in an emulated Windows DOS prompt.
Similarly, there is some support for Steam if you prefer the look of Nighthawk or RaspbianX (above). It's wholly unsuitable for AAA Windows games but will let you run various low-spec indie titles. These options are available across all themes, however.
Look carefully at each theme. You'll notice that considerable effort has been made to convince you that you're using Windows. For example, the Windows XP style of RaspbianXP features realistic tooltips for the key toolbar buttons.
Make Your Pi Look Like a Mac
Two macOS-inspired themes are included with Twister OS. iRaspbian-Light and iRaspbian-Dark do exactly what you'd expect, offering daytime and night-time twists on the macOS visual style, complete with dock.
Selecting these once again is a case of launching ThemeTwister from the desktop, clicking the desired theme, and restarting.
As before, considerable detail has been applied in creating a realistic-seeming macOS experience.
Give Us a PiKISS
One of the most significant additions to the pantheon of great Linux software over the past few years has been PiKISS. Designed for Raspberry Pi systems, this is a terminal menu-driven collection of scripts for almost every project eventuality.
Need to setup your Pi with CUPS to manage printers? Need to setup a web or FTP server? Want to add some games that will run natively on your Raspberry Pi without emulation? Or actually want emulators to enjoy classic games from your favorite retro platform?
These scripts, and many more, are all available in PiKISS. It's an excellent piece of software that you should have on every Raspberry Pi operating system that you run. If you need to install PiKISS on other systems, use
curl -sSL https://git.io/JfAPE | bash
In the meantime, it's preinstalled on Twister OS. Once you've chosen a theme, this is the place to go to start tweaking things.
What Else Can You Do With Twister OS?
A whole host of options---entertainment and productivity---come with Twister OS. It really is jam-packed with software. It makes the larger Raspberry Pi OS download look like an empty cupboard in comparison.
We don't have the space to list every highlight here. However, look out for
Preinstalled retro games
Preinstalled current games, from Minecraft Pi to CS2D, a 2D version of Counter-Strike
Full LibreOffice suite
Various utilities from SD cCard Copier and Xfburn to My Android
Remember, if all of that isn't enough, you can install additional software in the terminal. Not enough? Use PiKISS's automated scripts to install everything else, including software to run some of the best Raspberry Pi projects.
Microsoft has been working hard to make the new Chromium Edge the best it can be, and now the company wants everyone to use it---even Linux users. Microsoft has announced that it will bring its new browser to Linux soon.
The news broke during Microsoft Ignite, a yearly conference for developers. Usually, the event is a single week where developers meet in-person. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the event was split into two digital ones.
During the first session of events, Microsoft released a statement on the Windows Experience Blog. The company goes on to discuss what's on the horizon for Microsoft's planned web experiences.
Microsoft then revealed its plans to bring the operating system onto Linux:
Our mission to bring Microsoft Edge to the platforms our customers use daily takes its next step: starting in October, Microsoft Edge on Linux will be available to download on the Dev preview channel.
When it’s available, Linux users can go to the Microsoft Edge Insiders site to download the preview channel, or they can download it from the native Linux package manager.
While Linux users are probably not keen to use a Microsoft browser, it shows how confident the company is with its new Chromium-based Edge. Whether or not Linux users will flock to the browser, however, is yet to be seen.
Microsoft is planning to bring its new Edge browser onto Linux. Whether or not Linux users want it is a different story. Only time will tell if Edge for Linux will become a popular choice, or will be left by the side for more familiar offerings.
While the company is branching out into other operating systems, Microsoft isn't neglecting its current user base. Recently, Microsoft Edge received a significant update that added syncing favorites and a PDF highlighter tool.
You've probably heard all about Chromebooks and Chrome OS already. Google's Chrome OS is the driving force behind the success of the Chromebook. It gives users a low-frills operating system that focuses on Google Chrome, as well as the numerous web apps and extensions that go with it.
Chrome OS is a roaring success. If you're interested in switching but want to try before you buy, you can boot Chrome OS in a virtual machine.
Booting Chrome OS is a great way to try the operating system before you buy. You can figure out if the lack of traditional apps will affect you, if the workflow suits you, and whether you like the feel of the operating system.
However, Chrome OS doesn't boot up in a virtual machine like other operating systems such as Windows or Linux. Normally, you can only use Chrome OS on specific hardware---a Chromebook. Google doesn't offer a Chrome OS version suitable for virtual machine use.
But, because Chrome OS is based upon an open-source project, the clever team over at Neverware CloudReady can modify the code, making it play nicely with virtual machine software.
Okay, here's how you install Chrome OS in a virtual machine. Neverware CloudReady currently offers a free Chrome OS virtual machine application image for VMware. Previously, there was also a Chrome OS VirtualBox image, but this is no longer available.
First up, you need a copy of VMware Workstation Player.
Download: VMware Workstation Player for Windows (Free)
VMware Workstation Player is VMware's free virtual machine tool. Download and install before continuing with the tutorial.
You then need the Chrome OS virtual machine application image.
Download: Chrome OS CloudReady Image for VMware (Free)
Head to the download page. Scroll down until you find the download link.
Now, import the Chrome OS virtual machine into VMware.
Open VMware Workstation Player. Head to Player > File > Open, then browse to the Chrome OS image. The Import Virtual Machine window will open. Keep the default options and press Import.
After the import completes, you'll find an entry in the virtual machine list.
Double click the CloudReady-Home virtual machine in VMware. The Chrome OS virtual machine will boot. It shouldn't take long, either.
A common error during the boot process is "VMware Workstation and Device/Credential Guard are not compatible." This is a common error and usually relates to Windows Hyper-V.
Type windows features in your Start Menu search bar, and select the Best Match. Scroll down and uncheck Hyper-V, then press OK. You'll have to restart your system for the changes to take effect. Turning Hyper-V support off doesn't remove your existing Hyper-V virtual machine images.
If the error persists, input command prompt in your Start Menu search bar, then select Open as Administrator. Now, copy and paste the following commands:
This stops the Hyper-V hypervisor launch interfering with the Device/Credential Guard. To revert the change, open the Command Prompt with Administrator privilege, then input:
The Chrome OS sign-in process requires an active internet connection. The virtual machine should share the internet connection of the host machine, but it can take a moment for it to configure.
If nothing happens immediately, select the grey time icon in the bottom right corner, then select the Wi-Fi configuration icon. Select Ethernet, as this is how the virtual adapter works.
Select Next. Read through Neverware's CloudReady data collection form, then Continue.
You can now use your Gmail address to sign into Chrome OS. Depending on your security settings, you may have to confirm your identity via 2FA on a separate device.
After signing in, you'll arrive at the Chrome OS homepage. From here, you can explore the operating system.
The Chrome OS virtual machine does have some limitations. For example, it doesn't have access to Google Play, where you can download and install regular Android apps on your Chromebook.
Support for Android app is an almost-standard feature for the latest Chromebook models, which only enhances their functionality. That's without mentioning that you can dual-boot a Chromebook with Linux, too.
This isn't a slight on Neverware. Rather, it is due to technical and legal constraints.
Neverware regularly releases updates for their Chrome OS virtual machines. They follow the standard Chrome OS release schedule, but the updates take a little longer to reach the virtual machines as Neverware has to configure them before releasing.
Even with the slight delay, you'll never fall majorly behind the official Chrome OS update schedule. Of course, if you leave the virtual machine switched off for a long period, you will fall behind. But the updates will be waiting when you switch it back on!
The best thing to do with your new Chrome OS virtual machine is to treat it like you would a normal operating system and see how it suits you. No matter which major operating system you're coming from (Windows, macOS, Linux), you'll find some limitations in actions or app availability.
But there are workarounds for almost every issue you encounter. At least, there is when you consider how many Chrome web apps there are. Plus, if you were using a regular Chromebook, you would likely have access to the millions of apps on Google Play, too.
Chrome OS is an excellent operating system for portable devices, like the Chromebook. The pairing of extremely long battery life and a relatively basic operating system make Chrome OS and the Chromebook a potent combination for a huge range of users.