Worried about the impending demise of Windows 10? Google wants you to give ChromeOS Flex a try

Hello, Mr. Frying Pan, meet Mr. Fire

Google has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Microsoft's plans to render millions of Windows 10 PCs obsolete in 2025 by urging users to pop on a copy of ChromeOS Flex instead.

Trumpeting the "11 Ways You Win with ChromeOS Flex" (we see what you did there), Naveen Viswanatha, head of product for ChromeOS, laid out how ChromeOS is an excellent option for Windows 10 users faced with a choice of either throwing away their devices, opting for an unsupported future, or giving Microsoft extra cash to keep the patch taps turned on for longer.

Viswanatha was quick to point out that hundreds of millions of Windows 10 devices are destined for landfills if Microsoft has its way. Indeed, pressure groups have urged Microsoft to rethink its plans but, so far, to no avail. October 2025 is when the free support ends.

Google's take is that, rather than junk that old hardware, users could load ChromeOS Flex on it. ChromeOS Flex is a ChromeOS distribution that can be installed on conventional hardware. We tried it in 2022, and... it did not go well.

In Google's world, ChromeOS Flex is "built with security as a first principle, not an afterthought." The company claims that it doesn't even need antivirus software!

We can recall another company saying that their products were immune to malware, and things have not gone well. However, we're sure things will be different this time.

Google also claims IT support costs are reduced, that ChromeOS Flex is flexible, and that the operating system increases productivity and works with existing business applications.

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There are, however, plenty of caveats. The move could – in theory – stop Windows 10 machines being consigned to landfill, but only around 600 devices are currently certified to run ChromeOS Flex. For Google, this means that "almost any device you have deployed will work seamlessly with ChromeOS Flex installed!"

We'd contend that the word "almost" is doing quite a bit of heavy lifting there. However, if your device is not on the list and you're feeling brave, ChromeOS Flex's requirements are light: just 4GB RAM and an Intel or AMD x86-64 bit compatible device should work, although any device made before 2010 is likely to struggle.

And then there are the apps. This part is trickier to overcome, and ignoring the Microsoft 365-shaped elephant in the room is difficult. Microsoft's productivity suite dominates the corporate world, although Google has made a number of inroads over the years with its own suite of tools.

Google's solution? Streaming, of course! Stream those apps to your ChromeOS Flex desktop. A fine solution, sure, but it will require effort and expense for those organizations that are not already running applications that way.

All in all, Google's intervention is unlikely to result in a widespread move to ChromeOS Flex. According to Statcounter, ChromeOS has a desktop market share of just 1.76 percent, far below the 72.99 percent that Windows enjoys. Even Linux accounts for 3.77 percent and, for our money, represents a more flexible alternative.

It is a convenient option if users need to keep Windows 10 hardware running a little longer – as long as they are aware that such a jump could well be from the frying pan to the fire. ®

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