Converting an old laptop into a Chromebook

If you have an old laptop lying around that has become too slow to run the operating system it has, you can save it by installing a lightweight version of Chromium OS to breathe new life into it.

A company called Neverware has a version of Chromium OS called CloudReady and is integrated with the cloud for basically all functions. Many old Windows and Mac computers have more than enough power to run it as their specs often exceed that of currently sold Chromebooks.

Most computers are supported and you can check their list of known devices. If it doesn’t happen to be on there, it is often still supported but is not guaranteed to work.

Installation is very simple, all you need is a computer with the downloaded OS file from their site, Chrome, and a USB flash drive (8/16GB).

6uselocalimage-original

The utility will then prepare the drive and make it bootable for you. After this process is done, you need to plug the drive into the computer you want to convert and boot from it. The key to do this varies from computer to computer, so you may need to do a Google search before.

Once the computer starts up from the drive, you can select whether to install it by itself or dual boot with the current operating system installed. Dual-booting is not the best option but it is possible if your computer will support it.

5selectinstallmode-original

Once it installs, which could take up to 20 minutes, you can set it up and use it.

By doing this, you can revive a slow computer and give it to someone or use it yourself for most common tasks. Watching videos, browsing websites and creating documents/spreadsheets are all fast and fluid with Chrome OS. I highly recommend everyone do this for their old machines so they do not go to waste or end up in landfills.

iOS 11 Virus/Malware

Recently, TrendMicro, a security company, has published a serious flaw in iOS 11 that involves a malicious profile that can harm your phone and render it inoperable temporarily.

The latest Safari on iOS will automatically download a profile if it accepts a server response from a website.

ixintpwn-yjsnpi-1-1ixintpwn-yjsnpi-1-2

The images above show how the profile is a blob object and how Safari receives it

An iOS Configuration Profile has many uses such as enabling ” developers to streamline the settings of a huge number of devices, including email and exchange, network, and certificates”. Malicious profiles can wreak havoc on your devices through this by creating unsigned instances of itself and preventing deletion.

ixintpwn-yjsnpi-2ixintpwn-yjsnpi-3

The profile creates the same icon over and over again, filling all the pages up on the phone with useless icons that crash the SpringBoard if clicked.

In order to remove it from your device, you must use Apple’s Configurator tool to manage the installed profiles. It only works on Mac and can fail if the profile was not installed correctly.

A video of this malware in a more weaponized version can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7t2YOpiZGI&t=312s

As you can see, you shouldn’t install profiles from unknown sources as are capable of messing with the settings and take advantage of loopholes such as this. Another good practice would be updating your phone to the latest version, but that can also be bad as seen by this new iOS 11 malware.

Installing Custom ROMs

A custom rom is an alternate operating system that can be installed on an Android device. However since every device is different, not all roms will be compatible. Most devices that are shipped by manufacturers such as Samsung and LG come with a skin over regular “vanilla” or stock Android. Some phones however, such as Google’s Nexus and Pixel line of phones run Android without any modifications and are not held down by any bloatware or unnecessary apps. Custom roms allow you to install operating systems based on stock Android or other UIs on devices that don’t ship with it.

To install these new OSes, you need to first unlock your bootloader and flash a custom recovery. To do this on a Nexus/Pixel phone, you can plug your phone into your computer and use CMD or Terminal. On a Samsung Phone, you would use something such as CF-auto root. On HTC/Moto/LG, you can often obtain an unlock code/method from the manufacturer to do it.

75

After you unlock your bootloader, the next step would be to find a custom recovery supported by your specific phone. The most popular is TWRP (Team Win Recovery Project) and can be downloaded for many different devices at twrp.me. Once it is downloaded, you can use CMD/Terminal or Odin for Samsung to flash it.

pvakaud

Finally, you will be able to browse websites such as XDA for roms and other operating systems built for your device. Once you pick one, download it and find a corresponding Google apps package. Now plug your phone into your computer and copy it over.

Shutdown your phone and hold the Volume Down and Power at the same time, and TWRP should boot. Here you should click backup to create a Nandroid in case anything goes wrong. Transfer this backup to your computer.

twrp-backup

Next, click Wipe and swipe the arrow, which will delete all your data, so be careful. Then click install and choose the rom zip file you downloaded earlier. Once this is done flashing, you can install the Gapps zip.

twrp-install-rom-files

Now reboot your device and wait 5-10 minutes for the first boot. If you did everything properly, you should be able to setup your device and use it!

nexus-5x-setup-1-1445251549-large

For more specific steps, search the internet and the XDA forums for detailed instructions pertaining to your device. If anything fails in the process, you can always restore your nandroid to return your device to its previous state.