My son put his Netbook (an Eee PC w/Win7) on top of a strong magnet (the kind that keeps your table cloth nicely together) , and then his computer would not start anymore… :-(
Very strange, since harddisks themselves have very strong magnets that get way closer to the actual disk… But this was the direct result:

Error loading operating system.

The harddisk didn’t work anymore… So that was it, no more computer for him, but I had an idea. For years it’s possible to run Linux from a thumbdrive, so why not give that a try. I got a 16G Thumbdrive for $17 at Walmart.

I know he plays games in the Chrome browser, so I thought, why not put Chrome OS on it, but apparently it’s not meant for consumers, so getting that to run would really take way too much time. I checked the flavors of Linux that the Chrome browser supports (Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora/openSUSE) and decided to go with Fedora. I had to download it, put it the iso on the stick but then still got errors while booting the stick, as it tried to access the broken harddrive I guess, at some point I let it run and when I came back it actually ran, so then I downloaded Chrome here, which went well, but installing didn’t work, since I guess it needed a harddrive to install it on…

Then I found an article about Chrome OS on LifeHacker and finally ended up using this site: http://chromeos.hexxeh.net/

The utility that supposedly would download and install the whole thing, gave problems on my Mac all the time (error 50 could not unpack)… I finally just downloaded the image and used the diskutil commands to put it on the USB stick:

# sudo dd if=./Downloads/ChromeOS-Vanilla-1384.0.2011_12_03_1627-rab1d2e08.img of=/dev/disk1 bs=1m

To find out if it’s /dev/disk1 for you, run this command:

diskutil list

That allowed me to burn Chrome OS on my USB stick, and a few minutes later I got the netbook working with Chrome OS, yay!

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