Dell offers early Wi-Fi support in Chrome OS


— 6:58 AM on November 30, 2009

Last week, we wrote about how Engadget got Chrome OS up and running on a Dell netbook using a USB flash drive. It looks like Dell didn't take long to get on board with the idea. In a post on the official Direct2Dell blog, a Dell staffer says he has released a custom USB key image that includes preliminary support for the Broadcom Wi-Fi adapter in the Inspiron Mini 10v.

You can download the image right from Dell's website, although you'll need a fast connection and a high-capacity USB drive to use it—the file size is a whopping 7.5GB. That's quite a bit larger than the 300MB Hexxeh build the Engadget guys played with.

The Direct2Dell blog post includes instructions for setting everything up, although it warns that the Broadcom Wi-Fi support is "highly experimental, untested, unstable." Detecting access points purportedly takes over 5-10 minutes, for instance, and both the Chrome OS connection manager and "underlying components" can crash. Folks who run into problems can always reboot and try again, though (rebooting involves pressing the netbook's physical power key, because Chrome OS currently lacks a reboot menu option).

By the way, you don't need to enter your Google account details to log into the operating system. The Direct2Dell post provides generic credentials to get you up and running: "dell" as the user name and (wait for it) "dell" as the user password. The root password is also "dell," if you feel like getting your hands dirty with some command-line shenanigans.

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