If your old laptop is feeling a bit rusty, you may want to think twice about tossing it; it could be a fine backup machine with functionality similar to a Chromebook. A New York City startup called Neverware assists schools in breathing new life into older laptops by using its software, CloudReady to put a Chrome OS-like operating system on those machines.
While Neverware licenses CloudReady to schools for a fee, individual users can download the software for free. As The Verge points out, these new laptops running Chrome aren't Chromebooks in name, as Google and its partners have exclusive use of that trademark. Users have the option to use it as their sole operating system or to dual boot it along with Windows or OS X.
Chrome will be a significantly lighter load on your computer than OS X or Windows, so you can expect to see performance improvements. As The Verge stated in its report, though, hardware problems can't be fixed with a change in OS -- if your battery is performing poorly, like their's was, it's something you'll just have to live with.
If you want to try installing CloudReady, you can find the free download here.