Launch a web browser and go to the Jolicloud website. When the page appears, click the green My Jolicloud link (at the top right) and click the Sign Up tab. Either fill in the form – name, email, username and password – or sign up using your Facebook account credentials, following the prompts and granting Jolicloud access to Facebook when it’s requested. Click the small Sign Up button and check your email inbox for an email from Jolicloud asking to confirm your email address – click the link to do so and validate the new account.
You should be faced with your Jolicloud account page. Use the Profile and Picture tabs to add more information and, if you want, upload an image of yourself to share with others via your public page. Alternatively, to remove this page, click to remove the tick from the ‘Share my favourite apps on my Jolicloud public page’ on the Account tab. Switch to the Notices tab to set up email notifications from Jolicloud. Use the Connections tab to invite others to sign up via email. Finally, switch to the Connections tab to link your Jolicloud account with Facebook, Dropbox and Google Docs if you want.
Now that you have a Jolicloud online account, it’s time to download Joli OS. The ‘OS’ stands for operating system, which is the software that will effectively turn your PC into a cloud computer (but don’t worry, as we’ll be keeping Windows in place). Visit Jolicloud's download page and click the yellow Download link under the ‘Keep Windows’ heading – it is very important to choose the correct one here, so take care. If the File Download Security Warning dialogue box appears, click Save and choose a location for the downloaded file. Firefox users should select Save File to save the download to Firefox’s default download folder. The file is more than 700MB in size, so it requires a broadband connection – and even then will take a while to download. When it’s finished, find and double-click the downloaded file (called ‘Joli-OS-Installer-1.2.exe’) to start the installation. If prompted by a Windows security warning dialogue box, click Run and wait for the installer to extract the installation files. Click Yes or Continue if prompted by User Account Control to begin installing Joli OS.
Click Get Started. You’ll be prompted to create a username and password to log onto Joli OS on your PC – this is different to the Jolicloud account set up in Step 1, so doesn’t have to be the same. Click Next. By default Joli OS will allocate half of the available free hard disk space, though it needs 4GB as a minimum. To alter the amount, click the Change button and use the slider to pick a lower figure – around 10-15GB should be more than adequate for most people’s needs. Click Save followed by Next. The program will now install. Once complete, click Restart Later, as we have one more change to make.
Click Start, right-click Computer or My Computer and choose Properties. XP users should switch to the Advanced tab; Vista and Windows 7 users should click Advanced system settings followed by Continue if a User Account Control prompt appears. Click the Settings button under Startup and Recovery. Joli OS has made itself the default operating system. Click this dropdown menu and select Windows. Change the ‘Time to display list of operating systems’ number to 5 or 10 seconds and click OK twice. This ensures your PC will always launch with Windows, unless you tell it otherwise after switching on.
Now restart the PC to finish the installation of Joli OS. When the computer is next switched on, a new ‘boot menu’ will appear and offer the choice of launch into Windows (the default) or Joli OS. If you don’t select anything, Windows will automatically start, so select Joli OS by pressing the down arrow (cursor) key followed by Enter. After a short pause, the screen should show the Joli OS loading screen, and then the installation process will continue; this is fully automatic. Once complete, Joli OS will restart. Be sure to select Joli OS again from the boot menu once more to finish the setup process.
When prompted, type in the username and password created in Step 4 and click Sign in. If no internet connection is found, click the network icon at the top of the screen to choose the wired or wireless network to connect to, typing in the network’s password if necessary. After a short pause, sign into Jolicloud using the account set up in Step 1, subsequently clicking Save Password to skip this step in future. It’s now time to associate this Joli OS computer with the Jolicloud online service (for reasons that will be become clear a little later – see Step 13). Click Start to link Joli OS to your Jolicloud account, typing in the computer’s type, make and model followed by an identifiable name. Click Next followed by Close.
The Joli OS is simple to navigate, though it does look a fair bit different to the Windows Desktop. To begin, click an existing icon to open the corresponding website, service or application in its own window. Windows can be maximised, minimised or resized vertically. An icon will also appear at the top of the screen, which can be clicked to minimise or switch applications. Reveal three additional options by rolling the mouse pointer over an icon: click ‘X’ to remove it from Joli OS or ‘I’ to learn more about it; click the star button to mark it as a favourite application on your public page (see Step 2).
As with the Windows Desktop, Joli OS icons can be dragged and dropped to place them in a different order. It’s also possible to spread icons over a number of ‘pages’ – move between them using the page buttons at the bottom of the screen. Transfer an icon to a different page by dragging it onto the corresponding page’s button – it should vanish and subsequently appear on that page. The Local Apps folder on page two contains several useful tools exclusive to Joli OS, including a calculator, movie player and basic text editor. Click the Add a Local App button (at the top right) to reveal more.
Add new apps and services to Joli OS by clicking the green plus button to view the Joli Web Store. More than 1,000 services and apps are currently available, with more being added daily. Use the left-hand menu to browse by category, or locate a specific app using the Search box at the top. Click on an app’s icon to learn more about it, and click Add to add it to Joli OS – large apps such as Openoffice Writer or Skype may take some time to download. The Sync bar next to the Search box reveals their progress.
Click the folder icon at the top of the screen to browse the folders and drives on your computer. Click the Windows entry to access files stored on the hard disk that contains Windows. Click a file to preview it or to open it in a supported application (Openoffice Writer will open Microsoft Word documents, for instance). It’s also possible to access Dropbox and Google Docs files from here too, if you use those services; click the Connections button to connect to these accounts via a browser window. Once set up, these online storage folders are accessible like any other.
The Joli OS Desktop background may not be to everyone’s tastes but changing it is simple. Click the picture button in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen to display the wallpapers menu. There are around 50 alternatives provided: use the horizontal scrollbar to view them all, then click one to select it. Alternatively, click the Your Wallpapers button followed by Select to pick an image from your hard disk. If the image doesn’t fit, click Configuration and tick ‘Stretch to fill screen’.
Click the Power button at the top of the screen to log off, restart or shut down the PC. It’s possible to access and customise your Joli OS Desktop – with some limitations – via any web browser. Visit the jolicloud website and log in when prompted to do so, using the username and password created in Step 1. Any Desktop icons pointing to websites and services are accessible from here – click one to open it in a new tab or browser window. Installed applications such as Skype, though, are inaccessible through a browser, and so are greyed out.
Should you wish to remove Joli OS, launch Windows, click Start followed by Control Panel and choose Add or Remove Programs (XP) or Programs and Features (Vista/Windows 7). Select Joli OS and click the Uninstall or Remove option. When prompted, click Yes to remove Joli OS. Remember that your apps and settings are stored securely on the internet, but any data stored inside the Joli OS folder will be lost, so transfer this to the Windows folder (see Step 11) before uninstalling.