Chromebook normally does not support Windows software. This can be called the best and the downside of Chromebooks. Installation of antivirus is not required on a Chromebook but there is no way that you can install Skype, Complete Microsoft Office or other Windows desktop applications. Google has designed the Chromebooks as simplified machines which does not mean that you can’t run Windows programs at all on Chromebooks.
We have done an in-depth research and bring you the best ways to use Windows program on a Chromebook. Chromebooks are able to access the Windows apps and as a matter of fact they can run Windows in an appropriate way.
Let’s do this learning together step-by-step for how to run Windows apps on a Chromebook.
Access Windows Desktop Remotely –
Google’s Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system, and this gives a fair chance to run the Windows software on your Chromebook on a remote computer and access it remotely. There are two ways to make an approach i.e.
1- Use your personal Windows Computer –
Use your Windows computer to run Windows version, install Google’s Chrome remote desktop app on the Chromebook and enable the remote connections. This way you will be able to connect with your Windows desktop via Chromebook. You will be able to view Windows desktop in a browser tab which will allow you to work with Windows apps from your Chromebook. Though Chrome Remote Desktop is not the only option there are other ways to access the remote RDP and VNC servers from Chrome OS also.
However, the catch over here is that Windows Desktop will have to stay up and running round the clock. It is convenient in terms of a personal solution but as per the business requirement it seems difficult.
2- Host Windows Applications on a Remote Server –
Chromebooks can use Citrix receiver to access Windows applications which are hosted on Citrix server or use an RDP client to access a remote desktop hosted on a Windows server. This procedure is ideal for business environment that wants to host their own servers. If you are working from home then you can choose to purchase the services from a company that would host a windows desktop for you and allow remote access. Still, it is suggested to use your personal Windows desktop only.
Use Developer Mode to Install Wine -
Wine does not run on ARM Chromebooks but it does work properly on Intel Chromebooks. Wine is an open-source compatibility layer that enables Windows applications to run on Linux and Mac OS X. It is a desktop software which cannot be installed and run on the Chrome OS desktop.
Install Wine on a Chromebook while enabling the developer mode and install Crouton to get a Linux desktop alongside of Chrome OS system. Then Install wine on the Linux desktop and use it to install windows programs. This will allow you to run the standard version of Microsoft Office on a Chromebook. Unless you require the advanced features you will be comfortable with Microsoft official web apps. Whenever you want you can switch between the Chrome OS system and typical Linux desktop with a keyboard shortcut, reboot is not required.
However, Wine is not perfect and there are chances that it may not be able to run some Windows applications without the manual tweaking.
Use Developer Mode and Install a Virtual Machine –
Virtual machine software like VirtualBox will not function on ARM Chromebooks. You may require an Intel based Chromebook to experience Virtual machine software. Developer mode can give you a powerful Linux desktop on your Chromebook, and the virtual machine is one of the best ways to run Windows software on Linux.
Enable developer mode and install desktop, switch to it and install the virtual machine program like VirtualBox. Installation will take place the same way as it is done on computer, through keyboard shortcuts you can switch between the two.
Virtual machines are on the heavier side to complete the entire procedure, for this powerful hardware is required to drive the virtual machine software, Windows and desktop applications. Virtual machines cover a huge amount of disk space and Chromebooks have less disk space.
Installing Windows on a Chromebook -
Installation of Windows on a Chromebook is possible but only in a virtual machine. Machines like Chromebook Pixel does not offer Windows drivers for their hardware, while ARM-based Chromebooks will not be able to run Windows applications at all.
To install Windows on a Chromebook, you would require a virtual machine and make the virtual machine full-screen.
Run Linux Software in Developer Mode –
Some programs are made available for Linux and can run comfortably on a Chromebook in developer mode without any fiddling. Official versions of Minecraft and Skype are made available for Linux, with this they can be installed on a Linux desktop in developer mode. Steam for Linux offers many games for Linux. Many programs like Minecraft, Skype and Steam are only available for Intel x86 Processors and they will not run on ARM processors.
Technological geeks love to dig into the hardware and make them to perform the functions it was never designed to do. One of the best facts about Chromebook is that a complete Linux system is only a few commands away. Now this gives a huge space to do some out of the box ideas like installing virtual machines and run Windows applications via Wine.