Modern-day Chromebooks benefit swiftly from direct integration with the Google Play Store and the highly versatile Linux. Over time, the catalog of these two services has improved immensely and now offers a plethora of Chrome OS functionality. With that being said, there’s only so much you can do on a Chromebook, considering how the majority of the lot comprises moderately-powered CPUs alongside a minimalistic operating system and aren’t truly hardware-oriented.
However, if that were to change, then the mere purpose of a Chromebook would fall meaningless, and this is where we come back on the original subject. It turns out that there are still a great many things you could accomplish with these devices. You can even install Windows on it as well! Nevertheless, if we were to talk about Windows’s several applications, then that prospect is also a bright possibility.
In this article, we’ll show you many methods you can use to run popular Windows apps on your Chromebook and talk about future announcements. Without any further ado, then, let’s get straight into it.
The Best Sole Way to Run Windows Apps on a Chromebook
Quite obviously, the most sure-fire way of running every single application dedicated for Windows is by installing Windows itself on your Chromebook. For that matter, we’ve done a complete tutorial on this bulky topic. Be sure to follow its guidelines till the very end. This will allow you to transform your Chrome OS into a system that effectively runs Windows, a much larger and extensive operating system.
Beware, this won’t be an easy task. Getting Windows to work on a Chromebook is somewhat risky, and much could go wrong when you don’t know what you’re doing. In the worst-case scenario, you might end up losing your Chromebook’s functionality and render it useless. This is why you need to rethink your decision and realize whether this will be well worth it or not.
However, when you’ve finally installed Windows on your Chromebook and added all the relevant drivers, you can surf the internet and get every application of your liking. It’s as simple as that afterward.
Let’s dive deep and talk particulars with broader coverage out of the way.
How to Run Microsoft Office on Chromebook
The availability of Microsoft’s suite of productivity apps convolutes most Windows users when making the switch to Chrome OS. There’s a degree of uncertainty that revolves around this scenario, but rest assured, Microsoft Office apps run on Chromebooks like a charm – you have to know the ins and outs.
There are two approaches to follow here. We’ll explain both of them briefly below.
Option #1: Using the Google Play Store
You can download Microsoft Office from the Google Play Store effortlessly. Still, there’s just one significant caveat – you won’t be able to create a new document or edit an existing one until and unless you have a paid subscription to Office 365. If you’re not a subscriber, you’ll only be able to browse your documents, and we’re afraid that’ll be it.
That said, this might not be a problem for the heavily concerned parties here since several already own a subscription to this service. If that truly is the case, you can use the Play Store on a Chromebook to use Microsoft Office apps in full flight. The experience will be just as good as the Windows variant.
Option #2: Using Desktop-Based Versions
This method does not require an Office 365 subscription for editing or creating a new document on any app of the suite. However, there’s just one factor that still comes across as a downside – you won’t be able to use Microsoft Office since this approach is entirely browser-based, and that does not work without a stable internet connection.
Other than that, this is a recommended way of using Office 365 to its fullest without any hassle. For many, the internet is not a problem, so the only downside associated with the desktop version might not be that problematic. So, there you have it. A Chromebook is not without workable alternatives, that’s for sure.
Also, the Chrome Web Store contains extensions for each Microsoft Office application. By adding such extensions to your Chrome browser, you’ll be able to instantly jump inside each Office app without having to go through extra steps. This can prove to be very helpful and convenient at times.
We’ve covered Microsoft Office on Chromebooks thoroughly. If you’re interested in reading more, give the article a go.
Try itopia to Run Windows Apps on Chrome OS
“itopia” is a paid tool specializing in providing different types of devices with a virtual desktop for Windows 10. This makes it seamless to run Windows apps on any computer and not just a Chromebook. Although this service is more suitable for businesses and enterprises, you can make good use of it just as well only if you’re willing to pay the price.
As this is an industry-grade service, itopia boasts flexibility in choosing its plans. There is one light use, such as productivity apps like Microsoft Office, ERP software, and CRM, while also featuring heavy usage plans that sports graphic-intensive applications.
With a virtual Windows 10 desktop, you’ll be able to pull off almost everything that the operating system has to offer. Pricing varies according to use, location, and environment uptime, but you can go ahead a request a demo to gauge if itopia is the solution you need.
Chrome Remote Desktop
A service such as the Chrome Remote Desktop rightfully earns a mention in this guide, simply because of its utilitarian nature that makes multi-tasking possible on Chrome OS. While you won’t technically be running Windows apps on your Chromebook, but you’ll still be doing that. Confusing, right? Hear us out.
Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to efficiently connect your Windows computer to your Chromebook. When that happens, you can easily establish remote control and access your PC from the comfort of your Chrome OS. You will be running your Windows computer here, of course, but all the control will reside within your Chromebook, and in this manner, the latter will sport Microsoft Windows.
We wrote a complete article on setting up Chrome Remote Desktop on Chromebook and PC, so check that out if the idea sounds reasonable.
The Future of Chrome OS and Windows
On June 16, 2020, Google Cloud’s blog was updated with a post that revealed intriguing news. Written by Chrome OS’s VP, John Solomon, the post read that the company is now focused more than ever to bring additional Chromebooks flexibility. For this purpose, Google partnered up with Parallels—a leading cross-platform solution provider—and announced that it’s working to bring legacy application support to Chrome OS.
While this news broke out in June, many enterprises got to test the deal months after. Computer World was one of the first to try this slick new feature out. What really happens is that a virtual machine is installed on your Chromebook, and that goes on to run inside your Chrome OS, making it a 2-in-1 function device. This allows you to use two desktops within a single device, and truth be told, the possibilities are endless from here on out.
However, many things should be cleared before you start to get your hopes up. This is still in the works, and currently, the Google x Parallels partnership is only intended for full-scale enterprises and businesses. This is why the service comes at the cost of $70 per year.
The takeaway here is something to look forward to. We Chrome OS users will likely witness a proper integration with Windows and their breadth of applications in the not-so-distant future. For now, we have to settle for alternatives and other approaches.
As the days go by, Chromebooks strive to improve and become better computing machines. If Linux and the Google Play Store aren’t enough for someone’s needs, we have methods for installing and running Windows apps, as shown above. Since these are mostly workarounds to the actual thing, hopes are high for official Windows support in the near future.