Google continues to add new features to its Chromebook platform. It wasn’t long ago that it allowed devices to run Android apps, and this led another company – Codeweavers – to create software that would allow Windows programs to work on multiple ChromeOS machines.
It’s free, easy to use, and doesn’t require any hacking or command line operations. So we’ll show you how to get Windows apps up and running on your Chromebook.
What you will need
Not all Chromebooks can run Windows apps. To do so, you’ll need a reasonably modern one (most likely from a few years back) that has an Intel CPU rather than an ARM.
It will also require at least 2GB of RAM installed and 200MB of free storage space to install, plus any additional space needed for the apps you plan to use.
Google has created a list of models that can run Android, that’s how Windows apps work on Chromebooks, so check that out before starting any of the steps below.
You will also need to enable the Google Play Store on your Chromebook. To do this, click the Settings icon (it looks like a gear), then click the three lines in the top left corner and select Google Play Store.
Here you will see an option to Turn on the Google Play Store on your Chromebook. Click here, follow the on-screen instructions and click Accept to complete the setup for the Google Play Store.
Finally, you’ll need the ChromeOS Beta CrossOver app, which you’ll find for free on the Google Play Store.
You won’t need a Windows license to use CrossOver, as it doesn’t actually install the Operating System on your Chromebook.
Are there any Windows apps that work?
While technically most Windows apps can run on Chromebooks, there are a few caveats.
The main problem is that Chromebooks are often a bit underwhelming when compared to Windows PCs. This is because ChromeOS is a very light operating system and does not require the weight of its Microsoft counterpart.
Naturally, this means that placing demanding Windows applications – such as Photoshop, video-intensive games, or even large suites like Office – can drag performance down to collectible levels. information.
Then there’s the fact that CrossOver is beta software, which brings the usual instability you’d expect from a product still in development. So far, the coders have done an excellent job, but you’ll need to manage your expectations if you want premium apps to work on lower-end Chromebooks.
The company provides a Windows app compatibility list on its website, and you should check that out first. If you are intending to run smaller applications then CrossOver can be a great solution, but in the case of those who will depend on the software for work or important projects, we recommend should invest in a full Windows PC instead.
There are some good machines out there at modest prices right now, so check out our best cheap laptops 2018 for some ideas.
Run Windows apps on your Chromebook
If you haven’t already, go to the Google Play Store and download the CrossOver app on Chrome OS Beta. Launch it, grant access to the various media it requires, and you’ll see a search bar where you can search for apps.
Enter the one you want to use and CrossOver will display a list of matching versions. Click Setting next to the correct button.
You will now be prompted to download the Installer program from Codeweavers. Click To go button, then Continue to website to start the process.
You will be taken to the Encoder page where the need to install the Chrome extension is explained. The purpose of this is to support this and any future apps you wish to use.
Click Add to Chrome and do the same for More extensions button appears afterwards. With this done, you can now click the link at the bottom of the screen for the app you want to install.
Go back to CrossOver and click Retry to see if the app has the installation files it requires. If so, select it and the installation will begin.
During the installation process, you will most likely be prompted to install many of the things that Windows applications require. This could be a font, an XML Parser or something like that. Agree to all of this and follow whatever wizard comes up (it’s the kind of software, not the bearded old men of legend).
Once the installation is complete, you will see a confirmation of this and an option to open the app. Click Launch the app To do that.
You are now free to use the software as if it were on a Windows machine.
For more ideas about the capabilities and limitations of ChromeOS devices, read Can you use a Chromebook as your only laptop? guide.
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