Between web apps and Android apps in Chrome OS, there's a lot you can do on Chromebooks. For those who have always used Windows-based products, this may not be a smooth transition. Some of the Windows features may be missing. Or maybe you just miss the familiarity of Windows.
You might not have thought it was possible, but there are several ways you can bring some of that Windows goodness to your Chrome OS computer. There are a multitude of ways this works – and we can show you where to go. Here's how to install Windows on a Chromebook.
Installing Windows 10 on a Chromebook is difficult, and the end result may not be particularly good. For starters, manufacturers choose certain components that complement Google's lightweight, web-centric operating system. Most mainstream models have less than 64 GB of storage, around 4 GB of storage, and no dedicated graphics chips.
Additionally, both Google and Microsoft don't support Windows 10 running on Chromebook-focused hardware. That means you may not find Microsoft certified drivers and have to resort to possible third-party solutions.
However, the biggest problem related to Windows 10 on Chromebooks is the Microsoft platform installation. Most Chromebooks have a write protect screw on the motherboard that prevents you from installing an operating system. To get Windows 10 onto the computer, you need to remove the lower shell, remove the screw from the motherboard, and then flash the new firmware.
After all, your Chromebook may not even have the hardware to support Windows 10. To see if your Chromebook is compatible, check out CoolStar's list.
With that in mind, if you don't want to completely hack your Chromebook, it's always worth checking out our list of alternatives later in this article.
Still, if you want to learn how to install Windows on a Chromebook, read on.
before you start
Before embarking on this great hacking adventure of setting up Windows on your Chromebook, it is a good idea to back up any important data you have on the system. Playing around with your operating system, firmware and BIOS can have a serious impact on your system and you can lose anything that is not otherwise protected.
If something happens and you can't use your Chromebook, you can create a USB drive from another computer to try to restore the system. However, this will erase all of your data, so backups are a must. Use Google Drive when you don't have an external drive handy.
How to install Windows 10 on a Chromebook
First, you need the following tools:
- A screwdriver.
- 1x USB drive for Windows 10 installation media.
- 1x USB drive for backing up Chromebook firmware and storing downloaded drivers.
- A second PC to create the Windows 10 USB installation drive and download drivers.
- A USB based mouse and keyboard.
Next, search online for the exact location of the write protect screw on your specific Chromebook model.
Step 1: Press and hold the power button until the Chromebook turns off.
Step 2: Turn the Chromebook over and remove the bottom shell.
Step 3: Find and remove the write protect screw.
Step 4: Place the bottom case back on the Chromebook and connect the power adapter.
Step 5: Press the Esc + Refresh + Power keys to turn on the Chromebook in recovery mode.
Step 6: If the screen says Chrome OS is missing or damaged, press Ctrl + D keys.
Step 7: Press Enter to turn off operating system verification.
Step 8: The Chromebook should restart in developer mode. When the screen says "Operating system verification is OFF" press Ctrl + D to start Chrome OS.
Step 9: After booting Chrome OS, press the Ctrl + Alt + T keys at the same time. This will open the Terminal.
Step 10: Type shell and press Enter.
Step 11: Type the following command and press Enter to download and run a script file with root privileges:
CD; curl -LO https://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh && sudo bash firmware-util.sh
Step 12: Type 3 and hit Enter. This will select the Install / Update Full ROM Firmware option.
Step 13: Enter Y to continue.
Step 14: Enter U to install the UEFI firmware.
Step 15: Connect a USB drive to back up the Chromebook's current firmware.
Step 16: Turn off the Chromebook after the new Windows-friendly firmware is installed.
Step 17: Go to your second PC and follow the instructions in our separate article: How to Legally Download and Install Windows 10 from a Windows 10 ISO File. You're essentially using another USB stick to create a bootable drive that will be used to install Windows 10 on the Chromebook.
Step 18: On your second PC, visit the CoolStar website to see which Windows-based drivers to install on the Chromebook. Find it and download it to the USB drive you previously used to back up the Chromebook's original firmware.
Step 19: Connect a mouse and keyboard to your Chromebook and install Windows 10 from the bootable USB drive.
Step 20: After installing Windows 10, remove the installer USB drive, plug in the USB stick with the downloaded drivers and update accordingly.
Here are methods to get a Windows-like hack-free experience without opening up the Chromebook and installing new firmware.
Use Microsoft's free apps
If you're primarily interested in accessing Microsoft's Office apps, and don't really care about any of the other Windows 10 apps, this is by far the easiest option.
Step 1: Start the Chrome browser and navigate to the Office website.
Step 2: Sign in to your Microsoft account. You must have an account to use these free web-based apps.
Step 3: Select the web app listed on the left. It will open in the same tab – no downloads are required.
Use Chrome Remote Desktop
Chrome Remote Desktop is software that allows you to easily access another desktop while using your Chromebook. In this case, a Windows 10 PC will be streamed to your Chromebook while allowing remote interaction through a mouse / trackpad and keyboard.
The key to this method – and the limitation – is that you need that second Windows 10 computer that is connected to the internet. That's the only way it works.
Step 1: With Chrome open on the Windows 10 PC, in the address bar, type: remotedesktop.google.com/access
Step 2: Under Set Up Armor Access, click Download. This will download and install the host software.
Step 3: Choose a PIN with six or more digits, then click the blue Start button.
Step 4: Wait for the Windows 10 PC to show "online".
Step 5: On the Chromebook, make sure it is signed in to the same account and enter the following address in Chrome: remotedesktop.google.com/access
Step 6: Click on the Windows 10 shared PC that appears under Remote Access.
Step 7: Enter the PIN you created on the Windows 10 computer and press Enter.
Step 8: If screen sharing in the Chrome browser isn't ideal, click the square icon with the angled arrow in the address bar to move the screen to the Chrome Remote Desktop app.
Step 9: Click the blue and white button on the right (or left) edge of the app.
Step 10: Make the necessary changes, such as: B. Select full screen, activate clipboard optimization and much more.
You should now have remote access to the Windows 10 PC. You can use the Chromebook's trackpad to move the cursor and type on the keyboard as you normally would. On the Windows 10 PC, a small pop-up appears with the "Stop Sharing" button.
Note: This is a very good remote desktop app, but remote desktop solutions still have their pitfalls. They are highly dependent on internet connections and can sometimes cause delays. This works best when you have a high-speed internet connection between the two computers.
CodeWeavers' CrossOver is a software solution that allows you to run certain operating system apps on other operating systems. This includes running Windows software on your Chromebook.
Due to the software requirements involved, CrossOver is not available to everyone. In particular, you can only run it on Intel-based Chromebooks. If you want to include Android devices or apps, they must be compatible with Android 5.x or higher. Also, certain features like mouse lock (which is often used in FPS games) will not work.
Next, CrossOver isn't free. The current full version costs $ 40, while you can get the full version with 12-month updates for $ 60. If you have money to blow, you can spend $ 500 to get the software with lifetime updates. However, you can also buy a Windows 10 PC at this price.
Here's what you need to do:
Step 1: Enable Linux by opening Chromebook Settings and selecting Linux (Beta). Follow the instructions on the screen.
Step 2: Visit the CodeWeavers website and enter your name and email address to access the free trial.
Step 3: Click the red Download Trial Now button. Chrome will pull a DEB file from the website and save it to your default download location.
Step 4: Find the download, double-click it, and click the blue Install button.
Step 5: Click the blue OK button to confirm. The app is installed via Linux.
Step 6: Open the launcher followed by the CrossOver app. You can probably find it in the Linux Apps folder.
Step 7: Click the Install Windows Software button.
Step 8: A pop-up window will appear. Click the Browse Available Applications link below to see what you can install. If you already have an installer, click the Select Installer tab instead.
In many cases, you can confirm the software you want and CrossOver will start the installation process with no problems. In some cases, you may need to select the correct installation file from a list. So, pay close attention to the filenames and make sure you select the one you want. You may also need to agree to license agreements and similar contracts at this point.
After completing the installation, you should be able to start the installation immediately. Note that large programs take up a lot of space that not all Chromebooks have. Fortunately, there are ways to use Android apps on Chromebooks and save space.
Google Project Campfire
Dan Baker / Digital Trends
For a couple of years, Google has been hinting at bringing Windows compatibility to Chromebooks so users can natively load and run Windows 10 using a dual-boot setup. Eagle-eyed users found references to "Alt-OS" in Google's Chrome OS code. "Project Campfire" promised to combine the two operating systems on a single device.
Google reportedly stopped this project however, may be set aside in 2019 as it focused on adding and tweaking Android and Linux in Chrome OS. B.However, recent reports suggest that the project may not be dead after all. The code in the Chromium Gerrit repository points to Campfire running on Eve. This is Google's code name for the Pixelbook. The code specifically refers to "Alternate Operating System Mode" and "HID for Eve Sensors Alt-OS".
Note that Windows 10 uses significantly more resources than Chrome OS. Only high-end Chromebooks like the Pixelbook range could handle it.