The right way to Run ChromeOS in VirtualBox

Would you like to try ChromeOS in VirtualBox? Whether you're buying a Chromebook and want to get a feel for the operating system, or just curious about ChromeOS, a virtual machine is a great way to try out Google's browser-first operating system.

Unfortunately, Google doesn't offer downloads of ChromeOS – at least not in a form that is easy to use with a virtual machine. The popular ChromeOS builds that were once offered by Hexxah seem to have disappeared as well. Even the CloudReady version of Neverware has limitations.

However, your choices for running ChromeOS in a virtual machine are extremely narrow. Here's how to run Neverware's older ChromeOS build in VirtualBox. If you want something newer, the company offers a build for VMware ESXi 6.5, Workstation 14.1.1, and Fusion 10.1.

What you need

The latest version of the CloudReady ChromeOS image, version 83, does not work with VirtualBox due to "graphics incompatibilities". You will need to find and download the older version listed below as Neverware does not offer this file. As for VirtualBox, the latest version works just fine.

Before installing VirtualBox

VirtualBox will not work if certain features are installed in Windows 10. If you encounter an error loading the ChromeOS image, do the following:

Step 1: Enter "turn" in the search box on the taskbar and select "Enable or disable Windows features" from the results.

Step 2: A pop-up window will appear on the screen. The following features should be disabled (but first check what you're losing access to):

  • Application Guard – Untrusted sites defined in isolation by companies.
  • Credential Guard – Virtualization-based security that only allows privileged system software access to secrets.
  • Device Guard – Enables Hyper-V components.
  • * Guard
  • Container – System-level virtualization to run multiple isolated applications.
  • Hyper-V – Runs 64-bit virtual machines on the host operating system.
  • Virtual machine platform – Component for running a virtual machine.
  • Windows Hypervisor Platform – Adds an advanced user-mode API for third-party virtualization stacks and applications.
  • Windows Sandbox – A virtual one-way environment.
  • Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) – A compatibility layer for running Linux executable binaries.

Note: The functions listed above relate to virtualization and are not included in Windows 10 Home. Re-enable these features if you don't want to use VirtualBox outside of this ChromeOS test drive.

Step 3: Restart Windows 10.

If the ChromeOS image still fails to load, try the following:

Step 1: Right-click the Start button and select Windows PowerShell (Admin) from the Power User menu.

Step 2: Type: disable bcdedit / hypervisorlaunchtype

Step 3: Shut down and restart the PC. Don't just click "Restart".

Run ChromeOS in VirtualBox

VirtualBox Import ApplianceKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

Step 1: With VirtualBox open, click File in the upper left corner, followed by Import Appliance in the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Next to the File field, click the folder icon on the far right, locate the CloudReady_Free_x64_Virtualbox.ova file on your PC and then click the Open button.

Find the VirtualBox source fileKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

Step 3: The OVA file is displayed in the file field. Click next to continue.

Step 4: Leave all the default settings on the appliance and click the Import button to continue. A popup will appear when VirtualBox creates the ChromeOS virtual machine.

VirtualBox Importing ApplianceKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

Step 5: In the main VirtualBox Manager window, select the CloudReady_Free_x86 virtual machine and click the green Start button.

Open the ChromeOS virtual machineKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

Step 6: The CloudReady logo will be displayed for a moment until the installation window loads. Select a language, keyboard layout, and network connection, then click Next when you're done.

Set up the ChromeOS VMKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

Step 7: The Adobe Flash EULA terms are displayed. Click the Not Now button.

Step 8: Enter your Google Account email address or phone and click the Next button.

Step 9: Enter your Google account password and click the Next button.

Note: You can also choose "Browse as Guest" even though you will see more of ChromeOS with a Google Account.

Step 10: Check the two-step authentication if necessary.

Welcome to ChromeOS

ChromeOS VM in VirtualBoxKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

With ChromeOS loaded, you can get an idea of ​​what to expect. This build does not reflect the latest version as the entire user interface looks different. Some web-based apps associated with your account may appear below, but that's about it. This build doesn't come with wallpapers, so we downloaded one through the Chrome browser.

Chrome browser in VirtualBoxKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

In newer builds, apps are hidden in a "drawer" that you can access by clicking the launcher icon. In this older build, click the magnifying glass in the lower left corner. An old school pop-up will appear with all of your web-based apps. Because this build doesn't support (or contain) Google Play, Android apps cannot be downloaded and installed.

ChromeOS App TrayKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

Click your icon next to the system clock, then click Settings to change the wallpaper, mouse speed, default download location, Google Cloud Print, and more.

ChromeOS settings VirtualBox

While there doesn't seem to be a way to change the output resolution to better complement your PC's desktop, you can switch between three modes – Full Screen, Seamless, or Scaled – or choose a percentage to change the ChromeOS desktop from 125% to 125% to scale 300%.

ChromeOS VM Change ScalingKevin Parrish / Digital Trends

As shown above, click View on the virtual machine menu bar and select one of the three modes, or click Virtual Screen 1 and select a specific percentage.

Try & # 39; s before you buy & # 39; s

At this point, running ChromeOS in a virtual machine with the build linked above is just an example. Unfortunately, the current CloudReady image does not support VirtualBox. Furthermore, it doesn't even run in VMware Workstation Player 15.5 – it only works in VMware ESXi 6.5, Workstation 14.1.1, and Fusion 10.1.

If you'd like to try ChromeOS, just visit Best Buy or a similar retail store that sells Chromebooks. Otherwise, experimenting with ChromeOS in VirtualBox is extremely limited until another image with a newer ChromeOS version arrives.

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