News: Windows on Chromebooks

Windows 10 on Chromebook

The Chromebook with its’ Android-derived Chrome OS is Google’s answer to the the Windows laptop. No onboard storage and a setup for cloud-based computing means no Windows-based applications like MS-Office, Notepad, or anything by Adobe. Except you can now run Windows 10 on Chromebooks – in a virtual machine.

Virtualisation specialist Parallels is providing Chromebook users a virtual machine to boot up Windows 10 under Chrome OS and run Windows 10 apps.

However, it’s not freely available to all Chromebooks and fits only specific criteria:

  • The Chromebook has to be registered with an enterprise for business purposes. Personal Chromebooks don’t qualify.
  • Windows 10 in the virtual machine requires a valid Windows 10 license key. You’ll need a valid Windows 10 license for activation to stay on the right side of the law.

The Chromebook needs a higher spec processor, memory and storage in order to run Parallels VM and Windows 10 with any performance. Parallels borrows heavily from the Chromebook’s resources to create the virtual machine.

Why now? The ongoing pandemic has pushed a lot of people to remote working. A lot of employers are heavily invested in custom Windows applications and networks for their line of business. They also rely on compatible file formats between collaborating employees.

These things can’t be rewritten for Chrome OS overnight. Most companies are short on cash. Meanwhile employers are asking employees to install certain programs to support remote working, many of which won’t work on a Chromebook.

Hell hasn’t frozen over. Windows doesn’t run natively on Chromebooks. But if you can afford an extra windows license on a company machine, it’s there. AJS

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