If you’re one of the many people who want your Chromebook to run older Windows applications like Microsoft Office, Google has your back.
We’ve heard earlier that Google plans to use its new partnership with Parallels, a company that specializes in making a lightweight virtual machine, to allow older Windows apps to work on Chrome OS. In an interview with The Verge, Chrome OS product manager Cyrus Mistry has now described in detail how things should work.
Your Chromebook runs Windows in its own virtual machine.
Parallels is a household name for people who need to run Windows software on a MacBook. The company creates a program that installs like any other native application. However, if you run it, you can load a full operating system into it. You can then open this operating system as an application Within Mac OS.
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Once you have loaded the virtual machine on Windows, you can use it to install other applications such as Microsoft Office. You don̵
All of this has to be so simple that everyone can use it.
And simplicity is the key here. It has always been possible to run Windows in a virtual machine on a Chromebook, but it included booting your Chromebook with a full Linux installation. Chrome itself never supported applications for virtual machines like Parallels or VMWare.
It’s just too difficult for most people. Since users want to use a Chromebook but need Windows programs, a solution had to be found if Google wanted to convince more users to buy Chrome OS. Asking people to install a new boot loader so they can boot Linux and Chrome, or even asking people to navigate on a Linux desktop, is more than casual users want to try.
Because every Windows application resides in a Parallels virtual machine, Chrome’s security is not compromised. This is one thing to reveal when you start dual-booting and unlocking your Chromebook’s protected boot or changing the BIOS. The Chrome team takes security very seriously, as we can see from the sometimes frustrating performance of Android apps. If you leave Windows in a virtual machine, the boot sequence remains secure and malware is preserved.
If you run Windows this way, your Chromebook’s security features will be fully preserved.
Perhaps the more exciting news is that the partnership between Google and Parallels also extends and ultimately includes Parallels’ coherence feature, which allows you to set everything up and then simply start a Windows program from a desktop icon without starting a full and separate virtual machine .
In this way, users can install the required Windows programs and treat them as native Chrome apps. Open them when they are needed and close them when they are done. You still need a licensed copy of Windows and a licensed copy of the software you plan to use. However, after the installation is complete, you would think you were simply using a different Chrome OS app.
The bigger problem that can dampen your excitement is the hardware in your Chromebook. One of the best features of Chrome is the ability to run on poor hardware that is unable to run Microsoft Windows very well. For this reason, a $ 300 Chromebook runs flawlessly, but a $ 300 laptop doesn’t run on Windows 10 – Windows takes a lot more “oomph” to power it.
Don’t expect your cheap Chromebook to run everyone Windows program, but the ones you need will run fine.
You probably won’t be running Adobe Photoshop on your cheap Chromebook. You also can’t install Steam and play your favorite AAA games unless you buy a very expensive model. And this is planned for Chrome Enterprise users who initially have no word on a general version. However, you can easily use Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel or just about any other productivity application for Windows.
I have been using Parallels on my MacBook Pro for years and have also worked with Linux and a VM to run Windows on my Pixelbook. I can safely say that this solution works well for most people who need to use some Windows programs for work or for things like personal finance. As long as you don’t set your expectations too high, you will love it.