If you’re one of many people who want your Chromebook to run older Windows applications, such as Microsoft Office, Google has a back.
We’ve already learned that Google plans to leverage a new partnership with Parallels, a lightweight virtual machine company, to run legacy Windows applications on Chrome OS. In an interview with The Verge, Chrome OS Product Manager Cyrus Masters, he described in detail how things are planned.
Your Chromebook will use Windows in its own virtual machine.
Parallels is a well-known name for people who need to run Windows software on MacBooke. The company makes a program that installs just like any other native application, but when you run it, you can load the entire operating system into it. You will then be able to open this operating system as an application inside MacOS.
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After the Windows virtual machine loads, you can use it to install other applications, such as Microsoft Office. You don̵7;t actually do these installed programs natively on the host operating system, but it’s smooth and very simple.
All this must be simple enough for everyone to use.
Simplicity is the key here. It was always possible to run Windows on a virtual machine on a Chromebook, but that required starting the Chromebook for a full Linux installation. Chrome itself has never supported any virtual machine applications such as Parallels or VMWare.
This is too difficult for most people. Because people want to use a Chromebook but need Windows programs, a solution needs to be found if Google wants to attract more people to buy the Chrome OS. Asking people to install a new boot loader to run Linux and Chrome, or even asking people to move around the Linux desktop is more than casual users will want to try.
Because every Windows application is in a Parallels virtual machine, the security of Chrome is not compromised. That’s one thing you give away when you boot dual boot and unlock a protected system on your Chromebook or adjust its BIOS. The Chrome team takes security very seriously, as we see with the sometimes frustrating way Android apps work. By maintaining Windows in a virtual machine, you maintain a safe boot sequence and help maintain malicious software.
Starting Windows this way keeps your Chromebook’s security features completely intact.
Perhaps more exciting news is that the partnership between Google and Parallels will expand to include Parallels’ Coherence, which allows you to set everything up and then simply launch Windows from the desktop icon without booting a full and standalone virtual machine.
This would allow users to install the Windows programs they need and treat them like native Chrome applications; open them when done and close them when done. You would still need a licensed copy of Windows and a licensed copy of the software you want to use, but once the installation is complete, you would think that you are simply using another Chrome OS application.
The biggest problem that can dampen your excitement is the hardware on your Chromebook. One of the best features of Chrome is its ability to run on modest hardware that doesn’t work very well with Microsoft Windows. That’s why a $ 300 Chromebook works well, but a $ 300 laptop with Windows 10 doesn’t – Windows needs a lot more information to power it.
Don’t expect a cheap Chromebook to run every Windows, but the ones you need will be fine.
You probably won’t run Adobe Photoshop on your cheap Chromebook. Also, you won’t be able to install Steam and play your favorite AAA games unless you buy for a very expensive model. And that’s planned to reach Chrome Enterprise users first without talking about the general release. However, you’ll be able to easily use Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel, or almost any other Windows productivity app.
I’ve been using Parallels on my MacBook Pro for years, and I’ve also used Linux and VMs to run Windows on my Pixelbook. I can say for sure that this solution will work for most people who need to use some Windows programs for work or things like personal finance. Unless you set your expectations too high, you will love it.