How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Google started dropping hints about its Chrome OS-like plans for Windows 8 back in October. At the time it was merely an experiment in the developer version of Chrome, but today Google is rolling out a new user interface to all Chrome Windows users alongside a noisy tabs tracking feature. The new “Metro” mode essentially converts Chrome for Windows 8 into Chrome OS. Just like Google’s full Chrome OS, you can create multiple browser windows and arrange them using a snap to the left or right of the display or full-screen modes. There’s even a shelf with Chrome, Gmail, Google, Docs, and YouTube icons that can be arranged at the bottom, left, or right of the screen.

An app launcher is also available in the lower left-hand corner, providing access to search and recent apps. It’s all clearly designed to work well with touch on Windows 8, something that the traditional desktop version of Chrome has not focused on so far. The “Metro” mode presents the keyboard automatically, and also includes the ability to navigate and resize windows within the Chrome OS-like environment. Some UI elements still require some touch optimization, but overall it’s a better experience than the existing desktop version with touch.

While the Chrome browser acts as a Windows 8 application, it’s using a special mode that Microsoft has enabled specifically for web browsers. The software maker allows browsers on Windows 8 to launch in its “Metro-style” environment providing they’re set as default. The applications are listed in the Windows Store and they’re still desktop apps, but the exception allows them to mimic Windows 8 apps and access the app and snapping features of the OS. While Chrome runs in this mode on Windows 8, Microsoft does not permit this type of behavior on Windows RT.

A true Trojan horse

Google’s latest update for Windows 8 is clearly a big step forwards in its Chrome Apps initiative. The search giant is working with developers to create apps that exist outside of the browser and extend Chrome’s reach into more of a platform for third parties to build upon. Having a Chrome OS-like environment directly inside of Windows 8 extends Google’s browser into a Trojan horse to eventually convince users to download more and more Chrome Apps and possibly push them towards Chrome OS in the future.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment on whether Google’s latest Chrome OS update conforms with the Metro-style browser policies, and we’ll update you accordingly.

Do Chromebooks run Linux? This isn’t the way they’re advertised, for sure. Google doesn’t tell you Chromebooks come with Linux. They run Chrome OS, Google’s take on what a desktop operating system can be.

But despite how different Chrome OS looks and feels, Chrome OS is based on Linux. So when we talk about Linux, are we also talking about Chrome OS? Here are eight points to consider.

1. Chromebooks Use the Linux Kernel

Linux, technically, isn’t an operating system. It’s a kernel, the part of your computer that enables your PC’s hardware to communicate with software. The kernel is why things happen when you press buttons and why you can see things on your screen.

All the software you see on your screen? That isn’t Linux. Linux has simply become shorthand for operating systems (also known as distributions, or distro for short) built using the Linux kernel. Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel, so by this standard, Chrome OS is desktop Linux.

2. Chrome OS Is Based on Gentoo

Chrome OS doesn’t just use the Linux kernel. It is actually built on top of the Gentoo Linux distribution.

This means that much of what goes on behind the scenes isn’t code developed by Google. It comes from the broader Linux community.

That said, don’t expect to dive into the Gentoo experience. Even if you follow the steps to install full-blown Linux on your Chromebook, it won’t be Gentoo that you’re running.

3. You Can Install Some Linux Apps

The argument that Chrome OS is Linux doesn’t stop there. Chrome OS now offers the option to install traditional desktop Linux apps using Crostini.

Now, these apps are not what drive people to Chrome OS. You need to first check to be sure your Chromebook comes with Linux app support. If it does, you can run native desktop Linux apps like GIMP and VLC on your Chromebook without having to switch it to developer mode or replace Chrome OS entirely.

4. Chrome OS and GNU Are Largely Incompatible

So far it seems pretty obvious that Chrome OS is Linux. So why is this even a question?

Well, when you see Linux discussed online, have you noticed how it’s often written as GNU/Linux? That’s because many of the components that currently go into providing a fully functional Linux desktop actually existed before the Linux kernel did. They came about as part of the GNU project. Much of what we associate with Linux has more to do with GNU than with Linux.

Chrome OS is based on Linux, but it doesn’t share in the apps, values, or culture of the GNU project. It’s Linux, sure, but it’s not really GNU.

5. Is Chrome OS Free and Open Source?

A foundational part of the GNU project is making free software, with “free” referring not to the price but to your freedom to view, edit, and share the code. This is also known as open-source software.

The Linux kernel is free software. It’s available under the GNU General Public License, which guarantees that the Linux kernel and all changes made to it remain free for everyone to use and share. All GNU software is also free software.

Much of what goes into Chrome OS is also free software, as it’s available for anyone to download in the form of Chromium OS. You can install and run Chromium OS on your machine. But the full experience that you get on a Chromebook contains scores of closed source code.

Google adds proprietary bits to the browser, and the majority of apps and extensions you install are also closed source. So even if most of the code that goes into Chrome OS is open, most of the bits you consciously interact with aren’t, just like on Android.

6. You Can’t Swap Your Desktop Environment

This black code has a tangible impact on your experience with a Chromebook. Compared to your typical Linux desktop, you have relatively little freedom when it comes to how you set up or modify your experience.

You can’t choose an alternate interface to the one Google provides. You can’t swap out the audio or display server. You can pick your app store or preferred package format though.

In short, while most Linux desktops give you the freedom to configure your PC however you want, Chrome OS doesn’t. You either use Chrome OS the way Google designed it, or you use crouton to substitute a proper GNU/Linux desktop in place of Chrome OS.

It’s easier to either replace Chrome OS with Linux or use the two side-by-side than it is with Windows, but just like with Windows, they still feel like two separate things.

7. Development Is Not Community-Led

If code is available online for anyone to view, edit, and share, then yes, it’s open-source. This is true of Chromium OS, the code that makes up much of Chrome OS. But this is only part of the story.

Most Linux distributions don’t merely have open code or provide you with a way to contribute, they actively seek out your involvement in the direction of the project. They are also developed out in the open. There are mailing lists that people can subscribe to and monitor conversations about a project’s direction.

Or there is a forum, or a GitHub, or a GitLab page. With Chromium OS, you are invited to get involved, but the direction of the project is primarily determined in-house at Google.

8. Chrome Apps Are Not Linux Apps

There are many desktop environments in the Linux ecosystem. They look and function in wildly different ways. But as different as GNOME and KDE Plasma may be from one another, you can run an app designed for one inside another. Most Linux software is interoperable, even if it may not integrate well and look out of place.

This isn’t the case with Chrome OS. To be fair, software generally isn’t designed for Chrome OS. It’s either an Android app or a Chrome extension. And yes, you can install Chrome on Linux. But those extensions require Chrome, and Android apps require an emulator. Chrome OS exists in its own ecosystem separate from the rest of Linux.

So Is Chrome OS Desktop Linux?

Chrome OS is Linux, sure. But is it GNU/Linux? No, not really. And is Chrome OS what most people have in mind when they think of Linux?

Most Chrome OS users have no idea that they are using Linux. In this regard, Chrome OS has much more in common with Android than with other Linux-based desktops.

Ultimately, there is no simple answer to this question, and that has less to do with Chrome and more to do with how ambiguous of a name “Linux” for an operating system really is.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists) By Hannah Davies

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

  • In this article…

Its the weekend again, meaning its time for another edition of Winners and Losers. This week, its the battle of the operating systems with Google’s Chrome OS crowned our winner and Windows 11 users our loser.

It’s not been the most eventful week in tech. Samsung’s Galaxy S22 launch and February’s big Nintendo Direct having taken place the previous week, making this one feel quite a bit quieter.

This week saw the release of three new smartphones – OnePlus’ affordable Nord CE 2 and the colour-changing Realme 9 Pro and 9 Pro Plus. New headphones also arrived from the likes of Audio-Technica, Sony and B&O, while KEF unveiled its newest set of high-end Blade and Reference speakers.

Scroll down to learn who picked up our winner and loser titles this week and why…

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Winner: Google

Our winner is Google, who this week announced software that will transform your old Windows or macOS laptop into a Chromebook at no extra cost.

Chrome OS Flex gives users access to web apps and virtualisation, fast boot-up speeds, background system updates and built-in security protection and features the same code base and release cadence as Chrome OS. Devices running the cloud-based OS can even be managed by IT alongside regular Chromebooks via the Google Admin console.

The software is designed to bring new life to outdated laptops at businesses and schools that might otherwise be thrown out. Not only could this save a lot of money but it should also help to reduce e-waste caused by chucking old tech out. You could even use the software to help donate old laptops to friends, family or organisations in need of devices.

Chrome OS Flex isn’t technically new. Google acquired Neverware, the company behind the software (then called CloudReady) in 2020, before developing it into what it is today.

Chrome OS Flex launched an early access version of the software this week, but a stable (and bug-free) version should be available in the coming months.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Loser: Windows users

We’ve already crowned one operating system our winner so it felt poetic to choose another as our loser. Luckily for us, Microsoft made it easy with its latest Windows 11 update.

This week, the company announced the first major update to its Windows 11 OS since its launch last October. However, one of the most exciting features won’t actually be available in the UK.

The OS update includes a preview of the Amazon Appstore for Windows, which allows users to install Android apps on their PC, with the first 1000 apps being released this week.

However, this app store is currently only supported in the US, meaning UK users won’t be able to take advantage of it.

Add to My Vault:

The current primetime release of the Chrome browser for Windows 8 contains no real surprises; it’s a tabbed browser and offers desktop and Modern UI modes. However it looks like some very big changes are on the way – if indications from the Chrome developer channel are a clear reflection of what will be coming next to end users.

Recently Google showed off its Chrome Apps initiative which extends the Chrome browser into something more like a platform, as it will be enabled to launch apps that exist outside the browser. The latest developer version of Chrome for Windows 8 goes a big step further as when launched it presents the user with much more than a full screen browser window – you get the whole Chrome OS. The Verge reports that “the UI and functionality is identical to Chrome OS”. I’ll have to take their word for that as I have never used a ChromeBook/Box.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Looking at the screenshots of the developer version of Chrome for Windows 8 you can clearly see the multi-window desktop interface that presents itself within Windows. The multiple windows environment is joined by a taskbar-like Chrome OS ‘shelf’ of app shortcuts including Google staples like Gmail and YouTube. Also the ChromeOS ‘start button’ lets you quickly get to other installed Chrome Apps. Some Google fans could easily spend the majority of their computer time in this cuckoo OS and Play Store.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

The Verge reports that Microsoft has enabled a special mode in Windows 8 for browsers that allows browser apps to mimic Windows 8 apps; being listed in the Windows app store and supporting features such as snapping. The Verge describes this new Google Chrome software as a “true Trojan horse,” in the Windows environment. To further its aims Google is also said to be improving touch support in Chrome, something that will be increasingly important as more Windows tablets are sold.

New affordable touchscreen Chromebook on the way from Acer

In other ChromeOS related news it looks like the pricey Chromebook Pixel isn’t going to be the only touch-enabled Chromebook on the block any more. GigaOM reports that an upcoming Acer C720 Chromebook will be listed with a touchscreen option when bought and configured. It will also be purchasable with various RAM and fixed storage configurations.

Windows cannot access \Mac\Home\Desktop notification pops up every time Windows virtual machine (VM) starts.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

A similar error can appear but for the Downloads folder:

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)


Incorrect configuration of shared folders driver.

By default, Desktop location is /Users/your username/Desktop where /your username/ is the name of your Mac user account (e.g. /Users/John/Desktop). The same applies to the Downloads folder that is usually /Users/your username/Downloads.


Fix incorrect driver configuration

Start Parallels Desktop. Do not start your virtual machine or shut it down if it is running.

Open virtual machine configuration > General. Make sure that the type of the virtual machine matches the type of guest OS installed.

Fix Mac Desktop location back to default

Make sure that Desktop/Downloads folder is actually located in /Users/your username/)

Start Terminal (Finder > Applications > Utilities) and execute the following command:

NOTE: If you notice that your Desktop/Downloads folder is located in another directory, then one of the cloud storage applications changed the location of these folders. You may either disable Desktop/Downloads sharing with Parallels virtual machine (VM configuration > Options > Sharing > Share Mac > Configure… > uncheck Desktop/Downloads and click OK), or to revert Desktop/Downloads location to its original location using the instructions below.

Note the corresponding path to your original macOS Desktop/Downloads folder.

Move macOS Desktop/Downloads folder from the current path to its default location.

​​​​​​​The same applies to the Downloads folder.

The massive growth in technology has released a wide range of choices for convenient mobile devices. With so many different options to choose from, how do you make a decision? Two of the most popular options, especially in the education industry, are Chromebooks and Windows 8.1 laptops. Price used to be the deciding factor—with Chromebooks being so reasonable, it made it easy for schools to afford such an investment. However, the prices have since leveled out, causing this decision to boil down to what you want to be able to do or achieve with the device.


A Chromebook is a laptop running the Chrome OS (Operating System) that is primarily used while connected to the Internet. All applications and much of the data reside in the cloud. Chromebooks use Google apps and the Chrome browser only. With this device, you will need to be connected to the internet virtually all the time, and be okay with a less functional device when you are offline.

These are great for schools, especially smaller ones without IT departments. Chromebooks are ready to use in seconds, run updates automatically and provide a Google Management Console that allows teachers the ability to manage their classroom’s Chromebooks with ease. With this feature, teachers can assign devices to users and get configuration and usage reports, control what their students have access to by pre-installing and blocking apps, control who can use the Chromebooks by disabling the Guest Mode, and setup network and proxy settings to make it easy for their students to get up and running and ensure they’re protected by web filters and firewalls.

There are a few issues with the Chromebook, however. Because these devices are designed to be used when connected to the internet, it can cause problems when connection is lost or when trying to work offline. In a classroom setting this can cause a problem when students try to accomplish some work at home or on the bus. The school network must also be prepared with enough capacity for the addition of these devices. Printing or connecting to other peripheral devices can be a huge issue with Chromebooks; they only work with Google Cloud Print-ready printers and usually cannot connect directly to scanners or many other devices you might already have.


A Windows 8.1 laptop operates on a more traditional PC (Personal Computer) level. Software and data can be downloaded and stored directly on the device, and cloud services can be accessed through an internet browser. With this device comes the familiarity of the Windows desktop, including the start screen, ease of organizing files, and access to Microsoft Office desktop applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), along with the ability to continue working even when you are offline. However, Office licensing can be expensive, especially when compared to free Google services.

Skype is another application that is only available on a Microsoft device. It was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 and is an application that enables people from all over the globe to connect through text, voice and video calls. In the classroom, Skype can be used as a brilliant learning tool. Your class can collaborate with other classes no matter where they are, find quest speakers and invite them into the classroom without travel, and take a virtual field trip anywhere in the world while remaining in the comfort of the classroom.

Longtime users of Windows struggled when Microsoft decided to unveil Windows 8, which included a change to their familiar interface. This led to the release of Windows 8.1, which brought back the long lost and extremely missed start screen options, along with some nifty features like the Boot to Desktop that detects whether it’s running on a traditional PC with a mouse and keyboard or if its running on a tablet or slate (a notebook computer that accepts input from an electronic pen).

Order of Business

Make sure to diligently research your options and determine the device that will perform how you need it to. First, determine what you need the device to be able to do. These would be your requirements and ultimately your “deal breakers” for devices that do not have those capabilities. Then you must determine what you want the device to be able to do; features you would like to have but are not crucial. With the list of needs and wants, it makes it easy to go into a store and have a salesperson point you to the device that encompasses your requests.

Feature Comparison

A final word on how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

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I have a problem with the –disable-web-security flag. It is not working in Chrome 48 and Chrome 49 beta on Windows.

I’ve tried killing all of the instances, reboot and run Chrome with the flag first of all, tried different machines as well. In the beta I can see the warning popup (“You are using unsupported flag..”), but CORS is still being enforced. Public version seems to ignore the flag completely.

There seems to be no news or people reports about that, so it might be a local issue. Will be grateful for help or any related info.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

13 Answers 13

As of Chrome 95, on MacOS and Windows, –disable-site-isolation-trials remains a required flag in order to disable web security, so the command-line arguments to Chrome seen below are still valid. (Some of the arguments are not formally supported by Chrome, as it will warn you.)

To test whether you’ve successfully launched Chrome with web security disabled, run the snippet in Web Security Test at the bottom of this post.

As of Chrome 81, it is mandatory to pass both –disable-site-isolation-trials and a non-empty profile path via –user-data-dir in order for –disable-web-security to take effect:

(Speculation) It is likely that Chrome requires a non-empty profile path to mitigate the high security risk of launching the browser with web security disabled on the default profile. See –user-data-dir= vs –user-data-dir=/some/path for more details below.

Thanks to @Snæbjørn for the Chrome 81 tip in the comments.

As of Chrome 80 (possibly even earlier), the combination of flags –user-data-dir=/tmp/some-path –disable-web-security –disable-site-isolation-trials no longer disables web security.

It is unclear when the Chromium codebase regressed, but downloading an older build of Chromium (following “Not-so-easy steps” on the Chromium download page) is the only workaround I found. I ended up using Version 77.0.3865.0, which properly disables web security with these flags.

In Chrome 67+, it is necessary to pass the –disable-site-isolation-trials flag alongside arguments –user-data-dir= and –disable-web-security to truly disable web security.

On MacOS, the full command becomes:

Regarding –user-data-dir

Per David Amey’s answer, it is still necessary to specify –user-data-dir= for Chrome to respect the –disable-web-security option.

–user-data-dir= vs –user-data-dir=/some/path

Though passing in an empty path via –user-data-dir= works with –disable-web-security , it is not recommended for security purposes as it uses your default Chrome profile, which has active login sessions to email, etc. With Chrome security disabled, your active sessions are thus vulnerable to additional in-browser exploits.

Thus, it is recommended to use an alternative directory for your Chrome profile with –user-data-dir=/tmp/chrome-sesh or equivalent. Credit to @James B for pointing this out in the comments.


This fix was discovered within the browser testing framework Cypress:

Run this snippet to confirm that this solution actually disabled web security in Google Chrome:

We kick the tires on Flex and install it on some old hardware for good measure.

Andrew Cunningham – Feb 16, 2022 7:46 pm UTC

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

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October 14, 2025, marks the end of support and security updates for the Home and Pro versions of Windows 10. That means it’s also the end of official guaranteed feature and security updates for Windows PCs that don’t meet Windows 11’s hardware requirements.

Further Reading

Viewed from early 2022, that date is still comfortably far off. Many Windows 10 PCs will break over the next three and a half years, and plenty of people who want to upgrade to nicer or faster hardware will have opportunities to do so. But those who enjoy repairing, maintaining, and upgrading older hardware to keep it useful will be peering over the edge of that Windows 10 update cliff before they know it.

So what happens to that hardware when Windows 10 goes away? Running Windows 11 on unsupported hardware is one possible solution, but we have no idea how long Microsoft will allow users to install, run, and update Windows 11 on older PCs. The company could cut off these computers’ security updates tomorrow, or it could allow them to run the new OS indefinitely. That uncertainty is hard to plan around.

Switching to a Linux distribution—particularly the more user-friendly distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, or Elementary OS—is another option. But “user-friendly” is relative, and any Linux distribution can have parts that are obtuse and difficult for newcomers to learn. And let’s face it, if a Linux distribution was going to truly compete with and succeed against Windows on consumer desktops and laptops, it probably would have by now.

Further Reading

Enter Chrome OS Flex, a Google-blessed and -supported version of the company’s lightweight operating system that will run on most standard PC hardware. Flex is a successor to CloudReady, a Chromium OS-based product that Google purchased in late 2020 and that we’ve covered since its very early days as a way to make aging PCs into ersatz Chromebooks.

Chrome OS (which is also Linux-based but is mostly trying to hide it) has managed to find a toehold in the Windows-and-macOS-dominated world of consumer PCs thanks in part to its simplicity, the backing of a large and well-resourced company, and its easy-to-use management tools for schools and businesses. And with Flex, Google is offering those organizations the opportunity to switch their Windows laptop fleets to Chrome OS fleets virtually overnight while also giving users of aging PCs an alternative OS to try.

We’ve downloaded and installed the first developer version of Chrome OS Flex and read through all of its documentation to figure out the kind of hardware it will run on and how it’s different from the CloudReady operating system it’s replacing.

Beware: Beta

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

You’ll find Chrome OS Flex listed among all the “real” Chrome hardware in the official Chromebook Recovery Utility. Select Chrome OS Flex as your device manufacturer and the dev channel build of Flex will show up. There’s no need to download different images for different devices or CPU types. The installation documentation is pretty clear and has plenty of details if you need them.

The dev channel build of Flex, based on Chrome OS version 100, is clearly a pretty early version of the operating system. It’s still labeled as “CloudReady” in more than one place, and Google’s list of certified models is Page: 1 2 3 Next →

There is a strong chance that Windows 8, when it arrives in 2012, will be the last conventional, installed-application, file system-driven consumer operating system. With the popularity of mobile computing, there has been an overarching shift towards simpler, application-oriented interfaces — and on the desktop, the last few years have seen a dramatic shift in how we interact with our computers. Gone are the days when you would run multiple applications; gone are the days when your operating system would have to carefully manage memory and multitasking — today, the vast majority of users simply use a web browser.

In recent years, the web browser has become more and more like an operating system. HTML5, with local storage, audio controls, and other low-level APIs make an ideal framework for browser (web) apps, and JavaScript performance has come along in leaps and bounds. WebGL provides a high-performance pipe to underlying graphics hardware, and SVG and CSS allow for apps that fit all form factors and screen sizes. All of the underpinnings are there — and if you need confirmation, just take a look at Google, which has strapped Chrome to a Linux subsystem and called it an operating system.

Rather than going down the Chrome OS route, though, Microsoft has opted for a hybridized approach with Windows 8. From what we’ve seen, it looks like the Windows 7 kernel will still underpin the operating system, but on top will be an HTML5-powered tiled interface. Apps for Windows 8 will be developed in HTML5 and CSS, using new tools that Microsoft hasn’t yet released, and executed using Internet Explorer 10, or a variant of it. The key to this approach is the inclusion of the Windows 7 subsystem: Microsoft can’t just give up on the vast library of legacy Windows apps, but at the same time, Microsoft needs to usher developers towards cross-platform HTML-based apps if it wants to survive the mobile computing land rush. Basically, Windows 8 will be Windows 7, but with a transparent web browser that loads at boot time and executes HTML-based apps.

This concept is so simple, yet powerful and graceful at the same time. If a developer writes an HTML5 app, it will run across every Windows 8 form factor, from desktops to laptops, to ARM netbooks and tablets — and to top it off, Windows Phone 8 is also expected to support these very same HTML5 apps. In other words, developers can write once and run anywhere — and using the Windows 8 app store, monetization will be easy, too.

But therein lies the rub: if you remove the operating system — or at least make it transparent enough that the browser becomes the platform — then suddenly every piece of software works across every piece of hardware. Web apps are, fundamentally, installed websites — and websites, as we know, work on any device that can run a web browser. Developers will writhe with delight at the thought of platform agnosticism, but the suits at Redmond… The problem — and this is the stumbling block that Microsoft will run into — is that web browsers can’t be monetized. Browsers have always been free because you pay for the OS — but if the browser is free, and the browser is the OS… then where does that leave Microsoft? Google makes its money with advertising, which is how it can justify Chrome OS — but if a developer can write one app that works perfectly on Windows 8 and Chrome OS… why would you pay for Windows 8?

Which leads us neatly onto Mozilla, the creators of Firefox. Unlike Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Opera, Mozilla is a charity. Mozilla is in a unique position: it doesn’t need to make a profit, it doesn’t need to please its shareholders, and it doesn’t have to dance around tricky, conflicting areas like privacy and digital rights management. Mozilla exists for one purpose only: to promote innovation, openness, and opportunity on the web. Google could turn around tomorrow and put an immovable ad in the bottom corner of every page. Microsoft could block Flash video and only allow Silverlight. Opera could bombard us with pop-ups for adopt-a-seal programs. But Firefox — Firefox will always be there, free, unencumbered, and open source.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

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How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

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How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

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How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Anyone who has an interest in the future of computing and mobile should consider the following developments:

PC manufacturers, it is rumored, are collaborating with Google on notebook computers that will run the Android operating system. Yet Android is the “mobile” OS that powers the majority of the world’s smartphones.

Microsoft recognizes this development, and the rising popularity of Google’s Chrome OS, as an existential threat. Microsoft is rumored to be following suit with its own “Windows Blue” operating system, which would merge regular Windows with the Windows Phone operating system.

Google’s development teams for its desktop OS (Chrome) and mobile OS (Android) are now headed by the same person. The former head of the Chrome OS effort, Sundar Pitchai, was recently named boss of both efforts. While Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has said that the two operating systems will remain separate for “a very long time,” he’s also noted that this is as much a product of consumer choice as it is a limitation of the underlying technologies.

The gatekeeper between mobile and non-mobile computing is now largely psychological. When Schmidt says that Google will let the market decide the when and how of fusing of Google’s mobile and desktop operating systems, he is acknowledging that we all grew up with desktop operating systems, and learning how to interact with touchscreen mobile devices is still relatively fresh in our collective memory. (Not to mention the billions in the rising global middle class who have yet to purchase their first smart device.)

Picture a computer interface that scales to whatever screen we encounter. A kind of universal workspace that presents only the features that are appropriate to the device we are on—but is in all important respects identical no matter how we access it.

Is what you picture a lightly modified version of Android or Apple’s iOS operating system for iPads and iPhones? Does it look like Windows 8? Is it Chrome OS with native (Android) apps?

All computing will be, yes, cloud computing.

The reason our phones, tablets and PCs are increasingly interchangeable is that the services we depend on aren’t running on them at all. They’re running on the cloud. More and more, our devices don’t store our data, handle our security or share—directly at least—with our friends and colleagues.

As time goes on, the highest aspiration of most of our devices—be they phone, notebook, smart watch or face-based computer—will be as fast and responsive local caches—copies, that is—of our cloud-based existence.

In this cloud-based world, the question becomes, what is “mobile” computing? If it’s just a name we give to screens that are small enough to carry around, it’s not a terribly useful distinction.

Do Chromebooks run Linux? This is not the best way they’re marketed, for certain. Google would not inform you Chromebooks include Linux. They run Chrome OS, Google’s tackle what a desktop working system will be.

However regardless of how completely different Chrome OS seems and feels, Chrome OS relies on Linux. So after we discuss Linux, are we additionally speaking about Chrome OS? Listed here are eight factors to think about.

1. Chromebooks Use the Linux Kernel

Linux, technically, is not an working system. It is a kernel, the a part of your laptop that allows your PC’s to speak with software program. The kernel is why issues occur if you press buttons and why you may see issues in your display screen.

All of the software program you see in your display screen? That is not Linux. Linux has merely change into shorthand for working programs (also referred to as distributions, or distro for brief) constructed utilizing the Linux kernel. Chrome OS makes use of the Linux kernel, so by this commonplace, Chrome OS is desktop Linux.

2. Chrome OS Is Based mostly on Gentoo

Chrome OS would not simply use the Linux kernel. It’s truly constructed on high of the Gentoo Linux distribution.

Because of this a lot of what goes on behind the scenes is not code developed by Google. It comes from the broader Linux group.

That mentioned, do not anticipate to dive into the Gentoo expertise. Even when you comply with the steps to put in full-blown Linux in your Chromebook, it will not be Gentoo that you simply’re working.

3. You Can Set up Some Linux Apps

The argument that Chrome OS is Linux would not cease there. Chrome OS now gives the choice to put in conventional desktop Linux apps using Crostini.

Now, these apps are usually not what drive folks to Chrome OS. You could first examine to make sure your Chromebook comes with Linux app support. If it does, you may run native desktop Linux apps like GIMP and VLC in your Chromebook with out having to change it to developer mode or substitute Chrome OS fully.

4. Chrome OS and GNU Are Largely Incompatible

To date it appears fairly apparent that Chrome OS is Linux. So why is that this even a query?

Nicely, if you see Linux mentioned on-line, have you ever observed the way it’s usually written as GNU/Linux? That is as a result of most of the elements that at the moment go into offering a totally useful Linux desktop truly existed earlier than the Linux kernel did. They happened as a part of the GNU undertaking. A lot of what we affiliate with Linux has extra to do with GNU than with Linux.

Chrome OS relies on Linux, but it surely would not share within the apps, values, or tradition of the GNU project. It is Linux, certain, but it surely’s not likely GNU.

5. Is Chrome OS Free and Open Supply?

A foundational a part of the GNU undertaking is making free software program, with “free” referring to not the worth however to your freedom to view, edit, and share the code. That is also referred to as open-source software program.

The Linux kernel is free software program. It is obtainable underneath the GNU Normal Public License, which ensures that the Linux kernel and all adjustments made to it stay free for everybody to make use of and share. All GNU software program can be free software program.

A lot of what goes into Chrome OS can be free software program, because it’s obtainable for anybody to obtain within the type of Chromium OS. You may set up and run Chromium OS in your machine. However the full expertise that you simply get on a Chromebook accommodates scores of closed supply code.

Google provides proprietary bits to the browser, and the vast majority of apps and extensions you put in are additionally closed supply. So even when many of the code that goes into Chrome OS is open, many of the bits you consciously work together with aren’t, identical to on Android.

6. You Cannot Swap Your Desktop Atmosphere

This black code has a tangible affect in your expertise with a Chromebook. In comparison with your typical Linux desktop, you have got comparatively little freedom in terms of the way you arrange or modify your expertise.

You may’t select an alternate interface to the one Google gives. You may’t swap out the audio or show server. You may choose your app retailer or most popular bundle format although.

Briefly, whereas most Linux desktops provide the freedom to configure your PC nonetheless you need, Chrome OS would not. You both use Chrome OS the best way Google designed it, otherwise you use crouton to substitute a correct GNU/Linux desktop rather than Chrome OS.

It is simpler to both substitute Chrome OS with Linux or use the 2 side-by-side than it’s with Home windows, however identical to with Home windows, they nonetheless really feel like two separate issues.

If code is accessible on-line for anybody to view, edit, and share, then sure, it is open-source. That is true of Chromium OS, the code that makes up a lot of Chrome OS. However that is solely a part of the story.

Most Linux distributions do not merely have open code or give you a technique to contribute, they actively hunt down your involvement within the course of the undertaking. They’re additionally developed out within the open. There are mailing lists that individuals can subscribe to and monitor conversations a couple of undertaking’s course.

Or there’s a discussion board, or a GitHub, or a GitLab web page. With Chromium OS, you’re invited to get involved, however the course of the undertaking is primarily decided in-house at Google.

8. Chrome Apps Are Not Linux Apps

There are numerous desktop environments within the Linux ecosystem. They appear and performance in wildly alternative ways. However as completely different as GNOME and KDE Plasma could also be from each other, you may run an app designed for one inside one other. Most Linux software program is interoperable, even when it might not combine nicely and look misplaced.

This is not the case with Chrome OS. To be honest, software program usually is not designed for Chrome OS. It is both an Android app or a Chrome extension. And sure, you may set up Chrome on Linux. However these extensions require Chrome, and Android apps require an emulator. Chrome OS exists in its personal ecosystem separate from the remainder of Linux.

So Is Chrome OS Desktop Linux?

Chrome OS is Linux, certain. However is it GNU/Linux? No, not likely. And is Chrome OS what most individuals keep in mind after they consider Linux?

Most Chrome OS customers don’t know that they’re utilizing Linux. On this regard, Chrome OS has far more in frequent with Android than with different Linux-based desktops.

Finally, there is no such thing as a easy reply to this query, and that has much less to do with Chrome and extra to do with how ambiguous of a reputation “Linux” for an working system actually is.

Via Citrix/VMWare/Hyper-V – This is more of a general guide, as each platform has different variations on these settings, but these settings can have a significantly negative affect on the look and performance of QuickMAR if not done correctly.

  • Operating System: Windows 8 or newer with the most recent critical updates installed. Windows Server 2008 R2 or newer with the most recent critical updates installed. -Windows 10S is not yet supported at this time. Windows 11 is NOT yet supported. Non-Windows operating systems are not supported.
  • RAM: 1 GB, or “Give All” from host.
  • CPU: 1 Core, 2 GHz or higher, or “Give All” from host.
  • Disk Space: 1 GB
  • App Window Resolution: 1280 x 1024 or higher with suggested window size at 98%
  • Client System Monitor Resolution: Must be at least equal to or higher than the App Window Resolution
  • Color: 16 bit color
  • Internet Bandwidth: 1Mbps (down) for every 10 patient beds being served (This is in addition to any other bandwidth requirements you may have)
  • Anti-Virus Protection: Anti-Virus protection must be installed and running.
  • Firewall: Any Firewall must be configured to allow access to the QuickMAR data servers.
  • .Net Version: 4.61 or newer
  • SQL Compact Edition version: 3.5 Service Pack 2
  • Remote Connectivity: Low latency is critical, so please keep this mind when configuring compression & encryption options.
  • *warning* MedAssure should not be enabled in this configuration. Most virtual application platforms have the ability to queue data during network outages anyway, so check with your IT admin for details about that functionality.

Allowing a program through the firewall, sometimes called unblocking, is when you create an exception to enable a particular program to send information back and forth through the firewall. This is VERY important for QuickMAR. You can also allow a program through the firewall by opening one or more ports. For more information, see Microsoft’s article: “Allow a program to communicate through Windows Firewall.”

Note: Not all firewalls look the same. Many different companies use different firewalls. It’s important to know what your company uses. If you have IT support, you will want them to set this up for you. If you are experiencing NO issues with QuickMAR that you can see, its best to leave everything as is.

Here is what is needed in allowing QuickMAR access through your company’s firewalls (Server & Workstation).

See information below: this is the only configuration supported by Quickmar Software Support. Configuring by specific IP addresses is not supported.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

While Chrome OS handles Web based tasks like a boss, but at the end of the day one turns towards a proper desktop operating system like Windows or OS X to get some serious work done, forcing users to dive in and out of several platforms.

Google Needs A Real Deal Desktop Operating System To Complete Its Ecosystem And Give Consumers More Choice

Chrome OS has come a long way to become what it is today. And to take things even further, Google announced at I/O 2016 that it would be bringing millions of Android apps over to Chrome OS. While that news sounds great and all, but it should be kept in mind that not all Chromebooks will be getting the aforementioned feature.

Now the thing is, bringing mobile and tablet apps to Chrome OS won’t bring the platform on par with the likes of Windows and OS X. These mobile apps just do not have the power of their desktop counterparts in terms of features and agility. Look at Apple’s attempt at the iPad Pro; how many people ditched their notebooks for a tablet? Exactly.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

In order to evade the iPad Pro dilemma and put itself on par with at least the Surface Pro lineup of hybrids from Microsoft, Google needs a proper, full-blown desktop platform which runs desktop grade software, at least. Nothing more, nothing less.

At this point, you must be wondering: how Google will outwit Microsoft and Apple in the desktop arena? For starters, Google can adopt a freemium model for its desktop OS which can be easily installed on any PC. And on the design front, Google can take a load of cues from Remix OS, which is based entirely off Android and runs Android apps, but has a more polished desktop feel to it.

Having a proper desktop operating system will end up giving users more choice as well, while also allowing smartphone and tablet owners to easily flint back and forth between desktop and mobile tasks without worrying about platforms, much like how Microsoft and Apple does it.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Since Google has dived into the home automation arena as well with Google Home, a desktop operating system will give power users more control over their home as well, although such a thing is more suited to be handled on a mobile or tablet level.

The timing for Google having a proper desktop operating system is right as well. After all, Chromebooks managed to outsell the Mac for the very first time recently. And if those very same Chromebooks had a more powerful OS under the hood, not just a Web browser with basic functionality, Google would’ve struck gold.

Chromebooks, without a doubt, offer great value for money to consumers who are on a tight budget, but in this day and age of advanced computing, hardware is not the only element required to provide a terrific experience to the user. If Google has taken immense strides with Android, then we are confident that with the right team and level of dedication, Chromebooks might actually find themselves a market where they are competiting with Windows 10 and OS X powered notebooks.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Variable Refresh Rates in Chrome OS

As per The Verge, Google is testing out support for variable refresh rates. It’s found on the Dev Channel of Chrome OS or hidden beneath the OS as a flag feature. In that case, if you’re a user in the Dev Channel, you need to look for it and enable the Adaptive-Sync setting.

What is VRR?

VRR is a must-have feature when people are looking for a computer to be used for gaming. But what does VRR actually mean?

Variable Refresh Rate or VRR means that the screen can “adjust how often it refreshes the image to match the frame rate” from the PC. And it’s one reason gamers want a computer with VRR.

When watching a movie, it typically has a frame rate of 24 fps or 30fps. Higher frame rate movies exist. However, they are not widely available for home release. But a set refresh rate means that the TV knows how often to refresh the screen just to provide a smooth experience.

However, gaming is different from watching a movie. A game’s frame rate is dependent on how the graphics processor is working. In gaming, one scene is different from another scene. Because of that frame rates fluctuate, even by just a few frames a second.

Avoiding Screen Tearing

And this is where the variable refresh rate is vital for gaming. With this feature, it can adjust on the fly. In this way, it will match the console’s current frame rate. It can avoid screen tearing.

Smoother Gaming Experience

As Google is testing this feature, it could mean that Chrome OS can soon offer a smoother gaming experience. It makes a lot of sense because Google just announced that Steam will be coming to Chrome OS.

During the Google for Games Developer Summit, the company announced that ChromeOS users could soon test Steam. At that time, the company’s product director for games mentioned that the Steam alpha launched for select Chromebooks.

Rumors about Google releasing three Chromebooks that would focus on gaming have been floating around. And they are being made stronger with a new flag that adds RGB keyboard support.

With the VRR support, it could also indicate an upgraded refresh rate for the company’s Chrome OS tablets. Chrome OS is currently lagging when used in tablet form. In that case, if VRR would come to chrome OS for tablets, then they can compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.

However, even if Chromebooks would support VRR, it would still worthless if they don’t have powerful hardware. It means that VRR won’t be much useful for Chromebooks without powerful processors and GPUs. But Samsung Chromebooks may have powerful APUs and GPUs coming in the future.

Being able to drag-and-drop apps/files on the Windows Taskbar is an excellent feature — and one that Microsoft is removing in Windows 11.

Microsoft has made many big tweaks with Windows 11, and unfortunately, not all of them as positive — such as major changes to drag-and-drop functionality with the Taskbar. Windows 11 looks to be one of the most significant Windows updates ever in more ways than one. It ushers in an all-new design language, removes Windows 8 and Windows 10’s Live Tiles, and totally revamps the Start Menu. Windows 11 is currently in beta testing, with a final release expected this fall.

Among all of those changes, something that’s created the most commotion is the new Taskbar. The Taskbar as its known today has existed since Windows 95. It sits on the bottom-left of the screen, everything is aligned to the left edge, and it houses both the Start Menu and app shortcuts. While the Taskbar still exists in Windows 11, it looks a lot different than usual. It’s placed in the bottom-middle of the screen by default, all of the app icons are centered, and it looks a lot like taskbars found in macOS and Chrome OS.

In addition to the visual tweaks, people testing the Windows 11 preview builds have also noticed changes in its functionality. As reported by Windows Latest, Windows 11 removes the ability to drag-and-drop files or app shortcuts onto the Taskbar. In Windows 10 and earlier versions, users could drag an app on the Taskbar and have it pinned as a new shortcut. For some reason, that’s not supported in Windows 11. Additionally, dragging a file onto an app on the Taskbar no longer opens the file in that app. Some people were hopeful this was just a bug, but unfortunately, it’s an intended aspect of Windows 11. Replying to user complaints on the Windows Insider website, Microsoft says, “Currently, dragging a file onto an app in the taskbar to open it in that app is not supported in Windows 11, but we appreciate all your feedback, and we’ll continue to use it to help guide the future of features like this.”

How To Bring Back Drag-And-Drop Taskbar In Windows 11

As expected, this hasn’t sat well with many Windows users. One person called it “pathetic,” while another commented, “This is such a disappointment! One expects better functionality in new versions of software. Breaking perfectly good things in the process is completely unacceptable.” For those people, the good news is that it is possible to revive drag-and-drop functionality with the Taskbar in Windows 11. First, Open the Registry app by typing ‘regedit’ in the Taskbar’s search box and then click ‘Registry Editor.’ Once that’s open, enter “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Shell \Update\Packages.” Users then need to make a 32-bit DWORD named “UndockingDisabled” and then change the value to 1. Close the Registry Editor app, restart the computer, and the old Windows 10 Taskbar should be back — including its drag-and-drop abilities.

While this fix appears to be live in the preview builds of Windows 11, don’t be surprised if it goes away once the final version is rolled out to everyone this fall. Microsoft has a clear vision for Windows 11, and that includes the new Taskbar. It doesn’t want people using a hack to keep using a Windows 10 one. It’s unclear how much longer this workaround will be available, but in the meantime, it’s the best (and only) way to get a drag-and-drop Taskbar in Windows 11.

Google clearly wants to take over the world with its search, mobile and desktop businesses and now it seems that it may want to take over your Windows 8 desktop, according to a tasty morsel uncovered by The Verge. More details can be found right after the jump.

Using its latest developer edition of Chrome, Google has begun its foray into the desktop takeover business by effectively allowing its browser to become one with Windows 8, complete with its own LaunchBar that plays host to the usual Google Drive array of icons that give quick access to things like spreadsheets, text documents and more. Gmail is obviously in attendance, also.

Chrome’s metro-interface in the new developer edition allows the app to become its own multi-windowed desktop which makes us think of Google’s Chrome OS really. Except it’s much more useful because it’s got a ‘real’ operating system underneath it in the form of Windows. So yes, it’s safe to believe that Google wants to take over Windows 8 in the form of its own mini OS of its own, which is somewhat great news for those who spend a lot of time using Google’s own services.

The obvious downside here though is that Chrome requires Windows 8 Pro, so those packing the RT edition are out of luck. There’s no Chrome at all for RT, so don’t expect this to be something you’ll be installing any time soon.

This is still very much an early release, too. Bugs galore, this developer release of Chrome still appears to be quite a way from being ready for public consumption, but the fact it exists should be enough to make the future an interesting one for those that live inside Google’s services and happen to have the right Windows software and PC hardware to make the magic happen. If you’ve ever wanted to have Windows 8 with Chrome interweaved, then this should make you very happy indeed.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

If you just can’t wait for this to reach the public version of Chrome, then you can download the developer release from and install it on your Windows 8 Pro machine right now, just don’t expect it to work as well as the Chrome you’re probably used to!

You can follow us on Twitter, add us to your circle on Google+ or like our Facebook page to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Microsoft, Google, Apple and the web.

The locked-down world and their Chromebook would like a word.

Column Microsoft has changed a lot since Steve Ballmer left. It’s hard to imagine Satya Nadella fostering an environment where workers felt they had to hide their iPhones for fear of enraging the boss. Microsoft is contributing so much to open source now it almost feels unfair to mention that Ballmer called open source “cancer”. Almost.

In some ways, though, the company is the same old Microsoft, in ways that do it no favours. In particular, it really wants the world using Windows to run Office. It also knows it has to do the cloud thing to stay competitive, and it loves monthly subscriptions.

Legacy support has always been both Microsoft’s superpower and Kryptonite, and it continues to define its fate – a legacy of legacies. Thus we get the odd hybrid of Office 365, and the push to Microsoft 365, and now Windows 10 Cloud Config to kinda sorta pretend it’s all cloud and Windows some sort of thin centrally managed client.

Oh, if only. Bolting on a bunch of config options to make Windows 10 a cloud OS is like taking the gearbox out of a 1980s land-whale of a Cadillac and replacing it with a generator running off the V8 and an electric motor on the driveshaft. No way to get a Tesla.

And when you can buy a Chromebook outright for roughly the cost of a year’s subscription to Microsoft 365? Tricky. But Microsoft is still too Microsoft to do a proper Chromebook competitor.

Simplicity, low cost, and true native cloud DNA is doing very well for Chromebook and Chrome OS. It will continue to do well. While Microsoft is addicted to selling software and Apple to selling hardware, Google is all about data, and that’s the best match to what users need.

Linux on the desktop. but it needs support

With sales quadrupling and a comfortable double-digit market share, Chromebooks have done the impossible and made Linux on the desktop not just a fact, but a fact built on ease of use for ordinary users. The magic that you don’t have to configure or maintain a Chromebook, and your data leaps like a well-trained gazelle into any new Chromebook you buy, is powerful indeed.

This advantage is Google’s to lose, and if Microsoft’s Microsoftness is dangerous for the Seattleites, Google’s Googleocity looms darkly over Mountain View.

Google wants to marry Android and Chrome OS, but while the bodged-in Android system in Chrome OS works much better than it should, it’s at a cost in usability, stability, and the unmistakable fact that phone apps are clunky as fudge on a laptop. Likewise, it’s very satisfying for the geeky to have the Linux system exposed, but you want to keep that stuff well away from Grandma. It’s not what Chromebooks are for.

More seriously, Google changes its mind. The Chrome browser and the various productivity apps feel quite different on Chromebook and Android, and basic services like instant messaging keep chopping and changing in ways that really hurt the non-technical user. Google has a great data appliance for the common man in Chromebook, but it needs a strategy that commits much harder to that approach. And that needs to revolve around support.

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Same old complexity beneath Windows 10 Cloud Config means it’s unlikely to compete with the likes of Chrome OS

There are things the company can do to reduce the need of Chromebook users for support. Let’s start with a commitment to a core stable user experience of Google’s own services, analogous to the PC makers who guarantee a continuity of platform configurations.

Chromebook users do not value new features over stability. They want to know that they can learn how to use Google Docs to create, open, share, and manage text documents, and that there are stable reference sources that are easy to find and follow and won’t go out of date in six months, or six years.

There are basic computing tasks that haven’t changed much in 30 years; by all means have the posh and shiny, but leave the accelerator, lights, and steering wheel alone.

But what Google can do to cement Chromebook as a major component of everyday computing is to support support. Google is very bad at support. If something goes wrong with your Google service as an ordinary user, there’s no phone number to call, no email with a guaranteed response time. Even finding the right bit of the web with up-to-date community self-support is hard. Google isn’t uniquely bad at this, but it’s bad nonetheless. It gets away with it because its services in general work well, and Chromebook is particularly good at fulfilling its promise of looking after itself.

Yet if you want to help support someone’s Chromebook, some very useful components are either missing or quietly broken. Remote viewing and control is iffy and unreliable, especially cross-platform. There isn’t one singular Facetime-like service, there’s the mess of Chat/Talk/Hangouts/Duo which never seems to settle down. And, like all third-party support, there’s no chain of trust. You can download a thousand pointless toys from Google Play with some degree of hope that they won’t be actively attacking you. Nothing like that exists when you need support, especially if you’re a naive user.

Fixing this would reduce the level of pain in the world by an appreciable amount. A framework for support services – a standard toolset for communication and remote diagnosis with that guarantee of continuity and stability, a central directory of third-party support providers that looks a bit like the Play Store for problem solving, and a set of solid training and certification resources. It’s not much to ask for, and because Chromebook is well defined and stable it’ll be an attractive place for third parties to set up shop. It has the potential to become a self-supporting ecosystem with benefits for everyone.

Not only is this possible, it’s something the competition is unlikely to do – their ecosystems are already far too complex, history-laden, and dominated by conflicting demands. It’s a chance that nobody else has, the support at scale that cloud computing at scale needs but cannot evolve. There is nothing as effective as dominating an environment your competition cannot evolve to exploit, and in Microsoft’s legacy of legacies, Google has a whole world to win. ®

How to use the chrome os desktop on windows 8 (and why it exists)

Ever wondered what the difference is between a Chromebook and a laptop is? We can help, especially if you’re thinking about buying a Chromebook or laptop during Black Friday 2021.

We’ve seen some great deals on the best laptops and best Chromebooks, but choosing the right notebook is already a difficult task. Add in that many casual users are new to or don’t know much about what a Chromebook actually is, and choosing between that and a traditional Windows laptop is even more confusing.

Luckily, we’re here to help make things easier to process, so you can find the best portable for your needs whatever they may be, and we explain what the difference is between a Chromebook and a laptop.

You might be considering a laptop for college, one of the best 2-in-1 laptops or a Chromebook for students. Regardless, we’ll guide you through choosing between Chromebooks vs laptops here.

Make sure you check out our collection of the best Black Friday laptop deals and Chromebook Black Friday deals as well.

What is a Chromebook?

First thing’s first. You likely already know what a laptop is. However, before you delve into the Chromebooks vs laptops rabbit hole, you must first understand what a Chromebook is and how it differs from a traditional laptop. So, let’s start there.

A Chromebook is a laptop that runs on Google’s Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system that largely relies on the Chrome browser as its main user interface. This means that anything you can do with the Chrome browser, you can do on a Chromebook.

That doesn’t mean that you can only use a Chromebook when there’s an internet connection. Google has designed Chrome OS to be able to run apps from the Chrome Web Store or the Google Play Store on which there are thousands to choose from to cover all the basics – from word processors and spreadsheets to quick photo editing and light gaming. And, many of these apps work even when a Chromebook isn’t connected to the internet.

What’s the difference between Chromebooks and laptops?

To the untrained eye, a Chromebook and a laptop may look the same. After all, a Chromebook is technically a laptop, just with a different operating system. Both are notebooks with a keyboard, a camera, a built-in screen, and a trackpad. And, just like laptops, many Chromebooks are clamshells, while quite a few others tout touchscreen displays and a 2-in-1 form factor.

Internally, however, the two couldn’t be more different. If you’re doing a Chromebooks vs laptops comparison in terms of power, a strong case is made for laptops. That’s because typically they have more capable microprocessors – usually from Intel or AMD – and more robust integrated or discrete graphics powering them.

On the other hand, Chromebooks usually have lower-performing chips and graphics inside, although a handful of premium Chromebooks have been known to run on Intel Core chips. The reason for this is two-fold: the Chrome OS is lightweight enough that it really doesn’t need a powerful chip to run, and it keeps the cost of Chromebooks down.

Traditional laptops run on much more robust operating systems Windows 10, macOS and Linux, an open source operating system. These Windows laptops and MacBooks usually require high-powered graphics cards and processors, as well as faster memory, which means they tend to cost more. The upside is that students can use the same computer to write a term paper on that they do to play Overwatch post-homework.

Windows laptops also usually have a lot of local storage, from 128GB on the low end – those apps and files, after all, take up a lot more space. Chromebooks typically include about 16GB of storage. This is because Chrome OS, and the apps it runs, do not need as much storage space as Windows and are designed to save your documents to the cloud.

Is a Chromebook or laptop better for school work?

A Chromebook is a good choice for a student that is primarily using the computer for web browsing, word processing, or streaming video and audio. Storage isn’t a problem if Google-focused students can store their files with Drive. They can also use SD cards and USB drives to keep hold of their documents.

A Chromebook is also a great low-cost option, with prices dipping as low as $100/£120/AU$140 during the holiday season for the low-end models. However, the price of a Chromebook can skyrocket to $1,000/£1,000/AU$1,400 if you choose a corporate or luxury option like the Google Pixelbook.

For school work, the Chromebook is a winner because it has so few features. Without extra games or a lot of applications, the Chromebook becomes a homework powerhouse, allowing students to access their lessons online with few distractions.

Students can write their papers with Google Docs and share their work straight from the Chromebook to their teacher or parent, no printing necessary. The Microsoft Office suite is also available online, so students can create Word documents with ease.

The Chromebook is also just a hard device to break. If your student is prone to installing virus-laden programs, the Chromebook can be wiped and reset with ease. If the child isn’t particularly tech-savvy, there are few confusing functions: the Chromebook is a plug in and play device. Some of the newer Chromebooks are a little more delicate physically, but most can take a tumble, as many of the parts are plastic.

However, it doesn’t fit everyone’s needs, and it doesn’t always work perfectly either.

Luckily, there’s another option.

The Chrome offline installer lets you install Chrome without an internet connection, or to multiple devices. It’s a full-size standalone file that you can copy across devices.

Installing Chrome Offline

The Chrome offline installer downloads all the installation files you need to put Chrome on your device. When you run it, it gets the installation files from your computer rather than from the web, so it’s a much bigger initial download than the stub installer. Once it’s downloaded, you don’t need an internet connection and you can use it on multiple devices simultaneously.

When looking for the offline install files for Chrome, don’t use third-party offline installer links.

There are a lot of sites offering Chrome offline installer links. They’re never a good idea. Some links lead to sites that demand you accept push notifications to prove you’re not a robot, while others download malware instead of or alongside the offline installer.

Get it from Chrome directly using the links below. The direct download links here are safe and come directly from Google’s own service, which offers binary direct downloads of Google apps like Chrome and Earth.

The Chrome Offline Installer for Windows

Chrome offline installer is available from the Chrome website, but it’s not easy to find. Note that when you do find it, it looks a lot like the regular Chrome download page. Click “Download Chrome anyway” and you’ll see different dialogs and a different file size to download. These downloads will work for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10.

If you want to download the offline installer for a single user on a Windows machine, this is the link for you.

This will match your operating system architecture the way the standard Chrome download page does, so it’s good for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows machines.

However, it doesn’t work for everyone. If you specifically want to download Chrome 32-bit, here’s the page you need.

    is the 32-bit Chrome offline installer direct download link.
  • For 64-bit Windows machines, this is the specific web page link. is the 64-bit direct download link.

What about if you want to download Chrome’s offline installer for use on multiple machines? That’s one of the main reasons people want the offline installer, after all.

    ’s the 32-bit offline installer for all users on a PC. ’s the 64-bit version.

If you’re downloading the Chrome offline installer from one of the web pages, rather than directly, here’s how to do it.

Click to download, then click “Accept and Install” to agree to the terms and download the installer. The file is 57MB, significantly larger than the stub installer.

Once you’ve downloaded the file, you’ll be prompted by system dialogs. You might have to save the file and then run it manually, depending on your specific Windows version and how you have it set up. You will not need an internet connection to install Chrome once this file has been downloaded.

Once the installer has downloaded, you can copy it onto a USB and use it to install Chrome on multiple computers without needing an internet connection.

It’s worth noting that Chrome offline installations don’t automatically update. If you don’t want to update automatically, and you’re installing on multiple devices, consider the Windows MSI Chrome installer.

The Chrome Offline Installer for Mac

Apple dropped support for the 32-bit version of Chrome, so there’s only a 64-bit option.

Here’s the web page link to download it. The file is about 80MB.

Once it’s downloaded, open the file googlechrome.dmg and drag Chrome to the Applications folder. You don’t need an internet connection to do this.

The Chrome Offline Installer for Linux

There’s a Chrome offline installer for the most popular Linux builds: Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and openSUSE.

Here’s the link. The file is about 59MB.

For all other Linux distros, you’ll need to download the Chromium package.

Once the file is downloaded, click “OK” to open the package and then click “Install Package.” You can do this any time without an internet connection.

Note that there’s no Chrome offline installer for Chrome OS, iOS, or Android.

Installing Chrome Online

Installing Chrome online is simple, though the full instructions for installation vary slightly across operating systems.

  1. Go to the Chrome website
  2. Click the download button
  3. Open the small download file that completes the installation and downloads Chrome at the same time

When you and click the download button, you’ll downloaded a very small file.

That initial file isn’t the full version of Chrome, it downloads the full set of Chrome installation files as it needs them during the installed. It’s called a “stub installer” or “net installer,” and it’s designed to be efficient and easy. As long as you have an active internet connection and only need to install Chrome on a handful of devices, it works great.

Installing different Chrome channels like Beta or Canary works very similarly.

What’s wrong with the normal online installer?

Chrome’s normal installer works fine for most individual users, most of the time. However, it’s not always the best choice. Here’s why.

It requires an internet connection

When you download a normal installer for a program, it “assembles” the application you want with the files it needs to do so. A full, standalone installer contains the installer program, plus all the installation files. When it needs a file, it gets it from your computer.

The stub installer works differently. Instead of downloading all the required files, then reaching for them on your computer when it needs them, the stub installer downloads files from Google over the internet when it needs them.

That means you need a working internet connection for the duration of the installation process. This isn’t great for people with patchy connections, metered data, or don’t have an internet connection at all.

It installs to just one device

If you’re installing Chrome on multiple devices simultaneously, the standard download is also problematic. Each instance of Chrome will be simultaneously downloading the same files.

That’s bad for your network broadband if you’re installing Chrome on a lot of devices. A few devices ins’t a big deal. But what if you need to install Chrome on hundreds or thousands of devices for your business? Having all of them simulates download the same files is definitely not ideal.

It can glitch or fail on your device

There are also occasions when the standard download method doesn’t work for some reason. Having your computer clock set to the wrong time or having Smart Screen enabled on Windows 10 machines, for example, can interfere with the standard download procedure.

In that case, you might find yourself watching “waiting to download” or “downloading” for a long time. But sometimes it’s quicker and easier to simply use the standalone installer than to troubleshoot a glitchy install.

This set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Desktop Central answers queries that you may have about Desktop Central. Send us an e-mail message, if you have any questions that remain unanswered.

Patch Management

Software Deployment

  • Copying the files to the client computer.
  • Setting the working directory for installation.

Asset Management


The system requirements when using Desktop Central Cloud include the following:

  • Hardware requirements for Desktop Central Distribution servers and Desktop Central agents
  • Software requirements for Desktop Central Distribution servers
  • Supported Browsers

Hardware Requirements

The hardware requirements for distribution servers include the following:

No. of Computers Managed Using the Distribution Server Processor Information RAM Size Hard Disk Space
1 to 250 Intel Core i3 (2 core/4 thread) 2.0 Ghz 3 MB cache 2 GB 10 GB*
251 to 500 Intel Core i3 (2 core/4 thread) 2.0 Ghz 3 MB cache 4 GB 20 GB*
501 to 1000 Intel Core i5 (4 core/4 thread) 2.3 GHz. 6 MB cache 4 GB 30 GB*

*May increase depending on the number of software applications and patches that are deployed

Hardware Requirements for Desktop Central Agents

The hardware requirements for Desktop Central agents include the following:

Hardware Recommendations
Processors Intel Pentium
Processor Speed 1.0 GHz
RAM Size 512 MB
Hard Disk Space 100 MB*

*May increase dynamically depending on the operations performed on the client computer

Software Requirements

This section gives you information about the software requirements for distribution servers, Desktop Central servers and agents.

Supported OS for Desktop Central Distribution Servers

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2003 R2
  • Windows Server 2008*
  • Windows Server 2008 R2*
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2*
  • Windows Server 2016*
  • Windows Server 2019*

Supported OS for Desktop Central agents

Windows OS Windows Server OS Mac OS
Windows 10 Windows server 2016 10.15
Windows 8.1 Windows server 2012 R2 10.14
Windows 8 Windows server 2012 10.13
Windows 7 Windows server 2008 R2 10.12
Windows Vista Windows server 2008 10.11
Windows server 2003 R2 10.10
Windows server 2003 10.9

A TLS version of 1.2 and above is required for the legacy devices to be managed using Desktop Central Cloud.

Supported Browsers

You are required to install any of the following browsers on your computer to access the Desktop Central console:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 and later versions
  • Mozilla Firefox 44 and later versions
  • Google Chrome 47 and later versions

Note: The screen resolution should be 1280 x 1024 pixels or higher.

For managing mobile devices:
  • Android: Android devices running on version 4.0 or above
  • iOS (incl. iPhone, iPad and iPod): iOS devices running on version 4.0 or above
  • Windows Smartphones: Devices running on version Windows Phone 8.1 or above
  • Windows laptops (incl. Surface Hubs and Surface Pros): Devices running on Windows 10
  • Chrome OS: Devices running on version 57.0 or later
  • tvOS: Devices running on version 7.0 or above
  • macOS: Devices running on version 10.7 or later

Note: A TLS version of 1.2 and above is required for the legacy devices to be managed using Desktop Central Cloud.

  • UEM Edition: This edition includes all the features of Enterprise edition, along with Mobile Device Management, Modern Management for Windows 10 devices, and OS Imaging and Deployment capability.
  • Enterprise Edition: This edition includes all the features of Professional edition, along with bandwidth management feature for remote offices with distribution server, self service portal, software metering, license management, etc..
  • Professional Edition: This edition equips system administrators with basic patch management, software deployment, and asset management capabilities. Additional features such as configurations, Windows system tools, etc., are also available.
  • Free Edition: This edition allows you to manage upto 25 desktops and 25 mobile devices for free. You can upgrade to UEM, enterprise, or professional edition.
  • Add-ons: Mobile Device Management, OS Deployment, Secure Gatewar Server, Failover Server, and Multilanguage Support add-ons are available for all editions of Desktop Central.
  • For all editions of Desktop Central, the following add-ons are available:
  • Mobile Device Management
  • OS Deployment
  • Secure Gateway Server
  • Failover Server
  • Multilanguage Support
  • User logon or system startup: All user configurations, except the Custom Script configuration, are applied when a user logs on or when a system is started.
  • System startup or shutdown or user logon or logoff: The Custom Script configuration is applied when a user logs on or logs off. This also takes place when a computer is switched on or switched off.
  • 90-minute refresh cycle
  1. Open a supported browser
  2. Enter http://: in the address bar

  • Number of computers you want to manage using Desktop Central
  • Edition that you are interested in buying

Credentials that have admin privileges need to be specified for carrying out certain activities in Desktop Central :