Can I run Windows apps on a Chromebook in 2021?
If you’ve recently switched from Windows to a Chromebook, you’re probably missing some of your favorite apps. It’s no secret that some Windows apps can’t run natively on Chrome OS. Users often miss their favorite productivity apps, authoring tools, and games when making the switch. Fortunately, there are options if you need Windows apps on your Chromebook. One of the most powerful methods to achieve this is to install Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS. Note, however, that this software is currently intended for corporate users, so individual licenses are not yet available. If you are one of the target audience, this can be an amazing addition to your Chrome OS workflow.
What is Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS?
Parallels Desktop is a fully featured Windows container that runs natively on Chrome OS. This software allows you to run the full version of Windows, but there are a few important things to know. Parallels Desktop software is currently only widely available for business customers, which makes this option of little use to individual users at this time. With Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS, IT departments can activate full-featured, proprietary Windows applications, including native Microsoft Office, on Chrome OS devices, online and offline. You will need a Chrome Enterprise upgrade to run Parallels (see screenshot above).
Some key features of Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS include:
Permanent access to mission-critical Windows applications
- Switch effortlessly between Chrome OS and Windows – no need to restart.
- Suspend and resume Windows to restart instantly.
- Open files on Chrome OS using Windows apps.
- BONUS: Access over 30 one-touch tools with the included Parallels Toolbox.
Work ready anytime, anywhere
- Use the full feature sets of desktop applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.
- Access Windows desktop, documents, downloads, and custom folders from Chrome OS files.
- No internet? No problem! Files and applications are fully accessible online and offline.
Full Chrome OS integration for a familiar and user-friendly experience
- Easily move content between Chrome OS and Windows via a shared clipboard.
- Print from Windows to supported printers.
- Stay in the flow with a transparent mouse, camera, microphone, audio system, docking station, and USB smart card reader support.
- Enjoy the view with dynamic resolution and full screen support.
System Requirements To Run Parallels Desktop
There are minimum system requirements to run Parallels on your Chromebook. You need at least Chrome OS version 85 or later. Additionally, you need Google Admin Console, Chrome Enterprise Upgrade / Chrome Education Upgrade, Microsoft Windows, and an enterprise storage server. In terms of hardware, supported processors include Intel Core i5 or i7 and AMD Ryzen 5 or 7. You will also need a minimum of 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of local SSD storage on your device.
Although some of these specifications seem limited, keep in mind that this software is currently intended for corporate customers. If your Chromebook or Chrome OS tablet meets the minimum requirements, you can also purchase a docking station to turn your Chromebook into a full workstation.
What Windows apps run on a Chromebook through Parallels?
With Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS, you can run the majority of popular Windows applications. Maybe you want to run the full Windows version of Microsoft Office? This is one of the most compelling use cases for Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS. With a full version of Windows installed on your Chrome OS device, you can easily download and run the full desktop version of every Office app.
There are a few key advantages to this method. Most importantly, you retain the full power of Microsoft applications. Some of the professional features, such as Data Analysis ToolPak in Excel, are missing from the web app and Android app. Running Parallels on your Chromebook provides access to all of the features that can only be found in desktop apps.
Most PC games should work fine with Parallels as well, but keep in mind that the quality of the game will depend on the specifications of your Chromebook. The good news is that Parallels requires quite a robust spec to install, so you should be able to play some games as well. However, not all features work exactly the same as a real Windows machine. For example, you can run the Windows version of iTunes more easily using Parallels. However, you lose the ability to sync iPhone or iPod. This is an important caveat to keep in mind. Even though you can run Windows on your Chromebook with Parallels, the device doesn’t always behave like a PC.
Turns out, you can indeed run Windows apps on any of the best Chromebooks, as long as you’re a business or education customer. If you’re ready to buy Parallels Desktop for Chrome OS, the full power of Windows is available on your Chromebook. For those who want to start trying Parallels, click on the links in the boxes below. If you’re trying the Parallels software on your Chromebook, let us know how it’s done in the comments section.
- Parallels Desktop is a full-featured Windows container that runs natively on Chrome OS. This software allows you to run the full version of Windows on your Chromebook.
- Windows 10 is the world’s most popular operating system. Used on PCs from many manufacturers. You need a copy of Windows to use Parallels.
- The most popular productivity suite, Office has everything you need for school or work, with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and OneNote included. Make sure you have a copy of Office for use with Parallels.
- Boxedwine is an emulator that can run Windows applications on the web (or Linux, Mac or … Windows)
- Run Windows apps on Mac, Linux, and Android with Wine
- This tool allows users to run Windows apps on Chrome OS via the web
- Wine on Windows lets you run Windows applications… on Windows (via Windows Subsystem for Linux)