Most Chromebooks are affordable portable laptops that sell for around $150 and up. They ship with Google’s Chrome operating system which is designed to boot quickly, let you get online in seconds, and run web apps from the Chrome Web Store.
But a Chromebook is basically just a laptop that ships with Chrome OS. Most models can also run other operating systems such as Ubuntu Linux. But what about Windows? Yep. You can install that on a Chromebook too.
Users have been installing Windows on the Acer C720 Chromebook for a while, but some hardware wasn’t initially supported. So redditor Coolstar decided to port some Linux drivers to Windows and now he’s got a Chromebook that runs Windows 8.1 pretty well.
The Acer C720 Chromebook is available with an Intel Celeron 2955U Haswell processor (or a Core i3 Haswell chip if you opt for a more expensive model) and features an 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display. Acer sells the C720 Chromebook with up to 4GB of RAM and up to 32GB of solid state storage, but Coolstar recommends replacing the SSD with at least 64GB.
The laptop typically sells for around $200 and up, but you can often pick up a refurbished model for much less. Still, there are probably cheaper options if you’re looking to buy a new laptop that runs Windows: HP, Acer, Asus, and others all offer Windows laptops at Chromebook-like prices.
So why install Windows on a Chromebook? Because it’s fun trying to get a computer to do something its manufacturer didn’t really intend for it to do… or something.
As of late May, 2015, Coolstar has managed to get the keyboard, speakers, headphone jack, hardware-accelerated video, and HDMI video output to work. But the trackpad still doesn’t work (you’ll probably need to connect an external mouse), nor does brightness control or HDMI audio.
Here’s a video showing Windows 8.1 in action:
Note that the graphics drivers may not work with Acer C720 Chromebooks with Core i3 chips, and Coolstar hasn’t tested the touchscreen that comes with Acer C720p models.
If you want a cheap laptop that comes with Windows pre-installed, you can buy something like the Asus EeeBook X205 or HP Stream 11 for about $200. But if you already have an Acer C720 Chromebook and want to try running Windows on it, keep an eye on Coolstar’s website and reddit thread for driver downloads as they become available.
via OMG Chrome