CrossOver is a software tool that lets you run some Windows applications on non-Windows operating systems, including GNU/Linux and macOS. Last year the developers behind CrossOver launched the first technical preview for Android and Chrome OS.
Now CrossOver on Chrome OS Beta is available from the Google Play Store for anyone who wants to try it.
And by anyone, I mean anyone with a device featuring an x86 processor and running Android 5.x or later. For the most part that means you’ll probably need a recent Chromebook… although not all Chromebooks are supported, since some recent models have ARM-based processors.
In order to use Crossover on a Chromebook you’ll need to enable the Google Play Store and then download the app from the Play Store.
Once that’s done, you can search Crossover for known compatible apps and install them from within the application itself. It may also be possible to install unlisted applications by downloading and running their installer files within Crossover, but if it requires additional dependencies it may not work unless you can also install those other programs.
CrossOver on Chrome OS is said to have a database of 13,000 compatible programs including Microsoft Office, Quicken, and Steam. You’ll still need to pay for a license or login with your existing account if you want to use paid software like Office or Quicken though.
CodeWeavers usually charges for CrossOver software, but since the Chrome OS/Android version is a public beta, CodeWeavers is providing users with a free 1-year trial, and support is also included for free.
If you wait a little while, there may be another option: the developers of the free and open source Wine project are planning to launch Wine 3.0 soon, and one new feature is initial support for Android devices.
That feature builds on the work CodeWeavers did to bring CrossOver to Android — the CrossOver and Wine projects work closely with one another. A key difference is that CodeWeaver is a for-profit company, so CrossOver often gets new features (and app compatibility) before Wine does, and CodeWeavers also offers official support for its windows emulation software.
Considering all of the delays and broken promises about running native Android apps on Chromebooks (still waiting…) I’m not going to hold my breath hoping that Windows apps will magically arrive anytime soon.
Chromebooks have always been about promising the moon, but only delivering a slice of swiss cheese. Maybe we’ll get to see an article in a couple of years about how Windows on Chromebooks never quite managed to deliver on the promise.
I’ve been using Android on Chromebooks for a while now. It works well. Maybe you got one of the models that wasn’t specifically designed for Android but said it would in the future? The only one I’ve used was supported from the start, and it’s great. Having access to Android apps and a full Chrome browser is amazing for such a cheap device.
Do note that CrossOver is made by a third party, CodeWeavers, so their promises are not the same as Google’s. Still, from what I’ve seen they’ve been as positively reliable as Google, despite your experiences. I’m installing my first Windows program on my Chromebook as I write this, so I should have something to report shortly, hopefully.
Update: Well that was actually pretty easy. I just chose a supported application from the list (they even have Dwarf Fortress!) and it installed and ran without any trouble.
> Maybe we’ll get to see an article in a couple of years about how Windows on Chromebooks never quite managed to deliver on the promise.
I can’t run fast enough away from the tracking browsing. Now it added more surveillance apps in the form of the playstore and it’s unscrupulous 3rd-parties. The thought of running Windows alongside that monstrosity, all usurping massive quantities of my cpu to surveil my every activity… I hope that marriage never happens.
Calling it “running Windows” is a far stretch from the truth. Your criticisms of the Play Store aside, you’re not making any Microsoft telemetry here.
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