Windows apps now run on Chromebooks with Parallels Desktop
Google is bringing Windows app support to Chromebooks today through a partnership with Parallels. First announced earlier this year, Chrome OS will now boot a full version of Windows inside a virtual machine to gain access to existing desktop apps. It’s designed for businesses, which means only enterprise customers will be able to purchase the app for $69.99 per user.
Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise will launch a full copy of Windows, allowing Microsoft’s operating system to sit side by side with Chrome OS and Android apps. Chrome OS even redirects certain Windows file types directly to the Parallels instance to make it easier to launch files that you’d typically use a desktop app for.
The integration isn’t as seamless as the Coherence mode that’s typically found in Parallels Desktop, which lets you pin Windows apps to the macOS dock and run them without seeing the full Windows desktop and taskbar. This is an initial 1.0 release, and some of that deeper Chrome OS and Windows app integration will come over time.
You will be able to run multiple full Windows apps inside this Parallels Desktop virtual machine while you’re offline, though. Both Parallels and Google have worked together to enable features like a shared clipboard, shared user profiles, and custom folders. This lets you share files between the Windows instance and Chrome OS and even allow web links in the Windows instance to open the Chrome browser that’s the main part of Chrome OS.
Printers that are supported in Chrome OS will also be available in Windows, but webcams, microphones, and any other USB devices won’t be supported inside Windows just yet. Parallels is working to enable USB peripherals and webcams in a future update.