How I use the Crossover App to run Windows apps on my Chromebook

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It’s my preference to use web apps only on my Chromebook. Mostly that’s for two reasons:

  1. Because that’s what Chromebooks are really designed for.
  2. Because web apps are cross-platform and should work on every device. I’m big into the idea that our software now should be platform agnostic and we should be able to use the OS and hardware that we prefer (for cost reasons, for suitability reasons, or just because we like it) and not be tied to a particular app.

Having said that I know we’re not there yet with software and there are some apps we need that tie us to one system or another. With that in mind, I like to experiment on my Chromebook to see how far I can push it and what it can potentially do, and how much it can truly replace other systems.

Crossover is an Android app (which means straight away that you need a Chromebook that runs Android to use it – although that’s most of them these days). Its purpose is to run native Windows apps on Android. I’ve been testing it out with some windows apps on my own Chromebook to see what works and what doesn’t. Here’s my list of successes and failures so far:

  • Firefox – I couldn’t seem to get the latest version working but I have version 45 working and it works perfectly
  • Notepad++ – I’m currently running version 7.6.6 with no problems.
  • Gimp – I’m running Gimp 2 without problems. It’s a hefty app which Chromebooks aren’t really designed for but it does work for me.
  • Acrobat Reader – Version 11 is the latest version I could get to work but it does work fine. It’s especially useful with that latest update where only the Windows version of Reader seems to open some fillable PDFs. I have a client who is a solicitor and uses a Chromebook and the Google ecosystem exclusively but he does need to fill PDFs on occasion. Using Crossover with Reader 11 has solved this issue for him.
  • Filezilla – Version 3.41 is working perfectly for me.
  • Warcraft II – Of course, there have to be some games. I bought the version of this game from gog.com for a few euros and it works perfectly so far. It took a little experimentation with the graphics options on the opening dialogs but aside from that no problems.
  • Age of Empires I or II (Age of Kings) – Neither worked. I contacted CodeWeavers about it and despite being quick to respond they weren’t able to offer any help. Maybe in the future. I think it was a Direct X issue of some kind.
  • Internet Explorer – Version 8 installed and worked fine.
  • Microsoft Office – I tried version 2016 which is supposed to work but I had difficulty getting an installer. I then tried my old Office XP version. It installed and ran fine. For those people who say you can’t run Word or Excel on Chrome OS. You can and I have. I wouldn’t though unless you really needed it.

That’s my list so far that I can think of but I’ll add more to it as I try more or think of more. Like I said above I try to avoid needed to use Windows apps on the Chromebook but where it becomes necessary then I’ll have a go.

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