Windows on ChromeOS Devices
A non-trivial amount of Chromebook/Chromebox users want to run Windows on their devices, rather than ChromeOS or Linux. As someone who grew up using DOS, then Windows 3.1, 95, 98, 2000, XP, 7, and now Windows 10, the scars of using Microsoft products run deep...
Regardless, it is important to understand:
- 1) The vast majority of Chromebooks are not capable of running Windows in any shape or form except perhaps in a Virtual Machine
- 2) For those Chromebooks that are capable, there are always some limitations, quirks, missing drivers, and/or functional impairments not present on devices designed to run Windows. This is due to both hardware and firmware differences.
Plenty of YouTubers and such out there try to make it look easy, but they mostly fail to understand all of the underlying steps, why they are necessary, and what they actually do. This page is an attempt to correct that.
These are mandatory and 100% non-negotiable:
- An Intel-based Chromebook from the supported devices listed below
- - AMD devices currently have firmware bugs which prevent installing/running Windows
- - ARM devices do not have custom firmware available
- The latest MrChromebox UEFI (Full ROM) firmware flashed
- - RW_LEGACY firmware is not sufficient, as it is simply a bootloader
- - Stock Google firmware which initializes the device is not Windows compatible or has bugs preventing full functionality (for 99.9% of ChromeOS devices)
- - Older legacy boot SeaBIOS firmware may boot Windows, but is not supported
- - Firmware from other developers, especially those who are no longer actively developing ChromeOS device firmware, is not supported
- Install USB with UEFI-bootable Windows 10 (64-bit). 32-bit Windows is not supported; the firmware cannot boot it and the drivers are x64 only.
- - Must use official Microsoft ISO. Stripped/Modded/De-crapped ISOs are likely missing critical drivers.
- - Must create USB install media with either Rufus (GPT for UEFI, FAT32) or the official Microsoft Windows Media Creation Tool.
- - Writing the ISO directly to USB (like a Linux ISO) or simply copying the ISO to USB will not work.
Important: most Chromebooks will need a USB mouse for Windows installation, as the touchpad will not be functional until coolstar's custom drivers are installed.