How to run Chrome OS on your Windows desktop

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Want to get a taste of how the Chrome operating system feels like without having the need to purchase a Chromebook? Chrome 32 now comes with a brand new feature which enables a pretty decent functioning Chrome OS (with a lot of the themes, layout, and features) on your Windows 8 OS. And taking things a to whole new level, with the new update, the Chrome app launcher can not only enable Chrome OS on the Windows, but also take over the desktop completely.

No, you won’t get a dual-boot style launch at startup, but you’ll get a lot of the Chrome OS features straight from your desktop and of course the ability to launch and run Chrome apps.

So let’s get started with running a Chrome OS on your Windows desktop.

Run Chrome OS on Windows Desktop

Chrome Store 1024x520 How to run Chrome OS on your Windows desktop

First of all, make sure you have the latest version of the Chrome browser installed. To do that, open the Chrome menu by clicking on the icon in the upper-right portion of the screen. From the drop-down, choose About Google Chrome. This will show your browser’s current version. If there’s a new update available, you will be asked to update.

Now that you’ve made sure your Chrome browser is up to date, head over the Google Chrome store, and open the ‘For Your Desktop’ category. All apps in this categories are programmed to launch directly from your Windows desktop, without having the need to open your Chrome browser first. You will now need to install any one app from this category, which will also install the ‘Chrome App Launcher’ on your desktop.

Chrome App Launcher How to run Chrome OS on your Windows desktop

So once you’re done with downloading and install a random app from the ‘For Your Desktop’ category, simply look for the Chrome App launcher on your desktop (as an icon) and your taskbar. Opening up the Chrome App Launcher will pop up a new window, displaying the basic apps like Chrome browser, Gmail, Google search, YouTube and Google Drive to name a few.

Additionally, you can also run Chrome as a Windows 8 app, by choosing the “Re-launch Chrome in Windows 8 mode” option in the Chrome menu. In the past, such a feature was known as a Metro app, but with Windows 8, it’s now possible. Users won’t be able to use this feature on previous versions of Windows; since this feature requires the Windows 8 interface and layout characteristics to work properly.

Chrome in Windows 8 Mode

The ‘Start Menu’ will now show all the basic Chrome apps. You can launch new apps by opening the app launcher and selecting an app. The taskbar also has icons to give you quick access to apps like Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar etc. You can drag and drop your favorite apps to the taskbar for quick acces. You can manage multiple browser windows, along with different apps in Chrome mode. Windows launched in this mode will only appear on your Chrome app, and will have no effect on your Windows desktop running in the background.

You can always switch to your Windows desktop by pressing ALT + TAB keys, or simply close down the Chrome app by pressing ALT + F4 or selecting the option to “Re-launch Chrome on the Desktop”. What we found really amazing was the ease to which we could snap around windows and align them according to our liking. Users also have the option to set the Chrome app on one side of the grid, while restoring the Windows Desktop on the other side, effectively running both version side by side.

As far as plug-ins are concerned, the Chrome app can run Flash, PDF, and Google’s Native Client. Unfortunately, Microsoft Silverlight and Java are not supported.

Some people might question the need for such a feature, and why Google is pushing so hard to entice users to use effectively a ‘Chrome OS’ style interface inside a Windows OS. The answer is simple; Google wants people to ignore the Windows 8 style interface and focus their attention towards using Chrome apps rather than the Windows 8 apps.

Have you tried the Chrome OS desktop on your Windows desktop? Do you think it offers practicality? Do let us know of your opinions in the comments section below!

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