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Like your Chromebook, but need Office? Try installing Windows on it

If you want to push the functionality of your new laptop to another level, and Linux isn’t really your deal, you can try installing Windows. There are still some functionality issues — which we’ll get to in a second — but for those looking to casually game or nab some Windows-only software, it might be just the trick.

More: So what exactly is a Chromebook, anyway?

Before you begin

Before setting off on this adventure, there are a few important caveats to getting Windows up and running on your Chromebook. As always, and most importantly, messing with your operating system, firmware, and BIOS can have serious effects on your system. This process can “brick” your Chromebook, turning it into an expensive frisbee. That said, users online have had success with the steps listed below, and there’s minimal chance of much going wrong. If something does happen and you find yourself unable to use your Chromebook, you can create a USB drive from another computer to try and recover the system. This will erase all of your data though, so make sure to back up anything that isn’t saved to Google Drive.

There’s also a catch, in that only a subset of Chromebooks are actually capable of running Windows. The process below will work for the Acer C720P, and should work for Google’s own Pixel laptop. There’s a very helpful page over on coolstar.org that provides drivers and installation assistance for your specific make and model of Chromebook. Even if you’re using one of the aforementioned machines, it’s a good idea to check there for updated drivers and compatibility issues, which may vary based on the CPU.

There are compatibility issues as well, because of the way the keyboard and mouse communicate with the laptop. The controller for these inputs is unable to communicate with Windows in most cases, so your keyboard, trackpad, and touchscreen won’t work when you’re using it — well, at least until you install drivers from the site listed above. The USB ports should work fine, so you can plug in a keyboard for the installation process (the other USB port is for the boot drive) and a mouse after you’re into the main OS. It isn’t a supported operating system, so expect some random issues, such as the system shutting down instead of sleeping, and various control issues.

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