Living with Chromebook: Workflow Changes (Premium)

Coming at Chromebook from a Windows perspective requires one to adjust expectations accordingly. As noted previously, Chrome OS provides a familiar-enough UI façade, with on-screen elements that resemble and generally work like their Windows counterparts. But the illusion fails when you actually start using the system.

The issue isn’t just about specific applications---I went into this knowing that some of my key daily-use applications simply won’t be available in Chrome OS---but also workflow. This is a more nebulous topic, in some ways. But it’s hard to change years of habit and tradition.

Look, we all work differently. Personally, I rely on certain Microsoft products and services, which I’ve integrated into my daily workflow. And I’ve become quite efficient in using this system over so many years.

Consider two examples, both related to OneDrive.

First, I use the Windows desktop as a scratch space where I temporarily store documents and pictures that I’m working on for news articles on When I’m done with those files, they’re copied to specific locations in OneDrive, which is integrated with the Windows shell. It’s a quick drag-and-drop process.

I also use OneDrive and Windows file system integration for longer-term articles and documents, like those related to the Windows 10 Field Guide or the Programming Windows series. In this case, I work directly from the OneDrive-based folders in File Explorer. Because these folders are synced between my PCs, I can work on my desktop computer, go upstairs with a laptop, and pick up the work where I left off.

On the face of things, you might think that using a Chromebook would change the workflow of the first scenario only minimally, whereas I’d have to make major changes, including possibly swapping out OneDrive for Google Drive, to successfully engage in the second scenario. But I mentioned there were many subtle and small differences between Chrome OS and Windows. And it is these differences that require me to make major changes to the first scenario too.

First, you can’t put files on the desktop. So I will need to store my scratch files somewhere else.

Second, Chrome OS doesn’t provide a meaningful folder structure of any kind. When you open the Files app, you’ll see only single folder, for Downloads. So unless I make my own folder structure---add a Documents or Scratch folder, or whatever----I’ll need to work via the Downloads folder. This reminds me of when people use to store all their files in the root of the C:\ drive in Windows/MS-DOS.

Third, I need to figure out how to get the files I’ve completed working on into my OneDrive folder structure. I could do this from the web: You can drag and drop files from the Files app into a web browser window. Or I could use the Chrome OS file system integration feature for OneDrive.

You know, if it existed anymore.

You used to be able to add OneDrive integration to Files by ope...

Gain unlimited access to Premium articles.

With technology shaping our everyday lives, how could we not dig deeper?

Thurrott Premium delivers an honest and thorough perspective about the technologies we use and rely on everyday. Discover deeper content as a Premium member.

Tagged with

Share post

Please check our Community Guidelines before commenting

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott © 2024 Thurrott LLC