Windows 10 Could Be Coming to Chromebooks

Posted on August 13, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Chrome OS, Chromebook, Pixelbook, Windows 10 with 23 Comments

Google Pixelbook: Of Feedback and Day Two Awkwardness

Chromebooks could be getting a huge feature in the coming months. In an ironic turn of events, Google is reportedly working on adding support for Windows 10 to its flagship Pixelbook device, allowing users to dual-boot Windows 10 on their Chromebooks.

The company has been internally working on adding dual-boot support for Windows 10 to Chrome OS for months, reports XDA DevelopersThe feature is internally known as “Campfire”, much like Apple’s Boot Camp feature that lets users run Windows on their Mac devices. Google has been trying to pass Microsoft’s hardware certification for Windows 10 with the Pixelbook as early as June of this year, and a public release could be closer than we think.

Campfire is expected to initially only support the Pixelbook, with support for other Chromebook devices potentially arriving in the future. Of course, most of the entry-level Chromebook devices wouldn’t support Campfire as it will need more than 16GB of storage. Even if you have a Pixelbook with 16GB storage, you will need more storage to be able to dual-boot into Windows 10. The system apparently requires a minimum of 40GB storage, so it can allocate 30GB to Windows 10, and the other 10GB to Chrome OS itself.

With the ability to dual-boot Windows 10, Chromebooks will soon become more powerful. You can already run Linux commands and Android apps on Chrome OS itself but with Windows 10 support, Chromebooks are going to more of a viable option for professional users. Of course, all of that depends mostly on how well Campfire is capable of running the OS.

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Comments (25)

25 responses to “Windows 10 Could Be Coming to Chromebooks”

  1. dnationsr

    if they are offering dual boot it will have to

  2. chrisrut

    Without even having read the post, I'll say it one more frickin' time: there is no reason Windows couldn't "dual boot," or better yet, run a virtualized instance of any damn thing you want. Ridiculous... What platform things are developed on is nowhere near as important as user access to whatever the heck they want.


    Edit: having now read the post, I'll stand pat...

  3. kyengineer

    I am not sure why google is dual booting win 10. When I first heard about Window 10 S, I thought it would be a version that would run on a chromebook and would link with the cloud version of office 365. The version the runs in the cloud like Google apps or whatever it is called.

  4. aretzios

    The Pixelbook has the muscle to run Win10. No problem. The reason that Google is doing this is quite simple. It would extend the appeal of the chromebook and it would push manufacturers to produce much more capable hardware. Thus, if one is presented with similar hardware from Apple and Google that can run their OSes and also run Win10, the appeal of hardware that would run only Win10 diminishes substantially. If we add to the Chromebook equation that it would be capable soon to run Linux applications as well, you will have certain machines that would be able to run the Chrome OS, Android, Linux and Win10. What is not to like in this equation? I think that it would be a major winner. Microsoft should be busy working on similar solutions, allowing Win10 machines to run Android and Linux. I do not think that this is too technically demanding.


    If I have certain dollars allocated to purchase a Win10 computer, I would certainly opt to buy something that runs other OSes, provided that the Win10 performance is not compromised. Thus, Google is on to a winner here.

  5. YouWereWarned

    Not enough ram or storage for even mediocre performance. Will convince users that Windows is terrible. Which is why Google is doing this, I suspect...

    • aretzios

      In reply to YouWereWarned:

      Wrong on both counts, "Campfire" is now targeted for the Pixelbook and this one does have the memory, the storage and processor to run Win10. In fact, its specs are similar to an entry level Surface Pro. So, I do not see why it cannot offer dual boot to Win10. Yes, other Chromebooks may lack the "guts" to run Windows, but the software would not be offered to these.


      Now, I have to say that a piece of hardware capable of running Chrome OS, Android, Linux and Win10 adequately to excellently would be highly desirable and I, personally, will loot at it before buying anything else.

  6. curtisspendlove

    While this kinda appears to be a “me too” play (obvious comparisons to Apple / Boot Camp), I can see them thinking this might sway some purchasers.


    The main problem is the cost to do this. You’d need a windows license. So I really don’t see this doing much for sales except for a very small portion of people. Maybe...developers and a very small number of business users that want a Chromebook but need a few Windows applications sometimes.


    I could see them trying to grab the Windows partition from disk and load it up into a hypervisor (Google loves them hypervisors). The theory there being that you could run “those few Windows apps” you need transparently without a full reboot and switch.


    (Parallels for Mac does this and it is kinda magical.)


    But...it just doesn’t jive to me. I can only really see very specific niche markets (again, some web developers...maybe) buying a system powerful enough to cleanly run Windows.


    I think for most people the “not Windows” or “cheap as hell” plays are the likely reasons to buy a Chromebook. This addresses neither.


    It would now have windows on it, and the specs have to be higher to run Windows. In fact storage has to be quite a bit higher to fit both OSs on.

  7. VancouverNinja

    Pretty obvious. The statistics on Chromebook marketshare make the platform unviable. There are most likely large inventories of Chromebooks still at OEMs production facilities and no sign of any real interest in the platform.


    The idea here is that the current hardware could get a boost in corporate sales by providing two OSs - the one people want plus the bonus of the one no one wants. So the sales pitch is that you can get an excellent Windows machine that does more than a regular windows machine. This will turn into fire sales for the units as they end up being just for Windows use. However if IT professionals now have to manage two OSs and the Chrome OS is just taking up storage space some will not even like the idea of that at all.


    This appears to be Google trying anything they can to get sales moving forward - I do understand not giving up but you also need to know when to call it. This is complex for Google as they have good marketshare in the K-5 space but nowhere else. How do you keep OEMs making these little paperweights without any market support?


    The most likely scenario for Google here is give this a try, if it works awesome! If it doesn't get much traction then they moved some more hardware and they can blow them out to corporate accounts as Windows 10 machines and continue to move away from Chromebooks to another effort in the future.


    Chromebooks were DOA and Windows 10 is simply too good and too strong now for a third PC operating system that is simply a limited subset of the dominat platform.

  8. skane2600

    I think one reason why some people dual-boot on the Mac rather than just get a Windows PC, is because the Mac has a certain "cool" factor. Chromebooks, not so much.

  9. christian.hvid

    This is truly weird. If Google wants to sell more Pixelbooks (for whatever reason; after all, they're not a hardware company), they should just make it available in more countries. But the point of the Pixelbook is to be a hero device for Chrome OS, not a generic laptop that can run anything. I get that it makes sense to support Linux, considering that Linux is the natural development platform for Chrome (and also the underpinnings of Chrome OS). But Windows, the very platform that the Chromebook is designed to conquer?! Even Microsoft must be shaking their heads at this.

  10. thalter

    No one I know uses Boot Camp anymore. Not only are the drivers terrible, but the idea of shutting down and restarting your computer just to switch operating systems is dumb. Like another commenter said, just buy a Windows PC if you are going to run WIndows.


    Better to use an emulator like Parallels (excellent, but paid) or VirtualBox (free, but serviceable) if you want to run Windows on your Mac. The performance penalty for using an emulator is basically non-existent any more, and this is probably the route that Google should be going with their Pixelbooks, not dual-boot.

  11. irfaanwahid

    Does Windows 10 devices support dual-boot anymore?

    I haven't dual-booted for many years now so ignore my ignorance.

    Back in Windows XP, ME I have done a lot of dual boots. But now no more.

  12. jrickel96

    Just like the ability to boot Windows on Macs, this is an attempt to broaden the scope of the Chromebook. Problem here is the hardware is much cheaper and less capable. I'd guess this is an attempt to satisfy OEMs in some way and add appeal to the Chromebook by giving users an alternative if they can't do the work they need to get done in ChromeOS.


    It is probably mostly aimed at business customers who may be more willing to try ChromeOS if they can ditch it and run Windows instead if they are not satisfied. Business sales are pretty bad. They saw a slight uptick a little over a year ago as some large businesses bought some inexpensive Chromebooks for use on some light work - though I think they were not happy because there was no room for productivity growth on those machines. The education market also may be backing off a bit on Chromebooks. They have been purchased because they are cheap, but universities have been communicating the school systems that Chromebooks do not prepare students properly and that students will need to be able to use PCs at the college level and will be expected to be familiar with Windows when they graduate college for jobs with companies. Any school system that uses Chromebooks is creating a hurdle for a student.


    Barring a miraculous turnaround, ChromeOS is pretty much a dead end at this point. Running Android apps won't save it as they are optimized for mobile phones. Even running them on Android tablets is terrible as that ecosystem has never really developed either - and trying to use these apps without a touchscreen on the least expensive Chromebooks would not be an enjoyable experience.


    Google's main draw on Desktop is Chrome, not ChromeOS. They assumed that Chrome users would want to jump to only using Chrome and that hasn't worked.


    Chrome remains dominate - most especially on the Desktop. I think it would be wiser for Google to kill ChromeOS and actually focus on making Chrome better. It does a poor job of managing things now - is overly bloated and wastes resources. They should look to fix that or they could eventually lose their dominate position just like IE did - especially with the antitrust hammer coming down in Europe.

  13. dontbe evil

    oh they understood that they need a serious OS

  14. dcdevito

    I still don't understand this. If I can boot into Windows and use it, then why would I want to use Chrome OS at all?

    • ReformedCtrlZ

      In reply to dcdevito:

      It's faster, more stable, and has apps. On a device like a Chromebook, most people will only boot into Windows when they need to - otherwise they would've bought a Windows PC. The only exception that comes to mind is the PixelBook which happens to be a really powerful machine. It would also matter just how good Campfire works.

      • geschinger

        In reply to ReformedCtrlZ:

        The PixelBook is nice hardware that if the hardware support / drivers are done right would make it an attractive laptop for those who prefer a thin and light laptop with a nice 3x2 screen and USB-C. Not many other Windows laptops have those criteria.

    • nicholas_kathrein

      In reply to dcdevito:

      Same could be said on the Mac. The goal is to make an OS people would rather be in then the alternatives. At the moment they want to make this device great for programmers where they can use this device for programming in multiple operating systems.

  15. illuminated

    So does it mean that Google got bored with Chromebooks and will drop ChromeOS in the near future? After all they already own web browsing on windows so any investment in windows-like OS development is a waste of time. Why develop OS when MS does all the heavy lifting and most of the users are using Chrome anyway.


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