There are also a handful of integrations between Chrome OS and Windows to make working across the different systems easier. Copy and paste for both text and graphics works between the two systems, and a Windows installation will automatically recognize any printers that are set up in Chrome OS, as well. There’s also a “open with” feature built into Chrome OS that’ll let you select apps installed in Windows, so opening a Word doc will automatically launch Windows and open it in Word, instead of trying to import it into Google Docs. Similarly, you can decide where web links open -- they can be set to always be open in the Chrome OS browser, or they can be set to open in any browser installed in Windows.
As for the file system, the traditional Windows Explorer and its folders are present, but those folders also link to the local storage in Chrome OS. So, anything you save to the Windows “documents” folder will be reflected locally in the Chrome OS files app. This means that if an IT administrator needs to shut down the Windows virtual machine for whatever reason, any documents a worker has saved will be preserved. And since the Chrome OS keyboard differs from the Windows layout, there’s a toolbar with quick access to important Windows shortcuts that might not be immediately obvious, like Control-Alt-Delete.
Of course, there are tons of Chromebooks out there with widely varying specs. Given what Parallels is attempting to do here, the minimum specs for using Windows on Chrome OS are pretty high. You’ll need a Chromebook with an Intel i5 or i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. That much space isn’t all necessary for running Windows, but trying to run Windows on a Chromebook with only 64GB of space could get tight in a hurry, so it’s a reasonable requirement. Parallels also simplifies things by having a list of recommended devices, including Google’s Pixelbook Go, HP’s new Elite c1030 Chromebook Enterprise, the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436FA and a handful of others.
Along with today’s Parallels for Chrome Enterprise launch, Google is announcing a handful of things it’s doing to make Chromebooks more attractive to businesses. There’s a free software tool for IT admins to install on Windows computers to run a Chrome OS “compatibility check.” It basically analyses if a user’s workflow would be conducive to switching to a Chrome OS device.
Google also announced a new “Chrome Enterprise Recommended” program to help IT departments and users alike find apps that’ll work well with Chrome OS.Finally, Google is making it easier to deploy enterprise Chromebooks to employees without IT needing to set anything up -- organizations that opt-in can have devices shipped that’ll auto-enroll in the company’s Enterprise program.
Windows is such a dominant force in big business that Windows support on Chrome OS won’t remake the enterprise landscape overnight. But on the other hand, there’s a lot of data that businesses are increasingly interested in Chrome OS thanks to less expensive hardware, easier security management and fast deployment time, among other things. John Maletis, Google’s head of product, engineering and UX for Chrome OS, told Engadget he had seen NPD data showing as much: From January through August of this year, Chrome OS device shipments increased 20 percent year-over-year, while the rest of the market was down three percent. Being able to easily keep a few key pieces of Windows software around for some users while moving a business to Chromebooks could help keep that momentum going.