Many argue that Chromebook is not a complete machine, and it panders to users who have limited use-case. Frankly, that’s true to some extent. However, with the support of Android and Linux apps, the gap has closed significantly. Having said that, the lack of Windows app support is still the bottleneck for many users who want to move from a Windows PC to Chromebook. But that is also changing. Now, you can run Windows 10 and 11 apps on Chromebook, thanks to native Linux support. In this article, we will show you how to install and use Windows apps on Chrome OS using Wine. So, let’s get started.
Use Windows Apps on Your Chromebook (2022)
We have added comprehensive instructions right from setting up Wine to installing Windows apps on Chromebooks. Then, we also teach you how to create a shortcut to those Windows apps for convenient access.
How to Install Wine 7.0 on Your Chromebook
Here, we will begin by installing the latest version of Wine (7.0) on our Chromebook. In case you are wondering what is Wine, well, it’s a compatibility layer that allows you to use Windows apps in a Linux environment without going through the emulation route.
To cut things short, you will basically use Windows applications through a compatibility layer called Wine, which will run inside the Linux container. I know that seems a mouthful, but don’t worry the performance is good and more than usable for light applications. Now, having said that, let’s begin with the installation of Wine 7.0 to run Windows 10 and 11 apps on your Chromebook.
1. Before anything, you need to set up Linux on your Chromebook. Follow our linked guide for detailed instructions.
2. After Linux is installed, open Terminal from the app drawer and run the below command to add support for 32-bit apps.
sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386
3. Next, run the below commands one by one to download and add the repository key.
sudo mkdir -pm755 /etc/apt/keyrings sudo wget -O /etc/apt/keyrings/winehq-archive.key https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/winehq.key
4. Once you have done that, run the below command to download the WineHQ sources file.
sudo wget -NP /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/debian/dists/bullseye/winehq-bullseye.sources
5. Next, run this command to update the packages.
sudo apt update
6. Finally, run the last command, which will install Wine 7.0 on your Chromebook. Press “Y” when asked to confirm the installation.
sudo apt install --install-recommends winehq-stable
7. Once the installation is complete, type
winecfg in the Terminal and hit Enter. This will prompt you to install additional files required to run Windows apps through Wine on Chromebooks. The prompt may appear multiple times so click “Install” every time it appears.
8. Finally, to test if you have installed Wine 7.0 successfully, run
winecfg again and move to the “About” tab. There you have it! Wine 7.0 running on your Chromebook without any issues.
9. If the window resolution is too small for you, move to the “Graphics” tab and change the screen resolution to 120 dpi or whatever looks best to you.
How to Install Windows Programs on Your Chromebook
Now that you have successfully set up Wine 7.0, it is time to install and run a Windows 10 or Windows 11 application on your Chromebook. Here, for example, I am going to show you how to install IrfanView– a popular image viewer– on Chrome OS. Let’s look at the steps:
1. First, all you have to do is download the 64-bit EXE file (of any Windows program) and move it to the Linux files section. Make sure to rename the file to something easier to type.
Note: As a thumb rule on Linux, rename files and folders to one word, which you can then easily type in the Terminal. It will immensely help you while dealing with files in the Linux Terminal.
2. Now, open the Terminal and type the below command. Make sure to replace
irfanview.exe with the filename of your chosen app, in case you are installing a different application. Instantly, a setup wizard will open up, and you will be able to install the application just like Windows programs.
Create Shortcuts for Windows Apps on Chrome OS
After you have installed the program, the next part is to run it. While Wine creates a shortcut for your Windows program in the App Drawer (under the Linux folder) on your Chromebook, the shortcut doesn’t work because of the incorrect file path. To fix it, you will have to find the correct path and use a program called Menulibre to create a custom shortcut. Here is how you can do it.
1. Open the Files and move to the Linux Files section. Here, click on the 3-dot menu and enable “Show Hidden Files”.
2. After that, open the
.wine folder and navigate to
drive_c. Here, you will get a file-directory system similar to Windows. Now, check where the program has been installed, either in
Program Files or
Program Files (x86) folder. Once, you locate the correct folder, open it, and find the
.exe file. That’s the Windows app you will have to run through the Linux Terminal on Chromebook.
3. After that, open the Terminal and note down whatever is written before
@penguin. That’s your username. For example, mine is
4. Now, this is how your file path will look like. Here, you will have to change
yourusername to the username you noted above. Similarly, change
Program Files/IrfanView/i_view64.exe to the file path shown in your File Manager.
5. Finally, this is how your complete file path will look like. Now, add
wine at the beginning and a space thereafter, followed by the file path within quotes. You can also run the below command in the Terminal to check if your file path is correct or not. If right, the Windows application will open up. Now, copy the whole file path as you will need to use it in the next step.
wine "/home/yourusername/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/IrfanView/i_view64.exe"
6. You have finally created the file path and tested it via Terminal, so let’s create a custom shortcut. Open the Terminal and run the below commands one by one to install and open MenuLibre.
sudo apt install menulibre -y menulibre
7. In the MenuLibre program, click the “+” icon in the top menu bar and select “Add Launcher“.
8. After that, under the “Application Details” section in the right pane, next to “Command”, paste the final file path of the Windows app you copied on your Chromebook in step #5.
9. Next, click on the “New Launcher” textbox in the right pane and enter the name of the program for easier identification. I have entered “IrfanView”. Finally, click the “Save” button in the top menu, and you are done. You can also click on the icon and choose an icon image for the program.
10. Close the MenuLibre window and open the App Drawer. Further, open the “Linux apps” folder, and here you will find the newly created shortcut. If it does not appear, wait for 5 to 10 seconds.
11. Click on it, and the program will open on your Chromebook instantly.
12. You can also pin the Windows app shortcut to the Chrome OS shelf without any issues.
13. Here is another Windows application, IDM (or you can use any of its alternatives) running on Chrome OS. We have mentioned the file path below to take note of. Once you learn how to create the file path, running a Windows app becomes a breeze on Chromebooks.
wine "/home/yourusername/.wine/drive_c/Program Files (x86)/Internet Download Manager/IDMan.exe"
14. To remove non-functional Linux shortcuts from the app drawer, open the Files app, enable hidden files, navigate to the below path, and open the program folder. Here, delete the .desktop files to remove shortcuts.
Enjoy Installing and Using Windows Apps on Chromebook
So that was our deep dive into how you can run Windows apps on Chromebook using Wine 7.0. As is evident in this tutorial, Windows apps work pretty well through the Linux container on Chrome OS. Among other apps, we tried Skype, Notepad++, and VLC as well. So go ahead and try your favorite Windows 10 or 11 apps on your Chromebook. And if you are interested in gaming on your Chrome OS device, do learn about Steam gaming on Chromebooks. Also, check out a list of the best Linux apps to use on a Chromebook using this curated list. Finally, if you are facing any issues, let us know in the comment section below.