Software & Apps

How To Run “.exe” Files on Chromebook

Dell Chromebook

We can’t deny that a Chromebook is a great productivity tool, but its inability to run .exe files (in other words, any Windows program) can be pretty limiting. This means you can’t run many popular apps and games on a Chromebook. Luckily, there are some workarounds, and it is possible to run .exe files on Chromebook.

Quick Answer

There are three ways to run .exe files on Chromebook. You can use Wine or CrossOver while in Developer Mode to access Windows applications or remotely access a Windows computer.

If you’re still confused about how to do that, continue reading as we explain exactly what you need to do. 

Method #1: Using Wine 

Wine is a compatibility layer tool for both macOS and Linux. This open-source application allows you to access more than 24,000 Windows applications on your Chromebook.

Wine doesn’t have a specific Chromebook version, but you can run it using either the Wine Android app or Crouton. 

First, enable developer mode and install Wine. Once that is done, you need to make a fake C: drive for your Windows program. 

Finally, to install a Windows program using Wine:

  1. Download the .exe file for the program.
  2. Launch the terminal and go to the directory where the downloaded file is saved.
  3. Then, type “wine“followed by the “filename.exe.” Here, the filename is the name of the program you downloaded and .exe is the extension. 

Method #2: Using CrossOver

CrossOver is also a compatibility layer tool by CodeWeavers. It is based on Wine, but the only difference is that it has some new features that provide better compatibility and support with Windows programs. It also has a more user-friendly interface and automates dependencies and configuration. 

To run .exe files with CrossOver, here’s what you need to do:

  1. First, enable “Developer Mode.
  2. Download CrossOver (make sure the version you download is compatible with your OS).
  3. Right-click on the file you just downloaded and install it with Linux (Beta). Once that’s done, it should show up on your app launcher.  
  4. Now, download the .exe file of the program you want to install and save it in Linux Files. 
  5. Open CrossOver and click on “Install Windows Software.
  6. Look for the .exe file and then go to “Unlisted (filename).” Then select “Installer” and choose “Installer files.” The Windows file will start to run. 

Method #3: Remotely Access a Windows Computer

This method doesn’t exactly run .exe files on your computer, but it allows you to use Windows applications on your Chromebook without putting a strain on your device. 

If you have a Windows PC at home, you can run it remotely using the Chrome Remote Desktop web app on your Chromebook. The app lets you connect to and control any computer from your Chromebook via Chrome.

Info

Your Windows PC should be switched on for this method to work. 

For this method, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Install the Chrome Remote Desktop app on your Windows PC.
  2. Go to “Get Support” and click on “Generate Code.” This code will help you access your PC from the Chromebook.
  3. Now, go to remotedesktop.google.com/access using your Chromebook. Click on “Access. You’ll then be asked to enter the code. 
  4. You can now connect the two devices and use the programs you want. 

Summary

While Chromebooks offer a lot of programs that serve as the perfect alternative to Windows applications, sometimes you need to use specific Windows-based programs, like Adobe, or play games not available on the ChromeOS. 

You now know how to run .exe files on Chromebook. Wine and CrossOver are the most famous tools used for this purpose, and if you get stuck anywhere, there are numerous resources online that can help you solve your problem. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are .exe files?

To put it simply, .exe files are executable files for Windows and DOS-based computers. Computers that run on other OS, like the ChromeOS, Linux, or macOS, can’t run .exe files directly, but there are workarounds. 

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