Understandably you are aware that Chromebooks do not support Windows officially. It comes preloaded with a special BIOS solely designed for Chrome OS. However, since you still want to know how to download Windows on a Chromebook, we got you covered. But we would like to give you a fair warning that the whole process may not work. Thus, you may have to use Chromebook as it is supposed to be used by going back to default.
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How to download Windows on a Chromebook?
Step I- Remove the ‘write protect’ screw
Chromebooks come with a special hardware feature to prevent people from modifying the BIOS. To disable the write protection feature, you need to open your Chromebook and find the ‘write protect’ screw on the motherboard. Remove the same. Some Chromebooks come with a ‘write protection’ switch as well. But before unscrewing the Chromebook from the back, shut it down first.
To find the ‘write protect’ screw or switch easily, you can research online the model name and a number of your device.
After removing the screw, reattach the bottom of the Chromebook.
Step II- Enable Developer Mode
Press Esc+Refresh+Power while the device is still powered off. The Chromebook would boot to display “Chrome OS is missing or damaged”.
Press Ctrl+D and then hit Enter to “turn OS verification OFF” and enable developer mode.
As the device boots into Chrome OS, you would the message, “OS verification is OFF”. Press Ctrl+D every time you boot to bypass this screen.
Step III- Flash the new BIOS
You can flash Chromebook’s new BIOS from within the ChromeOS. To open a terminal window press Ctrl+Alt+T. Type ‘shell’ in the terminal window and hit Enter to access an extra powerful Linus shell environment.
Download and run the script that would replace the Chromebook’s BIOS by copy-pasting the following command in the terminal window. Press Enter to confirm.
cd ~; curl -L -O http://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh; sudo bash firmware-util.sh
This command transforms to your home directory, downloads the script file- http://mrchromebox.tech/firmware-util.sh , and runs it with root privileges.
Select the option ‘Custom coreboot Firmware (Full ROM)’ in the list by typing ‘3’ and pressing the Enter key.
Type ‘y’ agreeing to flash your firmware. Then type ‘U’ to install UEFI firmware. Avoid choosing the ‘Legacy’ option if you wish to run Windows.
The script would allow you to create a backup copy of the Chromebook’s stock firmware and save it on a USB drive. Ensure to create this backup copy and keep it safe. This would help restore the device’s original BIOS if needed in the future.
You do not need to have the BIOS backup on a flash drive. Once the process is complete, you would get a .rom file to copy the content of the pen drive and store it safely.
Once the backup process is done, the script would download the replacement Coreboot firmware. Then it would be flashed onto the device. Turn off the Chromebook when it is finished.
You can put back the ‘write protect’ screw at this point if you want.
Step IV- Create a Windows installation drive
You need to use a Windows PC for this step. Download an ISO and burn it to a pen drive using a tool like Rufus. Download a Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft. Click on ‘Download tool now’, choose ‘Create installation media for another PC’, and let it download an ISO file. It is to be noted that Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 may or may not work with the Chromebook and its drivers.
Download and run the Rufus utility. You would need it to create the Windows installer USB drive. Plug the pen drive into the Windows computer. This would be used as the Windows installer and any files on it shall be deleted.
Launch Rufus, choose the pen drive, and pick the ‘GPT partition scheme for UEFI’ and ‘NTFS’. Hit the button on the right of ‘Create a bootable disk using’ and choose the downloaded Windows 10 ISO image.
Ensure that Rufus says ‘Create a bootable disk using’ and then click on ‘Start’ to create a Windows installer USB drive.
Step V- Install Windows
Plug the pen drive into the Chromebook and turn it on. If the Windows does not boot directly from the flash drive, hit any key when you see the ‘Select Boot Option’ appearing on the screen. Choose ‘Boot Manager’ and select the USB device.
Connect a USB mouse and a keyboard to the Chromebook to interact with the Windows installer when installing Windows.
Go along with the normal Windows installation process. You can create partitions if you want. The Windows installer would restart several times during the process. Ensure to remove the pen drive to avoid restarting the installation process again.
Step VI- Install third-party drivers
You would need to install third-party drivers to make the additional hardware work properly. You would need to enable ‘test signing’ to install the drivers since Windows would not allow it.
Open Command Prompt as Administrator and right-click on the Start button. Alternatively, press Windows+X and choose ‘Command Prompt (Administrator)’ and run the following command:
bcdedit -set testsigning on
Restart your device.
Install any third-party drivers that the Chromebook installation guide recommends for your model. Windows would show security warnings since these are third-party drivers. But you can go ahead.
If everything goes well, the Chromebook now becomes an inexpensive and fully functional Windows computer.
Before you start the process of installing Windows on your Chromebook, back up all your data because they would be erased. If you find this information on how to download Windows on a Chromebook useful, share this with others.