What you need to know
- During Ignite 2023, Microsoft introduced a brand new “Windows App” for streaming to Windows PCs from anywhere.
- The app is compatible with macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and even Windows, but it’s not available for Android or ChromeOS.
- If you want to use this with a Chromebook, you’ll have to rely on the browser implementation.
Chromebook owners have been craving the ability to use Windows, or at least Windows apps, for years. There was some hope that this would come from Parallels, but this seems to be limited to the enterprise market. Then Microsoft gave us a glimmer of hope during Ignite 2023, where the company released a new “Windows app.”
Awkward name aside, the Windows app is designed to provide access to cloud computing from compatible devices. This includes things like Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365, and Microsoft Dev Box. But this new application also provides limited ability to access remote desktop services and remote computers.
Unfortunately, it seems as if Android and ChromeOS have been left behind, for one reason or another. Not only is the Windows app not compatible with Chromebooks, but you also won’t find a dedicated Android app. To make matters even more frustrating, Microsoft’s support documentation states that you are unable to access this service using a mobile browser.
The next hurdle, even if you run Chrome, is that you’ll need a registered work or school account. On the surface, this is an obvious limitation because it’s not intended to give everyone with a Microsoft account access to a computer in the cloud. However, if you’re using a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, you can actually connect to your Windows PC, provided Remote Desktop Services are enabled.
In the support documentation, Microsoft states that it “does not currently support these connections.” However, it seems a bit strange to include this functionality initially, even if it is not “officially” supported.
There are a few different solutions available for those using Chromebooks in the enterprise space. However, the same cannot be said when it comes to the consumer market. On the one hand, Chromebooks continue to improve at an incredibly rapid pace, as evidenced by Google’s Chromebook Plus initiative.
However, there are still some things you can’t do on ChromeOS that you can do on Windows or macOS, and you definitely don’t want to be running Windows on a Chromebook. We’ll keep our fingers crossed to see if this changes, but we’re not holding our breath.