Chrome OS Windows 10 Dual-Boot Not Exclusive To Pixelbook

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In short: Windows 10 dual-booting in Chrome OS won't be limited to just the current Google Pixelbook, based on a recently spotted adjustment made in the Chromium Gerrit. Updated several weeks ago and listed as a change specific to the Chrome OS device codenamed 'Nocturne', the commit notes that at least one power reference associated with the camera is causing errors. More directly it notes that the scope modifier isn't necessarily supported across every OS or driver and that it's causing a "Blue Screen of Death" (BSoD) error during a boot to Windows 10 on the device in question. Subsequently, changes are being made to the "_PRx references" in order to help Windows properly identify them.

Background: Windows dual-booting first made an appearance in Chromium Gerrit in commits several months ago before further commits expressly linked with the 'eve' board. That effectively implied that only the current Google Pixelbook would be receiving that capability. As noted at the time, adding Windows support seems counterintuitive – Chrome OS is on its way to becoming a much more comprehensive platform already. The change follows the addition of Linux app support and Android app support as well as changes to the file manager application which make working with those apps less restrictive. Meanwhile, other changes are being made which broaden the file-sharing aspects of the OS. Simultaneously, Chrome OS devices are moving away from cheap hardware as OEMs place emphasis on uncompromisingly smooth experiences supported by components much more commonly seen in Windows builds.

All of those trends make installing Windows on Chrome OS hardware feasible, at very least. However, some users are still entirely dependant on Microsoft's Windows for productivity or work. Having the ability to dual-boot into either Windows 10 or Chrome is likely intended to generate appeal for a target audience which may otherwise not consider a Chrome OS device at all. Bearing that in mind, Google's Pixelbook will almost certainly be replaced with at least one new device at this year's annual Made By Google hardware event. So it makes sense for Google to shift focus away from the older hardware and toward the new. In fact, there may actually be two new Pixel-branded Chrome OS devices at this year's event on October 9. One of those is the all-but-confirmed 'Nocturne' dedicated Chrome OS tablet, expected to ship under the Google 'Pixel Slate' branding. The other, less reported device, has been codenamed Atlas and would be a more traditional design.

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Impact: It also seems unlikely that the ability to dual-boot a Windows environment will extend beyond Google's own devices due to licensing constraints. Moreover, Microsoft's certification program is also extremely rigorous and most other Chromebooks or other Chrome OS device manufacturers appear to be content with letting the two OS's remain separated. What's more, Google won't necessarily ship any of its own devices with Windows already installed. Instead, it seems as though the search giant is only looking to make it easy for a dual-boot to be accomplished and used. This latest update is a step in that general direction.

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Junior Editor

Daniel has been writing for AndroidHeadlines since 2016. As a Senior Staff Writer for the site, Daniel specializes in reviewing a diverse range of technology products and covering topics related to Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Daniel holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering and has a background in Writing and Graphics Design that drives his passion for Android, Google products, the science behind the technology, and the direction it's heading. Contact him at [email protected]

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