There is evidence to suggest that Google may add a dual booting ability to Chrome OS to allow users to load Windows 10 onto Chromebooks, just as can be done on Apple’s MacBook systems through Boot Camp. Called “Campfire,” the dual boot feature appears to be in development for a public release, and not just limited to internal developers.
Google is not talking about Campfire at the moment, though this is not the first we have heard of the company having interest in getting Windows 10 onto its laptops. Just a few weeks ago, it was reported that Google was trying to gain Windows 10 certification for its Pixelbook, as the folks at XDA Developers round references in the Chromium codebases to the Microsoft Windows Hardware Certification Kit and Hardware Labl Kit (HLK).
Those same sleuths have done some more digging and now believe a dual boot feature is coming to Chromebooks. It’s based in large part on a Chromium Git project that appeared earlier this year in which the Chrome OS developers added a new firmware branch for the Pixelbook called “eve-campfire,” along with a new “Alt OS” mode.
“We have since confirmed this Alt OS refers to Microsoft Windows 10 and found evidence it wasn’t just an internal project but intended for public release,” XDA Developers states.
The way Campfire’s code is written, it appears Google is attempting to make dual booting an easy process for the average user. Campfire allows Google to distribute signed updates to a section of ROM that is not often used, but gives users the ability to dual boot an alternative OS, in this case Windows 10.
There is still work to be done—both Campfire and Alt OS are noticeably incomplete. However, it appears the developers are working fast to get this functionality out the door as quick as possible, perhaps in time for Google’s next hardware event.
The catch with this is that Windows 10 requires more storage than what is found on many entry-level Chromebooks. For example, a Chromebook with 16GB of eMMC storage will not be able to install Windows 10. One of the recent comments by a developer suggests that 40GB would be the minimum storage requirements, with 30GB allocated for Windows 10 and the remaining 10GB for Chrome OS.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Being able to install Windows 10 could potentially open up Chromebooks to a wider audience. As it stands, five of the top 10 selling laptops on Amazon are Chromebook models.