Thanks to HP’s Chromebook 11 & 14-inch models and Google’s Chromebook Pixel, Chromebooks are beginning to click with consumers who like to be constantly connected to the internet. But what if you can’t or don’t want to be online all the time?
Can I use my Chromebook offline? Is it compatible with Microsoft Office? Can I print with it? These are just some of the common question asked by would-be Chromebook owners. Read on for the all the answers.
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1) Can I use my Chromebook offline?
YES: A number of popular apps such as Gmail and Google Drive have offline modes built-in. These will then sync with your online accounts the next time your Chromebook is connected. Other apps like Kindle Cloud Player and even games like Angry Birds are all available to use offline – just be sure to enable offline use in their settings first.
2) Is my Chromebook compatible with Microsoft Office documents?
YES: Though it’s not possible to install Microsoft Office on your Chromebook, apps like Google Drive will convert Word and Excel files into Google Docs that you can then edit. If you’re signed up to Microsoft Office 365 service, you can also create and edit Office documents via Microsoft Office Online. All you’ll need to access it is a valid Windows Live Account (free to set-up) and a wi-fi connection (Microsoft hasn’t provided offline support as yet).
3) Can I edit photos using my Chromebook?
YES: There’s an in-built photo-editor in Chrome’s operating system. If this proves unsatisfactory, web-based photo-editing alternatives like Pixlr are available.
4) Can I play DVDs on my Chromebook?
NO: Chromebooks don’t feature disc drives. If you want to watch a DVD on your Chromebook, you’ll have to convert its video to an MP4 file. Similarly, if you want to play a CD on your Chromebook, you’ll need to convert its music into MP3 files. You’ll need an additional PC with a DVD drive to complete these tasks, so don’t bin your older computer just yet.
5) Can I store movies and other large files on my Chromebook?
YES: The internal storage capacity of a Chromebook is limited and it varies from product to product. For example, the HP Chromebook 14 has a 16GB hard drive, but the more expensive Chromebook Pixel has a 64GB drive included. Plus, with each new Chromebook purchase, you receive 100GB free cloud storage. A 100GB is roughly equivalent to 21 DVD movies or 20,000 mp3 files.
6) Can I use iTunes with my Chromebook?
NO: Apple hasn’t created an iTunes app for Google’s Chrome OS and – due to the two companies’ ongoing rivalry – something unlikely to end any time soon. However, you can import your existing iTunes library directly into Google Play Music (here’s a step-by-step guide). Additionally, you can also pop-in a memory card or USB flash drive and play local music through Chrome OS’s integrated media player.
7) Can I install Windows on my Chromebook?
NO: It’s not possible to install Windows on your Chromebook but, if you really need to access a Microsoft-powered PC, you can use an app like Chrome Remote Desktop to get the job done.
8) Can I play PC games on my Chromebook?
NO: As we’ve mentioned, Chromebooks can’t run Windows so you won’t be able to install PC games on them. Casual app-based games like Angry Birds, Cut The Rope, and Plants vs Zombies are available to download through the Chrome Web Store.
9) Can I use Skype on my Chromebook?
NO: A Skype app isn’t currently available through the Chrome Web Store, although a web browser-based version of the VoIP program is reportedly in development. In the meantime, Google Hangouts is a free alternative for video calling.
10) Do I need anti-virus software for my Chromebook?
NO: Because you can’t install local applications on a Chromebook, the need for antivirus software is somewhat negated. However, you’ll still need to stay vigilant online for scams and the apps you share your personal data with.
11) Can I print using my Chromebook?
YES: Printing with a Chromebook isn’t as simple as just connecting via a USB cable. You need to enable Google’s Cloud Print service, which works over wi-fi and allows you to print from a host of mobile devices.
Any more questions?
Those are all the Chromebook-related queries we could think of but if there’s anything you want to know about Google’s OS, get in touch via the comments below and we’ll do our best to reply.