Chromebook Pixel running Windows 8 remotely (video)

Chromebook Pixel running Windows 8 remotely (video)

Summary: The Chrome Remote Desktop app is a free web app for Chrome that can be used to run Windows PCs and Macs from Chrome. This video shows a Chromebook Pixel controlling a Windows 8 touch system.

Pixel RDP
Chromebook Pixel running Windows 8 remotely

There is a free app in the Chrome App Store that turns the Chrome browser into a remote control system to access Windows PCs and Macs remotely. Remote control using the Chrome Remote Desktop app is possible from any Chrome browser, but is particularly useful when the Chromebook Pixel is used with its touch screen.

In the video below, the Chromebook Pixel is demonstrated running Windows 8 remotely on an HP Envy x2 hybrid PC. The camera angle was chosen to show the Pixel display running Windows 8 remotely while leaving a corner of the Envy x2 screen in view. This clearly demonstrates the slight lag between the two systems.

The Chrome Remote Desktop app is installed on every system you wish to use as either a host or client during remote control sessions. Each system has a unique PIN number, ensuring security is maintained.

The app passes only single touch controls from the Pixel touch screen, so multi-touch gestures cannot be used to control the remote system. Simple controls such as touching icons on the Pixel screen work fine on the Windows system. The Pixel trackpad can control the Windows 8 system without issues.

The lack of a dedicated Windows key on the Chromebook Pixel is not a problem. Ctrl-Esc can be used to switch between the Metro start screen and any app. The Chrome Remote Desktop app can control both Metro and desktop apps with ease.

The good performance of the Chrome Remote Desktop app lends itself well for using Chromebooks in enterprise settings. The cheap Chromebook can be used for most work tasks with access to work systems when needed.

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Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops, Reviews, Tablets, Windows 8

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  • cromebook needs a windows 8 running somewhere to work??

    so chrome book needs windows 8 pc up and running somewhere???

    nice, but what is the point???

    and when you are running anything on the same network its fast, but when you need fix IP's and dedicated web servers and resources on the servers.... unless you want a windows 8 PC running 24/7vso you can access that PC/notebook/table using the chromebook... cool idea???

    if I am IT guy for the company I will rather buy widows 8 notebooks or tablets
    • Very well said

      Remote desktop doesn't change anything about the capabilities, or lack of, in ChromeOS.

      Why buy a Chromebook the requires an internet connection to a second computer running somewhere when one computer can easily replace that disfunctional scenario?

      To save $50?

      The premise of the article is laughable.
      • What is laughable is you....

        ... open you mind to the possibilities... I guess you have NEVER managed a remote session on another device. It is true you can do this on may devices, but Chrome Books are fast, easy to use and I'm sure this works pretty well (expect for speed) on the $199 Acer model.
        • Right, the problem is me and not the limitations of the Chromebook.

          Any device can be used as a dumb terminal that connects to a remote desktop. Why is that so special for a Chromebook?

          I have used remote desktop sessions often enough, but none of them were in an attempt to make up for the defeciencies of the device I was using. They were used to access a remote resource, help a use, troubleshoot a problem, etc.

          For a few dollars more than a chromebook all of the many limitations of ChromeOS vanish. Even installing Linux over Chrome makes the Chromebook a more functional device.

          I do see the possibilities.
          • Chromebook does 99% and you're still not happy?!

            Wow. I mean, I've heard of "focusing on the one", but that's just ridiculous. Also, I've had my Samsung TV (CRT model) for over a decade, and it still works, so I don't wanna hear anyone knocking on them, either!
            Richard Estes
    • IT guy ... yea....

      ... if you worked for me, I'd fire you. You missed the entire point of the article.
      • Buying a $1500 bandaid thin client

        If it can't use the native RDP client of windows or citrix it's just dumb.
        • There are RDP and Citrix client solutions for server based setups....

          ... but Chrome Remote is free, and can operate from anywhere, not just from your LAN, and doesn't require you to install and set up server software, access via VPN/firewall, or go through two sets of log-ins. It is therefore the best solution for remote desktop access.
  • Big leap

    That's a big leap from "you can do something" to "you have to do something to be useful".
    • come on make up your mind.

      sorry james... were you very free or not thinking.... my surface RT can do better then this....
      • Doesn't Windows RT already run Windows 8 already?

        ....oh, I forgot Windows RT doesn't actually have any apps to run, so this is the only way it might conceivably be used to do something useful.
  • A whole bunch of issues with this approach in the enterprise

    There's no way to construe this as appropriate for enterprise use, James, it's casual use only. So many issues ... security of the remote connection (a PIN? uh, yeah - does it integrate with radius or tacacs? smartcards?), does it proxy cleanly at the border of your enterprise? Honestly, if both those devices were on a LAN, the lag looks more significant than I would expect as well - amount of network traffic would have to be understood.

    And when you boil it all down, having a running PC session somewhere, waiting for each user? Even if you could server-deploy it, it would be bizarrely resource intensive.

    There are remote apps that support ICA and RDP and even RemoteFX ... some WebSockets based ... those are going to be the enterprise candidates. Or, something like the VMWare Views app that's coming for Chrome OS.
  • Chromebook Pixel running Windows 8 remotely (video)

    Buy a notebook for $500, run Microsoft Windows 8 natively, save $1000, not be spied on.
  • Pretty impressive, James, but I have a test for you if your willing

    One question first and then a test proposal if you don't mind.

    Is the resolution of the VNC image on the Pixel in high definition? That is, like many VNC apps for the iOS system (LogMeIn Pro, Splashtop, ex cetera), the target OS displayed on the iOS device can be rendered in the high definition mode of the retina class iOS device. Is that type of displayed resolution mode the same with the Pixel?

    And now for the test proposal.

    When I tried to access my remote desktop from my iOS device (using LogMeIn) over a 3G network 30 miles or so away from my home network WiFi system, I was able to do so. However, the system lag was quite noticeable (tremendously more so than my home WiFi network displayed).

    I never have used a VNC client over a 4G network, however.

    My test proposal is this. The next time you are "out and about" could you video record a Pixel VNC session using the same HP Envy X2 setup and then your readers could compare the system response (or the amount of "lag", if any) of this Google VNC app on a network other than your home WiFi system.

    I am curious if your two machines act the same. My limited experience would suggest that there would be considerable system lag involved.

    This could be an interesting mobile experience for you. Grin.
    • Running VPN on ARM Cortex-A8 is...

      a lot to ask. 3G, especially if it is AT&T, presents another major bottleneck.
      • I did use the AT&T 3G network

        My experience was useable but not acceptable - if you know what I mean.
        • Unfortunately I Do

          AT&T has rolled out LTE in South Florida with decent coverage. Much better than 3G.
    • No one is syaing the network speed is not a factor....

      ... remote desktops have always been somewhat compromised. Either in speed or quality (or both). 3G would be usable (I have tested), 4G makes it much better in terms of lag time. (tested this as well). What I found is long pauses over both, some for 20-30 seconds. But I was able to "manage" the remote machine, saving time/travel.
    • It is using Chrome Remote Desktop, not VNC

      I have found Chrome Remote Desktop is one of the most usable over an Internet connection.
  • Wow If Chorme Can Do This, Just Think What Win 8 Can Do

    I think if I spent $1000+ on a computing device I would want it running Windows.

    A bad as MS is sometimes when it comes to usability it has so much more capability and run applications than Chrome OS.

    It's not just what's on the surface, Windows has a lot going on under the hood as well. This is what most do not see.

    The amount of Development Tools, API, Administrator Tools, Services.

    MS has been working on OS for over 30 years. No matter how much I hate MS, even if I did not Hate Google, I have to admit that MS just might know a bit more about OS than Google.

    It takes me just a few minutes to create a small simple app for Windows. I have over 20 years experience with my Windows Development software.

    I tried the PHP, mySQL, javaScript. mySQL went well, I find it very fast and capable. I could make PHP do most anything needed although Windows had more choices available when it came to add-on classes and APIs. And PHP Apps take so much more time to develop because the development tools do not compare to what is available fro Windows.

    JavaScript is a mess when it comes to multi-Browser functionality. How many different Browsers do I need to test my javaScript on.

    Then I found myself writing Windows Apps to generate PHP includes and javaScript code in HTML pages.

    The inherent HTTP Request Response page load time at best is 150-200 milliseconds. It was not easy to get all my pages to get a 98-100% in Page Speed and Yslow Tests. And to pass W3C HTML and CSS validation with no errors. The W3C Mobile OK tool is a real bitch to Achieve 100% "mobileOK". Actually I settle for 96% mobileOK or better, as long as I can justify violating their rather strict rules.

    Writing a functional App is very quick. Getting it to look nice and user friendly is what takes 90% of the development time. CSS is not the easiest screen layout language.

    In every aspect of development, Windows, unfortunately, today is the best platform. The Apps I wrote for Win 3.11 are still running on Win 95 through Win 8, with no problems that generate tech support calls. (Flipped the 16 bit to 32 bit on the compiler for the pre-Win 95 apps).

    While my Perl apps created back in 1996 will still run, they need a face lift. Netscape 1.0 had its limitations.

    So I just do not get Chome OS, I do not see it as a logical choice.