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Tip: Enable Chrome Apps Launcher on Windows to simulate the Chrome OS experience

Chrome App Launcher - for some reason we don't have an alt tag hereIn case you haven’t jumped onto the Chromebook bandwagon yet, and you’re still using a Windows-based machine for your general desktop computing, but you’re really interested in the idea of Chrome OS, listen up. There’s a really easy way to simulate the Chrome OS experience on your Windows desktop, without the need to dual boot Chromium OS or any other fancy hackery. All it involves in enabling a flag and restarting Chrome.

To get started, simply open up your Chrome web browser and navigate to chrome://flags/. Find the flag that says “Show Chrome Apps Launcher,” and make sure it’s enabled. Click the link to restart Chrome, and that’s it.

From now on, the Chrome Apps Launcher will appear in your taskbar, right next to the Start button if you’re on Windows 7. (If you’re on Windows 8, then you can pretend that this is your new Start menu, although it will only work with web apps.)

Clicking the Apps Launcher will display all of your installed Chrome apps that are synced between all of your Chrome devices. It looks and feels almost exactly the same on Windows as it does on my Samsung Chromebook, thus effectively simulating the Chrome OS experience, while simultaneously providing the full Windows experience if you need it.

Update: It appears that this feature is only available in Chrome Beta, Dev, or Canary channels.

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John F

John was the editor-in-chief at Pocketables. His articles generally focus on all things Google, including Chrome and Android, although his love of new gadgets and technology doesn't stop there. His current arsenal includes the Nexus 6 by Motorola, the 2013 Nexus 7 by ASUS, the Nexus 9 by HTC, the LG G Watch, and the Chromebook Pixel, among others.

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3 thoughts on “Tip: Enable Chrome Apps Launcher on Windows to simulate the Chrome OS experience

  • Avatar of Chaoticwhizz

    I’m running Chrome Version 24.0.1312.52 m in Windows 8 64 bit and the Show Chrome Apps Launcher is not listed under chrome://flags for me.

    • Ah, this might be a beta only feature, then. I’m running Chrome beta on my PC.

  • Avatar of William Devereux

    I’m not sure why you’d want to make Windows look like Chrome OS, but that’s just me. ;)


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