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Win -  Windows on Asus/HP/Acer/Dell Chromebox
#1
Updated 2015-07-06

Seeing there have been quite a few questions about running Windows on the Chromebox recently, all of which being asked in what really seems to be the wrong thread for this, let's create a new thread, specifically for all questions related to running Windows on the Asus/HP/Acer/Dell Chromebox, and our experiences with it.

To start off, here's a little bit of a FAQ:

Q: Does Windows run on the Chromebox?
A: Yes, but not without a few minor issues.

Q: Which version of Windows runs on the Chromebox?
A: Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 are confirmed working. Windows 7 does not work, period.

Q: Can I install Windows to the internal SSD?
A: Yes, but 16GB is not enough for a typical Windows install, esp after updates. Upgrade the internal SSD, or install to an external HDD/USB stick (unsupported / YMMV)

Q: How do I install Windows to an external HDD or USB stick?
A: For Windows 8.1/10, just use the WinToUSB utility
A: For Windows 8, either follow the guide in post #217, or (easier) run the script in post #298.
Note: unsupported / don't ask for help here

Both methods require a minimum storage capacity of about 16 GB.

Q: What are common issues with running Windows on a Chromebox?
A: Without the use of a utility like Speedfan, the fan will stay at the lowest fan speed. Set speedfan to run at startup/as a service in the background and everything will work properly

Q: What if I need SPDIF audio output?
A: Use a USB SPDIF adapter, like the Turtle Beach one linked on the ChromeBox wiki.

Q: If I still want to try it out, how do I get Windows onto the Chromebox?
A: Follow the steps in the wiki and use Matt Devo's ChromeOS Firmware Utility Script to set up your Chromebox for a Standalone Setup. Once you have flashed the standalone / UEFI firmware, simply install Windows from a USB stick.

Q: Is there anything else I need to do after install?
A: Run WIndows Update to get the latest drivers etc.

Q: Do I need to install any drivers manually?
A: No, but one user reported having issues with suspend/resume caused by the Management Engine using the driver from Windows Update, so if you run into that, you can update using this driver from Intel's site.


Q: If I can't get it to work, can I expect to get help with my issues on this forum?
A: You can try asking in this thread, and see whether anyone may be able to help you with your particular issue.


Good luck! Wink
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#2
I'm pretty sure Windows 7 is a non starter without major changes to the firmware. I believe Matt confirmed this.
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#3
(2014-08-27, 06:50)jsp1 Wrote: I'm pretty sure Windows 7 is a non starter without major changes to the firmware. I believe Matt confirmed this.

Thanks! Fixed.
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#4
The following instructions can be used to build a Windows 8.1 64 bit system to run on an ASUS or HP Chromebox.
The following assumes that OpenELEC has been installed using the instructions from http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=194362
In effect, this allows you to run three operating systems on the ASUS/HP Chromebox:
- ChromeOS (internal mSATA drive)
- OpenELEC (internal mSATA drive)
- Windows 8.1 (External USB drive).

First you need to build Windows 8.1 on a USB3 flash drive or USB3 hard drive. A USB2 drive will work but the performance will be poor.
You can install Windows 8.1 on a 16GB USB drive however a minimum of 32GB is recommended.
Details on installing Windows 8.1 on a USB drive can be found at http://betanews.com/2014/01/13/run-windo...-for-free/
The steps are summarised as follows
Download AOMEI Partition Assistant
Run AOMEI Partition Assistant
Select Windows To Go Creator on the left of the screen
On the popup screen, select USB drive, select the Windows 8.1 64 bit installation kit and the press Proceed
If you have a PC or Laptop available then you could test that the newly created Windows 8.1 USB drive is bootable..

Power off the Chromebox (important) and Insert the Windows 8.1 USB3 drive.
Power on the Chromebox.
At the Chrome boot Screen (OS verification off) press Control-L to boot the Legacy OS (OpenELEC).
As soon as you see the SeaBIOS grub boot screen press the ESCAPE key. You should then get a choice of booting one of two operating systems.
1. AHCI/0: SanDisk SSD U110 16GB ATA-9 Hard-Disk [OpenELEC]
2. USB Drive [Windows 8.1]
Enter 2 to boot Windows 8.1 from the USB3 drive.

If the ESCAPE key is ignored then one of the following problem may exist
- the Chromebox has not seen the USB3 drive. Did you follow the instructions and power off the Chromebox before inserting the Windows 8.1 USB3 drive?
- the USB3 drive does not contain a working Operating System
- the USB keyboard does not work in grub. In this case you will need to try another USB keyboard.

After selecting Option 2 (USB3 drive) Windows 8.1 will boot and you should be able to login.
If you bring up the Device Manager you will see three devices with a yellow triangle next to them. Windows 8.1 does not include a device driver for these devices.

The Gigabyte Brix S BXCEH-2955 uses the same chipset as the Asus Chromebox. You can download and install the required device drives from
http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product...x?pid=4860
Download and Install the following device drivers
Audio haswell_driver_audio_w8.1.exe
Intel Management Engine haswell_driver_chipset_me_w8.1.exe
Chipset driver haswell_driver_chipset_w8.1.exe
Intel Graphics Driver haswell_driver_vga_w8.1.exe
The missing “PCI Data Acquisition and Signal Processing Controller” device driver is included in the haswell_driver_chipset_w8.1.exe kit.
The missing “SM Bus Controller” device driver is included in the haswell_driver_chipset_w8.1.exe
The missing “High Definition Audio Device” device driver is included in the haswell_driver_audio_w8.1.exe

Note that the Speaker icon in lower right taskbar will have a red x through it if nothing is plugged into the head phone socket. The speaker icon will go online when you plug a headphone or speaker into the rear 3.5mm speaker socket.

Windows 8.1 works surprisingly well on the Chromebox, even with just 2GB of memory. There is however one major restriction. Audio through HDMI does not work. This is a show stopper for those wanting to use Chromebox as a Media Centre. Until this problem is resolved the only option is to use a USB HDMI adapter that includes audio support. If you need HDMI Audio then I would go for a NUC or BRIX.

On the ASUS Chromebox I would recommend installing an additional 4GB DIMM which will increase the total memory size to 6GB.
On the HP Chromebox I would recommend replacing the current 2GB DIMM with a 4GB DIMM. You can sell the 2GB DIMM on ebay.

You can control XBMC running on Windows 8.1 using your TV remote control by installing a CEC USB Adapter available from http://www.pulse-eight.com/store/product...apter.aspx. To use this adapter you will need to install the libcec-2.1.4 USB CEC adapter driver.
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#5
Nice first post gkingsmill, some good info here. Thanks for sharing.
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#6
this is good info and excatly what I was looking for can someone try audio drivers from here. Still waiting for my chromebox.

reddit post says these drivers work

Anyway to run windows 8 on the SSD? Essentially I would like to run win8.1 and then install xbmc that way I get netflix and xbmc all in one box.
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#7
(2014-08-28, 01:03)jebise Wrote: this is good info and excatly what I was looking for can someone try audio drivers from here. Still waiting for my chromebox.

reddit post says these drivers work

Anyway to run windows 8 on the SSD? Essentially I would like to run win8.1 and then install xbmc that way I get netflix and xbmc all in one box.


This is the Realtek drivers for Combo Microphone/ Headphone Jack (HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_10EC&DEV_0283&SUBSYS_10EC0283).

The one not working right now is the Audio from HDMI (HDAUDIO\FUNC_01&VEN_8086&DEV_2807&SUBSYS_80860101&REV_1000).

There is a lot of users complaining about Intel drivers on supported hardware.

Hope we can get lucky with this.
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#8
http://asusfans.ru/driver,HDAUDIO%5CFUNC...60001.html

Please note I have not tried this or downloaded the files.
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#9
It's a mirror file for the Intel drivers (HD Audio Drivers 6.16.00.3137).

I have this already Installed, MS Windows 8.1 64 shows that the device is working properly but no Sound from HDMI.
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#10
(2014-08-28, 01:03)jebise Wrote: this is good info and excatly what I was looking for can someone try audio drivers from here. Still waiting for my chromebox.

reddit post says these drivers work

As already mentioned by desperado77, there's a difference between the Realtek audio driver, which is for sound over the jack, and the Intel graphics driver, which includes the DisplayAudio driver for audio over HDMI. Sound over the jack is working, sound over HDMI is broken. We'd need to be looking at alternative Intel graphics drivers to fix the broken HDMI audio.

Or it may just be a Windows issue, as I've seen heaps of reports of people breaking audio over HDMI with the update to Windows 8.1 on all sorts of machines, but eventually getting it back by methods other people seem to be unable to replicate. Not exactly sure why it isn't working on the Chromebox.

(2014-08-28, 01:03)jebise Wrote: Anyway to run windows 8 on the SSD? Essentially I would like to run win8.1 and then install xbmc that way I get netflix and xbmc all in one box.

Follow the steps to flash the Coreboot firmware. After that, you can just install Windows from a USB stick (use a fast USB3 stick) onto the internal SSD. But unless someone manages to make audio over HDMI work, and in a way other people can replicate, XBMC on Windows won't do you much good.
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#11
WOW @gkingsmill you rock. i've been searching for weeks on how to get an all in one solution, i never found a good source with info of what missing windows 8 drivers could work in the chromebox. I find dual boot so yesterday. All in one soluton is the way to go. i even found a nice tutorial to use XEN under arch linux to create virtual machines using very low resources that i was going to try but this looks easier and better.

I'm defintely going to try this ASAP but would like to know if @DocG or anyone have tested this farther and have installed Windows 8 on the SDD, if so, how is hardware decoding on XBMC working?
My XBMC/Kodi folder: addons, skins, addon/menu backgrounds & more
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#12
(2014-08-29, 05:39)Veronica Wrote: WOW @gkingsmill you rock. i've been searching for weeks on how to get an all in one solution, i never found a good source with info of what missing windows 8 drivers could work in the chromebox. I find dual boot so yesterday. All in one soluton is the way to go. i even found a nice tutorial to use XEN under arch linux to create virtual machines using very low resources that i was going to try but this looks easier and better.

I'm defintely going to try this ASAP but would like to know if @DocG or anyone have tested this farther and have installed Windows 8 on the SDD, if so, how is hardware decoding on XBMC working?

Win8 on the SSD works fine, I tested all this months ago, before the coreboot firmware even; then, as now, the only outstanding issue is (lack of) HDMI audio output.
Questions about Kodi on a ChromeBox/Chromebook?  See:

Chromebox (wiki)
http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=194362
https://mrchromebox.tech
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#13
i don't mind about audio over HDMI, i don't have a sounbar or a fancy home theater system. I do have good speakers and this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009NVS...UTF8&psc=1

for when i purchase one.

My concern is video playback within XBMC, that's all
My XBMC/Kodi folder: addons, skins, addon/menu backgrounds & more
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#14
(2014-08-29, 06:20)Veronica Wrote: i don't mind about audio over HDMI, i don't have a sounbar or a fancy home theater system. I do have good speakers and this:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009NVS...UTF8&psc=1

for when i purchase one.

My concern is video playback within XBMC, that's all

it works just as well as a NUC or a Brix with the same hardware; there are no known ChromeBox-specific issues, but not enough users to really have a large enough sample to say conclusively
Questions about Kodi on a ChromeBox/Chromebook?  See:

Chromebox (wiki)
http://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=194362
https://mrchromebox.tech
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#15
Once i test my media files i'll report back i can also test samples if anyone's interested.
My XBMC/Kodi folder: addons, skins, addon/menu backgrounds & more
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