Chromebooks may boot into Windows with this keyboard combo shortcut

There’s plenty of evidence that Google will allow some Chromebooks to dual-boot into Microsoft Windows 10; that effort is called Campfire. Although users will have a boot screen to choose their operating system, it appears there may be a keyboard combination upon startup that fires Windows up without the boot screen option based on this code commit.

As shown by the commit from September 4, holding the Chromebook’s power button as well as both the Refresh and A keys will boot directly into an “AltOS”, which is supports Windows 10. This is currently only applicable to a special, or forked, build for Eve, which is the current Pixelbook.

I’d anticipate it to also apply to the Pixelbook 2, which looks to be a similar device but with smaller bezels and powered by newer 8th-generation Intel Core processors. I’m still thinking that the Pixelbook 2 is actually the “Eve-Campfire” device, not Atlas or Nocturne, both of which are detachable Chromebooks — meaning there will be more than one #MadeByGoogle Chromebook soon. The odds are leaning towards Nocturne making its debut next month, but we’ll see on October 9.

Updated wording on 9/12/2018 to reflect that AltOS supports Windows 10, but may not be limited it that OS.

2 thoughts on “Chromebooks may boot into Windows with this keyboard combo shortcut

  • September 12, 2018 at 5:40 am

    “AltOS…which is Windows 10”

    Do the code commits really show that? There are three related code commits that powerfully suggest that Google is testing the AltOS facility using many different OSes.

    Look closely at this code commit in particular:
    “vboot/screens: Add AltOS picker screen”

    If I am not mistaken the confirmation/disconfirmation of the correct operation of the AltOS picker (a boot manager I surmise) is being set out in a live “experimental tryjob” list. There appears to be a lot of different OSes in that list. What that implies, it seems to me, is that AltOS is any non-standard OS that can be made to successfully boot up on a Chromebook (on Eve only initially). And, that implies further that the key to understanding the AltOS facility lies outside the non-standard OS.

    What this could be is some very careful writing and use of a section of firmware conforming to the uEFI standard that permits a lot of different OSes to boot.

    • September 12, 2018 at 6:28 am

      You could well be right – AltOS likely is bigger in scope than just Windows 10 for those that want more choices, such as various Linux distros (and in cases where they’d prefer a full Linux system boot vs using Linux in a container). I’ll adjust the wording of the post to “AltOS, which supports Windows 10” for clarity. Thanks! 🙂


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