Most of the time we focus on helpful tips for Windows users, but today's article will also appeal to anyone with a Chromebook. A company named Cameyo is known for its software that lets you run Windows program from a USB stick, but it also offers a virtualization service that lets you run full-blown Windows desktop programs in a browser for free.
Cameyo offers a number of open source programs by default, and if you don't find what you need you can also upload your own EXE files. Cameyo isn't perfect. Virtual programs tend to run slowly, some don't work at all, and using personal files with the apps is not as obvious as it could be.
Nevertheless, Cameyo can come in handy in a pinch when you're away from your primary PC. Here's how it works.
The first thing you need to do is sign-up for a Cameyo account and then link your Dropbox account to Cameyo. Once that's done you'll be able to access files that are saved in your Dropbox folder under \Apps\Cameyo\Desktop while you're inside virtualized Cameyo apps. Any files you create while using Cameyo will also be saved back to this location.
In the virtual programs themselves, you'll find your files as though you were navigating through a regular Windows system. In my tests, my files were either under RemoteUser1 or RemoteUser2.
Start a program
Firing up a virtual program is simple. Just hover over the program name and click the small play button that appears. The program will start and you can use it as you would on a Windows desktop.
Just remember that when you navigate the file system inside a Cameyo browser program you do not have access to your local files. It's as though you are running a separate Windows system inside your browser. The only way to access or store files is via the desktop for RemoteUser1 or RemoteUser2, which is connected to your Dropbox account if you set things up properly in the previous step.
You'll find a ton of programs you can try out in the browser window, but truth be told only a few truly make sense for casual users. VLC, for example, wasn't worth it in my tests. Any videos I tried to play were choppy and didn't have sound since the virtual app is in its own sandbox with no access to my PC's native audio capability. Plus, if you have a video online that you'd like to watch, it makes more sense to try and view it in a cloud service that offers video streaming for saved files.
Program's I'd recommend trying out in Cameyo are Irfanview for photo editing, 7Zip for compressing files into a zipped format, and Audacity for working with audio files.
Have a look around and you may find other programs that suit your needs. Cameyo is also an excellent place to just try out software without having to download it. And remember you can always try uploading your own EXE files to access specific programs you need.
I wouldn't recommend relying on Cameyo as an everyday solution, but for those times you need quick access to a desktop program from a Chromebook or browser, it's a useful service to know about.