Can you Install and Run Java on Chromebooks in 2022?

Yes, you can install and run Java on Chromebooks. However, some things you need to know before you begin:

  1. Java is a software application that must be installed on your Chromebook.
  2. It’s important to make sure that your Java installation is up-to-date.
  3. You will also need a Java runtime environment (JRE) to run Java applications. 

What! You did not get it? No worries, let’s discuss it in detail.

Java language provides one of the most comprehensive tools and features to develop applications on all smart electronic devices. Some of the most popular and widely-used applications across platforms have been based on Java architectures. Java-based applications have made their way to mobile phones, computers, laptops, and other smart computing devices.

In recent years, we found many Java-based applications to contain serious security threats that led to many operating systems, browsers, and platforms pulling their support of Java altogether.

One of the simplest and most popular computing machines in recent years has been the Chromebooks developed by Google Corporation. We will try to explore whether Java is supported on Chromebooks or not. Let’s get started.

Is Java available on Chromebook?

Java is not available on Chromebook. We cannot install Java architecture on Chrome OS anymore. Previously, Java used NPAPI plugins to communicate with Chrome OS, but Google stopped supporting NPAPI in 2015 after many security threats and exploits from Java-based applications came to be known. That was the end of Java availability on all of Google’s platforms.

Is Java available on Chromebook?
Credits: Shutterstock

Can Chromebook run Java Applications?

As the NPAPI plugins no longer exist on Google-based platforms, and since Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, which uses Google Chrome web browser as its UI, this means that Java applications no longer run natively on Chromebooks. 

Can you run Java on Chromebook?

The technical answer to that question is ‘No’ because Java programs rely on the NPAPI architecture that Google has blocked. 

Chrome OS was built with security in mind, and since its security system views Java as a security threat, Java apps cannot run on that system. However, there are ways to run Java-based programs on a Chromebook by installing Operating Systems such as Ubuntu Linux. 

Can you run Java on a Chromebook?
Credits: Shutterstock

How to Install Linux on a Chromebook?

After detailing why Java isn’t supported on Google’s devices, let us walk you through how to run Java on Chromebook through Ubuntu Linux.

Enabling Developer Mode

First, you need to know that installing third-party operating systems like Linux on a Chromebook machine requires you to enable the Developer Mode. Developer Mode is a hidden configuration buried deep inside Chromebooks that will allow you to bypass the in-built restrictions and access features that are only meant for serious programmers and developers. In addition, this mode will also wipe out all the data in your laptop and may also affect the machine’s warranty. Therefore, it is important that you know what you’re doing and makes a backup of your data in case something goes wrong. 

You can use any form of hardware backup, such as USB Flash Drives, External HDDs, etc., but since Chromebook is a computer developed by Google and utilizes Chrome OS, the ideal way to back up your data would be to use Google Drive.

Next, you’ll need to check your Chromebook’s system specifications to see if you meet the minimum system requirements. You’ll need an Intel-powered CPU, a minimum of 2 GB RAM, and 16-20 GB storage space. Considering how beefy modern laptops are, these requirements should not be a problem.

Having a Chromebook based on an Intel-based processor is critical because no other type of processor seems to support this Linux installation method. 

With the necessary precautions and basics out of the way, let’s get to the Developer Mode:

  • Turn off your Chromebook.
  • Hold down the Escape, Refresh and Power keys at the same time. This will open the Recovery Process. When that screen appears, release the keys.
  • From the Recovery Process screen, select Advanced Options. From the dropbox that appears, select Developer Mode
  • When the prompt asks you to verify the operating system comes, press Enter. (If you want to Turn Off Developer Mode, press Spacebar instead).

Note: You can also press Ctrl+D from your keyboard to quickly access Developer Mode from this screen. 

Depending on the system, it will take 15-30 minutes for the system to reboot into the Developer Mode. So don’t panic if it takes time. 

Congratulations, you’ve successfully accessed the Developer Mode.

Installation of Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Linux is the best version of the Linux operating system that you’d want if you want to run Java applications on your machine. 

You’ll need to download a plugin called ‘Crouton’ and place it inside your Chromebook’s Downloads folder.  

With that thing set, press Ctrl+Alt+T from your keyboard to access the command line interface. 

In the next window that opens, enter the following code:

shell

sudo install -Dt /usr/local/bin -m 755 ~/Downloads/crouton

sudo crouton -t xfce 

After typing the code, press Enter, and the Crouton plugin will start installing Ubuntu Linux. As it’s a full-fledged operating system, the installation will take a lot of time, so don’t panic.

Once the installation is finished, enter the following code to launch Linux:

sudo startxfce4

And that’s it; the Linux installation has been successfully concluded. Now, let’s enable Java on your Chromebook through Linux.

Installing and enabling Java

Now comes the part for which you took all that trouble. This won’t take long:

  • Press Ctrl+Alt+T again to open the command line interface in Linux.
  • Type “sudo apt update” (without commas)and press Enter. 
  • If you’ve set a password, it will ask for it. Enter the password in the dialog box and press Enter.

The system will start installing the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) on your Chromebook. Once that finishes, you can run any Java program on your Chrome laptop.  

There it is. You’ve successfully enabled Java on your Chromebook, despite all the best efforts of Google to stop you from doing it. If you want to feel like a cool hacker, now is the time.

Conclusion
Java is unsecured and a security threat. At least, that is how Google (and other tech companies) see it and therefore do not want anyone to be accessing Java programs. However, that is an unrealistic goal because Java language and plugins reside under some of the best applications and programs ever developed across all computing and smart platforms. If you feel like you have to enable Java on your Chromebook at all costs, and are willing to compromise on security, then there are ways to achieve that. Just be mindful of the threats and dangers that pose.

Mr. Chips
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