Chromebook vs Win-PC: web app equivalents to 9 Windows default applications

Default Windows apps such as calculator, paint and Windows Media Player


There have been many people who asked me how to do this or that in Chrome.  Some veteran windows users think that unlike Windows PC that comes with default applications out-of-the-box, Chromebook is for browsing web pages only and has no “applications”.

This is certainly not true.  Today I’m going to introduce a bunch of essential web apps and Chrome extensions that Chromebook users could use to perform tasks same as using equivalent Windows default applications.  You’ll learn that Chromebook is not just a web kiosk.  It’s a computer with great power!

Media Player

Chromebook enqueue music in file manager

Chromebook has a built-in media player.  Whenever you select a recognized media file in the File Manager in Chrome OS, you will find options to play or enqueue the file.

Chrome OS Media Player

Bad news is, this media player reads only limited types of files, so far tested:

  • .3gp
  • .mov
  • .ogg
  • .wav
  • .mp3
  • .mp4
  • .aif


DropTunes dropbox music flash player

If you store your files in Dropbox, Droptunes is a highly recommended tool.  I wrote about it months ago but it is still the music player I used the most on my Chromebook Cr-48.



There are many calculator web apps in Chrome Web Store.  I recommend Calculator, a basic calculator that is quite enough for daily use.  It comes with a valued-added feature, converter, a tool for converting currencies, areas, lengths, etc.

Calculator - Converter

If you want a scientific calculator, try this calculator.


Scratchpad on Chromebook

My first choice for note taking is Scratchpad.  It’s a tiny notepad for you to quickly mark down ideas and empty your mind.  What make it awesome are offline function and syncing to Google Docs.

Quick Note

Quick Note is a handy tool for jotting notes in Chrome OS.  You can easily write down anything in, paste images onto and search within your notes.  What’s more, you can sync your notes to the cloud via


Need to do some more serious word processing?  I guess I don’t need to introduce Google Docs, the flagship product of Google.  It has all you need for editing and simple formatting of text documents, spreadsheets and slides.  My free Chrome OS 101 guidebook was mostly created with it.

Zoho Writer

Zoho Writer is another favourite of mine.  It’s look and feel and functionality are very similar to Microsoft Word, but it’s free of charge.  You and your colleagues could work on the same document by using commenting, chat and instant collaboration functions.

Sticky Notes

Diigo Web

Diigo Web is a Chrome extension that allows you to clip web pages, highlight texts and add sticky notes to any web page.  Your sticky notes follow the web pages, meaning that next time you come back to the web site you can find the same notes.


To draw, I recommend Pixlr Editor.  Many brushes to choose from, layers, filters… these are all the reason why I like it.

Pixlr Editor

Alternatively, you can try Aviary Image Editor.  If you don’t want to draw but photo editing only, Picnik is what you need.


Screen Capture (by Google)

Screen Capture (by Google) is a Chrome extension released by Google (yes, truly authentic).  You can choose to capture selective region, whole page or visible region only.  Basic annotation, masking and highlighting tools are available.

Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate is a more powerful Chrome extension.  Apart from the above features, it can save your image to and give you a link to share the image with friends.



SweepIt on Chromebook

SweepIt is a web implementation of the classic Minesweeper.  You can choose from Easy, Medium or Hard difficulties.  One thing to note is that it opens in a new window.

Mahjong Solitaire

Like tile matching games?  Try Mahjong Solitaire, in which you find matching pairs of mahjong within limited time, or this classic solitaire.

There are a lot other time killing games in Chrome Web Store waiting for you to explore.  Most of them are free of charge.

Sound Recorder


Sound Cloud is a web tool for recording and remixing sound.  The product could be shared with your friends via social networks.  There are many apps on this web site that helps you to create, record and share your sound.

If you are looking for something more professional, try Audiotool and Aviary Audio Editor.


(This is a post I wrote for Chrome OS Site.  Slight amendments were made.)

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