Ruth's Genealogy

“I don't know who my grandfather was; I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.” -Abraham Lincoln

Two things:

  1. I love RootsMagic. I have used it for years and would never voluntarily change. In the past, I’ve used FTM, PAF, Family Tree Builder, Ancestral Quest, TMG. None compare to RootsMagic for me. I’ve tried Geni, Ancestry, even Gramps. Nope, I’m hopelessly stuck on RootsMagic.
  2. I love my Chromebook. I’ve had it for about 2 1/2 years and use it all the time. It’s very lightweight and lightening-fast.

The thing about Chromebooks, though is… you can’t install and run Windows programs on a Chromebook. For the most part, the Chrome Web Store can provide just about any type of program you might need in your daily computer activities. Everything, that is, except for good genealogy programs. They do have a few, but they are pretty much garbage, in my opinion.

So… no RootsMagic on a Chromebook.


Maybe not in the “classic” sense, anyway. But there is a way that you can use Rootsmagic on a Chromebook, and it involves a nifty little free app called Chrome Remote Desktop and a decent wi-fi signal.

All you need is the Chrome browser on your Windows computer, the same computer where your RootsMagic copy resides. The Chrome Remote Desktop is then downloaded to that Chrome browser and also to your Chromebook, which automatically runs with a Chrome browser. In just a few simple steps, the two computer browsers connect over wifi and you are accessing, editing, using RootsMagic on your Chromebook!

I first tried the Chrome Remote Desktop app a couple of years ago, soon after I bought my Chromebook. It did connect the 2 browsers and I could use RootsMagic on my Chromebook. But I found it sluggish and slow, and the images of RootsMagic that appeared on the Chromebook were fuzzy and difficult to read. Oh, I could use it if I had to, but I tried not to had to. In short, I gave up and deleted it from both machines.

But yesterday, on a whim I downloaded the app again and set up the remote connection, and was very pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The RootsMagic now visible on my Chromebook was responsive and easy to read. I could navigate around the program and do what needed to be done and RootsMagic acted and felt just as it does on my Windows computer. The screen is a bit smaller, but not enough to cause any problems. I guess the developers have been busy in the past couple of years!

I am quite satisfied with this new setup.

One last tidbit: I guess I just assumed that the remote desktop would only work if both computers were on the same wifi, in other words that I could only access RootsMagic with my Chromebook if I were at home with my Windows computer close by, perhaps just in another room.

Not so! I took my Chromebook to work with me tonight, which is about 5-6 miles from my home and my wifi. The Chromebook picked the wifi signal at work and when I opened the remote desktop app, within seconds I was looking at my desktop HP’s home screen. I clicked on the RootsMagic button and it instantly opened up to the same page that I was using earlier in the day.

I certainly wouldn’t suggest using the Chrome Remote Desktop app without a source of free wifi, as it would probably gobble up data in a big hurry. But, as it seems I’m always within a free wifi zone… no worries!

P.S. I guess I don’t get out much… 🙂

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