Android x86 for PC: Use Android OS on Windows OS? Run Android on your Windows within a few minutes. Learn how to use Virtual boxes and set-up a virtual machine. Want to use android apps on your PC or laptop? Learn how to run android apps on windows without any hassle. Get to know about porting and how it is useful for us. See how the whole process works and learn it. If you want to take a fast way then check out our video on the same topic.
First developed by Chihi Huang and Yi Sun in 2009, the project was not released as a whole but rather in small parts. But Yi left the project after some time because of some personal reasons. Features were added slowly with them rolling out patches for the software in the next few months. Android x86 was initially designed to be used on laptops and tablets which did not support android.
What is Android x86?
We should first understand what is android x86, as the name suggests it is made for x86 architecture. It is an open-source software meaning you can use it free of charge along with using it for personal and professional use. You can even add features to it and then share those mods with other people on the internet. It is Google’s Android OS port made for PC however, it is not an official port by any means. The application is made for Intel and AMD processors with x86 bit architecture. But you can not use it on devices with RISC-based chips, the reason is the poor performance. The project is based on the AOSP (Android Open Source Project) and gave users some additional features.
The development is still going and the project in its current stage will allow you to run it on windows. The software will run in non-accelerated mode with a supported GPU. But if you happen to have an Nvidia or Intel’s Graphics Media Accelerator AMD’s Radeon GPU, then the software will support the OpenGL hardware accelerator. If you have seen how a Linux software distributes, similarly the Android x86’s developers release pre-build ISO images. The software is currently at version 14.1 as of September 2020 and after version 7.1 it uses SwiftShader for rendering.
Note: Rendering is also known as image-synthesis and is the process of generating 2D or 3D images with the help of a computer. Such images are known as CGI (Computer Generated Images) and may or may not be photorealistic.
Now we will not go in too many technical details as it is of no use for us in the article, but you can check out the more dev notes and patch information on the official website.
Several components are there in the Android x86 such as Kernel, Installer, SwiftShader, Mesa, GPS, and more. Now some features were removed from the software in later updates, due to performance issues and programs becoming unstable. We will not go into how components are derived or how they are incorporated in Android x86. But know that, other from these there are many other components and they are taken from other open-source software. And with each update, the list of features and components increases.
What is porting?
The word porting refers to porting software from one platform to another. Or we can say adapting software from one platform like mac to a different platform like windows. This is done to get some utility out of an already executing software but on a different platform. For example, porting a game that was designed and made for Nintendo to Android OS. With this example, you must be starting to understand the function and use of porting. It is not a perfect process and the result is not always well polished. But it is better than not having that particular software at all. Also, developers use it as the cost and time required in poring is a lot less compared to making a new program from the ground up.
This gives developers an opportunity to capitalize on their investment with minimal efforts.
Also check out: Android Task Manager
How to download Android x86 for PC?
Now let’s see how to download the sweet sweet android x86 software. You need a PC or laptop with Windows on it.
- First of all, you need to download VirtualBox before we can start with Android x86.
The virtual box will allow you to run different OS on your Windows PC or laptop. For example, you can run Mac or Linux on your Windows without having much trouble.
Note: Android x86 is an independent OS and not an emulator.
- Once done with Virtual box, download Android x86 from the official website for your PC.
For the 64-bit version:
For the 32-bit version:
We would recommend you download the 64-bit version with ISO format.
How to install and run Android x86 for PC?
- Open the Virtual Box and create a virtual machine, it means a virtual computer on a server.
Open Virtual Box and click on “New”.
- Once you click on “new”, a pop-up will open and will ask you to enter the virtual machine specifications. So provide it according to your needs, in this guide we will be naming our VM “Android”.
- Other settings would be:
- Memory size -> 2048 Mb
- Operating System -> Linux
- Select either 32 or 64-bit Linux version.
- Click on “Create a virtual hard disk”
- Click on “Dynamic allocated“.
Once you complete the above steps, your virtual machine will be created and you can start with the next part.
- Now click on the virtual media you just created and double-tap.
- Insert the ISO file in the virtual machine, choose the ISO file we downloaded in the previous step.
Note: If the window to input ISO file does not open, press F12 at the time of screen bootup or startup screen. Once done, right-click on the compact-disk logo. Add the ISO file from there, then select “CD-ROM” to start the process.
- Once the process is completed, select “Installation-Install Android x86 to hard disk” and click “enter”.
- Now you need to create a partition when asked to. Click on “Create\Modify partitions”.
- Now a text-editor for partition editing will open. Click on “New” and then press continue/enter.
- Click on “Primary” and continue to create partitions. If you are planning to use it on a daily basis then we would suggest you make different partitions. And if you are just exploring, then create a single partition.
- Make a partition bootable to install Android OS on it. Now select the bootable partition and press “Enter”.
- You have to choose “Write” in order for you to keep the partition and all the other changes. Now confirm your changes and exit the partition editor with the quit command.
- Now finally, we will get to choose where to install our OS. Choose the bootable section and click “Enter”.
- Look for “ext4” and click enter or yes. This will format the disk and a pop-up will ask you “Do you want to install boot loader GRUB?”. Click “Yes” for the selected partition to become read and write.
- Now let’s complete the process and you can take a break now.
- Once the process is completed, again click on the Compact disk logo and click on “Remove disk from virtual drive”. Give the confirmation, failing to do so will result in booting from iso and not from the hard disk.
- Once the system restarts, the familiar Android start-up will come. It will be identical to the start-up screen on smartphones or tablets. While setting up your device, you may encounter some bugs or missing features. Try to work around them, for example, if you can not type then try disconnecting and reconnecting your keyboard. Now there can be several bugs in the system, try to fix them.
Note: Shortcut for going to full screen is Ctrl+F and to come back to windowed mode again use Ctrl+F. And the shortcut for scaled mode is Ctrl+C.
- Now, sign-up or sign-in your system just like you sign-in on your smartphone or tablet. We would suggest you skip the Wi-Fi set-up, as there are some bugs while the set-up.
Now the home screen will appear and you can use your new Android OS on your Windows.
- Now connect your device with Wi-Fi to download apps and use the device as a regular android supported tablet. Also understand Android system webview.
So we know this was a long guide but at last, we got our Android running smoothly on your PC. We learned about Android x86 and its development history. We also get to know what porting means on the computer platform. Finaly, We saw how to download the use of Virtual box and set-up a virtual machine. Note that this piece of software is not perfect so you will encounter some bugs here and there. Try to work around these bugs as we can not wait for the next patch to roll out. Remember there are several different alternatives to Android x86, some are good while others are ok-ish.
Now it is up to you as there are always alternatives available for any problem. Remember to make the primary partition bootable for the OS to be installed on it. Download the 64-bit version with ISO file extension as it is a widely used file format for operating systems. And avoid setting up Wi-Fi during the initial sign-up part. And if you want to take a lazy and fast way then check our video on the same topic.