How to Run Android on Your PC


How to Run Android on Your PC

Android is most popular mobile operating system right now, it has the largest user base in the world. While it is spreading its coverage across multiple gadgets like – smart watch, TV, automobiles, tablet PC’s, but still, it is a lot behind in computer industry.

But here’s the thing – Android is mainly based on Linux, that means it is open-source and available for anyone who wants to modify it. So, some guys thought – why not port it to the desktop? And they actually did it. So, if you are curious enough to see Google’s OS works on PC, let’s get right into it.

Also, here’s good news – you can do it with the things you already have like – USB Drive, SD Card, and your laptop or desktop. The tutorial is mainly divided into two parts – the first parts explain creating bootable media and second part explains how to actually run it on your PC.

Step 1: Creating Bootable Media of Android ISO Image

If you have any experience of doing a clean installation of Windows or any other operating system then this will be the piece of cake for you. If not, don’t worry! It is not rocket science, this is a fairly easy step.

All you need here is USB Drive or Memory Card that is at least 2 GB in size. Before using it, make sure to copy everything on that drive because the process explained further will erase everything on that drive.

The next thing you will need is the ISO image of Android x86, you can download it from their official site here (Don’t worry, it will open in new tab). Here I will be trying the built of Android 7.1.2 Nougat, which is approximately 800 MB in size.

Download Android-x86
Download Android-x86

You can select the Android version of your choice and download it. It may take a lot of time depending on your Internet speed so you might wanna bookmark this page. In order to create a bootable device, you will need a software called Rufus.

There are lots of other ways to create bootable media but this is the easiest, the app is roughly 1 MB in size and portable (works without installation).

After all the setup and downloading, launch the Rufus and attach the USB Drive to PC. Rufus will automatically detect the device and select it. If it doesn’t or you have multiple devices connected to your PC then go ahead and select the USB device from the drop-down menu manually.

Rufus
Select USB Drive From Drop-Down Menu

Now, at the bottom find the line which reads “Create a bootable disk using”, and select ISO image from the drop-down menu.

Rufus
Select ISO Image from Drop-Down Menu

Click the icon which is right next to drop-down menu which looks like CD-Drive icon and choose the Android x86 ISO image you have downloaded earlier.

Rufus
Click CD-Drive Icon to Select ISO Image

Make sure the file system is selected as FAT32, if not do it manually from the drop-down menu.

make sure file type is FAT32 In rufus
Make Sure File Type is FAT32

Next, as everything has setup click on the Start button.

Rufus
Click Start Button

Now, a dialogue box will appear with a warning which says – everything on the device will get destroyed. Click on OK to go ahead.

Rufus

The process will start to complete necessary tasks and copy all the ISO image data on your drive. When completed the progress bar will appear as green. Now you can close Rufus and eject the drive.

Close Rufus after Completion
Close Rufus after Completion

Step 2: Boot from Bootable Drive

Now, as we have successfully created a bootable device, the next step is to boot from that device. In order to do that, you will have to reboot your device and access boot menu.

You may have to change some settings from your BIOS in order for it to work; if it works by default, perfect! Start your PC and press a specific key your PC might have to enter boot menu. Most of the times it is F8, F10, F12 or Esc.

When you enter into the boot menu, select your boot device (Your USB drive which was created earlier).

Boot Menu
Select Your Boot Device

After you successfully boot through your USB drive, a menu will appear asking how would you like to run the installation. The Live CD mode will boot into the operating system without installing it and installation mode will install the operating system physically on the hard drive. As we are only trying it out, choose – Live CD – Run Android-x86 without installation.

GRUB Boot Menu
Select Live CD to Test OS without Installation

After few seconds of ununderstandable text and command execution, you will be able to see the Android boot animation.

run Android on PC
Android Bootanimation

Next, the setup window will appear, the setup procedure is pretty simple procedure just like you do it on any other Android smartphone. Just follow the on-screen instruction and you are good to go.

run android on PC
Android Setup Process

Experience of Using Android on Your Computer and Some Tips

Well, the performance of Android on PC is pretty smooth as you expect it to be (considering high power CPU’s). But, using the operating system which is made for touch screen devices is pretty inconvenient. The good news is – mouse and physical keyboard work fine with Android.

Android Homescreen
Android Homescreen

Although if you have touch screen device/laptop then you will feel a lot more positive experience as you feel it on any Android device.

Android 7.1.2 on PC
Android Info

All the media keys like volume buttons, brightness buttons, mute buttons, and other shortcuts for media control works fine on my system (Lenovo IdeaPad), cannot say same about you.

The touchpad gestures like – pinching, zooming, two-finger dragging and many others work really well with this Android built.

Two-Finger Gesture to Drag Down Notification Panel
Two-Finger Gesture to Drag Down Notification Panel

The long-press action also works fine, just press and hold left click button of your mouse or you can do the same with your touchpad. The downside here is the right-click, the right-click action doesn’t work with this built.

Android Long-Press Action by Mouse Click
Android Long-Press Action by Mouse Click

The Windows key works same as a home button on Android – when pressed, it brings you right back to home screen minimizing all apps.

All the wireless capabilities like – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Location worked fine on our test system (Lenovo IdeaPad).

If your laptop has Webcam, it can work fine with the camera app too.

If you want to power off your system, just press power button on your PC or laptop and the Power Menu will appear.

Power Menu
Power Menu

Overall it performs very well, except some glitches. This built is same as pure stock Android and comes with Google play service preinstalled. I have been able to sign in to my Google account and install AnTuTu benchmark, which scoring 3,11,536 (which isn’t bad considering it is higher than any Smartphone available).

But be aware that they weren’t able to release a stable built of this project yet. So, if you want to install it on your PC, here’s our advice – Don’t do it. But if you are as stubborn as me and still wanna install it no matter the consequences, here’s simple advice with a lot less risk – install it on VMware Workstation or on VirtualBox.

Have any questions? Let us know in the comment section down below, we would be happy to help.

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Akshay Bhor

Akshay Bhor is a techie, webmaster, tech reviewer, cyber security enthusiast and part time blogger from Pune, India.

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