How to install Google Android operating system in Virtualbox

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Guide how to run Android on PC using VirtualBox

Remix OS logoGoogle Android is one of the most used Linux-based operating system these days and can be found in smart phones and tablets as well as smart TVs, set-top boxes, DVR recorders, smart watches, car entertainment systems and probably plenty of other devices.

Because Android is a free and open source project that supports various microprocessor architectures (ARM, x86, x86-64), you can also potentially install it on desktop computers, or virtual machines. However, the default desktop (called Launcher) is primarily customized for touch screens and controlling by mouse and keyboard can be (and it really is) a little bit clumsy.

A few months ago, people from Jide Technology introduced Remix OS, a port of the Google Android operating system customized to be used like classic desktop system, similar to Microsoft Windows. The main advantage is that you can potentially use windows Android apps and have fully-fledged multitasking between them.

So now let's take a look on how you can install Remix OS safely to a virtual PC machine made in Oracle's VirtualBox, so you can try Android and many of the apps for it directly on your computer.


How to install Google Android to VirtualBox

Download and install VirtualBox to your computer and also download archive with a bootable ISO image of Remix OS.

There are two versions of Remix available, a 32-bit for slow PC (or PC without 64-bit OS) and a 64-bit version for fast PC with 64-bit operating system. Extract the ISO image from the archive to your hard drive so you can access it later.

Create virtual machine for Remix OS in VirtualBox

Start VirtualBox →  click on New button →  set the name of virtual machine (Remix OS) → set Type to Linux → set Version to either "Other Linux 32-bit" or "Other 64-bit" depending on the one you have downloaded → and finally click on the Next button.

Create virtual machine in VirtualBox
Create new virtual machine

Set virtual RAM to half of the RAM assigned to the physical machine →  click on the Next button.

Set memory size of virtual machine in VirtualBox
Set memory size

Now pick "create a virtual hard disk now" → and click on the Create button.

create new VDI disk in VirtualBox
Create new virtual drive

Now select the Hard disk file type → set VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) → and continue with Next button.

Set type of hard drive in Virtualbox
Set virtual drive type

Storage on physical hard disk → Set Dynamically allocated → Next button.

Virtual hard drive storage VirtualBox settings
Set allocation type

Now you will need to define file location (browse to the location) and size of the virtual disk → so set at least 16 GB → continue with create button

VirtualBox virtual hard disk settings
Set size of disk

Click on Settings button → Storage → Click on optical mechanic → Click on CD icon next to Optical Drive: option → Select Choose Virtual Optical Disk File... option → Navigate to Remix OS ISO → OK button.

VirtualBox mount Remix ISO image to virtual optical mechanic
Mount ISO image with Remix OS

Install Remix OS to VirtualBox virtual machine

Click on Start button and wait until the Remix OS start boot menu appears → after that press TAB button on your keyboard.

Remix OS boot options
Remix OS boot options

You now need to to delete the following line "SRC= DATA= CREATE_DATA_IMG=1" and replace it with "INSTALL=1 DEBUG=" → and continue with Enter.

Remix OS installation commands
Remix OS installation commands

Select Create/Modify partitions → Press Enter.

Create and modify Remix OS partitions
Create partitions for Remix OS

Do you want to use GTP? → No.

GPT option
GPT options

In cfdisk tool select New option → Primary → Set Size (size of virtual hard drive minus size of virtual RAM) →  Beginning → Bootable → Write.

cfdisk tool create image bootable image
cfdisk tool for Linux

Select another drive → New → Logical → leave Size → Write.

cfdisk tool create swap partition
cfdisk tool for Linux

Select Type option → Enter filesystem type: 82 and press Enter Select Write option in cfdisk → after that Quit option.

cfdisk create swap partition for Remix OS
Set partition type in cfdisk

Select sda1 partition → Press OK.

Select partition for Remix OS
Select installation partition for Remix OS

Select a filesystem ext4 → Press OK  → Confirm format.

Format partition for Remix OS
Select partition file system

Confirm installation of GRUB boot loader and skip installation of EFI GRUB2.

Install GRUB for Remix OS
Install GRUB boot loader

Do you want to install /system directory as read-write? → Yes.

System directory option
system directory options

Wait till the installation is finished.

Remix OS installation progress
Installation progress

Select Run Android-x86 option → OK button.

Installation of Remix OS finished
Congratulations! Remix OS installation is done

Wait till the Remix OS boot (about a few minutes).

Remix OS boot logo
Remix OS boot logo

Select your language → Click Next.

Remix OS select language and input settings
Select your language

Now you can work with Google Android like with any other desktop-like operating system.

Remix OS desktop
Remix OS desktop

Install Google Play Store to Remix OS

Remix OS lost in version 2.0 it's certification from Google and doesn't contain Google's services, such as Google Play Store, Gmail, etc., anymore. But you can restore the functionality with the following set of commands so you will be able to install Google services back to Remix OS.

press Alt+F1 to open root terminal and type:

  • pm disable com.jide.apppolicy
  • pm enable
  • pm enable
  • pm enable
  • pm enable

Note: press Alt+F7 to close root console and reboot the system!! Don't forget remove an installation ISO image from virtual optical drive!!

Now Google Play Store is available in the Remix OS Start Menu (button in left down corner, like in Windows). Click on it and login to your Google account and you will have fully functional Google Android for desktop!!

Google Play Store in Remix OS
Google Play Store in Remix OS


Related software and links:

Google Android icon

Google Android    Google Android platform
One of the most popular OS for mobile systems

VirtualBox icon

VirtualBox    Microsoft Windows platform
A multi-platform x86 virtualization software package

VirtualBox for Linux icon

VirtualBox for Linux    Linux/Unix platform
Free system virtualization platform for Linux operating system developed by Oracle

VirtualBox for Mac icon

VirtualBox for Mac    Apple macOS / Mac OS X platform
Free open-source x86 virtualization software package for Mac


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