I love my Nokia Lumia 925 phone and its Windows Phone 8.1 OS. But even a hardcore enthusiast like me must concede that Windows Phone is history. Wanting to test Android before starting to look for a new phone, I tried several Android emulators. Sadly, I didn’t get a realistic Android experience with any of them. Most of them are either full of ads, really slow, missing Play Store, not compatible with Microsoft Launcher and other MS apps, or all of these things together. Sigh.
Then I found Android-x86, an Open Source project to provide Android OS to x86 / x64 computers. As I am writing this, they offer Android Pie, the latest (9th) major release of Android. At this moment it is already installed on more than a third of all Android devices. See the release notes on the Android-x86 home page to learn about their latest releases.
Before starting this project, download Android Pie 9.0-rc1 ISO. I selected the 32-bit version from the download page. As always when downloading executables, archives, scripts, batch files and ISO files, remember to unblock the file before using it.
Notice please: Although it is a relatively simple process, I decided to add a significant number of screenshots and explanatory text, to cover each step. I know that it might be, and often is, a PITA for experienced users who just want some not too detailed info. But on the other hand, I wanted to make these instructions as complete and accessible as possible so that a virtualization or Android newbie could do this. These instructions are for a Hyper-V virtual machine, but should work in VMware and VirtualBox, too.
OK, let’s start!
Setup Virtual Machine
Create a new, Generation 1 virtual machine in Hyper-V (see tutorial on Ten Forums). Do not use Generation 2: an Android VM cannot be installed on a a GPT VHD. I set the new VM to use 4 GB virtual RAM and 12 GB virtual hard disk, and use the downloaded Android Pie ISO as its install source. In addition, in network connections, I selected an external virtual switch, connecting it to my external virtual switch.
When created, before booting the VM, open its settings and add virtual processors as you prefer. I added 4 vCPU. I also disabled automatic checkpoints.
Then some weird stuff. First, a bit of background: When creating Windows virtual machines in Hyper-V, you should use the default virtual network adapter. But, on Windows Vista and older virtual machines, it does not work. They need something called a Hyper-V Legacy Network Adapter. No VM I have ever setup has needed both, but on Android VM, that’s the case: I cannot get Android VM to connect to the Internet if I don’t add a Legacy Network Adapter. That is: the default adapter by itself does not work, and the Legacy adapter alone does not work, either. Both are required, with both connected to the external switch.
So, finally, here are the settings for my Android VM:
You can click the screenshots to open them enlarged in a new tab.
Start the VM. During thee install phase, you can use the TAB and arrow keys to select items, and Enter to confirm your selections.
Use arrow keys to select Installation, and press Enter:
Press C followed by Enter to select Create / Modify Partitions:
Next prompt asks if you want to use GPT. Select No, press Enter:
Select New, press Enter:
Select Primary, press Enter:
Press Enter to confirm that you want to use full VHD capacity for this partition:
Now select Bootable (#1 in next screenshot), press Enter, select Maximize (#2), press Enter, select Write (#3), press Enter, type Yes to confirm the write operation, and finally select Quit (#4) and press Enter:
Press Enter to confirm you want to use sda1 partition:
Format it as Ext4:
Confirm format with Yes + Enter:
Depending on your partition size, formatting might take a minute or two, and show strange progress percentages (see below for a chuckle):
Select Yes to install the GRUB bootloader:
Select Yes to grant System directory Read – Write permissions:
Now eject the Android ISO (VM Media Menu, DVD Drive, Eject), press R to select Reboot, and press Enter to restart the VM:
Android is now installed, and will perform the first boot which allows you to set up and personalize it.
After the restart, a normal Android device setup will run. Mouse integration will work now, in addition to using TAB and arrow keys. Start with selecting your language, and clicking Start:
If you want to, you can copy apps and data from your existing Android device or iPhone:
Sign in with your Google account:
Select Home app. I will install Microsoft Launcher as soon as possible, so I select Quickstep and click Just once to make it my Home app until MS Launcher is installed:
That’s it. You are now on the Android Home screen. Please notice, that annoying pink background color is the default, not my choice 😉
Install Microsoft Launcher
Open Play Store from its icon bottom right. Search and install Microsoft Launcher:
Follow on-screen instructions to setup MS Launcher. When done, set MS Launcher to be your Home app by selecting Always:
Install other MS and third party apps you need from the Play Store. Notice that Edge cannot be installed in Android on a Hyper-V VM, because it requires an ARM processor. On real, physical Android devices, Edge can be installed.
Here, I have installed the apps I want to test to make myself more familiar in how they work in Android:
All done! You have now a fully functioning Android VM. It is faster than any Android emulator, easier to use, and quite fast to install and set up.
Author: Kari Finn
A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.