The Complete Guide to Run Android 4.3 in VirtualBox

If you are keen to get your hands on the latest Android 4.3, but your phone’s manufacturer/carrier is not ready to push the update to your phone yet, you can try it out on your desktop. You doesn’t have to install the Android SDK or emulator. As long as you have VirtualBox in your computer, you can run Android 4.3 in a virtual machine.

We have previously shown you how to do so with Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), but the build back then was not working well and the WiFi module is not working. This latest Android 4.3 build is more complete and a lot of things just work out of the box, even when you run it as a LiveCD.

1. Download the Android 4.3 x86 iso from its Google code page. As of this post, the build is “android-x86-4.3-20130725.iso”.

android43-download

2. Make sure you have VirtualBox installed on your computer. Click the “New” button. Enter a name for this virtual machine and select “Linux” for the Type and “Linux 2.6″ for the version.

android43-setup-new-vm

3. Allocate a minimum of 256MB RAM for this VM. For this tutorial, I allocated 1GB of RAM to it.

4. You can create a new virtual hard drive, or use existing one. For new virtual hard drive, I would recommend a minimum of 4GB for storage space.

5. Once you have created the virtual machine, select it from the list and click the “Settings” button.

android43-virtual-machine-settings

6. Under the Storage section, select the CD/DVD drive slot and add the Android 4.3 iso to the list.

android43-virtual-machine-add-iso

7. Under the Network section, you can select NAT for the Network Adaptor. Some people have reported success with the “Bridged Adaptor” mode as well, but I have not tried it. Click “OK” to return to the main screen.

Once you are ready, click the Start button. This will boot up the virtual machine.

1. On the boot screen, use the arrow key to select “Installation – Install Android -x86 to hard disk”. (If you just want to test it out, select “Run Android -x86 without installation”)

android43-virtual-machine-installation

2. Select “Create/Modify partitions”.

android43-virtual-machine-create-partition

3. Assuming that you have assigned 8GB to the virtual hard drive, you should see 8587.20MB of Free Space in the screen. Use the right arrow key to navigate to “New” and press Enter. Select “Primary” on the next prompt.

android43-virtual-machine-setup-new-partition

4. You should see a screen like this:

android43-virtual-machine-write-new-partition

Select the “Bootable” option to make the partition bootable. Next, select “Write” and press Enter. Type “Yes” when prompted. Lastly, select “Quit” to quit the cfdisk (Partition manager).

5. Back to the main screen, select the partition that you have just created and click OK.

android43-installation-select-partition

6. When prompted, format the partition to “ext3″.

android43-format-to-ext3

7. Select “Yes” to install bootloader GRUB.

android43-install-grub-bootloader

8. Select “Yes” to install /system directory as read-write. At the end of the installation, you should see a screen like this:

android43-installed-successfully

Reboot the virtual machine. On the first bootup, it will take some time for the OS to load and initialize. Subsequent boot up will be faster. Once you are in the Welcome screen, follow the Setup wizard to setup Android 4.3.

android43-setup-screen

At this point, you might want to disable the mouse integration so that the mouse cursor will appear in the screen. This will make the navigation process much easier.

android43-disable-mouse-integration

While setting it up, it might not be able to detect any WiFi network. You can safely skip the WiFi setup as it won’t affect your Internet connection. It is also not necessary to sign in to your Google account. It will take you to the Home screen once the setup is completed.

Web browsing. Yeah, the Internet is working!

android43-virtual-machine-web-browsing

App drawer.

android43-virtual-machine-app-drawer

The User Profile configuration section in Settings.

android43-virtual-machine-user-profile-configuration

About Android section in Settings.

android43-virtual-machine-android-version

One thing though, the sound driver doesn’t perform well in virtual machine, so don’t bother to watch Youtube videos, or even listen to music in the virtual machine. Obviously, the Camera and the Phone app don’t work as well.

That’s it. If you face any difficulty in setting this up, feel free to let us know in the comments. I will be here to help.

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How to install Android 4.4 KitKat in Windows using VirtualBox

Google’s confectionery legacy of Android operating systems has enough digital sugar to make you nauseous.

It all started in 2009 with Android 1.5 Cupcake and now five years later, Google ‘s infatuation with sweets lives on through KitKat.

KitKat is a great OS but you need the physical tablet or smartphone before you can actually play with it.

Or do you?

Thanks to VirtualBox and the Android-x86 project, we now have unfettered access to the latest treats from Google’s assorted code bakery.

We just need to download the latest Android-x86 ISO and then load it into Virtualbox as a new Linux virtual machine.

As I’m writing this, Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is Google’s newest concoction; however, what’s the fun in that when everyone’s favorite chocolate covered vanilla waffer, KitKat, is already out as a Release Candidate?

If you want to live on the edge, forego the Jelly, gimmie a break, grab KitKat and follow me.

KitKat in VirtualBox

I want you to exult in how easy it is to setup KitKat in VirtualBox.

Click the blue New button in Virtualbox, name the new VM Droid, change the Type to Linux and change the version to Linux 2.6 / 3.x.

Crank the Memory up to 1024MB and click Create.

Android KitKat 4.4 in VirtualBox

On the Create Virtual Hard Drive screen, change the File Size to 6 GB, leave the Hard drive file type at VDI but change the Storage on physical hard drive to Fixed size.

Create Virtual Hard Drive in VirtualBox for KitKat

Now back in the image list, double click your tasty KitKat build. You should see a Select start-up disk window poof onto the screen.

Click the tiny manila folder icon to find the Android .ISO file you downloaded earlier and then hit the Start button. VirtualBox choose your Virtual Optical Drive

VirtualBox attempts to boot off the ISO and immediately displays the Android-x86 Live & Installation CD test screen.

Keep hitting the arrow keys until you select the Installation option – then hit Enter.

Android-x86 Installation KitKat

The first thing we need to do is Create a new Partition.

Think of a partition as an isolated section of your hard disk.  In this case, we’re going to set aside the entire virtual hard disk to Android but we need to create it first.

Select Create/modify partitions and keep moving.

Create/Modify partitions

This next screen may look daunting at first but it’s pretty straight forward when you think about it. The top section shows various drive facts such as:

  • Drive name: /dev/sda
  • Size: 6,442MB (6 Gigs)

The middle section shows that there are currently no partitions.

Hit the right arrow key to highlight the [NEW] option along the bottom the screen, then press Enter.

Create a new KitKat partition in Virtualbox

Press enter again to make it a Primary Partition.

To be honest, I don’t think it matters if you pick the Logical Partition; however, the Primary partition makes the most sense to me so go with that.

If you’re curious about the differences between Primary and Logical partitions, just think of a Primary partition like a container which can comprise one or more logical partitions.

KitKat Virtualbox Primary Partition

Press enter again to confirm the size. Here I’m confirming the 6440.39 MB partition size.

Android 4.4 Kitkat Primary Partition Size Confirmation

Alright, now we need to make the partition bootable so make sure [Bootable] is highlighted below and press Enter. Make KitKat Virtualbox partition bootable

When you press enter it places the word “Boot” under the column called Flags between Name and Part Type. Now – keep pressing the right arrow key until you highlight [Write].

Go for it, you’ve got this my friend.

VirtualBox KitKat Bootable Write in VirtualBox

Hit enter and you’ll see a confirmation warning about destroying all the data on your disk. Remember, this is your virtual disk not your real disk.

In other words, we’re about to nuke the Guest OS hard drive which is currently empty so this is perfectly safe and necessary. Type yes and hit Enter.

Erase KitKat data on bootable partition

When it finishes it’ll take you back to the previous screen.  Just keep hitting the right arrow until you highlight [Quit].  

Press enter so we can finish up. You should find yourself back in the Choose Partition screen; however, this time you should see your newly created Partition in the list.

Since we now have a place to park the KitKat installation we can start installing it.  Select sda1 Linux and hit Enter. Choose Partition in VirtualBox for KitKat

Change the filesystem to ext3 and press Enter.

The other filesystems are for different purposes. ext2 is better suited for removable media such as USB flash drives and memory cards; however, the main advantage of ext3 is that it offers journaling.

Journaling file systems are ideal because they track file system changes in a log called a journal.   This means that journaling file systems can recovery faster from crashes and are less likely to get corrupted.

You definitely want this.

Choose Virtualbox Android Filesystem as ext3

You’ll get a warning about losing all your data. This is fine because we have no data in the Guest OS.

Choose Yes and continue.

Virtualbox confirm format from sda1 to ext3

Install GRUB and hit Yes.

GRUB will give us the flexibility to boot up different Linux installations at startup.

Install Grub in Virtualbox for KitKat

Now hit Yes to install the /system directory as read-write.

Install /system directory as Read Write in Android KitKat Virtualbox

We’re on the home stretch now baby!

Installing Android 4.4 Kitkat in Virtualbox Yay!

When you hit the finish line, in the VirtualBox menu bar, click Devices, go to CD/DVD Devices and choose Remove disk from virtual drive.

You might get a terrifying error about unmounting the disk. Don’t worry, just click Force unmount and choose Run Android-x86!

Run Android x86!

If it doesn’t start up right or it freezes, press Ctrl + r to manually restart the virtual machine.

In a few seconds it should boot up the GRUB loader.  Just leave it alone for a few seconds and it’ll finish starting up.

VirtualBox GNU GRUB loader for KitKat

Now you can set it up just like a new tablet

Android welcome screen

By the way, if the mouse doesn’t work you may need to click Disable Mouse Integration from the Machine menu in the upper left corner of the Virtualbox window.  This will keep the mouse gliding over the VirtualBox menu instead of getting trapped inside it.

On the Select Wi-Fi screen just click Skip.  Virtualbox will use your host computers network card for data connectivity.

Select WiFi Network KitKat

And that’s it!

Now you can download Google apps, setup Gmail and have a ball without fear of destroying a precious tablet.

Android 4.4 KitKat home screen

Have fun.

How to Install Android in VirtualBox

run-android-in-virtualbox-virtual-machine

run-android-in-virtualbox-virtual-machine

Want to run Android on your PC? The Android-x86 Project has ported Android to the x86 platform from ARM. Android-x86 can be installed on netbooks with supported hardware, but you can also install Android in VirtualBox.

Android can be run as just another virtual machine, like you would run a Windows or Linux virtual machine. This allows you to play with the Android interface and install apps in a full Android environment on your PC.
What You’ll Need

Before you can get started, you’ll need both VirtualBox and an Android-x86 ISO to install inside VirtualBox.

Install VirtualBox: Download and install VirtualBox if you don’t already have it installed.
Download an Android-x86 ISO: You can find the latest Android-x86 ISO files at Google Code. Download the latest one — currently Android 4.2.

Creating an Android Virtual Machine

You can now open VirtualBox and create a new virtual machine by clicking the New button. Go through the wizard and configure your virtual machine with the following settings:

Operating System: Linux – Linux 2.6
Memory Size: 512 MB
Hard Drive Size: 3 GB or More

create-android-x86-virtual-machine

create-android-x86-virtual-machine

Next, power on your new virtual machine and point VirtualBox at the Android-x86 ISO file you downloaded. The installer will boot up inside your virtual machine.

Select the Installation option and press Enter to continue.

install-android-in-virtualbox

install-android-in-virtualbox

We’ll need to create a partition for the Android system. Select the Create/Modify partitions option and press Enter.

create-partitions-for-android

create-partitions-for-android

Select the New option with your arrow keys and press Enter to create a new partition in the free space.

android-new-partition

android-new-partition

Choose the Primary option and press Enter, then press Enter again to have the partition take up the entire size of the virtual disk you created.

android-primary-partition

android-primary-partition

Highlight the Bootable option and press Enter to make the partition bootable, then select the Write option and press Enter to write your changes to the virtual disk. You’ll have to type yes and press Enter to confirm writing the changes.

write-partitions-to-disk

write-partitions-to-disk

Activate the Quit option and you’ll go back to the Choose Partition screen.

This time, you’ll see the partition you created at the top of the screen. Select the partition and press Enter to install Android to it.

install-android-to-partition

install-android-to-partition

Select the ext3 file system, and then select Yes to format the partition.

format-partition-for-android

format-partition-for-android

Choose Yes to install the GRUB bootloader, and then select Yes to install the /system directory as read-write.

install-android-system-directory-as-read-write

install-android-system-directory-as-read-write

Once you’re done, you can remove the ISO file and reboot your virtual machine.

remove-disc-from-virtualbox-drive

remove-disc-from-virtualbox-drive

Android should boot up like any other operating system would in your virtual machine. As with an Android smartphone or tablet, you’ll have to go through the setup process and optionally provide Google account details. Skip the Wi-Fi setup screen — Android will use your virtual machine’s standard Internet connection.

android-setup-in-virtualbox

android-setup-in-virtualbox

If your mouse cursor doesn’t work, click the Machine menu and select the Disable Mouse Integration option. Click inside the virtual machine and you’ll see the mouse cursor. Press the host key displayed at the bottom-right corner of the virtual machine window (default key: Right Ctrl) to release the mouse cursor from the virtual machine.

android-virtual-machine-mouse

android-virtual-machine-mouse

You’ll boot into a live Android environment, complete with Google apps like Gmail, Maps, and the Play Store for installing other apps.

Android is primarily designed for touch input, but it can also be used with a mouse and keyboard — this means that your computer’s mouse and keyboard can function as serviceable input devices. Just don’t try doing anything you need multi-touch for.

android-in-virtualbox

android-in-virtualbox

This isn’t the fastest way to run Android apps on your PC — BlueStacks is faster if all you want to do is play Temple Run 2 or another Android game on your Windows PC. However, Android-x86 provides access to a complete Android system in a virtual machine. It’s a great way to get more familiar with a standard Android system or just experiment with it like you would experiment with a virtual machine running any other operating systems.

Go full-screen with an Android virtual machine and you’ll get an idea of what it would be like to use Android on a laptop. If the rumors we’re hearing are correct, we’ll be seeing Android laptops coming out this year — ASUS Transformer devices already function just like Android laptops when in docked mode.