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  1. #1
    iNET Interactive
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    How to run Google's Android OS on a Windows PC




    TOP STORY

    How to run Google's Android OS on a Windows PC


    By Fred Langa

    Little-known fact: By using a virtual PC, you can set up and run a free, fully legitimate copy of Google's Android on a standard Windows system. This gives you a way to safely experiment with the Android operating system — or to re-create the layout of an Android device you already have.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/how-to-run-googles-android-os-on-a-windows-pc (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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  3. #2
    New Lounger
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    Why make people go to all that bother. Just install bluestacks. So much easier. Nuts Fred.

  4. #3
    New Lounger
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    Excellent instructions Fred - thank you.

    I did run into a issue with the VT-x setting that I suspect others may encounter as well. I'm running VirtualBox 4.3.8 on Windows 8.1 Pro-x64 on an Asus Z87-C board. The cpu is a Core i5 4440 and while Cpu-Z reports it as having VT-x capability, the VM's System > Acceleration tab is greyed out. I normally run Vbox as a Standard user, so I thought that might be a problem, but when I created a similar VM logged in as an Administrator, I got the same result. This was disappointing as the hardware is only several months old.

    Undeterred, I repeated the exercise on a much older machine running Windows 7 Pro-x64 on a Core2Duo E8400 also logged in as a Standard user. This time the Acceleration tab was not greyed out and I was able to install successfully. However, when I migrated this VM back to the first machine, it failed to boot, reporting
    ...EIP: [<c11edd20>] intel_idle+0x7c/0x9b SS:ESP 0068:c165ff98...
    and then going into a reboot loop.

    I checked in the first machine's UEFI BIOS but the only virtualization setting l could see was for VT-d, not VT-x.

    Somewhere it was suggested to try vboxmanage modifyvm name --longmode on, but this command failed to complete.

    I'd be interested to see if anyone else encounters this problem. A solution, or at least an explanation would also be welcome.
    Last edited by LotharK; 2014-03-13 at 02:54.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikekc View Post
    Why make people go to all that bother. Just install bluestacks. So much easier. Nuts Fred.
    I was going to say the same thing. Bluestacks runs inside windows - so you get a cleaner UI integration and simple installation without needing to install a virtualisation platform like VirtualBox or follow the complicated technicalities described in this column.

  6. #5
    New Lounger
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    Wow, and in only 25 steps that could go wrong. Trouble is I remember installing an update on NOVELL using 41 - 5 1/4 inch disks on Saturday morning. Sorry, Fred.

  7. #6
    New Lounger
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    This is fine as far as it goes, but for programmers, you can install Eclipse with the Android SDK and not only run applications, but develop them as well.

  8. #7
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    Ditto on Bluestacks, Fred. I discovered it two years ago when I wanted a way to access the Google Play Store so that I could side-load apps onto my original Kindle Fire. I didn't have a cell phone or other Android device--just my PC. BlueStacks works great. I wrote a how-to article about it at http://eweforia.wordpress.com/category/how-to/

    It takes only four steps to get BlueStacks installed. The rest of the steps explain how to back up and copy the apps to DropBox and then install them on the Kindle.

  9. #8
    New Lounger
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    Hi Fred,
    Great instructions! I didn't see any mention of UEFI. Will these instructions work on a UEFI equipped computer?
    Thanks for all your past articles. I've been bailed out often because of them.
    Rich Baierschmidt

  10. #9
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    Cool There's a better way

    Haven't used BlueStacks as an earlier comment mentioned but I definitely prefer using Geny Motion: http://www.genymotion.com/

    Still uses VMware as a base but give you lots of prepackaged options for specific device emulation and way easier to setup and configure.

  11. #10
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    Well, I'm stumped. I downloaded the Intel tool and it says I do have Virtualization Technology, yet the System - Acceleration tab in Figure 4 is grayed out. I don't understand why this is so. I have an Intel i7-3770 processor in a Dell XPS system running Windows 8.1. Can anyone help? Thank you.

    I have the same problem with my Acer laptop. So, two newer computers, neither of which can do what you describe.

    PS. I did install BlueStacks, but it would not run the game called Chip Chain well and that is what I wanted it for. So I went out and bought a Nexus 7 and can now use this as my true Android device. I use basic4Android as my Android development system. Eclipse would also work, I suppose, but it seems a lot more complicated than b4A.

    Fred, what I really need is a way to run PHP code on my Android, including the ability to access .jar files and run them with PHP.
    Last edited by aedwall; 2014-03-13 at 13:23.

  12. #11
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    A lot of motherboards support virtualization but have have some features of it disabled in the BIOS by default. I'd look through your BIOS and see if there's anything relating to Virtualization, VT-D or VT-X that's currently disabled and enable it. That might fix up the greyed out Acceleration tab for you.

  13. #12
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    I'm already using VirtualBox for other OS's so this option is good. I tried Android there awhile back but the emulation available then was lame. Thanks for the update, Fred.

    Just a note - I ran into a couple of odd problems in Firefox. First the Android site Downloads page just displayed code. Then I found the download link by another route, but Google threw up an "unusual traffic" captcha that kept repeating. (probably because it was an iso file) When I copied the URL to Chrome, it threw up the Captcha but then allowed the download.

    Curiously, the captcha wasn't a safety warning but a suggestion I might be breaching terms of service. Given that I was not linking to or from a Google site, how was a breaking their terms of service??

  14. #13
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    Thanks Fred that was fun, one thing you might tell folks is how to get the screen to rotate when you install an app that wants to run side ways..lol fun playing at any rate.

    Now I think I'll try bluestacks since the other posters on here seem to like it.

  15. #14
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    Thanks for the instructions, Fred. There was a couple of points where the choice was not obvious, so this helped.
    I checked a couple of utilities to confirm I had VT-x and both said yes, but the tab was greyed out in VB. It was indeed turned off in the BIOS.

    When I browsed online, I noticed some people had a conflict with Microsoft VM's as Hyper-V may take over VT-x. In that case, it's on in the BIOS but still unavailable in VB.
    In Win7+, managing Hyper-V is a little obscure as the setting is hidden. I ran into this command line for turning it off and on (5th comment):
    https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41258

    If you want to get fancier, I noticed this article on Hyper-V Manager:
    http://www.altaro.com/hyper-v/hyper-...-need-to-know/
    (still requires a reboot though)

    This was not an issue for me but could come up if you use XP Mode or or other MS virtualization.

  16. #15
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    Open Source Android is coming out with a 64-bit version (made for use on Bay Trail Atom Processors, with support promised by the ARM group). It is described here:

    http://phandroid.com/2013/11/06/arm-...ource-project/

    Project x64 for Android will be part of the push by Google and Microsoft to bring Android up to full 64-bit status. This means more robust Apps and more powerful graphics, among other things. It also means that a Virtual Machine may no longer be the only way to enjoy Windows 8 and Android on the same device. Desktop Android is not likely to succeed, as Linux is already desktop-friendly and 64-bit capable.

    Microsoft will probably not make its 64-bit Android available as a free download. (Hence, the Virtual Android described in the article probably will not work with Windows 8 Secure Boot active.) But there is a download available for the open-source 64-bit prototype Android, in case anyone's intertested in going yet one step further than the 32-bit Android VM is capable of going.

    Be aware that, beyond hardware limitations, Google has restricted a significant amount of the content of its Google Play App Store so that only certified devices can access those Apps. So don't expect to have the whole Google Play or Amazon or any other App Store fully at your virtual fingertips by using the Open Source VM versions of Android. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.

    I also agree that BlueStacks is much simpler to set up, as is Geny Motion.
    -- Bob Primak --

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