In my last post I described how to install Android on VirtualBox. In today's article we will configure Android I will discuss how to deal with problems such as an invisible mouse pointer and a black screen on your Android VM.

Michael Pietroforte

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in IT management and system administration.

After you finished the Android installation as explained in my last post, you should follow the procedure below.

Configure Android ^

  1. Remove the virtual CD.
    Before you reboot, you should remove the virtual CD in VirtualBox.
    Remove the virtual CD
  2. Select Reboot and press OK.
    After you reboot, you should see the GRUB menu. Press Enter or just wait until Android boots up.
    Reboot VM
  3. Select your language.
    Use the cursor keys to select your language, move the cursor to the right to select “Start,” and press Enter.
    Select your language
  4. Skip WiFi selection.
    We will use the Internet connection of the host running VirtualBox, so no WiFi needs to be selected here. You can also ignore the warning that will be displayed after you select Skip.
    Skip Wi-Fi
  5. Add a Google account.
    I suggest you don’t use your own Google account for your lab environment. Create a new Google account and then proceed with the Android configuration. Note that you can also skip adding a Google account at this time.
    Google account
    Google might worry about the way you are signing in. In that case, you’ll have to provide a phone number for SMS or an automatic voice call.
  6. Select a location.
    Next, you have to choose what kind of geo location. Note that even if your VM has no GPS, Android can use other means, such as your IP address, to estimate your location.
    Google & location
  7. Set the date and time.
    If you allowed Google to determine your location, your date and time should be already configured correctly.
    Date and time
  8. Enter your name.
    Perhaps you can consider using a dummy name. Google doesn’t have to know everything, right?
    Enter your name
  9. Grant Google services.
    At the end of this long procedure, you have to agree that Google can install updates.
    Google Services
  10. Select Finish.
    Your setup is now complete. After you select Finish, the Android home screen should appear.
    Setup complete

I found it quite interesting that the installation took much longer than a Windows installation even though Android is a much simpler OS. Below are a few tips on how to work with your Android VM under VirtualBox.

Mouse pointer not visible ^

If you click the “desktop” of your Android installation, you will notice that the mouse pointer disappears. I found that the mouse pointer is only visible if you disable mouse integration of the VirtualBox virtual machine. To do so, you have to press Host + I or click the Machine menu of your VM. By default, the VirtualBox host key is the right CTRL key. You probably know that you can change this default setting. It appears there is no way to disable mouse integration by default. This means that you always have to press the corresponding key combination after you booted the VM

Disable mouse integration

Disable mouse integration

Black screen on your Android VM ^

If you don’t touch anything on your virtual tablet for a few seconds, the Android screen saver will kick in and the screen will go black. You can’t just press a key or click the mouse to wake up your Android VM. It appears the only way to turn on the virtual screen is by pressing Host + H or by clicking ACPI Shutdown on the Machine menu. Please don’t ask me why.

Black screen on VirtualBox Android VM

Black screen on VirtualBox Android VM

Shutting down Android ^

A phone or tablet can be turned off by pressing the power button. You can also just turn off the virtual machine in VirtualBox and, in most cases, your Android installation will survive. However, it is safer to shut Android down properly. Click the top border of your Android VM, drag down the menu, and click “Power off.”

Shut down Android VM

Shut down Android VM

Creating a snapshot ^

The first thing you should do after the Android installation is to create a snapshot. You noticed that the installation for Android under VirtualBox is quite long-winded. Thus, before you mess up your new Android lab, you should save the current state. I recommend shutting down your Android VM first. Another option is to create a linked clone whenever you start a new test.

Create snapshot

Create snapshot

In my next post, I will show you how you can change the screen resolution of your Android virtual machine in VirtualBox.

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8 Comments
  1. luis 3 years ago

    For the BlackScreen that appears when you dont touch anything for a few seconds I've found a solution: you can press the "menu key" on your keyboard.

    bye

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  2. Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    luis, thanks for the tip. It works.

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  3. Wayne 3 years ago

    Where do you get the copy of android to install on the VM?

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  4. Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    You can download the latest Android ISO files here.

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  5. Wayne Henderson 3 years ago

    Michael, Thank you for the quick reply but the link opens to a Nothing found URL. No big rush, was just wondering where to get the android iso to tinker with later at home. Thank you, Have a great day!!!

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  6. Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    Oops sorry. Pasted the wrong the text. The link should work now.

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  7. Dave 3 years ago

    The reason the ACPI shutdown turns the screen back on is because it emulates you pressing the "power" button, which activates the screen on most phones if they are sleeping. I'm not sure what luis means by the "menu" key - if it's the Windows key then well that doesn't work for me running a linux host. There is however a shortcut (usually right-cttl-H) for the shutdown button.

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  8. Michael Pietroforte 3 years ago

    Dave, depending on your keyboard, the menu key is somewhere right of the space key. In Windows it opens the menu of the application in focus.

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