Install Android on VirtualBox

Installing Android on VirtualBox is a bit more complicated than with Windows. I’ll give you a few tips on how to install and configure a virtual machine for your Android lab.

Let’s face it. Android is becoming more and more important for businesses. Even Microsoft acknowledges this by planning to make the Android version of its touch-first Office available before the Windows edition.

If you don’t want to abuse your own phone or tablet as a test environment, you should consider installing Android on VirtualBox or another virtualization solution. Doing so is not a big deal, but there are a few traps along the way.

  1. Download the Android ISO file.
    In this guide, I used the android-x86-4.3-20130725.iso file, but the instructions here should also work with different Android versions.
  2. Create a VirtualBox virtual machine.
    Choose Linux as the type and Linux 2.6 as the version. The default settings of the wizard should be fine. Feel free to change the hardware specs to your liking.
    Create a VirtualBox virtual machine
  3. Boot the VM.
    When you start the VM, VirtualBox will ask for the startup disk. Select the ISO file you downloaded in step 1.
    Choose ISO file
  4. Select Installation.
    You can run Android from the ISO without installation, but that is not very useful for a lab. Thus, select the installation option.
    Install Android
  5. Create a partition.
    On the next screen, select “Create/Modify partitions.”
    Create partition
  6. Select New.
    Move the cursor to the right to select “New.”
    New partition
  7. Create a primary partition.
    Just press Enter to create a primary partition.
    Create a primary partition
  8. Choose the partition size.
    Partition size
  9. Make the partition bootable.
    Yes, we want to boot from the partition. After you press “Bootable,” the boot flag should appear in the table.
    Make partition bootable
  10. Write the changes to the disk.
    Move the cursor to the right until you reach “Write,” and press Enter.
    Write the changes to the disk
  11. Confirm changes.
    Confirm the changes by typing “yes” and pressing Enter.
    Confirm changes
  12. Quit the cfdisk tool.
    After the cfdisk tool is finished with writing the changes to the disk, select “Quit.”
    Quit cfdisk
  13. Select the partition for your Android installation.
    On the next screen, you should now see the partition (sda1) you just created. Press OK to install Android.
    Select the partition
  14. Format with ext3.
    We format the virtual disk with the ext3 filesystem.
    Format with ext3
  15. Confirm formatting.
    Confirm formatting
  16. Install GRUB.
    We’ll also need the boot loader GRUB.
    Install GRUB
  17. Enable read-write.
    Yes, we want to install the /system directory as read-write.
    Enable read-write
  18. Confirm Android installation.
    After installation completes, you should see the screenshot below.
    Android is installed

In my next post, I will show you how to configure Android and give a few tips how to manage Android in a VirtualBox environment.

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