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How to set up an Android X86 virtual machine on Linux

Sometimes an Android emulator isn’t enough if you want to use Android apps on a Linux PC. Sometimes, you need the real thing. The best way to get real Android on a Linux PC is with an Android X86 virtual machine. In this guide, we’ll go over how to set one up.

Install VirtualBox on Linux

To virtualize the Android operating system on a Linux OS, you must install the VirtualBox virtualization software. Thankfully, VirtualBox supports nearly every Linux operating system without issue, and as a result, it is straightforward to set up.

To start the installation of VirtualBox on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. From there, follow along with the installation instructions that correspond with the Linux OS you currently use.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, install the VirtualBox app with the following Apt command.

sudo apt install virtualbox

Debian

On Debian, you must manually enable a VirtualBox repo. To enable it, enter the commands below.

wget https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox_2016.asc
sudo apt-key add oracle_vbox_2016.asc
rm oracle_vbox_2016.asc
sudo apt-add-repository 'deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian bionic contrib'

Finally, install VirtualBox on Debian.

sudo apt-get install virtualbox

Arch Linux

To install VirtualBox in Arch Linux, use the following Pacman command.

sudo pacman -S VirtualBox

Fedora

If you’d like to use VirtualBox on Fedora Linux, first head over to this guide to learn how to enable RPMFusion (both non-free and free) on the system. Then, when you’ve set up RPMFusion, use the Dnf command to set up VirtualBox.

sudo dnf install VirtualBox

OpenSUSE

On OpenSUSE Linux, install VirtualBox with the Zypper command.

sudo zypper install virtualbox

Generic Linux

Oracle makes a “.run” binary release of VirtualBox available to install on every Linux operating system. If your OS does not carry VBox, and you need to install it, head over to the site here to download and install it.

Download Android X86

Now that Oracle VM VirtualBox is set up on your Linux PC, it is time to download the Android X86 release so that we can use it to set up the virtual machine.

To download a copy of Android X86, follow the step-by-step instructions outlined below.

Step 1: Head over to the Android X86 webpage where the latest OS images are located.

Step 2: On the Android X86 webpage, locate the blue “Download” button, and click on it with the mouse to move to the “Download” page.

Step 3: On the “Download” page for Android X86, you will be asked to choose a download mirror. Pick the “OSDN” mirror with the mouse.

Step 4: On the OSDN mirror page, locate the version of Android X86 you would like to use. It must be an ISO file!

In this guide, we will be using Android X86 8.1 release 3, as it is much more stable than 9.0. Download 8.1 here.

Setting up Android X86 in VirtualBox

Setting up the Android X86 virtual machine in VirtualBox can be confusing if you’re not familiar with virtualization. To make it less confusing, we’ll break down the set up into a step-by-step process. Follow along below to get your VM working.

Step 1: Launch VirtualBox on your Linux PC. Then, find the “New” button, and click on it with the mouse to create a new VM.

Step 2: Find “Name” and write “Android X86” in the box.

Step 3: Locate “Type” and change it from “Microsoft Windows” to “Linux.”

Step 4: Locate “Version” and change it from “Oracle (64-bit)” to “Other Linux (64-bit)”.

Step 5: Find the “Next” button and click on it with the mouse to move on to the next page.

Step 6: Set “memory” to “2048 MB”. Or, go higher if you’re feeling brave.

Step 7: In “Hard Disk,” select the box that says, “Create a virtual hard disk now.” Then, click the “Create” button.

Step 8: On “Hard disk file type,” select the “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)” box with the mouse. Then, click “Next.”

Step 9: For “Storage on physical hard disk,” select the option “Dynamically allocated.” Click “Next” to continue.

Step 10: In “File location and size,” leave the drive size at 8 GB. Or, set it to 32 GB if you need more space. Then, click “Create” to make the new drive.

Step 11: Find “Android X86” on the sidebar in VirtualBox, and select it with the mouse. Then, right-click on the VM, and select “Settings.”

Step 12: Inside of “Settings,” find “Display” and click on it to access the “Display” settings. Then,  find “Enable 3d Acceleration” and check the box next to it. Click “OK” to apply the settings.

Step 13: After exiting the VM settings, find Android X86 in the sidebar. Then, click the “Start” button to start up the VM.

Step 14: In the “Select start-up disk” window, find the folder icon with the green icon, and click it with the mouse. Then, go to “Downloads” and select the Android X86 ISO file to load it into the VM. Then, click “Start” to start the VM.

Using your VM

When Android X86 starts up in VirtualBox, find the “use without installation” button, and press Enter to gain access to Android instantly.

Or, if you prefer to have a permanent installation, select the “Installation” option to start installing Android.

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