Ricky Ford

Tech & BBQ Enthusiast

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Hello all! It's been quite some time since my last update, but I'm posting quite a doozy today. I spent a good couple of hours recently trying to setup and run Android in a VirtualBox environment. I'm here now to try and alleviate all of the issues I had and hopefully make things a little less painful for those of you wanting to do the same.

First off, you're going to need a copy of VirtualBox installed as well as the "android-x86-5.1-rc1.iso" downloaded from this page.

Once you've got those handled, you should be presented with a black VirtualBox window, like below.

Click the "New" button at the top left and you'll be presented with the following window.

You can name this whatever you want, however I'm opting to name it "Android 5.1". For the "Type" choose "Linux" and then for "Version" choose "Other Linux (32-bit)".

Click "Next" and you'll be presented with the "Memory size" screen. Depending on how much system memory you have, I typically allocated half of my available RAM. This is because if I'm working in an emulated environment, I don't typically swap back and forth a lot to the host system so I can afford to spare half of my RAM. My laptop has 16GB of RAM so I'll give this one 8GB (8192 MB). Click "Next".

Choose "Create a virtual hard disk now" and click "Create."

On the following screen choose "VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)" and then click "Next."

Change the selection to "Fixed size" and click "Next."

Usually with any virtual operating system made from Linux that I'm testing, I'll give it 16GB of space. This is typically more than enough for what I need, however if you plan to download a ton of apps or whatever and need the extra space, then adjust accordingly. Set the size you want the hard drive to be and then click "Create."

Now you'll be presented with the following please wait screen...

After that's completed you will be taken back to the main VirtualBox window. Now we need to modify a few settings for our virtual environment, so click the "Settings" button at the top.

The first setting to change is to disable USB inputs and set them to be PS/2. This is done under the "System" settings and the "Motherboard" tab. Change the "Pointing Device" option to "PS/2 Mouse."

Now we want to assign 128 MB to our "Video Memory."

Under the "Storage" options, click the "Empty" selection under the "Storage Tree" options and then click the little blue disk icon at the far right so that we can select our Android ISO, and then under the fly-out menu click "Choose Virtual Optical Disk File..."

Navigate to where your ISO downloaded to, double-click it, and you should now have the ISO loaded.

The Android emulator environment has an issue loading the ICH AC97 audio controller for some strange reason, so under the "Audio" settings change "Audio Controller" to "SoundBlaster 16."

Now let's disable all USB inputs by unchecking the "Enable USB Controller" option under "USB".

That's it for the settings. Click "Ok" to save your changes and close the window. Now, we need to boot it up by double-clicking the "Android 5.1" entry on the left side of the VirtualBox window.

You should be presented with the Android boot menu. Use your arrow keys to go down and choose "Installation - Install Android-x86 to harddisk."

Your next screen may look slightly different than mine, however the steps should be the same. Using your arrow keys, go down and select "Create/Modify partitions" and press Enter.

Choose "No" and press "Enter."

From the next black screen, using your right arrow key move to "New" and then press "Enter."

Leave it at "Primary" and press "Enter."

Leave "Size" default, and press "Enter" and you'll be brought back to this screen.

Since your cursor should be on top of the "Bootable" option, go ahead and press "Enter" to flag the partition as being bootable. Under the "Flags" option at the top, you'll now notice the "Boot" flag present.

Use your right arrow key to move all the way over and down to the next line. Stop on "Write" and press "Enter." Type "yes" as a confirmation and press "Enter" again. After it's finished, you'll be given the menu at the bottom once more, now use your right arrow key to move over to "Quit" and press "Enter."

Your screen should now match the following:

From the screen shown above, press the "Enter" key. On the next screen, press your mouse arrow down to highlight "ext3" and press "Enter."

UPDATE: Choose ext4 here instead of ext3 as others have pointed out in the comments.

Move the cursor to the left and press "Enter."

Move the cursor left again so that we install the GRUB boot loader.

Choose to "Skip" the install of EFI GRUB2 unless you have a very specific need for it.

Finally, choose "Yes" on making the /system directory read-write.

Your installation will now proceed...

Now, before going down to "Reboot", go to your "Devices" menu, then hover "Optical Drives" and then click "Remove disk from virtual drive." You may get a "Force Unmount" button, go ahead and click it. Now, using your down arrow go down to "Reboot" and click "Enter."

UPDATE: You may need to right-click the "Remove disk from virtual drive" option instead of left-click.

Android should now be installed to your virtual drive! Once you reboot you will be presented with the Android GRUB menu. The first option is the one to choose, so either let the countdown timer hit zero or you can just press enter on it.

You should now have this fabulous Android boot animation.

And once everything has finished loading, you'll be presented with the Android setup process.

Go ahead and continue on with your new emulation of the Android operating system!

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 by Ricky Ford in Technology.

Updated on October 10th, 2018 at 12:00 AM.


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Comments (32)

error 17 on VM

Posted by Ritik on April 8th, 2017

Thank you very much. Great help.

Posted by Ahmet Ozer on January 15th, 2017

Once I reboot I was presented with the Android GRUB menu. I have selected the first one. But it doesn't resulted me the Android Screen. It going on a cycle of Android GRUB menu. Please give solution for this problem.

Posted by M.Sathiyaraman on December 25th, 2016

Your guide is the most thorough of all the Android VM install guides I've come across. You didn't leave out any steps.

Posted by David your friend on November 8th, 2016

I'm an idiot... I figured out how to use the arrow keys correctly...

Posted by Jcheese on November 1st, 2016

I cannot move the cursor over to "Write" after flagging "Boot". When I press the down arrow to move the cursor from "Maximize" I get the error message "No more partitions" and the cursor jumps back to "Bootable"
Everything up until this point seemed to work fine.


Posted by Jcheese on November 1st, 2016

Awesome tutorial! Just used it to install Android 6.0. Ext3 was not available, but Ext4 worked.

Small Typo: The following should be a right-click

Now, before going down to "Reboot", go to your "Devices" menu, then hover "Optical Drives" and then click "Remove disk from virtual drive."

Posted by Richard on October 12th, 2016

Right-click? Mine was a single left click. You're talking about clicking the "Remove disk from virtual drive" option, right? I'm almost positive mine was a single-left click. I'll update it accordingly, though, for those that may have to use a right-click. Thank you!

Posted by Ricky on October 29th, 2016

can't get any easier than that.... thank you very much!!!

Posted by falcon on October 4th, 2016

I can't download any apps from the play store but I can browse websites. Do you have any ideas?

Posted by Phani Vadrevu on September 13th, 2016

To be honest, I'm not sure. It's been awhile since I used Android on VirtualBox. The performance was atrocious when I used it last. I'll try and get another one installed soon and see if I can't get around that or if I see the same issue. :)

Posted by Ricky on October 29th, 2016

In PC there aren't any SIM-card things, and to download apps from google play yo need to insert
SIM-card(which is impossible))) LOL

Posted by Stas on April 3rd, 2017

Thanks a lot. That was very helpful.

Posted by Phani Vadrevu on September 12th, 2016

This is how every tutorial should be! Clearly explained, easy to follow, well done!
I'd like to mention an issue I experienced: After clicking on "Installation-Install Android" it just stopped by showing some "kernel panic" message.
It turned out that some virtualization BIOS settings were disabled. After setting them to "enabled", booting again and trying the same, everything worked perfectly.

Posted by rontombontom on September 6th, 2016

Thank you very much for the update! If I ever get around to updating the tutorial, I'll be sure to include instructions on modifying the BIOS settings in the VirtualBox.

Posted by Ricky on October 29th, 2016

I went on it and it comes with command prompt???
How do i fix!

Posted by James Blackburn on September 2nd, 2016

Gr8 tutorial step by step with images, congrats. Now android 5.1 is working fine in my win 8! thanx a lot!!

Posted by tissue paper on August 15th, 2016

it again reboot in 5 seconds if i install android to hard disk .please help.

Posted by furqan on August 14th, 2016

mine never gave the option of choosing anything after the opening " install android to hard disc" , it keeps rebooting , any progress?

Posted by red on January 18th, 2017

Stuck on the android intro screen not moving from that first screen

Posted by Carlos I Contreras on August 4th, 2016

I remember it taking a very long time to get through that first boot. It's now been 2 months since your original comment (sorry for the delayed response) but hopefully in the 2 months that have passed, it finally booted! :P

Posted by Ricky on October 29th, 2016

thank you so much....so easy..helped me a lot..

Posted by shivkumar bhaisare on July 10th, 2016

Perfect tutorial, step by step works a treat, many thanks foir sharing!

Posted by Gez on July 2nd, 2016


Posted by Dazz on June 25th, 2016

Cannot get apps to download from play store. Error 963. Tried differetn network settings (bridged ,nat, etc.) to no avail. It tries to then fails, and the app is stuck on installing. Any ideas on how to fix this? Thanks.

Posted by themiracleman on June 21st, 2016

There is a little problem with this tutorial. The file system was ext3 - this is why you get that error message!!
Install it again using ext4.

Posted by bob on September 7th, 2016

I keep on getting stuck at the first GRUB boot loader option after I say yes

Posted by JNC on May 26th, 2016

same here it just keeps looping

Posted by Ken on June 15th, 2016

Same here! Can anyone help?

Posted by Patrick on June 21st, 2016

You sure, you choose "write" option and typed "yes"?
Most people with this problem forget this point.

check also if bootable

Posted by Nighthawk on July 8th, 2016

well explained, thank you very much!

Posted by Cesar Rodz on May 19th, 2016

Awesome tutorial. Thanks Mr. Ford !

Posted by John Doh on April 18th, 2016


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