Virtual Box: How to run Android OS and Android Apps on Your Computer without a Phone

   Posted September 9, 2010 by Lê Hoàng in Android

Android is now one of the most popular platform for smart phones. If you are planning to buy an Android Phone, you may want to try it first! This recipe will show you how to run Android OS (include Froyo 2.2) and Android applications on your computer! No Android device required.

1. Download and install Virtual Box.

2. Get the Android x86 iso file. Currently, we have 2 options:

-Stable release: Android 1.6 ( android-x86-1.6-r2.iso – at the top of the Stable release section)

-Unstable release: Android 2.2 (froyo-vm-20100812.iso – at the bottom of the Unstable release section)

This will also work for future releases.

2. Launch Virtual Box and click on New. When the Create New Virtual Machine window pops up, click on Next.

3. Name your virtual machine, choose Linux as operating system, in the Version dropdown menu, choose Linux 2.6. Click on Next to continue.

4. In the next step, you have to set base memory size. 256MB is enough. Click on Next to jump to next step.

5. Choose Create new hard disk and click on Next. A new window will pop up, click on Next->Dynamically expanding storage->Next->Name your vdi file, set its size (about 300mb is enough)->Next->Finish->Finish.

6. Now back to program’s main interface, right-click on your new machine and choose Settings.

7. In the new pop up window, go to Network option, click on Advanced and set Adapter type to PCnet-FAST III. Click on OK to save setting. (This step is very important! If you skip this step, your android machine may not be connected to internet, so we can’t download apps and surf the web)

8. Go to Storage option->click on Emty disk->click on Folder icon on the right->choose Add->Point it to your Android iso file->Select-> Hit OK to save.

9. Click on Start to lauch your android machine. If you face any warning, simply press Enter to skip it. Choose Live CD – Run Android – x86 without installing at the boot sceen.

10. When you got into Android OS, go to Machine->Disable mouse intergration to use mouse inside Android OS. (When you use this function, you can not use other applications. If you want to interact with applications, simply press the host key (default is Right-Ctrl) to bring back the normal mouse)

11. Go to Main menu->Settings->Applications->Check on Unknow sources->OK to save all settings. This will let you install apps from unkown sources.

12. Now, go back to main menu (by pressing ESC) and choose App Store. Wait for its first update and then you can choose your software to download. (Software are devided into categories)

13. When the download process is done, simply hold and drag down the top bar, choose the application and then you can install it without any problem.

Tested on Windows 7, Windows XP with both Adroid 1.6 and 2.2.


-Some apps may not work because they required real hardware.

-App store is NOT Android Market so you can’t have every app in there.

-The unstable android 2.2 run quite laggy but still worth a try since it is the latest android version.

-If you can’t get the network to work, please re-do step 7 with different option in Adapter type drop down menu (I have tested this on 3 computers and it works fine but it might not work with some computers)

If you have any question, feel free to drop a comment 😉


About Lê Hoàng

When not creating exciting new Android games, Lê Hoàng is here crafting tutorials, tweaks, and fixes for your enjoyment.
View more articles by Lê Hoàng

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Bader

    can i install and run my app developed with Android SDK by providing the app file ?

    PS: Android Emulator is slow to load

    • Anonymous

      Hi ^^

      Agreed. the Android SDK runs pretty slow. it is because it runs on Java.

      Ofcourse you can install your own app by uploading it to a source (using Windows environment) and download it (from Android environment) 🙂

  • frajaq

    Virtual Box: How to run Android OS and Android Apps on Your Computer without a Phone

  • Thecsource

    How do you define an sd card to store apps?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Thecsource

      I use Virtual box for this post so i’m not allowed to creat an SD card. Many apps in there say that they need to modify/delete contents from SD card to run but they can still run without it. That BBC app is an example 🙂
      If you want to define a SD card, you may need to install Android as your OS. After that, just plug in a USB and Android will define it as a SD card.
      Hope this help 🙂

  • Masik Bumbasik

    Got all the way to the ISO selection and nether 1.6 or 2.2 opens. I even selected all files and navigated to install.iso still nothing tryed to install the install.iso still nothing, tried to mount it to magic disc still nothing. Any other place where I could download ANDROID for virtual box? Thanks

    • Masik Bumbasik

      Sorry my bad, my dumb ass unzipped it and tried to install in. Sorry

  • Frank Coronado

    no funciona con ninguna iso dime cual es la que hace falta!

    • Anonymous

      Can you please use English? I will help 🙂

  • Grover Cussi

    I have deployed 2.2 version, but I only see an screen with the lock icon and time information. My doubt is how to start using and load the home screen.


    • Grover Cussi

      I got it. No need reply for this.

  • Art

    I have the same issue as Grover ..only see a screen with the lock and time information. What do I have to do to move forward?

  • Sams

    Is there any ways to connect the market on android-x86?

  • sam

    can i install whatsapp….

  • siddarth

    Can i use the Virtual box as the a ssh server?
    Why do app like sshDroid, qucikSSh not work on this platform?

  • alan

    hiya guys ! so how come the SD card is always empty and i can not drag and drop any apps to this virtual machine ? is there a way to import apps to the virtual machine ? all i need it for is just to check the actual apps before i put it on my phone ! Is there a way of doing it guys ? ? ? thanks a lot ! 🙂 droid rulles!

  • david

    i put the virtual android on my computer but can only get about 10 apps in my app store? you seem to have a lot more to choose from. Can you help me out? Thanks

  • jeff


    I installed virtual box and also the android system, All works fine .
    The probelem i encounter is, downloading apps.. I klick on the app store and i need to download the: SocioMall-1.apk. But…. i cant install it.. besides, i tried downloading play store manually as well. I did install it, but on loading startup. it does nothing.. so really it doesnt open.

    I just want to make this program work so i can download apps on it.
    Plz reply me, by mail if u can.


  • SAM

    i tried and it worked . still it is slow and when i try to download apps it says : no device is found

    hence i was unable to download any app at all . i downloaded an apk but don’t know how to run it as i mount the iso with VIRTUAL BOX

    please help me out

  • odo

    Hy! Why the internet not work? I make all steps but not work.

  • Ash

    I have installed latest virtual box and .iso file jellybean kindly help me out as i cant access the storage option in vb it says setting stop unfortunately how to install .apk and create a fake sd card pls go for easist way as i am a non tech student

  • Sarankumar

    Actually i have all android application in my laptop but i am not able to install manually to the virtual box os.can u tell me how to install manually with my apk file

  • ABCD

    problem in network connection ?

  • arun

    can’t do 7th step


    @ Lê Hoàng i did every steps but still am getting wifi error……? what to do…?