Reboot Android-x86

The Android-x86 project provides ISO installation images of Android that can be installed on personal computers, which is cool, because that makes it possible to use the most popular operating system on the planet without buying an Android tablet or smartphone.

The latest stable release is Android-x86 4.4-r2. This tutorial shows how to install it on a USB stick, so you can have an Android device that you can boot and use from any modern computer.

What You’ll Need:
If you want to follow along, you’ll need two USB sticks, one to use as the installation media, the other as the installation target. The ISO installation image is less than 400 MB in size, so a 1 GB USB stick will do as the installation media. You may download the latest ISO installation image from

The target USB stick should also be at least 1 GB, because a fresh installation of Android-x86 takes up about 1 GB of disk space. For this tutorial, I used an 8 GB USB stick.

How To Do What To Do:
1. Transfer the installation image to a USB stick: Assuming that you downloaded the ISO image to a Linux computer, you may transfer it to a USB stick using the dd command like this:

# Using the dd command 
# /dev/sdc is the USB stick

dd if=android-x86-4.4-r2.iso of=/dev/sdc bs=1M

2. Format the target USB stick: To make the installation easier, be sure to format the target USB stick, or just wipe it, if it contains data. Then Insert both USB sticks to free USB ports on the computer and reboot. If you did not set the computer to boot from external media, press the F key that will bring up the computer’s boot menu and select the right one to boot into.

Related Post:  Have a Happy Holidays and give GRUB a look to match your mood

Figure 1 shows the entries in the boot menu of the computer used for this tutorial. The USB: PNY USB 2.0 FD 1100 entry is the USB stick that holds the installation image, while the USB: SanDisk Cruzer Glide 1.26 entry is the target USB stick. The computer has an internal 250 GB hard disk with Linux Mint 17.1, Ubuntu 14.10 and Windows 8 installed in triple-boot fashion.

Linux computer boot menu
Figure 1: Boot menu of computer showing detected storage media

This is the Android-x86 boot menu. You have the option to boot into a live desktop or straight to the installer. The latter option seems to be the most appropriate thing to do here.

Android-x86 4.4-r2 boot menu
Figure 2: Entries on the boot menu of Android-x86 4.4-r2 installation image

You’ll then be shown a window that shows the disks and disk partitions detected by the installer. In this case, sdb1 belongs to the target USB stick. The sdc entries belong to the installation media.

Android-x86 disks
Figure 3: Disks detected by the Android-x86 installer

After selecting the target disk, you’ll be given the option to format it. You definitely want to format it. I chose to format mine using the Ext3 file system.

Android-x86 ext3 file system
Figure 4: File systems supported by the Android-x86 installer

Yes, we are sure.

Android-x86 format USB stick
Figure 5: Options to format the target USB stick.

Yes, install the GRUB boot loader to the USB stick. A plus for the installer is that it does not mess with the contents of the internal hard disk, which is good to know, because in a future tutorial, I’ll show how to dual-boot Android-x86 4.4r2 and another popular Linux distribution.

Android-x86 install GRUB
Figure 6: Install GRUB boot loader to the USB stick

Yes, I think it’s better to install the /system directory read-write.

Android-x86 /system directory
Figure 7: Make the /system directory read-write

This image just shows the writing process. Less than 750 MB of data is written to the USB stick.

Android-x86 /system
Figure 8: Writing to the /system directory.

Installation should take less than two minutes. I did not encounter any problem, so next thing I had to do was reboot.

Reboot Android-x86
Figure 9: Reboot newly installed Android-x86 from a USB stick

On rebooting, you’ll be presented with the GRUB menu. Selecting the default option, I was able to boot into the Android-x86 desktop. My test computer does not have a wireless card, but the system was able to auto-configure the Ethernet card.

Android-x86 4.4-r2 GRUB boot
Figure 10: GRUB boot menu of Android-x86 4.4-r2

So I now have Android 4.4 installed on a USB stick, which I can use from any personal computer. And that’s awesome, because I don’t have any Android device.

Related Post:  Dual-boot Fedora 15 and Ubuntu 11.04 with either side on an LVM partitioning scheme


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

Hola! Did you notice that no longer runs network ads?  Yep, no more ads from the usual suspects that track you across the Internet.  But since  I still need to pay to keep the site running, feel free to make a small donation by PayPal.

Subscribe for updates. Trust me, no spam!

Mailchimp Signup Form

Sponsored links

1. Attend Algorithm Conference, a top AI and ML event for 2020.
2. Reasons to use control panel for your server.
3. DHgate Computers Electronics, Cell Phones & more.

35 Responses

  1. hi,

    I tried to install ubuntu on my computer but I couldnt do it without erasing windows so Im trying your technique to solve it but it says my gpt is not existent and then I received this message:

    Found invalid GPT and valid MBR; converting MBR to GPT format
    typing ‘q’ if you don’t want to convert your MBR partitions
    to GPT format!

    and then

    Command (? for help): ?
    b back up GPT data to a file
    c change a partition’s name
    d delete a partition
    i show detailed information on a partition
    l list known partition types
    n add a new partition
    o create a new empty GUID partition table (GPT)
    p print the partition table
    q quit without saving changes
    r recovery and transformation options (experts only)
    s sort partitions
    t change a partition’s type code
    v verify disk
    w write table to disk and exit
    x extra functionality (experts only)
    ? print this menu

    could you help me? Im running windows 7!

    thanks 🙂

    1. questions:

      1. Did you install Windows 7 yourself or is did it come with the PC?

      2. Is Windows 7 installed on MBR or GPT partitions? If MBR, then you can zap the GPT partitions.

      3. Can you see the Windows 7 partition from the advanced disk partitioning tool’s window?

      I’m trying to see whether we can install Ubuntu without going through the steps in this article. Whatever you want to do, first backup your data.

      If you can, try taking a screenshot of the partitioning type step and the advanced partitioning tool window and post them on a new post at the forum.

        1. Boot into the live desktop and restart the installation. At the installation type step, choose the Soemthing else option and take a screenshot of the advanced partitioning tool window.

          That should show all the partitions the installer detected on the disk. Post the image on a new post on the forum.

          I think it’s MBR, but I just want to make sure. Guide to disks and disk partitions in Linux is a good article on this topic.

          1. That looks like MBR, but I’d like to see it from the Ubuntu installer.

            What’s that 1.7 GB partition in front of the System partition?

            The partitioning scheme will be much clearer from Ubuntu’s installer, so let’s see that too.

  2. Hi, when i type in sudo gdisk /dev/sda, i get a list of the partiotion table but it says my MBR is protected and it says ‘Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.’ and just puts me straight into options, what do i do?

    1. Give me a bit more context. What version are you trying to install, are you attempting a dual-boot with what OS, and is your PC a UEFI system?

      1. Hi !
        I’ve got the same problem here.
        I’m trying to install Ubuntu 14.04.1 on dual boot with windows 8.1 (not pre-installed).
        My PC is UEFI.
        Can you help me ?

          1. I was scared that GRUB won’t recognize both Ubuntu and Windows( since Ubiquity does not) but if doesn’t seem to be a problem.
            Thx a lot !

  3. Hi ! I have tried the procedure because Ubuntu installer was enable to detect Windows.
    I have tried to installation again and i got this question:
    unmount partitions that are in use?

    Which I answered yes…. maybe that was a mistake. Ubuntu didnt recogniwe Windows any better so i did not continue installation. I cant boot on Windows now. Would you have any idea on how to get back my windows booting ??

    1. When you try to boot Windows, what happens? And do you have a Windows installation CD?
      Also, what version of Ubuntu are you trying to install and on what type of hardware?

  4. Hi,
    Since 2 months I was trying to dualbooting ubuntu with win 8 with uefi mode. before a month I read this post to resolve issue. but ubuntu installer cd was getting error after using
    sudo apt-get install gdisk command. Its saying that gdisk is
    only for basic not for gpt.

    But today I got direct installer package from…
    & installed that gptfdisk_0.8.8-1_i386.deb

    Thanks to you to inspire me to give me guidence of “Zap GPT data structures from a disk, while preserving existing MBR partitions”
    Because of that I successfully removed gpt structure & get option of Install ubuntu alongside with windows” option.

    thanks to forum again.
    good day !!

  5. so, I did this and it worked great, except then when I rebooted all I could boot to was the live usb and NOT windows 8.1 (on a lenovo yoga 2 pro) so in the end I just wiped the disk and installed ubuntu over windows. not what i was shooting for, but helped me commit to obliterating windows, so, well, um, thanks i guess??!!??!

    1. Ok, what I need now is a store-bought Windows 8 notebook. Unfortunately, I’m willing to give even 1 cent to MS, just so I can use the PC to write tutorials.

      Anybody willing to donate?

      1. thanks for what you have done. maybe i just need to build my own laptop. bought this one due to light weight, thin body, etc. really tired of the windows/mac BS tried to like some dedicated linux machines (system76) but didn’t have the small size/lightweight. i’m feeling pretty comfortable ditching windows…

        1. Then just wipe whatever OS that came with your current box and install any Linux distribution that works for you. Been using Linux exclusively for 15 years. No regrets.

          1. wiped windows and been on Ubuntu ever since and not looking back. used it the last 2 years or so, starting to experiment with others too.

      1. You told me to zap the partition, but will it actually delete the data on my hard disk? I don’t have a backup, so just wanted to know this.!
        Thanks a lot.

        1. If you following the procedure described in the article, you will be zapping the GPT data structure, not the actual partition or data in the partition.

          Regardless, it is always a good idea whenever you are attempting something like this.

    1. Your screen shot does not show the options that comes after that warning. Post another one showing those options. There should be an option to destroy the invalid GPT data structures, which is the one to select.

      But post the screen shot show I can be sure.

        1. Well, it only detect a valid MBR partition on the system, so the commands you can run pertain to just that partitioning scheme.

          But let’s get back to the beginning. What issues were you having before you embarked on it, and could you provide some info on your hardware?

          1. Well, it’s like, I was trying to install Ubuntu on my Windows 8 laptop(64-bit Non-UEFI) and I have tried it earlier also, where when I booted through the USB and then when I went through the install Ubuntu, it gave me a choice that “Install Ubuntu alongside Windows 8” but now, it’s not showing up maybe because I shifted from 32-bit Windows 8 to a 64 bit one.
            My Specs:
            2 GB Ram
            2.0 GHz Intel Pentium B940
            500 GB Hard disk
            It’s a laptop so I don’t know much. Hope you can help me as Ubuntu and Windows 8 both are me necessity.
            thanks a lot.

          2. Life will be so much better without Windows 8, but that’s a separate discussion.

            Ok, if the laptop is OEM, have you checked the Secure Boot settings. Also, if it is OEM and it came with Windows 8, it should be using the 64-bit version and the GPT partitioning scheme.

            So switching it to non-UEFI mode before installing Ubuntu will not change all that, which I think is the reason you are seeing a message about invalid GPT data structures even though the output is only showing MBR data structures.

            Check the settings, switch back to UEFI and try zapping ZPT to see if it will actually show valid GPT data structures.

  6. I really like the way the terminal windows were captured.
    Could you please describe the process?

    Your terminal window screenshots are very easy to read and
    the background color looks really good too. Slightly brown or purple.

  7. Would seem to be a bug in Ubiquity. If multiple partition tables exist, obviously the non-empty one should be used by default. If multiple partition tables are used, (is this even possible?) then there is a real problem and asking would seem to be required.

Leave a Reply to alan Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest

On social media
Via my newsletter
Mailchimp Signup Form

Partner links

1. Attend Algorithm Conference, a top AI and ML event for 2021.
2. Reasons to use control panel for your server.
3. DHgate Computers Electronics, Cell Phones & more.
Hacking, pentesting distributions

Linux Distributions for Hacking

Experts use these Linux distributions for hacking, digital forensics, and pentesting.


The authors of these books are confirmed to speak during

Algorithm Conference

T-minus AI

Author was the first chairperson of AI for the U.S. Air Force.

The case for killer robots

Author is the Director of the Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence.

Why greatness cannot be planned

Author works on AI safety as a Senior Research Scientist at Uber AI Labs.

Anastasia Marchenkova

An invitation from Anastasia Marchenkova

Hya, after stints as a quantum researcher at Georgia Tech Quantum Optics & Quantum Telecom Lab, and the University of Maryland Joint Quantum Institute, I’m now working on superconducting qubit quantum processors at Bleximo. I’ll be speaking during Algorithm Conference in Austin, Texas, July 16 – 18, 2020. Meet me there and let’s chat about progress and hype in quantum computing.