How to Run Android on Your Windows PC

This step-by-step guide will show you how to install and run Android 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) on your Windows PC using nothing but free software.

  1. To get started you’ll need to download and install 2 programs. The first is 7-Zip, which you can download here. The installation process for 7-Zip is very straight forward – you’ll just click “Next” a bunch of times.

    Once you have 7-Zip installed, download VirtualBox and the Android 4 image file for VirtualBox.

    When both files have finished downloading, locate the VirtualBox installer and double-click it to begin the installation.

  2. By and large the installation is very straight forward. Click the Next … button to start.
  3. During the installation you will have several Windows Security ‘pop-up’ messages appear. Each time, click the Install button. Alternately you can place a check in the Always trust software from “Oracle Corporation” box, and you won’t be prompted with these messages in the future.
  4. On the last screen of the installation, remove the check mark from the box labelled Start Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.x after installation and then click the Finish button.
  5. Now that you have VirtualBox installed, we’ll load the Android 4 “Ice Cream Sandwich” image file into it so that you can run Android in Windows.

    Locate the Android-v4.7z file that you downloaded back in step #1. Double-click it.

  6. If 7-Zip opens up, skip down to Step #11 below. If you’re prompted by Windows to select a program to open this file with (see screenshot below) – click the Browse… button.

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  8. Navigate to your C: drive. 7-Zip will either be installed in your C:\Program Files folder, or it will be in your C:\Program Files (x86) folder – depending on the version of Windows you’re using and the version of 7-Zip you installed. Open the C:\Program Files (x86) folder first, and see if there’s a 7-Zip folder. If there isn’t, go back to C:\Program Files.

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  10. Open the 7-Zip folder.

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  12. Select 7zFM.exe and click the Open button.

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  14. Make sure that 7-Zip File Manager is selected from the list of programs, place a check in the box labelled Always use the selected program to open this kind of file and then the click OK button.

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  16.  7-Zip will now open and display the contents of your Android-v4.7z file. Select the folder named Android-v4 and then click the Extract button.
  17. Click the button to select the location where you want to extract the Android 4 image file. I used my Documents directory, but you can use any folder you wish. Click OK once you’ve selected a location.
  18. 7-Zip will extract the contents of the file to the folder you specified – this should only take a few seconds.
  19. Now navigate to the folder you just extracted the Android-v4.7z file to. Locate the file named Android-v4.vbox and double-click it.

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  21. As VirtualBox opens, you may be prompted with a Windows Security Alert message from your Firewall. Click the Allow access button.
  22. Select Android-v4 from the left column of VirtualBox, then click the Start button.

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  24. As Android boots up inside of VirtualBox, you’ll be presented with a series of messages. The first will explain how the keyboard and cursor work within Virtual Machines. Read the message in its entirety so you understand how to ‘escape’ from the virtual machine (Android) and return to your ‘host’ (your PC). Basically – use the Ctrl key on the right side of your keyboard.
  25. Click OK again after reviewing the next message.
  26. You may receive a message about the number of colors your virtual machine (in this case, Android 4) can display. Ignore it. Click OK.
  27. Finally, Android! Click inside the VirtualBox window and your cursor will now be used “in Android”.

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  29. You’ll notice the cursor is ‘blue’ when inside the Virtual Machine (Android). You can use it as you would “swipe” on an Android phone or tablet by holding down your mouse button (left) while moving the cursor. A “single click” is the same as a “tap”.
  30. One of the benefits of installing Android in Windows is so that you can use its browser to determine what web pages will look like on the Android platform.

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  32. Click the right-side Ctrl button on your keyboard to ‘escape’ from Android and have your keyboard and mouse return to Windows.
  33. That’s it!
{ 8 comments… add one }
  • tentescorpion March 13, 2012, 3:41 pm

    I have a error to emulate it.

    init: Timed out waiting for /dev/.coldboot_done
    Kernel panic – not syncing: Attempted to kill init!
    atkbd.c: Spurious ACK on isa0060/serio0. Some program might be trying access hardware directly.

    Can you help me?

  • Ross McKillop March 13, 2012, 3:50 pm


    Exactly when in the process do you receive that error? And from which program (VirtualBox or an Android error message)? Thanks!

  • tentescorpion March 13, 2012, 4:36 pm

    When I start Android, while is charging to show the Android OS (before the 16 step of this tutorial) and I cannot charge the Android OS completely due to it.

  • Bhasker April 29, 2012, 5:52 am

    i have also same problem. “Some program might be trying access hardware directly.”
    I am using VirtualBox.
    Please help.

  • KimI July 1, 2012, 12:18 pm

    {Happens just before ready to show Android home screen after initialization is finished, possibly involves mouse capture as keyboard works in Virtual Box until it freezes at the very end of boot initialization sequence and mouse in VBox never worked for me, tried adding VBox package, extensions and various settings after many plain “vanilla” attempts.}

    Description of Error:
    “init: Timed out waiting for /dev/.coldboot_done
    Kernel panic – not syncing: Attempted to kill init!
    atkbd.c: Spurious ACK on isa0060/serio0. Some program might be trying access hardware directly.”

    HELP HELP HELP (yes I am yelling!)

  • Keith Richmond July 2, 2012, 12:08 pm

    Cool. Any full functioning ROMs out there? This image is definitely developer focused. Would like to see a stable ROM with the Google Play and the rest of the GAPPS suite.

  • Ram October 14, 2013, 7:40 am

    Hey buddy….

    After installing it… and running it…. Can we play android games in our PC???

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