Android is a Linux-based operating system built for touch screen mobile devices. As a mobile device, Android is designed from the ground up to minimize the power consumption.
Out of the box, Android is already pretty well suited to being used on a small laptop such as a netbook – it makes good use of meagre computing resources like battery life and memory, comes with a wide array of easy to use apps, and it natively supports mice and keyboards which can be used instead of touch screens. With a specially built version of Android called Android x86, you can install Android on your netbook or desktop computer just as easily as you could install Windows or Linux.
Would you like to try out Google’s Android OS on your PC or netbook? Here’s how you can run and install Android using a USB stick.
- Make sure you have a USB flash drive inserted into your computer with around 512MB or more storage space.
- Download Android x86 ISO Files
- Download UNetbootin – a tool to copy ISO file to USB stick
How to copy Android into a USB stick
- Run UNebootin
- In UNebootin, click the bullet beside “Diskimage”, then click the ‘…’ button and select the Android ISO file you’ve downloaded.
- In “Type” section, select USB Drive, then select your USB stick drive.
- Finally, click ‘OK’, and the UNetbootin will install Android x86 live image and installer to your USB stick.
- Wait until the process complete. Once it’s finished, click ‘Reboot Now’.
How to Install Android On Your Computer
Now you’re ready to run Android on your netbook, laptop, or even a PC. Simply reboot your computer with the USB drive, and select to boot from it. Not all computers will automatically boot from a USB device, so you may have to press F2, F10, or another key, depending on your computer, and change the Boot options in the bios.
Once you’ve booted into the USB drive, you should see a blue screen similar to the one below. This menu will let you choose between running Android without installation and installing Android to your hard drive.
If you choose “Live CD – Run Android without installation”, you’ll boot directly into Android. This is a great thing to do at this stage, just to make sure your mouse, keyboard, wireless and display all work properly.
If you do this and everything works, just turn off the netbook and get to this menu again, then choose ‘Installation – Install Android to hard disk’.
Now you’ll have to choose which drive to install Android to. Any NTFS (Windows) or EXT2 / EXT3 (Linux) drives should work. If you like, you can format the partition when prompted, but you can also proceed without doing so – if Windows is on that drive, then you’ll be able to choose between Android and Windows when you start your PC.
Once you’ve chosen a drive, you’re asked if you’d like to make a directory read/write – choose “Yes” here. You’re also asked for the size of your Android installation; choose the maximum of 2047 MB. This operation will take a while, but once it completes you may boot into Android. You also have the chance to create a virtual SD card of the same size (2047 MB) at this time, but you can skip this if you wish as it’s not entirely necessary.
Now Android should be installed. You’ll be asked to reboot; be sure to remove the USB drive once the netbook has turned off.