Boot From Your DVD / CD or USB Drive
Next, you’ll want to boot your computer from that DVD / CD or USB drive. You may have to alter some settings in the BIOS to do this, or your computer may allow it out of the box.
Provided everything is set up properly, you should be able to just start your PC and press a key like F10 or F12 to enter a boot menu (this may vary from computer to computer). From there, select your DVD / CD or USB drive.
After you get it all figured out, a menu will show up asking how you’d like to run the installation: Live CD mode or Install it to the hard disk. Since we’re just testing things out here, choose the first option to run Android x86 without installing it.
After a few seconds, you should see the Android boot animation. Give it a few, and the setup menu will appear.
Go ahead and follow the on-screen instructions to get logged in with your Google account—it’s all smooth sailing from here, just like setting up any other Android device.
Note: My test system glitched up pretty heavily during the setup process, but it was just visual—once I passed the login portion, it worked perfectly. You may or may not run into similar issues.
Using Android x86 on Your Computer
If you’ve used Android before, you’ll find the experience to be exactly the same as a tablet or phone. The keyboard and mouse should work fine with Android, though using an operating system designed for touch with a mouse is always going to be slightly awkward. If you have a touch screen laptop, then the experience should feel much more natural.
Here are a few additional pointers:
- Touchpad gestures, like two-finger dragging and whatnot, will work perfectly in Android. Hover over the notification bar and drag down with two fingers—the notification shade should appear.
- Long-pressing works exactly the same as on a touch device: just long-click the mouse. Right clicks won’t work.
- The Windows key works as a home button—pressing it will send you right back to the home screen.
- All media keys should also work out of the box. Volume, brightness, and track controls for music were flawless on my test system (a Dell XPS 13).
- If your laptop has a webcam, that should also work with the camera app.
- When you’re ready to exit Android x86, just hit your computer’s power button. The “Power Off” dialog will show up just like normal—power down, remove your USB drive, and restart the computer to get back into Windows.
Your mileage may vary with all of these things depending on drivers and whatnot, but in my experience, everything worked swimmingly.
It’s also worth noting that this is still very much a beta project—plan on experiencing certain quirks and bugs during your use. You could use it as your daily operating system, but it doesn’t appear to be intended for that sort of use right now. But hey, you do you, man—if you like it, reboot from USB and choose the “install to hard disk” option and enjoy. Just make sure you back up your data first.