Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Install and Boot Android x86 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on a Flash/Thumb Drive


UPDATE: Click here for guide on how to install Android x86 Jelly Bean 4.2.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Previously, I have installed the Android x86 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on VirtualBox. The virtual Android machine works out of the box but one issue is I can't get the right configuration to make Internet Network works in VirtualBox. Android-x86 project has provided complete solution for Android 4.0 ICS on AMD Brazos platform, Asus laptops, Asus Eee PC Family, and Tegatech tegav2 tablet. So, these supported devices should work perfectly with Android 4.0 ICS including a working Internet/WiFi network. So, I am going to do this on a Asus laptop N53SV.

Like most of the laptops in the market these days, laptops come with dual-boot Microsoft Windows and fast-boot OS. Asus N53SV dual boot Microsoft Windows 7 and Asus Express Gate which is going to be risky when installing Android x86 ICS as we could mistakenly formatted the partitions we don't want to mess with. So, Install Android x86 on thumb drive/SD card/external hard drive is not a bad choice. I will install it on a 4GB thumb drive in this guide however a 2GB thumb drive is sufficient for Android x86 4.0 ICS.

Things need to prepare for installation:
UNetbootin, Android-x86 4.0, 2 thumb drives (1 as bootable Live USB drive, another 1 for Android installation).

Let's get it started:
  1. Download UNetbootin.
  2. Download Android-x86 4.0 ISO file.
  3. Insert a thumb drive into USB port.
  4. Open UNetbootin, choose Diskimage, select the Android-x86 ISO file, and select your target USB drive.
  5. UNetbootin - Android-x86
  6. Click OK. Then UNetbootin will create your thumb drive to a bootable Live USB.
  7. UNetbootin - Extracting and Copying Files
  8. After UNetbootin is done, insert another thumb drive (or SD card/external hard drive if you wish to install it there)
  9. Click Reboot Now to restart computer.
  10. UNetbootin - Installation Complete, Reboot
  11. While starting computer, press appropriate keyboard button (Mine is F2 but may vary depending on laptop manufacturer) to get to BIOS boot menu and select USB drives to boot first before HDD or CD/DVD rom. Save and Exit.
  12. Your computer will restart again and boot your Android x86 thumb drive. Select Install Android-x86 to harddisk.
  13. When you in Choose Partition page, select your target thumb drive (usually in sdc1) to install.
  14. Format your thumb drive as FAT32.
  15. Select Yes to install boot loader GRUB.
  16. Select Yes to install /system directory as read-write.
  17. If asked you to create user data image, make it 512MB (you can customize the value if you want).
  18. After the installation completed, choose Create a fake SD card. Creating a fake SD card enables extra features in Android such as Gallery, Music Player, etc. I make it 2047MB, you can lower the value if you want.
  19. When it is done, remove your bootable Live USB thumb drive and hit Reboot and enter BIOS boot menu again and make sure the Android thumb drive is in first boot order.
  20. You have done it! The Android x86 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is installed in your thumb drive and ready to rock!

Everything is working fine in my computer including a working wireless network. You can install Android on SD card or External hard disk by following the steps above. The procedure is same.

66 comments:

  1. I don't know the auto rotation works or not because I didn't try it on tablet. The camera doesn't work as well. But overall, we have the same thoughts this test build is running pretty good on x86 platforms.

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  2. Hi

    I installed ICS on a thumb drive installed in a Acer W-500 tablet and it seems most everything works but auto rotation. I've used the Brazos version as this has an AMD processor. Auto rotate works fine while booted in win 7. Any ideas? I'be only been running for a few hours so other things might show up. I did try to install on a SD card but didn't work so used a thumb drive.

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  3. just discovered camera doesn't work. Installed an app that required it to be viewed vert. and it did it but now won't return to landscape. not too bad for a early x86 build

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  4. Looking forward the Android-x86 project will provide more x86 device supports soon.

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  5. thats  the problem right there i beleive my asus laptop runs an intel wifi card, which would explain why so many asus laptop or eee users are getting the same error they really need to throw in the drivers for the intel card... damn and i can never find anny forums with anything other then reports no actual patches or fixes... someone should be able to port the ethernet apk used in the 2.3.7 x86 build into the ICS or Honeycomb builds until all the cards drivers are in the database..... i push this whole setup on everyone i can with a  laptop because its just absoluteley amazing, if your windows crash and dont have recovery disc or windows disc well u can just pop in this sd card or usb stick and boom your back up and running on a superior OS for FREE!!. Android has never seen hardware like that  and it shows with the intel  i5 and 4gb ram everything opens instantly, my asus transformer is overclocked to 1.6ghz and its fast but its a G1 in comparrison to the Asus Laptop runing android  

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  6. I boot on Asus N53SV with built-in Atheros AR9285 wireless networking card. Try this guide if you are interested to run Android on Virtual Machine. The WiFi should work.

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  7. what wifi card is in your laptop, i have an asus K53E-bbr9  i5 and havnt been able to get the wifi to work on any of the builds only ethernet in 2.3 worked, sux cause seems like everything else is great

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  8. Can i boot of the live USB or do i have to use it to install it on the hdd?

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  9. No problem, you can boot Live USB.

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  10. Thanks ! How do I remove the grub menu and make it boot directly ?

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  11. it works but I'm facing a problem the laptop temp get very hot , what to do

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  12. I'm afraid not. Android x86 properly unable to optimize the hardware and using its highest performance to operate.

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  13. Android x86 needs grub bootloader to boot. However I think it is possible to hide grub menu while it boots. I don't have grub installed on computer currently. So I can't provide a proper solution.

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  14. too bad , i started loving Android on my laptop

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  15. I feel the laptop gets warmer booting Android on thumb drive comparing to booting on hard disk. Well, it could be just me.

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  16. If anyone is scared to install on HDD. I found using a disk manager and formatting a some space in EXT2. When choosing where to install it won't list the name of your partition. But the format it's in. So by already formatting some space in ext2. It will show as "Linux". Just choose that and if it asks you to format, just hit no

    Works for me. Unfortunately I have an AMD desktop so ICS will not work. I have done this with 2.3. And have installed ICS on a net book with a cracked screen

    Hope this helps :)

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  17. That's a very helpful additional information on partition part.

    Thank you very much. =)

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  18. ye kaha pe install hoga

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  19. Any Where You'd Like To Install It ,Eg: C Drive Or D

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  20. Kernel not loading

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  21. I'm suspecting something went wrong with your Grub loader. Remove Android and Grub loader, then reinstall it again by following the instructions.

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  22. how can i install android on windows 7..??/

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  23. installation is successfull but video graphic is not apeare ,where to install video graphic ,which version of (4.0 ics) install i try generic version ,
    my motherboar is simmtronic and intel dual core processor 3.0

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  24. Try Buildroid for VirtualBox. It's basically running as a virtual machine on your computer operating system.

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  25. The Android x86 4.0.4 rc2 has just released. You should give it a try as it has more drivers support than the previous release.

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  26. Can we save the settings and downloaded apps in such usb bootable device? If not then where can i find such arrangement that allows to save settings and downloaded apps in the same usb drive so that they can be accessed not matter in which laptop the android drive is plugged and started?

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  27. After successfully installed Android-x86 on pendrive, it works just like hard disk. All modified settings will be saved.

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  28. 9.Your computer will restart again and boot your Android x86 thumb drive. Select Install Android-x86 to harddisk.

    I Reached On This Step Now Its Showing
    SYSLINUX 4.03 2010-10-22 CHS Copyright (c) 1994-2010 H. PETER Anvin et al
    "And A Blinking Cursor"

    What To Do Next???
    How It Will Install???

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  29. I got a error during startup: It just shows a blinking cursor if i insert both drives in the computer, and non-system disk or disk error if i insert the one that has the installer.

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  30. Well unfortunately this did not work for me, I was trying to boot this on a PC. my motherboard is a
    Asus M4A88T-V EVO3/USB3 AMD AM3 880G ATX I could not find the exact x86 android version you were referencing in the instructions so I used the android-x86-4.0-RC2-tx2500 file. I got all the way up to installing it on the flash drive however, my system never gave me a prompt for making it read write i got something about it discovering a partition with in windows and do you want to make this a bootable item so I said yes, then I got to the point where you change the boot priority after the intallation, and it says "non system disc please insert bootable device- press any key to restart" any ideas anyone?

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  31. I've found fix with the WiFi , just go at the button for manually adding wifi and put ur wifi ssid and password. :)

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  32. when installing android into a usb stick, do i have to install the boot loader as well?

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  33. Hi RHIND,


    I suspect it's the usb creator that may cause the problem. Make sure your UNetbootin is the latest version or use other UNetbootin alternatives to create bootable Android-x86 USB drive.

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  34. Hi,


    It seems like you have the same problem as @rhind:disqus facing. My guess is the USB creator is the cause of problem.

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  35. Hi Patrick,


    Don't worry, the read-write option is just installing /system directory inside Android-x86. I think something went wrong during partitioning. Is you system able to boot your main OS as usual?


    If you're still interested running Android-x86, I recommend you try the Android-x86 for VirtualBox. It is much easier to configure without messing around the actual system.

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  36. Hi Cos,


    Yes for supported wireless driver only. But the Android-x86 still lacks of support for large variety of wireless drivers. The WIFI toggle button is unresponsive for those who with unsupported wireless driver.


    Thank you for dropping by and commenting. :)

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  37. Hi,


    Yes, Android-x86 requires boot loader to boot. Unless, you're running Linux and install in hard disk.

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  38. how to install games? none of games i install could run.

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  39. hi
    wen i boot ics r2 from live usb the sound is very laod so
    haw i can optimas the sound
    be cause i want to install ...

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  40. the market does filter, for the most part. for example the TWiT app works, but none of the video inside it actually does. it seems i cant get any video of any kind working. youtube, even with trying the html5 beta, wouldnt work.

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  41. is it work in intel family? i'm using dell laptob some give suggestion how can i run android to my system on flash drive

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  42. Hi sheik, shouldn't be a problem running with Intel processor. Run Android on virtual machine is another good alternative to run it on flash drive.

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  43. Hello! Would this work on an Intel Centrino? Shall I try?

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  44. When I follow this process, my Asus ep121 boots to a grub dos prompt. Am I missing something?

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  45. Marvin,
    Did you find a sol'n to booting it directly?

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  46. Hi Mok,
    Where do we find a boot loader?

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  47. It doesn't work on my toshiba satellite pro s200, but it runs fine in virtualbox

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  48. @af5f1d50c190763e0055c690d6a92bdc:disqus, does the internet working in virtualbox? The Android JB androvm's internet should works.

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  49. i have a windows 8 asus ep121 tablet. Can i boot android from flash by using the above method? windows 8 does not give boot menu and since its a tablet, there is no keboard to get into boot menu. can u help answer?

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  50. where do i need to install the boot loader please help!!

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  51. I have a question: How To Boot a Android OS 2.2 Tablet, Kernel 2.6.32 from USB after being reset? My Tab got reset and now when I switch it on it oly shows the android picture and the tablet details eg: Build Number V1.3.1 It does not do anything els, how do I re install the operating system , It seems like everything got wiped clean, including all the programs and the system.

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  52. You have to go into the EFI menu and choose the USB.

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  53. Just tried this on a 5 year old Acer Travel mate 6292 and works like a charm. Wifi, sound, multi monitor support et al.. I only have 1 USB thumbdrive that's recognized by the BIOS. so I fired up Android straight from the USB rather than installing to HDD. Only problem is every time you boot it's like a fresh install.
    Next attempt - burn the installation to DVD and boot from that. Install to the one working thumbdrive to have something more permanent. Will update my results!

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  54. Hi Joe,

    It seems Android cannot save data to fat32 partition so every time it boots like fresh install. Try format USB thumbdrive to ext3 and see how is the result.

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  55. THANKS Mok for the swift response! I tried ext2 and ext3, unfortunately my bios doesn't seem to recognize those. I'm getting an error 17. When I did some tinkering around, it is still looking for a fat32 partition. The good news is that the DVD method seems to work. From DVD I installed to the USB and it keeps apps and settings upon reboot.

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  56. Has anyone found a way to access files and media on the PC's harddrive? In the linux core it should be mounted as sda1, sda2 etc. But Android doesnt seem to mount these. I tried looking for it in the terminal emulator but no luck yet. Just seeing if anyone's cracked this already.. I'll keep playing around and will update if I succeed!

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  57. eu usei o usb universal instaler

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  58. I'm hoping it's not too late for some support on this article. Everyone seems to have loads of success with it, so I'm not sure where I've gone wrong. I'm using an updated android image from the same website (4.2) and I'm using the .iso file designated for "netbooks like eeepc's, which I think my HP Mini qualifies for. It has an Intel atom processor, 1GB RAM, so it matches them on specs. I'm writing the .iso to a 16GB verbatim flash drive, and hoping to install on another 32GB verbatim flash drive. Unetbootin successfully writes to the 16GB drive, but then when attempting to boot that drive, it all falls apart.


    The underscore cursor I see after selecting the flash drive as the boot device drops down a line, almost as if I had hit enter with nothing in the line, then stops. It continues flashing, so I know it hasn't frozen so it must be hanging up somewhere. Numerous reboots and rewritings of the boot drive later, and I'm in the same place I was. Any support would be great!

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  59. Hi Woody,

    The Android-x86 4.2 Jelly Bean image has only one variant available for download at this moment. Here is the Android-x86 Jelly Bean download link. Are you using this image?

    I have successfully installed this Android Jelly Bean on my old HP mini 210 just two days ago. It also has an Intel Atom processor and boots without any issue.

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  60. Well, I'm wondering if my HP Mini 110 is incapable of booting from USB (It would be my first computer that was unable, so untread territory for me). I thought maybe it was the installation of the .iso to the flash drive that wasn't working for me, so I used PowerISO to burn it to a CD (not sure if I used 4.0 for eeepc/netbooks or 4.2 right now) and put it all in an ancient Dell laptop (ok so being from 2007 doesn't make it ancient, but darn old) and booted from the Live CD and then proceeded to install the Android OS to my Verbatim 16GB drive. I thought that now, with it properly installed, my problems would be over, but then I plugged to Flash Drive with it's fresh new OS into my HP Mini and again, it fails to boot from USB. I get the same issue where the cursor just drops a line and sits, with no progress. I've let my netbook sit like this for close to 15 min now, and I've got nothing.
    Could it be that my netbook is simply unable to boot from USB? I kind of doubt that, but perhaps that is the case here.
    Anyways, any help would be appreciated. I have the OS successfully written to a flash drive, it just won't boot. Thanks for helping me out.

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  61. I have installed Android X86 on a USB flash drive, it is working fine except Bluetooth is not working and i can not able to install any application from Google Play , it says that your device is not compatible. any idea how can use bluetooth and install APPs.

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  62. Find on torrent application called "Aptoide" and after installation register on it. There you can find all applications for free. And you can make your App store and share your applications. This is my store http://ssaajjkkoo.store.aptoide.com/ but you need to be registered to see it. With Aptoide you can install all Android apps on your device.

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  63. Hey I followed all the steps but when I try to boot off the install USB it says "non system disk, press enter to reboot". I was wondering if I could get some help on this and also about the "create fake SD card" step. My install did not include this and I would like to be able to save app data and downloadable content.

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  64. Why i cant use usb on android... someone can help me??

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  65. Hi! I made all things you wrote over there. I rebooted my PC, and selected the usb drive as first boot device. Than i got a message: "missing operating system"


    Do you know why ?

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