This article solely focused on Android OS for PC. So it is true — running Android applications are not limited to Android smartphones and tablet. Now you can run Android operating system on your x86 or x64 architecture computer (32-bit and 64-bit). We’ll provide appropriate Android OS ISO free download links for mentioned operating systems in this article.
Here is a drill down of best android OS for computers and laptops. Also, you can install such Android OS on your computer using a USB Drive or DVD. Most of them only require a USB Flash Drive. Which is more convenient as you do not have to install any operating system on your hard disk to see how it will look and work.
PS: In this article, which only includes the Android operating system and how to create android environments have been already discussed in several older posts on this website. For instance, most of the Android OS is mentioned: “in this post & here.” Android environments and Android emulator information are taken from this thread— where we have described them broadly.
Android OS for PC
The below listed Android operating system are the top in the industry, so let’s start with them and after that, we’ll discuss other options to install or simulate Android operating system on your computer. All of these operating systems can be downloaded in ISO or other image formats, to make a bootable USB use a tool such as Rufus or read this article to know more about making a bootable USB.
How to get nearly stock android experience on your computer:
There were a time back few years, I had a dual-core processor computer which lagged like hell (things changed now because I recently upgraded to an i7 powered ultrabook) even at that time it supported Windows 10 (preview version), but as you know it didn’t go too smooth, and that’s the time I thought I could install Android on my computer and even found the Android-x86 project website.
I wondered how to install Android on my computer! Is it even possible?
But I hesitated because I never tapped into anything new before. More certainly I wasn’t sure if that’s a possibility, so I asked one of my facebook friends if there is any way to install android on my computer and even send him android-x86 website link. He apparently told “the only way you could experience android is to buy a real android phone” Sure that’s something I didn’t want to hear and somewhere felt that it’s not true. Later I found that it’s possible to install android on a computer, all I need to download the android-x86 image and create a bootable USB like we do with Windows and yeah, it worked. That time the latest Android x86 port was based on Android KitKat (stammers….. I guess).
However, In these years they (Android x86 project Team) ported each android version with time being. At the time of writing the Android version, 7.1 is ported (r2), and the work for oreo x86 was started. Also, the latest version android 7.1 is pretty much stable, and you can grab the port for your 32-bit or 64-bit computer. The Android x86 project does not mean they have only 32-bit operating system images its just the project name goes by.
01] Android 7.1 (x86 Project)
[Various] Latest Android 7.1 R2
This project is to port stock-Android for x86 machines. The Android operating system project plays a very significant role in below-mentioned Android operating systems (Remix and Phoenix os). If you want a lightweight android operating system and without customization, you can install android OS build from here. You’ll get the same key features and interface we see on a real Android smartphone. You can make bootable USB using the x86 android builds.
I recently tested the Android 7 (rc2) 64-bit architecture on my old HP laptop, and it worked really smooth. I was able to do all sort of things, wifi, Bluetooth, and brightness did work. However, when tested on a cherry trail powered CPU laptop Wifi and sound didn’t work, Although it can be understood and it is worth understanding.
If you lack good computer hardware you can test the KitKat/Marshmallow x86 build which is just 350+MB image file that you can burn into a USB to create bootable media. After that, you can simply boot and use the Android OS.
Note: For most users the 64-bit version should just work fine, people with the single onboard processor can use the x86_64 build.
Android os for PC 32-bit download: Android 7.1 R2
Android os for PC 64-bit download: Android 7.1 R2
02] Remix OS
[Marshmallow, discontinued] Remix OS — the first best Android operating system is released in 2016 by Jide.
It was the discussion point when it comes to the interface because of its similarities to Windows 10: the taskbar, notification system, etc. Remix OS now supports both 32-bit and 64-bit computers architecture and can be easily installed whether PC is UEFI-based or Legacy. It also installs the Google Play, so undoubtedly you can install any Android apps. However, some applications will not work due to the architecture difference.
If you want a great Android operating system, then Remix OS will work best. For starters, you have to make a bootable USB remix OS so you can directly boot and run on a computer. Then if you wish to keep running it from USB, you can do so by creating persistence USB that will allow running this Android operating system from a USB drive. Otherwise installing it on the hard disk is a better option when you solely want to have this as your primary operating system. Remix OS for PC download links is after this section.
Also worth mention that Remix OS comes pre-installed with some of the top application like MX Player (Video Player) and QuickPic (Gallery app). You can download remix os for PC using the below link. Also, it supports a variety of hardware that makes it possible to play HD videos without any lag, just like they play on Windows.
It was probably the best Android OS for PC until it was pulled off and discontinued. You can still use this operating system by downloading its system image, but you need to know that you will be using a system released back 2016 with no future updates.
03] Phoenix OS
[Android 7.1/ Android 5] Currently maintained and supported.
Phoenix OS was released shortly after the publication of the Remix OS.
At the time it went popular, especially because it was the only Android operating system to work on 32-bit machines. However, the 32-bit version of the Remix OS has been released but nothing changes as they have shut the project. PhoenixOS is a great Android operating system, which is probably because of feature and interface similarities to the remix operating system. Both 32-bit and 64-bit computer are supported. It is also based on the Android x86 project.
The new Phoenix OS comes with an installer that makes it easier to install the operating system directly to hard drive or to USB drive. In so many ways it feels and acts like the remix OS, but yes it falls short when in comparison. UPDATE: That is not the case anymore, Phoenix OS is updated with so many new features and system stability. This is only android x-86 fork which currently offering updates and hopefully, they will continue to do so in the future. This is one Android operating system for the computer which is based on the almost latest Android 7.1 (Remix OS based on Android 6).
3.1 Installing Phoenix OS
Grab the image file from the site and juice it your USB with Rufus (or in other words making a bootable USB)
Recently the company released its kernel source code so that others can add multiple fixes including hardware support after someone started a petition. Currently, there is no proof about the liability of the released kernel of Phoenix OS. However, yet Phoenix OS delivers the operating system that you can use on a daily basis. There is so much good of it, but including some Chinese bloatware as well as apps you cannot delete from the desktop itself. For instance, you can run multiple android apps at the same time, do word stuff with Chrome browser that you can install from the play store. There are some apps that may not work depending on their behavior, and some apps require such hardware and support that is only present on a mobile device.
On the first boot, Phoenix looks minimal and clicking the start icon shows apps and other settings in Windows-7 start menu look-alike layout. The taskbar itself is inspired by the Windows 10 and it does a great work mimicking Windows 10 layout that feels so nice to use.
3.2 Create a bootable USB
First of all, you need a (.iso) image file of the Phoenix OS, an iso file is a compressed file that can be used to create bootable media drive so you can boot to that particular operating system. Get Phoenix OS ISO file from here, please choose that it’s available for both 32-bit and 64-bit, to quickly check your computer’s architecture open local disk C:/ and if there is a Programs files (x86) folder your computers CPU is 64-bit, so you need to download the 64-bit ISO file from the site.
Once you have the ISO file, you need a tool like Rufus to burn the file to a USB drive (making bootable USB)
3.3 Boot from that USB
You can now turn off your computer and keep the USB plugged in and press the power key of your computer and mash the “ESC” key to load the boot menu and press F9 key to select USB drive to boot from it. Alternatively, you can go into BIOS settings to enable “boot from USB boot first.”
When you select the USB-drive, you will find a few choices, select the first one and hit the enter key. The OS will start loading, and within a few minutes, you will be able to use it.
The home-screen look like this. It is easy to use for everyone, and you will get used to it in no time. It has the Windows-like taskbar and they actually act similarly the way we use in Windows. The start menu is consist of the Phoenix logo, clicking on it will show the start menu from where all the apps are displayed, and you can launch apps by clicking on them. Despite it is an android operating system and unlike the split screen (we found on real android phones) you can use more than two apps side by side like Windows. I have tested it on a touch laptop, and the experience was good enough to use this operating system in free time to roam around android apps.
3.4 Dual-Booting Phoenix OS Gurr?
I still think dual booting is a bad idea for your current operating system, I myself wiped out the Windows 10 boot information when installing it on a hard disk. SO it requires more knowledge about things such as Grub2 bootloader and how you can enter your current operating system information so that next time you start your computer it will not act like there is the only single operating system which is now the android. However, if you are interested in going solo with an android operating system you can go, while note one thinks that this kind of Android OS does not support USB drivers so any hardware that requires a driver will not work with it.
Openthos is new, and it supports Android apps and Linux apps in multi-windows. For this to run your computer’s CPU should be 64-bit architecture. Getting the ISO file of this operating was a task itself. First, you have to go through the link and enter the password, and later you need Baidu client software where you need to create an account (which is also problematic because everything will be in Chinese) then you can download the operating system image. I have tested the 23rd Nov 2017 version of English. Moreover, tested in the Legacy mode as it failed to boot in UEFI mode.
If you really want to test put android OS on your computer, you may probably want Phoenix OS or something near stock like Android x86. OpenThos vision is good on paper but still, it has not achieved a great user experience.
05] Bliss OS
Blisspop is pure Android x86 ports but with few modifications like the taskbar and system stability. You can also launch apps in Windowed mode rather the full-screen which helps opening two or more apps side by side.
A note about Openthos and Bliss OS: When testing both OS failed to boot over UEFI firmware, they run successfully when Legacy mode was turned on from the BIOS settings. So if you have a computer with only UEFI firmware you maybe not be able to boot both of the Android Operating System from a bootable media device. But if you insist and like to test them you can use a virtual machine software to run them on the operating system you are using. Some of the modern computers might have support for Legacy mode, but you need to enable it from the BIOS settings. So technically if you are running on Windows 8 or newer your computer probably has support for UEFI firmware in you might face problems booting these two so check in your BIOS settings if you can find Legacy mode and enable it.
For people who care less about highly modified Android OS under a Windows look-alike skin but still want some usability features should try this.
Also android-x86 ports of Android Lollipop and Marshmallow you can use in computers with moderate hardware. The latest android port uses more resources on your computer. Both Lollipop and marshmallow are based on Android 5 and Android 6 respectively. Both android versions are popular among thousands of users, and these are the version whose introduce us to material design. Use below links to get the operating system image and save it to your computer.
07] Bonus PrimeOS
Primebook is Android OS based laptop that is a low budget device. For now, it only comes with the laptop that should start selling soon. While I don’t know much about the future plans of whether the OS (called PrimeOS) will be available to download.
Simulate Android environment
Have an Android OS environment without installing any Android OS. If you don’t want to boot android os, then Windows and back and forth you can utilize android emulators. These emulators work within your current operating system (Windows and rest).
Remix OS player
Unlike the most android emulators, the Remix OS player is a full-fledged Android operating system which works on Windows operating system. In addition, it requires the Virtualization feature to be enabled on your computer (from the bios settings). At first glance, it looks like other Android Emulators, there will be some buttons next to the box that you can use to control this android os better.
In a shell, it is just like the whole Remix OS, but running on Windows. If you do not want to switch more than one operating system, you can get the remix os player that runs on Windows. But in some cases when you BIOS is locked and you don’t know your computer’s BIOS admin password, you have to reset BIOS password in order to get into BIOS settings and turn the VT feature on. There is one drawback that it doesn’t support AMD chip computers.
Just like Remix OS, the Player is also abandoned.
Android Emulators & Alternatives
Since we’ve already covered some of the best android emulators for windows, and such Leapdroid was our favorite, (since the team joined Google, they declared the project discontinued and removed old downloads as they didn’t pass android compatibility test, says the message on their website). Here are a brief mention of our other picks.
How to Install Android OS on PC.
Once you choose an Android OS that you like and wish to install on your computer, follow the below-given instruction to get it installed on your computer.
At a glance, you have 3 options.
- Directly boot from USB flash drive.
- Installing on Hard-Disc.
- Emulating within your current OS.
Booting from a USB drive.
This is the easiest approach to bring android os on your computer. Just like Linux OS’s you can get the Image file (OS file, typically in ISO and IMG format) burn it to USB using a tool like Rufus for Windows.
From now on turn-off your computer, press action key while the splash screen to choose boot device and when that happen to choose the USB Flash media to boot from.
If you choose running Remix OS, it will throw 2 option to load the Operating system, the guest mode is as it sounds; doesn’t save sessions, the Resident mode will save installed apps, logged account, and settings. The process is almost identical for Phoenix OS, Android-x86 builds. Installing Android OS on your hard drive comes with risk to wipe out information of your current operating system from the bootloader. It means you won’t be able to boot your Windows OS. Remix OS and Phoenix OS provide installer using them GRUB2 can be installed making both your OS accessible.
We understand that by now you should have received enough information about the Android operating system. So now you can easily decide which Android operating system you can install on your computer. However, if you still have any problem or doubt, hop to the comment section. Or if you know any Android device for PC we are looking forward to hearing from you as well.