How to Install Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) In Virtualbox

If you do not own an Android phone, or that your phone has not been upgraded to Android 4.0 (Ice-cream sandwich) or you just plain curious how Android 4.0 running on a desktop will look like, here is your chance to find out now. The Android-x86 project, which brings the Android OS to x86 desktop, has released the ICS release candidate and you can now download and install it in Virtualbox, or even replace your existing OS as the primary OS.

To get Android running in Virtualbox, there are few things that you need:

1. Android 4.0 RC iso
2. A host machine with at least 1GB of RAM to spare.
3. Virtualbox application.

1. Download Android 4.0 RC here (scroll down the list till you see the “Android-x86-4.0-RC1” section). There are several versions that you can download. The one that I am using for this tutorial is “android-x86-4.0-RC1-asus_laptop.iso“. The filesize is about 180mb, so it will take about 10 – 15 mins if you have a broadband connection.

2. Assuming that Virtualbox is already installed in your PC, open your Virtualbox and create a new virtual machine. Give your new VM a name (such as Androidx86) and set the Operating System to “Linux” and the version to “Linux 2.6”.

androidx86-create-new-vm

3. Set the base memory to 1000MB (though I think that 512MB will work as well).

4. Select “Create New Hard Disk”, followed by “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)” as the file type.

androidx86-vdi-file-type

5. It is a good idea to set it to “Dynamically Allocated” and set the size to 8.0GB.

Once you have done creating the VM and is back to the main screen, highlight the new VM and click the Settings button.

androidx86-settings

On the left pane, select “System” and make sure that CD/DVD-ROM is checked and is the first in the boot order.

androidx86-settings-cd-rom

Next, go to Storage and select the Cd-rom entry. Under the Attribute section, click the CD icon and select the Android 4.0 iso that you have previously downloaded. You should see something like this:

androidx86-select-android-iso

Click OK to save the changes. Once you are back in the main screen, click “Start” to run the installation.

androidx86-boot-up

This is what you will see on first boot up. You have the choice to run Android without any installation (live-CD mode) or install it in your VM. For this tutorial, I will go through the installation mode.

Choose the Sda1 Linux partition.

androidx86-linux-partition

Select “ext3” as the filesystem to format to.

androidx86-ext3-filesystem

Install the bootloader.

androidx86-install-bootloader

When it prompts you whether you want to enable read-write for the /system directory, choose No if you just want to test and try out Android 4.0. If you are a developer or intend to use this full time, select Yes.

androidx86-system-read-write

The installer will then proceed to do its job. When it is completed, select “Run Android-x86”.

androidx86-run-android

Android 4.0 will now boot up. On the first run, it will prompt you to setup your account. If you move your mouse around, you will find that it is not working within the VM. To fix this, go to “Machine” in the menu and select “Disable mouse integration”. Next, click anywhere in the VM, your mouse will magically appear (You can restore the mouse in your host machine by pressing the right Ctrl button on your keyboard).

androidx86-disable-mouse-integration

Proceed to setup your Android account. When you are done, you will see the homescreen and your Android 4.0 is now ready for use (testing). You can also go to Android market and install your favorite apps.

androidx86-homescreen

Since Android doesn’t come with a shut down button, the only way to shut the VM down is to close the VM window. When prompted, select “Power Off the machine”.

The last thing you have to do is to go to the Settings and remove the Android iso from the CD-ROM, else the next time you boot up, it will prompt you to reinstall again.

That’s it and enjoy!

Will you use Android 4.0 as your primary OS?

37 comments

  1. Hmmm, install went well, but I have no network. What are your network adapter settings (I’m on a desktop, wired internet)?

    • from the virtual box setting, just right before your run the os/machine selection. go to network then from the drop down of choices you need to select “bridged” then select wether its wlan0 or eth0. in your case your using wired go for eth0. then your virtual box will use the network from your host’s LAN. hope this helps.

      • Hey,

        I can’t get any internet connection either. I’m looking at the VM settings and under Network, Adapter 1, Attached to: Bridged Adapter, I have 3 options in the Name drop down – two that seem to refer to my laptop hardware (one for ethernet and one for wifi) plus Microsoft Virtual WiFi Miniport adapter. Anyway, regardless it doesn’t seem to matter what I choose. Within my virtual Android, trying to switch the Wifi setting to on immediately switches off again.

        Any help would be greatly appreciated.
        Thanks,
        Lee.

        • hi Lee, had the same issues when i tried it, on earlier versions of android on virtualbox, internet connection wasn’t an issue if set to bridged on the network setting.  

          but on android 3 and 4 the same doesn’t work. hope others can find a workaround this issue.

          •  AFAIK, the internet connection is not working, be it bridged or NAT. It is not working in both the LiveCD mode and the installed mode. This is based on the RC1. Future release should see this issue fixed.

  2. No good with latest Windows Virtual Box. No instructions above for formatting the hard disk, the HD defaults to sd0 not hd0, lots of differences in the Virtual Box versions that made the entire installation not work. I tried two of the live CD images and neither worked.

    • The above tutorial was based on Linux host. I will try out the Vbox in Windows host and let you know again.

    •  I installed the Eee ISO in VirtualBox 4.1.8 under Windows 7 x64 at work and it installed and ran just fine (sans Ethernet, of course).  When prompted for partitioning via cfdisk, I partitioned just as I would do with any Linux distribution, though here it was a simple setup with one swap partition and one ext-based partition for the OS.

  3. In this universe there is a being intelligent enough to demonstrate how the virtual machine can connect to the internet?

    • hay you need to connect your computer to the Internet to do that and then it will automatically connect android ics to the internet.

  4. I tried installing it with android iso mounted with “furius iso mount” but didn’t work… must it be installed with an external cd device? Any ideas?

  5. I was able to get 4.0 RC1 up and running. 
    However both my sound and wireless card are not working.

    I tried changing the network card to bridged and selected my Atheros AR9285 wireless card.
    On the sound side I have it set to AC97.

    Any thoughts, or should I just download and install Android 3.2?

  6. F1/Win –> Home

    F2        –> MenuF3        –> Search
    F4        –> Camera
    F5        –> Power
    Esc      –> Back

    That’s all you need for the vm

  7. Not sure if this is still needed. But I thought I would share this link with regards to getting network connectivity.

    http://nil.uniza.sk/linux-howto/android-40-virtualbox-networking-issues

    Notes: it is using the android-x86-4.0-RC1-eeepc.iso file to build the virtual machine as the asus laptop is not working. I can validate that as I have tested both.

    The steps outlines after installation will give network connectivity. At least it worked for me. However, as said in the post, after reboot they are lost so needs to redo them. If anyone finds a way to keep them in, please share.

  8. How to resolve the network issues.

    Download the android (4) RC2 for eeepc instead of Asus as it wont allow you to change the network settings. Then open a Terminal from apps and enter the following commands

    su
    dhcpcd eth0
    setprop net.dns1 8.8.4.4

    Enjoy!

    • Thank you Tony, that worked for me Ubuntu 10.4. Virtualbox 4.1.20. But that is all I had to do after a reboot. The instructions on that one page allowed me to ping to the router but I couldn’t ping anything on the outside world.
      I will try it on my Debian 6 (squeeze) and a different version of Virtualbox later.

      • I was unable to register on first boot or use existing account from the accounts menu, but the web browser worked so I know I hit the internet.
        Does the emulator allow you to sign into your google account?

    • I did this and it appears i have no ethernet interface, should i install one, can i? how?

  9. When i install it, it stops at 10% then it says that i have insufficient memory. what i have to do?

  10. I tried installing android following 5 or 6 tuts in the end the best one i found (android Ice cream sandwich (V4.0) with working internet) is on youtube. search this: How to Install Android 4.0 ICS on PC 2012 (ICS = Ice Cream Sandwich)

    • if sda1 isn’t displayed it’s because the partition hasn’t been created. Click create/modify partition, hit new, just click enter on default size (will use the whole disk, depending on what size you told it to use in virtualbox, like 8GB say). That will create the partition, click boot (so the disk is bootable), click write, then click quite. You will then see the /dev/sda1 device and be able to install to it.

  11. I got the network working. You have to download android-x86-4.0-RC2-eeepc.iso

    Then, in your Virtualbox settings, go to network and
    set “attached to:” to “NAT”
    and then, in “Adapter Type:” set it to “PCnet-PCI II”
    but you can’t do this whilst the virtual machine is running.
    After you do this, you will be able to se “eth0” in the list of ethernet adapters.

    After that, on the Android, go to the end of the apps list and find the “terminal emulator”. Now, do what Toy says, and in the terminal do this:

    su
    dhcpcd eth0
    setprop net.dns1 8.8.4.4

    After that, your browser will work. But the “wi-fi” detector will not display any wi-fi connection.

  12. thanks to brother Gabriel-Marie

    my androids now works connecting internet with your tuts
    two thumbs up brother

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