Android isn’t largely thought of as a desktop operating system, but if you’re curious about how Google’s mobile OS works, running it on a device you already have isn’t a bad idea. This will give you an idea of what to expect on a phone or tablet, all without making a single change to your laptop or desktop since you can easily do this from a flash drive or memory card.
Step One: Prep Your Drive (or Card) and Install Android
For this guide, you’ll need a USB drive or SD card that’s at least 2GB in size. Be sure to copy anything you want off of it, because you’ll need to format it as part of this process. So everything that’s currently on the drive will be lost forever. No pressure.
With all your data backed up, you’ll need a build of the Android x86 project from here. I’m testing the 64-bit version of Android 6.0, but feel free to pick which one works best for your current setup. Click the “view” button to start the download—depending on your internet connection speed, this could take a bit of time to finish.
While that’s downloading, you’ll also want to download Rufus, a free Windows tool that will install Android onto the flash drive for us. It’s completely portable, so download and store it wherever you want—no installation necessary.
Once everything is finished, launch Rufus. You may get a warning from Windows asking if you want to allow Rufus to make changes to your device—just click “Yes.”
With Rufus up and running, go ahead and choose your USB drive in the top dropdown box. this is a crucial step to get correct, since Rufus will erase the drive in question. If you have more than one removable drive inserted into your computer, double-check the drive letter to make sure you’re installing to the correct one!
Next, make sure “FAT32” is selected from the File System dropdown.
Lastly, tick the “Create bootable disc using” box, then select ISO Image from the dropdown.