Installing Android x86 in VMWare Workstation


Let’s see if I really start and try to write a little Android App. I usually use my work laptop and since I do not want to install random stuff on it I usually use VMs. Unfortunately the emulator that comes with Android Studio doesn’t work that well in a VM and I didn’t want to use my phone to try out things. So I decided to install Android in VMWare since I use VMWare Workstation anyways.

First I got the vmdk from OSBoxes. Depending on which one you download you will have to either create a 32Bit or 64Bit VM. The VM I created looks like this:

  • Typical installation
  • I will install the OS
  • FreeBSD or FreeBSD x64 (one of the reasons is that we want and IDE controller though we could change that later)
  • Increase memory to 2GB
  • Change the network to bridged or any other depending on where your development VM is
  • Everything else I lave as it is

Don’t start the VM yet. Now you need to extract the VMDK from OSBoxes and replace the one that was created with the VM. If you didn’t get a IDE controller then remove it in the settings of the VM, create a new hard drive, select IDE controller and existing VMDK.

I had problems to start the GUI in the VM. I found the solution on stackexchange. Here the steps I used:

  1. boot in debug mode
  2. mount -o remount, rw /mnt
  3. cd /mnt/grub
  4. vi menu.lst : add “nomodeset xforcevesa” at the end of the “kernel initrd=/in”
  5. save and quit vi
  6. cd /
  7. umount /mnt
  8. reboot -f

Now the VM should start with the GUI. If you need to shut it down then press “Alt + F1” to go to the console and type “halt”

Only problem I have left to solve is that the “Settings” seems to crash after I activated the “Developer Mode”.


To connect to the VM you can use adb

  1. Find out the IP of your Android VM. Press “Alt+F1” to go to the console and then type “ifconfig”. To return to the GUI press “Alt+F7”
  2. In your development VM start adb “adb tcpip 5555”
  3. Then connect to the Android VM “adb connect <ip>”

A couple of useful adb commands:

  • adb devices
    List the connected devices
  • adb shell
    Access the shell of the Android VM
  • adb logcat
    Watch the log

I wish you well


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