How To Create An Android USB Drive

Create An Android Live USB Drive
Create An Android Live USB Drive.

In this guide I am going to show you how to create a Live Android USB Drive which will work on all computers.

This will not harm your current operating system in any way and there are instructions for both Linux and Windows users.

Download Android x86

To download Android X86 visit http://www.android-x86.org/download.

Note that this page isn't always up to date. For instance the latest version is Android 4.4 R3 but the downloads page only has Android 4.4 R2 listed.

To get the latest version visit http://www.android-x86.org/releases/releasenote-4-4-r3.

It is always worth visiting the main site in case there is a newer announcement that supercedes the downloads page. http://www.android-x86.org/.

There are two images available for each release:

  • The ISO image will work on older computers using a standard BIOS. If your computer was built to run Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 then it is likely that you will need to download this image. The filename will be in a format similar to android-x86-4.4-r3.iso.
  • The IMG file will work on computers which use UEFI. If your computer was built to run Windows 8 and above then it is likely that you will want to use this file. The filename will be in a format similar to android-x86-4.4-r3.img.

Instructions For Windows Users

Windows users need to download a piece of software called Win32 Disk Imager.

After you have downloaded the Win32 Disk Imager software:

  • double click on the file.
  • accept the license agreement.
  • When asked where to install the software accept the default location and click "Next"
  • Click "Next" again when asked for the start menu location.
  • Leave the checkbox ticked for creating a desktop icon and click "Next".
  • Click Install.

Insert a blank USB drive into your computer.

If the drive isn't blank

  • Open Windows explorer.
  • Right click on the drive letter for the USB drive and select "Format".
  • Click "Start".

To create a bootable USB drive:

  • Double click on the desktop icon for Win32 Disk Imager.
  • Click on the folder icon next to the Image File box and navigate to the downloaded Android image.
  • Select your USB drive letter from the device dropdown list.
  • Click "Write".

If you are using a computer running Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 then you can just reboot with the USB drive left in your machine and a menu will appear with options to boot Android. Choose the first option to try it out.

If you are using a computer running Windows 8 or above follow these extra instructions:

  • Right click on the start button and choose "Power Options".
  • Click "Choose What The Power Button Does".
  • Scroll down and untick "Turn on fast startup".
  • Click "Save Changes".
  • Hold down the shift key on the keyboard and reboot the computer whilst keeping the shift key held down.
  • When the blue UEFI screen appears choose to boot from EFI device and then select your USB drive.

The Android menu should appear. Choose the first option to try Android out in live mode.

Instructions For Linux Users

The instructions for those of you using Linux are much simpler.

  • Insert a blank USB drive
  • Open a terminal window
  • Navigate to your downloads folder: (i.e. cd ~/Downloads)
  • Run the following command (if=android-x86-4.4-r3.img of=/dev/sdb)

Note the above assumes that your USB drive is in /dev/sdb. You should replace the name of the image file after if= with the name of the file you downloaded.

Reboot your computer and a menu should appear with options to boot Android X86. Choose the first option to give it a try.

Summary

Now that you have a live USB drive you have other options available to you. You could make the live USB persistent, or you could fully install Android to either another USB drive or to your hard drive.

I don't recommend using Android x86 as your only operating system but dual booting is potentially worth doing.