How to set up an Android X86 virtual machine on Linux

Sometimes an Android emulator isn’t enough if you want to use Android apps on a Linux PC. Sometimes, you need the real thing. The best way to get real Android on a Linux PC is with an Android X86 virtual machine. In this guide, we’ll go over how to set one up.

Install VirtualBox on Linux

To virtualize the Android operating system on a Linux OS, you must install the VirtualBox virtualization software. Thankfully, VirtualBox supports nearly every Linux operating system without issue, and as a result, it is straightforward to set up.

To start the installation of VirtualBox on your Linux PC, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. From there, follow along with the installation instructions that correspond with the Linux OS you currently use.

Ubuntu

On Ubuntu, install the VirtualBox app with the following Apt command.

sudo apt install virtualbox

Debian

On Debian, you must manually enable a VirtualBox repo. To enable it, enter the commands below.

wget https://www.virtualbox.org/download/oracle_vbox_2016.asc
sudo apt-key add oracle_vbox_2016.asc
rm oracle_vbox_2016.asc
sudo apt-add-repository 'deb http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/debian bionic contrib'

Finally, install VirtualBox on Debian.

sudo apt-get install virtualbox

Arch Linux

To install VirtualBox in Arch Linux, use the following Pacman command.

sudo pacman -S VirtualBox

Fedora

If you’d like to use VirtualBox on Fedora Linux, first head over to this guide to learn how to enable RPMFusion (both non-free and free) on the system. Then, when you’ve set up RPMFusion, use the Dnf command to set up VirtualBox.

sudo dnf install VirtualBox

OpenSUSE

On OpenSUSE Linux, install VirtualBox with the Zypper command.

sudo zypper install virtualbox

Generic Linux

Oracle makes a “.run” binary release of VirtualBox available to install on every Linux operating system. If your OS does not carry VBox, and you need to install it, head over to the site here to download and install it.

Download Android X86

Now that Oracle VM VirtualBox is set up on your Linux PC, it is time to download the Android X86 release so that we can use it to set up the virtual machine.

To download a copy of Android X86, follow the step-by-step instructions outlined below.

Step 1: Head over to the Android X86 webpage where the latest OS images are located.

Step 2: On the Android X86 webpage, locate the blue “Download” button, and click on it with the mouse to move to the “Download” page.

Step 3: On the “Download” page for Android X86, you will be asked to choose a download mirror. Pick the “OSDN” mirror with the mouse.

Step 4: On the OSDN mirror page, locate the version of Android X86 you would like to use. It must be an ISO file!

In this guide, we will be using Android X86 8.1 release 3, as it is much more stable than 9.0. Download 8.1 here.

Setting up Android X86 in VirtualBox

Setting up the Android X86 virtual machine in VirtualBox can be confusing if you’re not familiar with virtualization. To make it less confusing, we’ll break down the set up into a step-by-step process. Follow along below to get your VM working.

Step 1: Launch VirtualBox on your Linux PC. Then, find the “New” button, and click on it with the mouse to create a new VM.

Step 2: Find “Name” and write “Android X86” in the box.

Step 3: Locate “Type” and change it from “Microsoft Windows” to “Linux.”

Step 4: Locate “Version” and change it from “Oracle (64-bit)” to “Other Linux (64-bit)”.

Step 5: Find the “Next” button and click on it with the mouse to move on to the next page.

Step 6: Set “memory” to “2048 MB”. Or, go higher if you’re feeling brave.

Step 7: In “Hard Disk,” select the box that says, “Create a virtual hard disk now.” Then, click the “Create” button.

Step 8: On “Hard disk file type,” select the “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)” box with the mouse. Then, click “Next.”

Step 9: For “Storage on physical hard disk,” select the option “Dynamically allocated.” Click “Next” to continue.

Step 10: In “File location and size,” leave the drive size at 8 GB. Or, set it to 32 GB if you need more space. Then, click “Create” to make the new drive.

Step 11: Find “Android X86” on the sidebar in VirtualBox, and select it with the mouse. Then, right-click on the VM, and select “Settings.”

Step 12: Inside of “Settings,” find “Display” and click on it to access the “Display” settings. Then,  find “Enable 3d Acceleration” and check the box next to it. Click “OK” to apply the settings.

Step 13: After exiting the VM settings, find Android X86 in the sidebar. Then, click the “Start” button to start up the VM.

Step 14: In the “Select start-up disk” window, find the folder icon with the green icon, and click it with the mouse. Then, go to “Downloads” and select the Android X86 ISO file to load it into the VM. Then, click “Start” to start the VM.

Using your VM

When Android X86 starts up in VirtualBox, find the “use without installation” button, and press Enter to gain access to Android instantly.

Or, if you prefer to have a permanent installation, select the “Installation” option to start installing Android.

Read How to set up an Android X86 virtual machine on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to run apps in sandbox mode on Windows 10 Home

Sandboxing is a method for running apps or even entire operating systems in an isolated environment. They run inside a container that separates them from the OS the container itself is running in. Windows 10 Pro users running feature update 1903 (or later) can use the stock Sandbox mode that it now ships with but, Windows 10 Home users have nothing like it. That said, there are plenty of sandboxing apps available for Windows 10 and one of the best ones has recently gone free.

Sandboxie is an app that has been around for a long time so it not only works, it works well. Since it’s now free, it’s available for use to just about anyone. It’s only limitation is that it can only run Win32 or desktop apps, and not UWP or Modern apps.

Sandbox mode on Windows 10 Home

Download Sandboxie and install it. The app is pretty small, and installation doesn’t take more than a few minutes. It will need to install an essential driver as part of the installation process.

Once installed, you can go through the six step introductory tutorial if you want. It is a simple to use app but it’s still a good idea to see how things work. Once you’ve gone through the tutorial, create a shortcut for the app that you want to run in sandbox mode on your desktop.

Open Sandboxie and drag & drop the shortcut onto the app’s window. You will see a box asking if you want to run the app in the default Sandbox, or outside it. The Default Sandbox is selected by default so just click OK on this window. If you want, you can also run the app with elevated/admin rights.

Sandboxie will show you the processes that are running for the app, and the app window will open with a yellow frame. You’re free to use the app like you normally would.

Sandboxie is an app that’s incredibly easy to use. If you click its system tray icon, you will find options that make it easier to select an app to run in sandbox mode. It’s light and unlike Windows 10 Pro and its Sandbox mode, Sandboxie doesn’t run an entire OS in order to run a single app. Instead, it runs only the app you choose making it much lighter.

If you want to run apps in sandbox mode on Windows 10 Home, this is one of the best options available. Not only is this app free, it’s been under development for years and is truly refined.

Read How to run apps in sandbox mode on Windows 10 Home by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to check if an Intel Processor supports virtualization on Windows 10

Virtualization isn’t something the average user needs, or even knows about. It’s needed if you for example, have to run virtual machines and the average user doesn’t really need to do that. That’s why, even if your system supports it, virtualization will not be enabled by default. You may have to enable it from Windows 10 or from your BIOS.

Virtualization can be enabled easily enough but your system, or more precisely, your processor should support it and not all of them do. If your processor doesn’t support virtualization, you cannot enable it. Here’s how you can check if an Intel processor supports virtualization or not.

Intel Processor virtualization support

There are two ways to check if your Intel Processor supports virtualization or not; you can look up the specifications for the processor on Intel’s official website, or you can use a hardware detection app from Intel to check virtualization support.

Processor specifications

Intel has detailed specifications for its processors available on its website. The only thing you need is to know what model and generation your processor is. Open Task Manager and go to the Performance tab. Select CPU in the column on the left, and in the pane on the right, look at the top right corner. Copy the name for the processor. If Virtualization is already enabled though, you will see a line indicating the same below the graph.

Next, visit this link, and select the type of processor you have. Consult the processor name to determine which type you have. I have a Core i7, 6th generation processor.

Clicking on the type of processor you have will reveal an exhaustive list of every single chip that Intel has produced of that type. Here, you need to look for the number assigned to your chip. Once you find it, click it to go to the processor’s specification page. Scroll down to the Advanced Technologies section and look for ‘Virtualization’.

Intel® Processor Identification Utility

This tool basically gives you the same information that the website does but you don’t have to be bothered selecting which processor you have. Download the Intel® Processor Identification Utility and install it. It will ask to send Intel data about your system during installation so pay attention to what prompts you accept and decline.

Run the app, and expand the CPU Technologies section to view virtualization support on the chip.

If your CPU supports virtualization but you’re unable to use it on Windows 10, it likely means it needs to be enabled from BIOS. You will have to dig around until you find the setting. In some cases, your BIOS might simply have blocked access to it in which case, you might have to tinker with the BIOS yourself to unlock access. This is not something you should take on lightly as you might end up bricking the system. Consult a professional.

If your CPU doesn’t support virtualization, you cannot force it to. There’s no hack or work around that will add it. You will have to buy better hardware.

Read How to check if an Intel Processor supports virtualization on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to enable Sandboxing on Windows 10

Sandboxing is one of the biggest features added in Windows 10 1903. Since the roll out is now well under way and most users will be able to get the update via Windows update, you may want to know just how you can enable Sandboxing on Windows 10. You should know that this feature is only available on Windows 10 Pro and not on Windows 10 Home. Additionally, your processor must also support virtualization which, if it’s a fairly recent one, it should.

Remember that Sandboxing is a 1903 feature so check which version of Windows 10 you’re running before you attempt to enable it. You will need admin rights to enable Sandboxing on Windows 10.

Enable Sandboxing on Windows 10

Open the Control Panel and go to Program group of settings. Select the ‘Turn Windows features on or off’ option.

A new window will open listing all the optional features that you can enable on Windows 10. Scroll to the end and look for Windows Sandbox. Enable it by checking the box next to it. Click OK, and wait for the feature to be enabled. You will have to restart your system to finish the process.

What is Sandboxing?

Sandboxing isn’t a new term and this is hardly the first time it’s being used in an OS. In fact, Apple has sandboxing on all its operating systems and it plays a core part in keeping its devices safe from malicious attacks. Sandboxing is basically a virtual environment within which you can run apps that are ‘cut off’ from the rest of your PC. Think of it like running a virtual machine and running an app on the virtual machine. This is far more simple.

Once Sandboxing has been enabled, you can run it like any other app. Open the Start menu, and go to the apps’ list. Look for Windows Sandbox. Click it to run it and you will have what essentially looks like another Windows 10 running on your desktop.

Samdboxing isn’t implemented through out the OS. It’s a virtual environment that you get for running other apps in. As an end user, you can use it to run apps that you might be suspicious of. Developers will probably get more use out of it than an end user will.

If you’ve ever tried to set up a virtual machine, you know that it can take a little time to set up and sometimes, the OS image that you use for the VM doesn’t boot. It’s a tricky and long process.

Read How to enable Sandboxing on Windows 10 by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

5 Best VirtualBox Alternatives On Linux

Oracle VM VirtualBox is a popular virtualization tool on the Linux platform for one reason: out of all the virtual machine tools available, it’s one of the easiest to use. The program has an excellent amount of features and is widely available on a lot of  Linux operating systems.  Still, Oracle isn’t exactly a great company, and lots of Linux users have problems with their business practices.

If you’ve been trying to find a VirtualBox replacement on Linux with equivalent features, look no further than this list! Here are the five best VirtualBox alternatives on Linux!

1. Gnome Boxes

Gnome Boxes is the Gnome Project’s attempt at making complex virtualization operations on Linux simple. Many people in the Linux community praise the tool for its quick setup wizard, ability to load up an OS image directly from a URL, and more.

This application is quite useful, even for advanced Linux users with complex needs. The app is quite similar to other virtualization programs on Linux and is quite competitive in features despite its basic appearance.

Notable Features:

  • Intuitive, easy to understand user interface that lets even complete newbies create and manage virtual machines quickly.
  • Boxes can automatically detect the OS based on what ISO you choose during setup. During the detection process, the program will automatically assign the correct amount of virtual disk space and allocate RAM.
  • Useful “clone” feature lets users instantly make complete copies of existing virtual machines.
  • Gnome Boxes has a compelling search feature that when paired with Gnome Shell can be used to launch VMs directly from the desktop.
  • The Boxes application has a robust command-line user interface that scratches the itch of more advanced VM users.

2. Virtual Machine Manager

If you’re working with virtual machines a lot on VirtualBox for multiple server jobs, the most logical alternative is Virtual Machine Manager.

What is Virtual Machine Manager? It’s a graphical user interface for Libvirt on Linux. It can handle the standard Linux KVM virtual machine, as well as other VM types like Xen and even LXC containers.

The VirtManager tool is excellent, especially for those who use VMs on Linux in the enterprise.

Notable Features:

  • Virtual Machine Manager can interact with KVM, Xen or QEMU style virtual machines.
  • The Virtual Machine Manager application can not only manage VMs locally but remotely too.
  • Even though Virtual Machine Manager is mainly for VMs, it is also possible for users to interact with LXC containers using the same interface.
  • Aside from stellar support for many Linux features (KVM, etc.,) Virtual Machine Manager also can interact with FreeBSD’s bhyve hypervisor technology.
  • Virt-Manager lets users add and remove physical hardware on the fly with a simple user interface.

3. VMWare Workstation Pro

VMWare Workstation Pro is a commercially developed virtualization platform for Linux, Windows, and other OSes. Users must pay for the software, and as a result, it packs in some of the most useful virtualization tools on the market.

This program isn’t free, and to use it you’ll need to pay a pretty penny. However, if free virtualization tools like VirtualBox aren’t enough for you, VirtualBox may be the answer.

Notable Features:

  • VMWare Workstation has a stellar networking editor tool that lets users customize how their VMs interact with networks and each other.
  • The “scan for virtual machines” wizard makes setting up pre-configured VM appliances refreshingly simple.
  • VMWare works with both remote and local VMs, on a variety of hypervisors.
  • The program has an excellent set of easy to access ESXi Host options (which improves in variety with each release), and makes dealing with VMWare ESXi servers dead simple.
  • VMWare Workstation Pro has one of the best snapshot systems in virtualization. With it, users can create and revert to a snapshot in an instant, without too much downtime.
  • Users can quickly test and share virtual machines in a “simulated production” environment.
  • VMWare virtual machines are in one standard format and ecosystem. Having a single ecosystem enables users to run VM appliances on Linux, Mac and Windows hosts with little effort.

4. UCS Virtual Machine Manager

UCS Virtual Machine Manager is a Linux VM management tool for Linux, which specializes in working with cloud VMs, clusters, and other enterprise-level virtual systems.

The software is free and open source, and though its primary target is the enterprise, average users can take advantage of it for things like Amazon Private cloud, etc.

Notable Features:

  • Out of the box support for cloud hosts like Amazon EC2 and OpenStack.
  • UCS supports private clouds via Amazon AWS.
  • UCS Virtual Machine Manager has it’s own unique Linux distribution that is crafted to run in clusters and UCS style VMs.
  • The tool has a web-based management center which makes managing VMs anywhere very easy.
  • Managing virtual machines is done through Libvirt and KVM, ensuring that nearly every Linux distribution has excellent support.
  • UCS has support for paravirtualization, which uses hardware much more efficiently.
  • Users can quickly migrate running instances from server to server very quickly.

5. AQEMU

AQEMU is a slick GUI tool for kernel-based virtual machines on Linux and BSD. It is written with Qt4 and allows users to create VMs for many different operating systems very quickly.

While it’s not anyone’s first choice in the “easy to use” section of virtualization tools on Linux, AQEMU is still an excellent alternative to VirtualBox due to how much it lets users customize and configure their VMs.

Notable Features:

  • AQEMU has a useful folder sharing feature that makes accessing directories on the host OS quick and easy.
  • With AQEMU, users can add/remove devices from any VM on the fly, thanks to the Device Manager feature.
  • The HDD image creation tool can also convert images to other formats.

Conclusion

VirtualBox is an excellent tool for virtualization on Linux, but it’s not the only choice. If you’re trying to get away from Oracle, the alternatives on this list are sure to satisfy your virtualization needs. Be sure to click on the links to learn how to get them for your Linux operating system!

Read 5 Best VirtualBox Alternatives On Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter