Android-x86 Installed on SD-Card in 10 Steps

As we already know, Android-x86 project is a project to port Android open source project to x86 platform. Basically it could runs on any x86 machine but many people use it on Netbook computer. That’s also what I did on my ASUS EeePC T101MT.

Asus EeePC T101MT comes with dual boot Windows 7 Starter and ASUS Express Gate (based on Splashtop). It’s so risky to install Android-x86 or any other Linux based distribution to hard drive because it has hidden recovery partition that we doesn’t want to mess with it.

In this case, I use 2 GB SD Card to store Android-x86 2.2 OS that I installed from bootable flash drive and modified it’s GRUB configuration so even we setup Card Reader as primary boot device from BIOS, we still able to boot to another OS on hard drive from GRUB menu.

In fact, this is the safest way to install (not live session) Android-x86 without messing up your configuration.

How We Could Achieve This?!

Requirement:

  1. UNetbootin, Flash Drive, SD Card and Android-x86 2.2 ISO Image.

  2. BIOS that capable to boot from Flash Drive and Card Reader.

Installation:

The detail about installation process has perfectly described here. But in order to accomplish our purpose in this tutorial, please follow this steps:

  1. Follow the instruction about how to make Android-x86 bootable Flash Drive using UNetbootin on that link. The point is, you should make a bootable media (CD-ROM or Flash Drive) from Android-x86 ISO image.

  2. Before we start, put your SD Card into your Card Reader and keep your Android-x86 bootable Flash Drive plugged-in.

  3. Restart your Netbook and enter BIOS Configuration Setup and make sure HDD Boot Order similar to this: Flash Drive –> Card Reader –> HDD.

  4. Boot your Android-x86 Flash Drive and enter installation procedure.

  5. Caution: When you chose installation partition during the process, use Card Reader (your SD Card) as target partition. Please notice that Card Reader drive usually recognize as sdc1 FAT32 Card Reader.

  6. Format your SD Card as FAT32 (don’t chose another) and select “Yes” when you asked about GRUB installation.

  7. If asked, make 512 MB user data image and 1024 MB fake SD Card image. You may customize this value as you want.

  8. After reboot, re-enter BIOS Configuration Setup and make sure your Card Reader at the first boot order.

  9. If your Windows partition is not listed on GRUB menu, don’t worry! Just boot into Windows (don’t forget to change your boot order to HDD) and edit menu.lst  (GRUB’s Configuration) located on SDCardDrivegrubmenu.lst and add this line:

    title Windows 7 Starter EeePC
    rootnoverify (hd1,0)
    chainloader +1

    Change the title as you want but please note that I use rootnoverify (hd1,0) and not rootnoverify (hd0,0) as told by lot’s of example, because in my configuration, when we boot from Card Reader, my Card Reader drive became the first drive on system (hd0,0).  So it’s necessary to change those value to (hd1,0) which means, my Windows bootable partition located on second harddrive at the first partition. Here’s my complete menu.lst for example:

    default=0
    timeout=5
    root (hd0,0)
    splashimage=/grub/android-x86.xpm.gz
     
    title Windows 7 Starter EeePC
    rootnoverify (hd1,0)
    chainloader +1
     
    title Android-x86 2.2 (HDPI)
    kernel /android-2.2/kernel quiet root=/dev/ram0 androidboot_hardware=eeepc acpi_sleep=s3_bios,s3_mode DPI=240 SRC=/android-2.2 SDCARD=/sd/sdcard.img
    initrd /android-2.2/initrd.img
    
    title Android-x86 2.2 (MDPI)
    kernel /android-2.2/kernel quiet root=/dev/ram0 androidboot_hardware=eeepc acpi_sleep=s3_bios,s3_mode DPI=160 SRC=/android-2.2 SDCARD=/sd/sdcard.img
    initrd /android-2.2/initrd.img
    
    title Android-x86 2.2 (Debug mode)
    kernel /android-2.2/kernel root=/dev/ram0 androidboot_hardware=eeepc acpi_sleep=s3_bios,s3_mode DEBUG=1 SRC=/android-2.2 SDCARD=/sd/sdcard.img
    initrd /android-2.2/initrd.img
  10. After all set, make your Card Reader as your first boot device and you can enter your Windows session by picking first list on GRUB menu.

Please remind that do this at your own risk, I’m not responsible for any data lost or hardware damage because of any failure. Just be careful and backup your data first if you’re not sure you can do it right! 😉

  • kalau instalnya di leptop biasa (tidak touch screen) bagus tidak yah,

  • @isai julianto

    Bisa juga, kan ada mouse 🙂 beda sama ponsel kalo netbook atau laptop kan input devicenya selain keyboard juga ada mouse … tidak harus touch screen!

  • Andrei

    Hi and thanks for the guide.

    I also have a T101MT. I used the guide once and it worked. However, I reformatted the SD card and now it's not detected by Android Setup.

    Everything seems to be OK with the card when I look at it in Windows.

    What do you think could be the problem?

    Thanks for the help!

  • @Andrei

    Hi, just make sure you format that card on Windows with FAT file system (Not FAT32, NTFS or exFAT). And try to use 32 kilobytes allocation unit size.

  • Andrei

    I couldn't make it work using the Windows format utility.

    It did work however using this tool: http://www.sdcard.org/consumers/formatter_3/

    Thanks again for the help!

  • Anonim

    I couldn't get the wifi to work. I used the Eee PC install provided on the android page

  • @Anonymous,

    Enable wifi first (from BIOS) before boot into Android-x86. Android-x86 currently not support Function (Fn) Key to enable wifi.

  • Anonim

    have you tried doing this with android honeycomb? did it work?

  • @Anonymous, no I haven't. I tried this with Froyo build.

  • how did u get touchscreen working??

  • @Paolo

    It's working out of the box, I'm using EeePC build from here.

  • Albert

    hello, my touch screen does not work either, as you did? i´m using the same iso but nothing happens. :S Help!!!

  • @Albert,

    That's odd, mine is just working out of the box since first installation. Maybe there's digitizer hardware is different between yours and mine.

    I didn't do anything to make it working. Just work out of the box like I said.

  • It seems that European models of t101mt have different hardware, and that only touchpad is working here.
    So bad 🙁

  • Today, I found a very helpful site of providing a tutorial about the 10 steps of installing Android-x86 on SD card. And thank you for sharing us this tips I can now use it to my notebook. staff training

  • SpAiK

    I've done all the described steps, but now my system does not boot from the sdcard. Is like if there isn't anything to boot from.

  • @SpAiK

    Have you turned off fast boot mode on BIOS?

  • Anonim

    i've gotten everything to work except the wifi. it says obtaining ip and then fails and starts to scan again. i did dmesg on console and the wlan0 reads as the following:

    wlan0: deauthenticating from … by local choice (reason=3)

    can you please help me resolve this issue?

  • punya gue grubnya gak terload. blinking bentar trus masuk windows. oia gue installnya ke HD.

  • hey how to see logs of android x86 2.2 if its booting as a live cd!

  • Greta article- thanks for sharing. My T101MT does not give an option for booting from the SD card, only removable device, HDD, and CD. How do I add the SD card as a bootable drive in BIOS?

  • @bud.. when you insert the sdcard push f2 and over the voice boot.. you should find the voice hard disk drivers…. over this voice you can choice sdcard insert..

  • i have another question for indra… i have insert the lines in grub for dual boot with win 7 (i use win8 but work same) but the timeout for automatic choice dont work.. anyone can help me?

  • @enrico,

    Did you press any key after grub menu displayed? If you did, the auto boot process would stop. Because pressing any key on grub menu display assumed canceling auto boot process to choose boot menu manually.

    I never had those problem …

  • @ indra.. no.. i havent push any button.. when i install android on sd card the menu list is

    default=0
    timeout=5
    root (hd0,0)
    splashimage=/grub/android-x86.xpm.gz
    title Android-x86 2.2 (HDPI)
    kernel /android-2.2/kernel quiet root=/dev/ram0 androidboot_hardware=eeepc acpi_sleep=s3_bios,s3_mode DPI=240 SRC=/android-2.2 SDCARD=/sd/sdcard.img
    initrd /android-2.2/initrd.img

    title Android-x86 2.2 (MDPI)
    kernel /android-2.2/kernel quiet root=/dev/ram0 androidboot_hardware=eeepc acpi_sleep=s3_bios,s3_mode DPI=160 SRC=/android-2.2 SDCARD=/sd/sdcard.img
    initrd /android-2.2/initrd.img

    without chainloader for Win7/8.. and timeout work.. after i put the chainloader command (ty for the string :-)) but the timeout dont work.. any help?

  • @enrico

    Hmm, I think there's no problem with configuration. Maybe bug on grub version that included … I can't reproduce the problem because I have different configuration right now.

  • the problem is in chainloader..when i insert chainloader string timeout dont work..
    i use android 4.0

  • Anonim

    Hi Indra.
    The first to congratulate you on the blog. A has helped me 100%, I installed Android (android-x86-4.0-RC1-eeepc.iso) in SD and my T101MT works but not with wifi connection and not record data for a APV.
    In the case of the WIFI network detected, introduce the key but can not make the connection.
    In the case of APV, I enter all the data, I recorded but is not listed.

    Any idea why?

  • gan,bagaimana klo saya pesen ke anda skalian sama flashdisknya…???,
    agan kasih harga brp,klo flashdisknya 4GB…

  • @Apiet Apiet

    Untuk release terbaru hanya support notebook atau netbook ASUS aja gan …