How to Install Android on Your Windows 8 Tablet

Windows 8 tablets are becoming more widely used, but the operating system – at least in its Modern mode – is light on the ground with particular apps. One way around this is to install Android on your tablet.

Although installing Android on a desktop PC is reasonably straightforward (perhaps installing Android x86 on its own partition or using BlueStacks, YouWave or the Official Android Emulator), you might find that there are a couple of problems installing Google’s popular operating system on a Windows tablet: namely, that the tablet doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive.

What this means is that things can get a bit messy, especially when you combine this shortcoming with the implications that Windows 8′s safe boot system has on installing an additional OS.

What Tablet Are You Using?

Although the process of installing Android on your Windows tablet – and by this I’m specifically referring to an Intel x86 device here rather than one equipped with an ARM processor (such as the Microsoft Surface RT) – will differ from device to device, the general approach is the same.

Before proceeding, however, you should check the web for steps for your own tablet, just to ensure that you don’t take any missteps that could wipe your SSD or leave your computer unbootable.

I performed this installation on my Acer Iconia W700, a useful Windows 8 tablet that is more akin to an ultrabook. This meant that I had the advantage of a sort-of backup, having recently replaced the device’s original mSSD for a larger model. I had the old one to hand should anything have gone wrong.

Although I used the Acer Iconia W700 and the detailed steps are written based on this, it can also be used (as per the useful guide provided by Thatgrass on XDA-Developers.com) on the Samsung XE700T as well as Microsoft Surface devices.

Why Install Android On A Windows Tablet?

There are certain things you should expect from a tablet operating system. You might even want to demand them.

acer iconia w700 tablet pc review   How to Install Android on Your Windows 8 Tablet

While a Windows PC – which a Windows 8 tablet with a PC CPU undoubtedly is – has a vast library of software available, there are a few useful things that can be experienced on Android. If you don’t currently own an Android tablet, these things (such as an improved keyboard experience) can be replicated by dual booting your Windows tablet with Android. It costs nothing, and thanks to the fast boot time on Windows 8, switching between the two operating systems is painless.

Note, however, that you’ll be restricted to apps that have support for x86 systems. These are growing in number, but don’t expect to be able to run all apps in the Play store.

What You’ll Need To Install Android On A Windows 8 Tablet

Preparation for this project is a little in-depth, especially if you’re new to Windows 8.

We’ll get the straightforward stuff out of the way first. You’ll need a USB flash drive with at least 512 MB of storage to hold the installation media; the stick should be formatted to FAT file system. Also, make sure you have a USB keyboard and a USB hub – I’d recommend a small, unpowered hub, since a powered hub may take some time to initialize – which means the keyboard won’t be connected by the time you need to press F12. So, unpowered USB hub it is.

Software is also required. Begin by downloading the Win 32 Disk Imager from Sourceforge – this is used to write the disk image to your USB stick.

Once this is downloaded, head to Intel’s Open Source Technology Center and select the Generic UEFI Installer image of the version of Android you wish to install. After download has completed, make sure you unzip the file.

Prepare The USB Stick

With Android downloaded, you’ll need to write it to the USB stick. Insert the device into your tablet or USB hub and unzip the Win 32 Disk Imager tool.

muo windows8tablet android disc image   How to Install Android on Your Windows 8 Tablet

Run Win32DiskImager.exe and browse to the unzipped Android installer, selecting Save to add it to the tool.

muo windows8tablet android disk imager   How to Install Android on Your Windows 8 Tablet

Next, ensure that the correct drive letter for your USB stick is selected under Device, and when you’re ready click Write to begin installation.

Following completion, Win 32 Disk Imager should inform you that writing the data has completed – you’re now ready to proceed.

Configuring Your Windows 8 Tablet For Android Installation

You can’t just install a second operating system on a device designed for Windows 8 without making a few adjustments to the system setup.

muo windows8tablet android uefi   How to Install Android on Your Windows 8 Tablet

First, you’ll need to ensure Secure Boot is disabled. Open Settings > Change PC Settings > Update and recovery > Recovery, and select Restart Now. From here use your arrow keys to select Troubleshoot then Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings to open the BIOS.

muo windows8tablet android security   How to Install Android on Your Windows 8 Tablet

Here, find Security in the left-hand menu and set a Supervisor password. Once this has been added, open Boot, find the Secure Boot option and set it to Disabled.

muo windows8tablet android boot   How to Install Android on Your Windows 8 Tablet

With that done, hold down the Power to restart, then hold the Windows buttons as well until the screen comes back on. This enables a quick shortcut back into the BIOS screen where you should ensure UEFI Mode is selected.

Next, switch the tablet off, and connect the USB hub directly to the USB port (as opposed to any of the ports on any docking station you might have). With the keyboard and USB stick connected to the hub, boot up your tablet PC, pressing F12. In the boot menu, use arrow keys to select the USB device and follow the instructions to setup dual boot mode and allocate space for Android using your device’s volume keys.

Different versions of the Android installer have slightly different steps. For this installation, I selected:

Do you want to preserve Windows and dual boot? Y

Do you want to resize Windows to make more space? Y (This forces a repair cycle when you boot Windows 8.)

Enter new size in MiB for Windows: Enter for default option.

Install GummiBoot bootloader? Y

Enter boot menu timeout (0=no menu)(min=0, max=60, enter=5) 15

Once you have done this the installation will proceed. Upon completion you should see the message:

“Installation now configured. Press enter to continue”

If all goes according to plan, when you next come to boot up the tablet you should see a boot menu, where you can select between Android and Windows 8.

Running Android on a Windows 8 Tablet

Certainly in my case while preparing the installation for this tutorial, I discovered that things didn’t go quite as planned. Although the repair cycle took a while (and the Acer Iconia W700 doesn’t actually tell you it is doing a repair cycle), the computer eventually booted… into Windows 8.1. A couple of reboots later and there was still no sign of the boot menu.

muo windows8tablet android website   How to Install Android on Your Windows 8 Tablet

Inconveniently, the only way to open Android at present is to hold F12 when booting to display the boot menu, something that may be tricky in some scenarios. I also found that Bluetooth didn’t work in Windows, but once I’d booted Android, opened Settings and toggled Bluetooth, the subsequent reboot into Windows had Bluetooth back up and running.

When everything is installed, and Android booted up, it works pretty much as you might expect. Not all features are available as the x86 version is unofficial. As such you’ll need to install gApps to get things like Google Play and Gmail. This is true of any unofficial Android build and we’ll take a look at it in a future guide.

47 Comments - Write a Comment

0 votes
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Jack Shaw

I think I’d rather have the Samsung Ativ Q that was rummored some time ago.

0 votes
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Mateer Ladnam

i don’t see the point of such dual booting when we have blue stacks(which allows the use of both the OSes simultaneously(a huge benefit over the the above method as well as run the non x86 apps as well.

0 votes

Ruben

Because Bluestacks is a heavy application to run, first of all, and therefore slower. Dual booting, though inconvenient, makes this just as fast as if it were an Android tablet since all the systems resources are devoted to running the Android OS.

0 votes

Christian C

On a tablet computer – essentially an ultrabook – Bluestacks pretty much sucks.

Believe me, I tried it for as long as I could stomach it, but the lags and the inability to go fullscreen really put me off.

0 votes

Dong

Hi Christian,

Are you saying it lags even if the tablet is running i7 like Asus Transformer Book T300?

0 votes

Christian C

Dong: I’m saying it lags on the two tablets I’ve tried, the Acer Iconia W700 (i3) and the Surface Pro (i7)

0 votes
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Ree R

This was A very interesting article. I never knew that this could be done with a Windows computer. i will read this article again and again.

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Alan

Of course, by doing this–disabling Secure Boot–you are increasing your exposure to some of the worst types of malicious software. Just don’t blame it on Windows when that happens.

0 votes

Christian C

Absolutely right, Alan.

Not that I can see anyone blaming Windows.

0 votes

Lucas Timm

From the stand point where you’re using Android rather then Windows in this device, such a thing would never happen.

0 votes
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Ak

Hi,

Can you show a video running android on win 8.1. Also does the Sensors like GPS etc work on android?

0 votes
0 votes
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chandrakant

chris, can android be installed over Samsung’s own OS BADA as well. which was use in Samsung wave series

0 votes

Christian C

Not sure about this, chandrakant, but I’d be surprised if it cannot. Probably a trip to XDA-developers.com will help you out.

0 votes
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Kevin

Question–very interested in Dual Boot option..Looking at the new Dell Venue 8.1 tablet,,can i do this dual boot with that tablet.

0 votes
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Mohab

Will give it a try on my HP Envy X2, hope that works.. Thanks for the article.

0 votes

Mohab

My HP Envy X2 does not even reach the dual boot menu, any help?

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maxxe2011

what about the new dell venue 8pro?

0 votes
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Gerdich

Bluestacks has bad performance and I don’t see the sense of dual boot: Android devices are less than 100$.

I want to communicate with Android from windows.
My solution:
A little USB-Android-TV device from China for 50$.

The device communicates by VNC and ssh and has HDMI-out.

0 votes

Christian C

Nice idea Gerdich, thanks for sharing.

0 votes
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jessy

So are you mot able to do this on an rt platform?

0 votes

Christian C

No, sadly not. The irony, eh?

0 votes
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Mohab

Well i have to say that the best option to use android on windows 8 tablet is not by dual booting or by Bluestacks, the solution is by using a virtual box of android x86 this is easier and safer than dual booting and also has great performance far better than Bluestacks especially when you enable the multi-touch tablet option available in the latest release of Oracle VM.

0 votes

Christian C

It’s a great solution, Mohab.

Unfortunately, virtualisation on my tablet is poor as Hyper-V is disabled.

0 votes
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lovnish

can i do this on iconia w3 810?
i am always stuck booting options as it shows me just windows boot manager. despite i followed all the steps you mentioned

0 votes

Christian C

In theory, if it is equipped with an Intel processor.

The steps may differ, however. It might be worth looking for some detailed steps on a dedicated forum.

0 votes

so seungsoo

Acer prevent doing your iconia w3 810 not work.
i also trying, but fail ( i have w4 820)
that firmware work at uefi-ed software(ex : win8, 8.1)
and lagacy(win xp, win7, linux, android) device are not work.
the term of coice uefi or lagacy is not exist.
so, firmware being update or OEM vendor allow the probrom.
thank you.

0 votes
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Skipuppy

I installed Bluestacks on my Acer Iconia W700-6499 and am very happy with it. Performance is fine and it can go full screen or windowed. So I can toggle between regular Win 8.1 Desktop, Android and Win8 Metro. It was easy to install, just download and install like anything else and it puts an icon in the taskbar notification area, click it and voila Android!

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Ben

When the machine is running android, does it still go into sleep mode then and lose its internet connection as it does in Win 8? Or is it able to maintain an active connection when the screen’s off (as most Android devices do) so that it can receive background notifications, update apps, etc.?

Thanks!

0 votes

Christian C

I haven’t had Win 8 lose Internet connection so I couldn’t give you a definite answer on that, I’m afraid.

0 votes
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Joe Hann

I followed all the steps and my computer is saying the boot efl filed failed. What to do??

0 votes
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Joe Hann

When I select “Boot with EFI USB DEVICE,” it says, “The selected boot device failed. Press to Continue.” I am running it on windows 8.1 32bits. I have no legacy booting option, only UEFI.

0 votes

Christian C

have you disabled Secure boot?

0 votes

so seungsoo

I have the same problom.
my w4 820 also UEFI only.
so
windows 8.1 only install
and win7, win xp, linux, android are not install
the branch of Acer in korea reply that intel tablet BAY-TRAIL Processor
is only use in windows 8.1
only
if you have this problom is resolve.
you mail me.
thanks.

0 votes
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Joe

I am stuck with this problem. I have a tablet running on windows 8.1 32 bits. I tried to install android os as instructed but when I chose EFL USB to boot with, the error message pops up saying “the selected device failed.” I tried to install it through legacy mode but my computer does not support legacy mode booting.

0 votes
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Joe Hann

Yes, I have disabled Secure boot.

0 votes
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karlo mcfarlo

have no idea how to out Gapps on the tablet, all the sites that explain it aren’t very detailed and easy to understand just need to know if anyone has found a guide that works and what problems they had .

0 votes
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Lune

dose it work on dell latitude 10?

0 votes
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Vince

Sadly, Bluestacks doesn’t run the two apps I need most – Snapseed and the Fuji Camera Remote app. In Snapseed, there is no way to direct the app to a specific image file location, so I get a message stating no image can be found. If I drag and drop, I’m told the image is loading – interminably. The Fuji app can’t find the camera. Fortunately, I have both these Pps on my iPhone, but I would seriously like the on a larger screen without buying an iPad! I’ve tried Bluestacks on both my Surface Pro and desktop with no success on either.

0 votes
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seungsoo

can i do this on iconia w4 820?
i am always stuck booting options as it shows me just windows boot manager. despite i followed all the steps you mentioned

0 votes
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Ki

Have somebody tried this on Lenovo Miix 2 ?

0 votes
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Ali Üstel

should that work with an acer iconia w3?
I stuck at the point, where I’ am supposed to hold the power- and home button after the first setup in the bios. It doesn’t restart right away. It just shuts down

0 votes

Christian C

I would say it *can* work, but not with the instructions here. You’ll need to search further afield – I’m afraid the process differs from one device to another.

0 votes
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DT

Thanks for the post. I was a little hasty and ended up only allocating 350mb to the android partition. Do you have a way of increasing this?
There are 20 odd partitions on my w700 after this install and using a 3rd party partition tool I cannot identify which one is for android. Any suggestions?

0 votes
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Tushar J

I have installed Latest Android from Intel’s Open Source Technology, everything works fine but on Dual Boot screen. I am not able to change the OS with Volume Keys. I have an Acer Aspire P3 Tablet. Help Needed…. :-(

0 votes
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afran

I can’t open play store I have installed android 4.2.2 on my Acer aspire p3 help me

0 votes
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GT

Dell Venue 8 PRO.

Want to convert to Android fully, is this possible? Are there custom images?

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