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Jide Technology Corporation just dropped a massive third update of Remix Operating System (OS). Remix OS 3.0 gives users the ability to install Android on almost any hardware. Like Linux, Remix runs great on slow or older hardware. If you’ve got moldering junk rotting away, now is the perfect time to put it to use.

I’d like to thank William Tocci Junior for crafting a laboriously detailed installation guide. Without his informed expertise, this article wouldn’t exist.

Hardware and Software Requirements

Jide recommends a system with the following specifications:

  • 2.0 GHz dual-core processor.
  • 2 GB of RAM.
  • 8 GB of hard drive space. (This is a hard requirement.)

You can run Remix OS on a much weaker system, although with performance penalties. Even so, my 1 GHz AMD Kabini system runs every single app that I’ve tried with speed and fluidity. Here’s a shot of a Remix-based carputer that I’ve been working on:

ECS Kabini Remix OS 3.0

Like all mobile operating systems, it includes GPS navigation via Google Maps, media playback capabilities, and streaming music — among many other features. Almost any app in Android can also run on Remix.

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Remix OS comes in 32-bit and 64-bit variants on Jide’s download page. Before proceeding with any downloads, find out which version you need. If you don’t know the difference, the 32-bit version works on almost all systems. On top of that, you can download either a torrent or a direct file from a hosting company. Of the two, I recommend using a torrent, which requires using a torrent client (see below for details). My favorite client is QBittorrent qBittorrent - A Polished, Simple & Reliable Cross-Platform BitTorrent Client qBittorrent - A Polished, Simple & Reliable Cross-Platform BitTorrent Client Read More .

You’ll need the following software and hardware before continuing:

Imaging GParted to a USB or CD/DVD (Optional)

GParted repartitions hard drives The GParted Live CD: A Quick Way To Edit Your Primary Partitions [Linux] The GParted Live CD: A Quick Way To Edit Your Primary Partitions [Linux] Edit your partitions from outside your operating system. The GParted Live CD is a simple Linux distro you can use to change the size of your partitions – or wipe a drive entirely. Built around... Read More , and it’s destructive so you’ll lose whatever data inhabits the target drive. Keep in mind that you don’t need GParted to install Remix OS, but it makes the process much easier. If the target hard drive suffers from formatting or partitioning issues, Remix OS won’t function.

Now that you were warned, here’s how to deploy GParted to a USB drive:

Insert a flash drive (at least 512 MB), DVD, or CD into your computer and run UNetbootin. This file is located inside of the package containing Remix OS. You will need to unzip the package, first. After UNetbootin loads, first check the radio button for Diskimage. Second, click on the box with three dots inside of it and locate your image (which is an ISO file which you must unzip) of GParted. Third, select the flash drive that you’ve just inserted. Fourth, select OK.

GParted Flash to Drive Steps

Imaging Remix OS 3.0 on a USB Drive or DVD

In the same way you imaged GParted, use Jide’s modified version of UNetboointo to burn the ISO of Remix OS onto a bootable drive. The program resides inside of the same package that contains the ISO file of Remix OS. The file name is “Remix_OS_for_PC_Installation_Tool”.  You can use the steps detailed above. The only difference between GParted and Remix OS is that Remix OS requires a USB drive that’s at least 8 GB. Jide’s official instructions mention that USB 3.0 is required, but since you’ll be installing Remix onto a hard drive, you can ignore that.

After unzipping the file and running the program, first, click on Browse. Second, select USB Drive (not hard drive). Third, select the correct flash drive, if you have multiple USB flash drives inserted. Fourth, and last, click on OK.

jides-remix-os-install-usb-utility

Jide packages a slightly modified version of UNetbootin inside of the zipped file that you downloaded from their website. I recommend using this to image Remix onto a bootable drive.

Use GParted to Clean the Target Drive (Optional)

Once you’ve imaged Gparted and Remix OS to bootable drives, insert the GParted drive into the target machine and start your computer. Before it fully boots, tap on either the F10, F11, or F12 key. The specific key pressed depends on your system, but the majority of selectable boot systems use the F12 key. You may or may not need to disable Secure Boot in the UEFI. For those only familiar with BIOS, here’s how to find if you have BIOS or UEFI How to Check If Your PC Uses UEFI or BIOS Firmware How to Check If Your PC Uses UEFI or BIOS Firmware Sometimes when troubleshooting, you'll need to know whether your PC uses UEFI or BIOS. Here's how you can check with ease. Read More .

After a long initialization process, GParted displays two menus. Most users can hit enter at all menus, but in case you’d like a guided tour, follow these steps. First, at the Configuring console-data menu, hit Enter.

GParted Installation Keymap

Second, at the keymap language menu, hit Enter if you’re a U.S. English speaker. Otherwise, type in the number associated with your native tongue and hit Enter.

GParted Installation Keymap Language

After a few loading screens, the GParted interface appears. You should see the following menu:

GParted Installation Menu

If you see any partitions on the disk, you need to erase them. First, right-click on the entry and choose Delete from the context menu. Second, choose Apply from the options at the top of the GParted interface. If you have multiple hard drives, make sure that you’ve selected the correct one. Failure to do so will destroy your data.
GParted Installation Menu Steps

Now that you’ve got a clean storage drive, you need a partition. First, select Device from the top of the screen and left-click Create Partition Table. Second, left-click Apply. This creates a new partition table on your disk. You’ll receive a warning that your data will be erased. Choose Apply. The next step: create a partition on the drive.

GParted Installation New Partition

First, left-click on Partition from the top of the interface and choose New. Then left-click Apply.

GParted Installation New Partition Steps

The next menu will display the size of the partition. The default size and file system (EXT4) work perfectly. Just left-click Add. You’ve now prepared your storage drive for Remix OS. You can exit GParted by clicking on the black square at the top-right of the screen. You can exit the GParted application by double-clicking on the red exit icon. Remove the GParted drive from your computer once prompted.

GParted Installation Format Partition

Installing Remix OS to a Hard Drive

This step is the most complicated out of all steps in this guide. First, you must boot from the drive with Remix OS installed using the appropriate F-key (normally F12). Second, highlight (but don’t initiate the installation process yet) the option for Resident mode and press E.

Remix 3.0 Installation Press E Key

You’ll see a list of Linux (or UNIX) commands. Use your keyboard’s directional keys to navigate to the entry "DATA = USB_DRIVE_1" and replace it with "INSTALL=2". It should look like this before you edit the text (unwanted text circled in red):

Remix 3.0 Installation Before Editing

After editing the text, it should look like this:

Remix 3.0 Installation After Editing

Remember that Linux is case-sensitive, so you must adhere to letter casing. After verifying that the correct command has been edited in, press F10. The installation process should begin. Installation and initial boot can take as long as 30 minutes.

Once it finishes, you’ll receive a prompt to install in English or two different dialects of Chinese. You’ll want English, most likely.

Installing the Google Play Store

Remix 3.0 includes the Play Store by default, although getting it working requires activation. If you do not possess internet access, this step won’t work. Fortunately, Remix includes all of the driver support contained in Linux.

The process is simple: double-click on the Play activator from the Remix OS desktop. From there, you’ll enter a guided activation configuration process.

Remix 3.0 Play Store Activation

Using Remix OS 3.0: What’s New?

There are several large differences between Remix OS 2.0 (review of Remix OS 2.0 A Real, Android-Based Alternative to Windows: Remix OS 2.0 A Real, Android-Based Alternative to Windows: Remix OS 2.0 Read More ) and Remix OS 3.0. First, Remix OS 3.0 is based on Android Marshmallow (what’s Android Marshmallow? Android 6.0 Marshmallow: What It Is and When You'll Get It Android 6.0 Marshmallow: What It Is and When You'll Get It Android Marshmallow is here -- but why should you care? Read More ). Marshmallow brings improved app permissions, improved cut-and-paste, better translation capabilities, battery life improvements, and more. Second, it also features several baked-in applications. Most important among these: the Google Play Store. That means Remix receives full access to the vast repository of Android applications.

Remix 3.0 Desktop GUI

Should You Install Remix OS 3.0?

If you own an old computer, then yes. Remix OS 3.0 captures everything that’s amazing about Android and makes it installable on most hardware. While it’s not completely open source, Remix’s developers fully abide by open source licensing.

Like its predecessor, Remix’s third iteration brings with it excellent app and system compatibility. Most x86 systems cannot run most Android apps because of fundamental logic differences between ARM code and x86. Remix uses a method called ARM emulation, which allows x86 systems to bypass this restriction. In a nutshell, if you love Linux’s low resource requirements, but dislike its app ecosystem, Remix OS 3.0 may win you over.

Have you tried Remix OS 3.0 yet? What were your experiences? If not, what are your thoughts on it?

  1. William
    October 8, 2016 at 6:56 am

    There comes a time when you have to realize that despite what the writers *say*, your system will not run additional OSes within other OSes.

    I just setup the Remix Player on my i3-3217U, a dual-core 1.8GHz system with 4GB RAM. Now, it'll be 4 years this December and virtualizing an OS (Ubuntu 16.04) or running a simulated OS app like the Player are no-gos on a system such as this. That makes me wonder if other so-called "low resources" OSes, like LXKE(?) will perform well when virtualized.

    As a standalone OS, dual-booting on this Windows 7 Pro laptop, Ubuntu 16.04 works like a charm. I bet RemixOS would too, but as it's not a full-blown Android OS (AND I appreciate what the devs did here), I'll stick to my Android phone for their apps.
    Maybe when I upgrade my PC with a whole lot more RAM, I'll try running more virtual OSes.

    • Kannon Yamada
      October 9, 2016 at 3:33 am

      Remix also has a virtualized version of their OS called Remix OS Player. It should almost certainly run on your system. Ivy Bridge-U is still a modern processor. Isn't it something like 22nm? We're only on 14nm now. That's not a big difference.

  2. Mark
    September 19, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Hey Michael.

    Almost identical problem here, after a successful install the restarted computer sits with a blinking cursor on a black screen. No problems clearing with GPARTED and I'm only using the installer/unetbootin that came with the package(s). Tried both 32 and 64 bit, same result.

    Sounds like your diagnosis of no bootloader installed, but what's the fix? There must be another way to add that. I'm sooooo close...

    Thanks,

    • Mark
      September 19, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      Oops, sorry, I meant Kannon!

    • Kannon Y
      September 19, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Hey mark, Remix OS now offers a virtualized version of Remix, called Remix OS Player. You can download it here:

      http://www.jide.com/remixos-player

      Unfortunately, it's Windows only. I've managed to get Remix OS running inside of a virtual machine, without using Remix Player. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to persist data across reboots. It might be that the bootloader is never properly situated on the disk (first sector).

    • Mark
      September 20, 2016 at 10:40 am

      Sorry, I wasn't looking for the virtual Remix. I'm trying to install it on an old laptop without Windows on it, and I followed your instructions above, which went well enough, but that's what won't boot.

    • Kannon Yamada
      September 20, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      I may have responded to you in error.

      There's an executable file inside of the unzipped Remix OS image that will image Remix OS onto a flash drive. The flash drive becomes a bootable installer. Unfortunately, this program is Windows only, which means you must either create the image on someone else's Windows machine or use a virtualized installation of Windows. Right now Microsoft lets anyone download and install Windows XP, which means you might be able to create a bootable installer inside of a virtualized copy fo Windows XP.

      It's a little on the complicated side, and I'm not sure whether or not it will work.

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8002

      When I have an opportunity, I'm going to give it a try.

  3. Rob
    September 16, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    Is there a way to load Remix oS in VirtualBox?

    • Kannon Yamada
      September 16, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Yeah, you have to get VirtualBox to boot from a USB drive. There's a few other ways to do it, but this one should in theory work.

      EDIT: I should also mention that Remix now makes a VirtualBox version of Remix OS called Remix OS Player. It just came out a couple days ago. You can download it here: http://www.jide.com/remixos-player

    • Kannon Yamada
      September 17, 2016 at 12:11 am

      I should also mention that Remix now makes a VirtualBox version of Remix OS called Remix OS Player. It just came out a couple days ago. You can download it here: http://www.jide.com/remixos-player

    • Kannon Y
      September 19, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      OK, this is a tough one. It might be possible to create a bootable USB drive using a virtualized installation of Windows. Microsoft hands out free copies of XP, so you can download it here:

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8002

      I don't know for certain whether or not this method will work. According to earlier press releases, the Remix OS installer only supported Windows 7 or later. that doesn't mean it won't run on a Windows XP system though. It's worth a shot if you're totally out of options.

    • Kannon Y
      September 21, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      Oops, that was the wrong link. Here's the correct link to thee Windows ISO downloader. It appears that the ISO requires an activation key. You can probably find a deactivated key online: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/windows-usb-dvd-download-tool

  4. Michael
    September 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    So I followed these instructions exactly and when I go to boot up I get a black screen that says

    Boot from CD;
    Diskette read failure
    No boot device available, Press ENTER key to retry
    SATA-0: Installed
    SATA-1: Installed
    SATA-4: None
    SATA-5: None

    Am I missing something? Am I supposed to boot from the USB first?

    • Kannon Yamada
      September 16, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      You have to boot from the USB drive. It's possible that your computer is so old that it doesn't include a USB boot option -- that's normally computers that are over ten years old. Most computers included some kind of USB boot option by around 2003.

    • Kannon Y
      September 16, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      Oops, I should have mentioned that you may or may not need to enable USB drives as a bootable device in your BIOS. What is the model number of your computer? I could check to see whether or not it supports this feature.

    • Michael Etheridge
      September 16, 2016 at 10:15 pm

      It's a Dell Inspiron 530. I think. I can boot successfully from the USB but
      as far as installing on the PC hard drive I can see that the OS installed
      but it won't boot without the usb.

    • Kannon Y
      September 16, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      That sounds as if it's not installing the bootloader. Your system is definitely BIOS and not UEFI. Have you tried installing using the 32-bit image, rather than the 64-bit one? Both images should work, but the 32-bit one might be easier to install.

      Optionally, you can try changing the boot sequence for your drives. However, given your description of what happened, this probably won't work.

      Did you use Gparted to prepare the drive for Remix?

    • Michael Etheridge
      September 16, 2016 at 11:16 pm

      Yeah I used gparted to prep the drive. Then installed the 32 Bit OS. The OS installs but doesn't boot up unless the USB is plugged in. I tried to repeat the process with gparted and I can see that the OS is installed on the disk.

      The only difference I see from what I've done and what you have listed is when I'm installing the OS I have to hit tab instead of "e" then when I go to replace the "DATA=" with "INSTALL=2" on my system is shows "SRC= DATA="

    • Kannon Y
      September 16, 2016 at 11:45 pm

      If I'm understanding correctly, it sounds as if your bootloader is not the same bootloader as used in the Remix OS 3.0 package. Would you have perhaps downloaded a separate copy of UNetbootin and used it to image the ISO of RemixOS 3.0?

      The UNetbootin inside of the RemixOS package (inside of the zipped file) has been renamed "Remix_OS_for_PC_installation_Tool-B201". It's been modified to install Remix. The regular version of UNetbootin does work, but it requires a completely different and more complex set of instructions. I'll edit that into the article because it's confusing as it's written. Please confirm if this is the case.

    • Kannon Y
      September 16, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      Ah, I see what's going on! This is my fault. I failed to mention that imaging Remix OS 3.0 onto a USB drive requires using the modified version of UNetbootin inside of the Remix OS ZIP package. I apologize for the error. Thank you for helping correct this!

    • Micahel
      September 17, 2016 at 2:33 am

      That is correct. I've been creating all the images on my mac computer using etcher not the ones that are packaged with Remix OS

    • Kannon Y
      September 22, 2016 at 12:39 am

      Hi Michael, it looks like my responses to you are getting eaten. OK, so I've given it some thought and it appears that your best option is to try creating the Remix OS install USB drive from within an emulator. I believe (but am not certain) that it's possible to do this by virtualizing Windows and creating the installation medium from within the virtual Windows. Windows XP was supposed to be free to download as an ISO, but I can't find it anywhere. All the links are now dead.

  5. Business User
    September 12, 2016 at 1:58 am

    This was the missing tutorial for "Remix Only" install. Thank you so much.

    • Kannon Y
      September 12, 2016 at 2:03 am

      Thanks for the kind words! It bothered me that there weren't any instructions available on how to install Remix OS. In late August Jide published instructions, but they weren't complete and were also partially incorrect.

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