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.
- An empty 8 GB storage drive. (IMPORTANT: Remix OS will erase the target storage drive if installed.)
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:
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.
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.
You’ll need the following software and hardware before continuing:
- Remix OS 3.0 32-bit (Download) or 64-bit (Download).
- This package also contains a tool that installs Remix OS to a flash drive.
- UNetbootin (Download, optional).
- GParted (Download, optional).
- A torrent client for downloading Remix OS (optional).
- A formatted USB drive with at least 8 GB.
- A second formatted USB drive with at least 512 MB or a CD/DVD (optional).
- A computer to install Remix OS onto.
Imaging GParted to a USB or CD/DVD (Optional)
GParted repartitions hard drives, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After a few loading screens, the GParted interface appears. You should see the following 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.
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.
First, left-click on Partition from the top of the interface and choose New. Then left-click Apply.
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.
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.
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):
After editing the text, it should look like this:
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.
Using Remix OS 3.0: What’s New?
There are several large differences between Remix OS 2.0 (review of Remix OS 2.0) and Remix OS 3.0. First, Remix OS 3.0 is based on Android Marshmallow (what’s Android Marshmallow?). 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.
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?