After the preliminary work here (which I recommend you read through), the porting of Ice Cream Sandwich to PC has advanced a lot further, and we now have a starting installation guide (the first available). We now have 4.0.3 working, instead of just 4.0.1. This post is going to go through the installation of Android on a PC, and also give a demonstration. Before reading through the installation guide, you can see the demonstration video, which is aimed at showing the functionality of Android on PC, rather than a fully detailed guide, which will come shortly:
Installing Android on a x86 PC
Alright, so having seen how it runs, below is a video of how you can install the system. Below the video will be written instructions, but the video is there as a visual guide (as sometimes just words are difficult to follow).
Step 1. First of all, you need to download one of the required installation images from here. Be aware that not all images support the same hardwares, so you may have to experiment with a few different ones before you find one that works for you. The versions I usually use are the android-x86-4.0-eeepc-20120101.iso or the android-x86-4.0-asus_laptop-20120101.iso images (or variants thereof).
Step 2. Burn the image to a disc or flash it to a USB, then reboot your machine and boot from your selected media.
Step 3. You’ll be greeted with a boot menu, and at this point you can either try the Live CD to see how Android will run on your machine (recommended), or you can install it. Go ahead and hit install if you’re ready.
Step 4. Once the installer appears, you’ll be asked where to install Android to. Select the partition or drive you wish to install to and press Enter. You can also manage your partitions using the Create/Modify Partitions option.
Step 5. You’ll then be asked if you wish to format the partition, and given different options of formatting. It’s better to reformat the partition as it wipes all the existing data. Obviously this means you need to be careful. I usually format to Ext3 format.
Step 6. Once the partition has been formatted, you’re given the option to install a bootloader. It’s difficult to give a recommended option for this, as it depends on the situation you’re in. I would say that you should install it more often than not. Select your preference.
Step 7. You are then presented with the option to install the /system directory as read-write. This makes the /system directory writeable after the installation, at the expense of making the installation size ~x2 bigger (approximately 330MB). Usually you’ll want to select Yes on this section, but again, do it to your preference. The installation will then begin. It can take a while, and if your screen goes off during installation, just press a key on your keyboard as it’s a screensaver.
Step 8. After the installation is complete, you’ll be give three options. You can either go ahead and run Android-x86, install a “fake” SD card, or reboot your system. Personally, I recommend you install a fake SD card. What this does is create a separate image which is recognised as the SD card inserted into your Android device. The maximum file size for this is 2GB. However, you can always set it up later using Debug mode if you wish. Assuming you’re going to install one, select this option and press Enter.
Step 9. You can then select the amount of memory you wish to give to your SD card. I just usually go with the maximum, as it’s usually more than enough. Press Enter and your SD card will begin to install. This may take a little while.
Step 10. Once the SD card is installed, just reboot your system and boot from the drive/partition/usb you installed Android to and your Android system should be up and running!
With any luck, your system should be fully operational, however the latest build of Ice Cream Sandwich is fairly new and is still a test build (admittedly it only has a couple of issues). Any problems can hopefully be worked out fairly easily, so leave a comment if you have a certain issue. Enjoy your Android x86 port!