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?!

  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.

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 SDCardDrive\grub\menu.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:
    root (hd0,0)
    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! ;-)