How to install Android x86 6.0, 7.0 on VMWare ESXi. Warning, many screenshots.

I don’t know why, but installing Android x86 6.0 and 7.0 on VMWare ESXi is not quite simple as it should be.

The short story

1) Correctly make bootable disk
2) Install Android
3) Modify GRUB with “nomodeset xforcevesa” parameters to boot android
4) Fix parameters in GRUB after android loads

And the long story

First, download Android x86 6.0 ISO from official download page.

And don’t forget to upload it on your datastore.

Create new virtual machine using custom configuration

Name it as you want

Select a desirable storage

Choose virtual machine version

As a guest operating system specify “Other (32-bit)

One CPU core should be enough

2GB of RAM is my preffred choise

Leave Network tab by default

Leave SCSI controller tab by default too

Create a new virtual disk

5GB is enough

Specify virtual device mode as IDE

Check “Edit the virtual machine settings before completion” checkbox and click “Continue” button.

Edit virtual CD/DVD drive. Choose your Android x86 6.0 ISO as Datastore ISO File. Check “Connect at power on” checkbox.

Start virtual machine and choose ordinary installation.

On the first screen choose “Create/Modify partition”

Don’t use GPT for disk formatting

Create new disk

Make it primary

Leave a size by default(maximum)

Make disk bootable

And write changes to disk

Then press “Quit”

Choose newly created partition

Format it in Ext4

Confirm formatting

Install GRUB

But don’t install EFI GRUB2

I prefer install /system directory as read-write, because it’s a developing machine.

Wait for installation finish

And reboot virtual machine

After rebooting, press “e” button on first menu option

Press “e” again to edit first configuration line

Move your cursor to “quiet” parameter

You may leave “quiet” parameter as is, but I prefer onscreen logs when system loads, so I delete it.
What you should really do is to place “nomodeset xforcevesa” parameters as showing on screenshot and press Enter.

Press “b” button to boot

After that you will see Android loading screen

Android welcome settings are trivial and are the same as on any other phone or tablet, so I leave this section without detailed screenshots.

After Android loads press Alt+F1 to see Android command line

Now mount sda1 block device and change GRUB menu.

mkdir /mnt/sda
mount /dev/block/sda1 /mnt/sda
vi /mnt/sda/grub/menu.lst

On vi press “i” to enable edit mode. Then add “nomodeset xforcevesa” parameters to first menu row.

Press Esc to exit edit mode. Then type “:w” and press Enter to write changes and type “:q” and press Enter to quit.

That’s all! Type “reboot” and press Enter on Android console to check that GRUB changed and Android loads.

Developer mode. Screen stay awake. Userfull things.

21 thoughts on “How to install Android x86 6.0, 7.0 on VMWare ESXi. Warning, many screenshots.

  1. Finally! The only guide that actually gets this to work! There are so many rubbish guides out there that tell you all the wrong things on very old versions of Android with recent versions of VMWare.

    Thank-you!

  2. Great help for me. Never managed to identify this “nomodeset xforcevesa” option.

    Working well on ESXi 6.0

    1. Think I saw something like this before. It may be about VM mouse integration, but I can’t find how to disable it now.

  3. Works good until I hit Yes to install GRUB. After hitting Yes, I just get a solid cursor at the bottom of the screen and nothing ever happens after that. ESXi 5.5

  4. What if I would like to use a different resolution,
    let’s say 1200*800 or maybe the other way around 800*1200 ?

  5. Hi,

    I followed your tutorial and everything runs perfectl, but I can’t get any network connection.
    I need to setup a static ip for Android x86 on ESXi.

    I used:
    ifconfig eth0 up X.X.X.X
    route add default gw Y.Y.Y.Y dev eth0
    setprop net.dns1 8.8.8.8

    Then I try to ping 8.8.8.8 for example (or any IP on my network), but it fails with no connection.

    What could it be?
    Thanks

    1. I have not encountered this issue before. All android systems I have, got their IP successfully via standard VMWare virtual network adapter.
      Maybe it’s not an Android issue, but network issue?

    2. Append this before return 0 in /system/etc/init.sh:

      ifconfig eth0 192.168.1.x
      ndc network create 100
      ndc network interface add 100 eth0
      ndc network route add 100 eth0 0.0.0.0/0 192.168.1.1
      ndc reolver setnetdns 100 “” 8.8.8.8 8.8.4.4

      1. typo, should be:
        ndc resolver setnetdns 100 localdomain 8.8.8.8 8.8.4.4

        and finally:
        ndc network default set 100

  6. On my local network I don’t use DHCP and I must have it that way.

    All VM’s within ESXi (Windows, linux, etc) have static address and they are working great.
    Only this new Android VM can’t connect to my network =/

    I also tried to change a parameter on .vmx file, but no luck =(

  7. Hello,
    I also tried to define a static IP on an Android-x86 VM machine (and failed) but after several trial and error I quit when I checked a page at the official Android-x86 web site
    http://www.android-x86.org/releases/releasenote-7-1-rc1
    that states as key feature for Android-x86 7.1-rc1 the “Ethernet (DHCP only)” feature.
    With this in mind (and I hope someone could prove me wrong) I believe ethernet (and internet) is not avaliable if a DHCP server is not present on the network.
    Maybe creating a VM with a lightweight server (e.g Win Server 2003) and setting the DHCP to assign only one IP to specifically the Mac Adress of the Android-x86 networkcard would work as a workaround…

  8. At the last screenshoot, after edit the line with “nomodeset xforcevesa”, then pressed “Esc” to exit edit mode, ok.

    But stayed at the same place. So, where I am supposed to type “:w” and “:q” ???

    I didn’t undertand that part

    1. No problem. Vi is an old text editor and not so obvious for modern users (for me too 🙂 ).

      Vi has two working mods: edit and command. When you pressing Esc you are exiting edit mode and entering command mode. From this time you are able to write commands “:w” and “:q”. You will see them at the bottom of the screen. It’s important to begin them from “:”, otherwise they will not appears. Don’t forget to press Enter after each of them.

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