Like Apple's Mac App Store, Microsoft is struggling to provide a strong app portfolio for Windows 10. The Microsoft Store library is certainly more populated with the apps we use most often, such as: B. Facebook, Netflix and Hulu. However, on Android you will find an even larger selection. We'll show you how to run Android apps on Windows.
With the help of third-party software, you can probably run your favorite Android apps on your Windows computer. Unfortunately, transferring apps from your phone or tablet to your Windows PC is not easy, like installing desktop software. While Microsoft is testing Android app mirroring in Windows 10 Beta, the physical app is still not running on your computer.
There are several ways to run Android apps in Windows 10, from emulators to dual booting. To simplify matters, we've put together a comprehensive guide on what software and utilities you need to install Android apps on almost every Windows computer.
If you're using a Chromebook, you may want to read our dedicated guide to installing Android apps on Chrome OS.
The Bluestacks App Player is one of the most popular and robust Android emulators that you can use to run games and apps for Android 7.1.2 (Nougat) on your Windows desktop.
Use is free and you can easily switch emulation settings and launch apps through the custom user interface. Layercake technology uses hardware accelerators to improve the performance of Android games on Windows-based computers.
If you have a Facebook or Twitch account and a PC with more than 8 GB of RAM, you can even transfer apps and games directly from the Bluestacks window. However, users may want to enable AMD-V or Intel VT-x in the BIOS for best performance, if available.
Bluestacks offers an optional subscription ($ 4 per month or $ 40 per year) that provides premium support and exclusive offers from app developers.
To install Bluestacks on your computer:
Step 1: Download the installer from the official Bluestacks website.
Step 2: Start the installation application and select the location for the app and the data files. Unfortunately, you cannot change the Bluestacks directory – it will be installed on your startup drive by default.
Step 3: Launch Bluestacks after installation and enter your Google account credentials. You need this information to sign in to the Google Play Store and access your Android app library.
There is an alternative to Android emulators that will give you newer versions of Android, but the setup is a bit more complicated. It is called "dual booting" and effectively turns your Windows computer into an Android device. You get the option to turn on Android when you turn on your computer, and Android works just like it does on your smartphone or tablet.
Getting started, however, is not as easy as installing native Android. Since computer hardware – processors, graphics cards, and hard drives – need to be added to Android by a third-party developer, you need to find a custom distribution that supports your computer.
Like the now no longer existing Remix operating system, Phoenix OS is a complete Android 7.1 or 5.1 operating system that runs on your Windows computer. This gives it the functionality of a desktop operating system as well as compatibility with Android applications.
How to get started:
Step 1: Go to the Phoenix OS download page and download the latest installer for your PC. Choose the EXE or ISO file for your preferred Android version. Currently choose the installer for Android 7.1 or Android 5.1.
Step 2: Create a new partition for Phoenix OS. You can find more information on this in our Windows manual.
Step 3: Run the Phoenix OS installer and install it on the new partition. Alternatively, you can create a bootable USB drive with Phoenix OS and install it at boot.
Step 4: Choose a volume letter and the size of the volume you want to create.
Step 5: Wait for the installation process to finish and restart the computer. When your PC restarts, select Phoenix OS from your start menu.
The latest versions of Phoenix OS are pre-installed in the Google Play Store. So download your apps from there and off you go!
Android-x86 is an open source project trying to port the latest version of Android to Windows hardware.
The latest version of Android-x86 offers welcome support for Google’s notification features, smarter background app management, smart text selection, and OpenGL ES 3.x hardware acceleration for Intel, AMD, and Nvidia graphics.
Although adjustments to the Android operating system are minimal, the Android x86 team has added some important improvements to give your Android installation a desktop-like interface. This version offers functions such as a new taskbar starter and the option to start apps not only in full-screen mode, but also in windows of variable size.
With Android-x86 you can also customize Android to your liking. You can install third-party themes, home screens, and more without having to worry about whether they work well together, unlike Remix OS. In this list you will find supported devices.
How to install Android-x86 on your PC:
Step 1: First, make sure you have at least 2 GB of free space on your computer's hard drive and download the latest Android x86 ISO. If your device is not listed, download the generic file.
Step 2: Download UNetbootin. After opening, select the Android x86 ISO file downloaded in step 1.
Step 3: Select USB drive from the list of options and click OK. Wait for UNetbootin to copy and install Android-x86 on your flash drive.
Step 4: Restart your computer and choose Boot to the Boot Device Selection.
Step 5: Choose your flash drive.
Step 6: From the UNetbootin menu, select Install Android-x86 on hard drive.
Step 7: Select the partition or location where you want to install Android-x86. The program asks you if you want to format the hard disk. If you are not sure, do not.
Step 8: Choose Yes to install GRUB, and then choose Yes again.
Step 9: A prompt will ask if you want to create "System R / W" so Android-x86 can read and write data to your hard drive. Choose Yes.
Step 10: Restart your computer a second time. After installation, as with Phoenix OS, use the Google Play Store to install Android apps as you wish.
Surface Duo and Microsoft emulator
In 2020, Microsoft revealed details about the Surface Duo and Surface Neo that are slated for the 2020 holidays. The Surface Duo is particularly worth mentioning for Android fans, as it is designed to run Android as a native operating system. This gives buyers a Microsoft-managed Android device with additional Windows compatibility that can be attractive to many people. If you want a dedicated Microsoft Android device, just wait!
However, there is another consideration for Android to consider. In preparation for the upcoming Surface Duo, Microsoft made the Duo SDK preview available for developers and interested fans to download. This preview installs an Android emulator on your computer that mimics the two-screen Duo design built into Android Studio.
If you don't mind dipping your toes into the world of developer tools, this way you can quickly run and test Android apps on your Windows computer (and see how they run on Duo for later reference) . You can download and try this emulator for free here.