How to install Windows on an Android device?

Sadly – you can’t. And before you ask – no, Change My Software or whatever it was called doesn’t work either. But don’t leave just yet! I’ll explain why Windows doesn’t work on your device, and I’ll suggest you some alternatives.

Chapter 1

What’s the difference between Android devices and Windows PCs?

Windows and Android are two different systems.

First off, Android is optimized for all mobile devices. Not just tablets or just smartphones, all mobile devices. Microsoft has made several attempts at going mobile, although Windows 8 was a huge failure and Windows Mobile… uhh, let’s just not talk about Windows Mobile.

Secondly, Android is optimized for mobile hardware, while Windows is made for personal computers (We don’t talk about Windows 8). Thanks to its Linux kernel Android is able to handle more devices without the need of waiting hours for all the drivers to install, although it does need a bit of help, which is why every ROM has hardware configurations (a ROM is essentially a name for the system your mobile device is running). Windows, on the other hand, needs drivers to be installed if it can’t detect the components itself.

And finally, Windows is designed for different processor architecture than Android which I’ll explain in a minute. Essentially it means that Windows runs on desktop CPUs while Android is running on mobile CPUs.

Chapter 2

Why is it impossible?

You might say ‘Yeah, I get it, they’re two different things, but you still didn’t answer my question – why is it impossible? What’s the big deal?’.
Well, I’ll answer your burning question in this chapter.

Let’s start by talking about processors.

Introducing: the ARM processor. Actually, it needs no introduction; it’s the core stuff that runs your mobile device. It has longer battery life, it’s smaller, it produces less heat and Android primarily runs on those. These processors are the mobile CPUs that we mentioned earlier.

Some ARM processors are designed for mobile devices – in these cases, they include a GPU, system memory, and even support for things like cameras and audio out of the box, without the need of using several chips.

Then we have desktop CPUs (x86 and x86_64, commonly referred to as x32 and x64). These need separate RAM, GPU, and have to be placed on a motherboard. They require cooling and are larger than ARM processors. Windows, as well as other desktop operating systems, are designed to run on those.

Of course, there are attempts to port Android onto x86 processors, as well as mobile phones that run on this architecture, and Microsoft is working on a port of Windows 10 that will run on ARM processors, but these are far from finished.

But let’s say you just so happen to find an x86 Android phone.

Well, that’s just half of the success – we still have to figure out how to install it. On a normal computer, you would just plug in a pendrive, check if it’s set as the boot priority in the BIOS and boot from it, then just install Windows as usual. But the problem is… There are no BIOS settings and you can’t boot from a pendrive.

Well, there is the recovery mode and the download mode!

You’re right, but it’s probably not the solution – these are made for Android ROMs.

Well, you can always plug it in and copy over the files!

That’s not going to change anything. Not even if you copy all the system files.

 

Even if you somehow got Windows installed on your device in some way you would still hit another problem:

Drivers.

Porting drivers from Linux to Windows isn’t easy, and nobody is going to waste their time doing something that hard that nobody will use anyways. Of course, you could use the default drivers, but that wouldn’t work great at all. Everything would be choppy and you wouldn’t be able to do anything that you couldn’t do on Android, besides using a few applications.

Chapter 3

In which we look at alternatives

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I will mention some alternatives to running Windows on Android devices. Here they are:

PostmarketOS

According to their website, “postmarketOS (pmOS) is a touch-optimized, pre-configured Alpine Linux that can be installed on smartphones and other mobile devices. ” However, the project is early in development.

Website: postmarketos.org

Limbo PC Emulator

Limbo PC Emulator allows you to run an emulated version of Windows. However, keep in mind setting it up might be hard for some users, and it can be slow (due to x86 emulation on an ARM processor). If you don’t mind using a slightly older version or have a powerful enough device, then Limbo might be your answer.

Download: Google Play

Debian no-root

Debian no-root is an application that runs a flavour of Debian called Jessie without the need of rooting or modding your device. However, the app does not support Android 6.0.0 Marshmallow and higher versions of Android.

Linux Deploy (requires root)

You can use Linux Deploy to “install” your favourite Linux Distro, then VNC Viewer to access the desktop environment. I found a good tutorial for it in this article.

Get a Windows tablet or 2-in-1 PC.

This is the most obvious answer – getting a Windows tablet will get you the best portable Windows expirience.

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