Remix OS is a desktop-style operating system built around Google Android. It lets you run virtually any Android app or game, but it provides a desktop, taskbar, and window manager that makes Google’s mobile operating system feel more like Windows and other desktop operating systems.
The operating system used to only run on devices with ARM-based processors, but in January the developers at Jide launched an alpha version of Remix OS for PC, allowing you to run the operating system on thousands of desktop or notebook computers with Intel or AMD chips.
Now Remix OS for PC has entered public beta version, which is available for download from the Jide website.
While the alpha version was designed to run from a USB flash drive, Remix OS for PC beta can be installed to your hard drive or SSD, allowing you to dual-boot Remix OS and Windows.
That means every time you boot your computer, you’ll have the option to choose which operating system to run.
Right now the Remix OS for PC installer supports Windows 7 and later. Jide says a Mac version is on the way. And if you decide you don’t want to keep Remix OS loaded on your computer, it’s even easier to remove the operating system than it is to install it.
Another key new feature in Remix OS for PC beta is support for over-the-air updates. This is something that’s been available since day one for devices that ship with Remix OS, like the Jide Remix Ultra tablet and Remix Mini desktop. But the alpha version of Remix OS for PC lacked an updater, so the only way to upgrade was to reinstall the operating system from scratch.
Other updates include: a move to the Linux kernel 4.4 for better compatibility with newer CPUs, support for installation on USB flash drives with up to 64GB of storage, 1080p video support for YouTube and Netflix, and faster USB boot speeds. There’s also now a terminal app pre-installed.
One thing that’s still missing? The Google Play Store. Because Remix OS for PC hasn’t been certified by Google, Jide doesn’t have permission to distribute the Play Store with the operating system. But it’s relatively easy to install it yourself. Once you’ve installed Remix OS on your PC, just follow Liliputing’s guide for loading the Play Store.
Don’t want to install Remix OS to your internal storage? No problem. You can still load it onto a bootable USB flash drive, which lets you run the operating system without making any changes to your computer. But installing it alongside Windows means you don’t need to carry a flash drive around with you, don’t need to worry about the read/write speeds of that flash drive, and might see better overall performance.
Note that I’ve tested this process on two different computers running Windows 10 and it worked perfectly on one PC… but the I couldn’t get past the Remix OS boot screen on the other. Fortunately it’s easy to uninstall Remix OS or just install it to a flash drive if you run into problems.
How to install Remix OS for PC Beta to a hard drive or SSD
1. Download the latest version of Remix OS for PC from the Jide website. There should be builds for computers with 32-bit and 64-bit chips. Choose the appropriate one for your PC.
(Note that while the 32-bit version will run on computers with 64-bit chips, the opposite is not true).
2. Unzip the file you just downloaded and you should have three files: a text file with instructions, an installer file, and an ISO file which is the disc image.
3. Run the Remix OS Installation Tool.exe application and make sure Type and Drive settings at the bottom are correct (you want “Hard Disk” for Type if you’re installing to built-in storage, and the drive letter should match the drive you’ve got Windows installed on).
4. Click the Browse button next to the box that says ISO File and select the large disc image you just downloaded. It should be called something like Remix OS for PC_x86_64-B2016xxxxxx.iso.
5. Click the button that says OK to start the installation.
Wait a few minutes until the progress meter has finished and you see a message saying you can reboot the computer to finish the installation process.
6. When you reboot, you should see a new boot option for Remix OS. Select that option using the arrow keys on your keyboard and hit enter.
This next step should take 15 – 30 minutes depending on your computer’s hardware. Remix OS is basically creating a new 8GB partition on your hard drive and installing the operating system in that space.
8. When everything is finished, Remix OS will boot for the first time and you can start using this desktop-style, Android-based operating system.
9. Want to go back to Windows? Just hit the power icon from the app menu, choose reboot and when the boot menu shows up again, choose Windows instead of Remix OS.
How to install the Play Store
Wondering where the apps are? You can go into the Settings menu and enable installation of apps from unknown sources so that you can download and install APKs from just about anywhere.
But your best bet in most parts of the world is to just install the Google Play Store by following our instructions. Then you can login with your Google account ID and access more than a million Android apps and games.
You should click that link above for more detailed instructions, but here’s a video overview of the proces:
Why is the time incorrect when I reboot to Windows?
Because Windows uses your local time zone while Android uses Universal Time.
If you’re running Windows 7 or later, you can fix this pretty easily.
Can I get more than 8GB of storage?
The official Remix OS for PC installer is configured to use 8GB of disk space, because that should give you enough room for a few large apps (or a lot of small ones), as well as some files. But it’s also a small enough amount of space that the installation process typically takes around 15 – 30 minutes.
But even before Jide released a tool for installing Remix OS to a hard drive, users had figured out how to do it themselves using the USB flash drive-only version of Remix OS for PC alpha… and tucked away in some of those instructions are methods for installing the operating system onto any partition that’s at least 8GB.
How to uninstall Remix OS
If Remix OS didn’t install properly or you just want to remove it for any reason, there are two very quick and easy ways to do that.
The first is to just run the installer again. It’ll notice that Remix OS is already installed on your PC and offer to uninstall it for you. The process takes just a few seconds. When it’s done, the installer will ask you to select the ISO you want to install, but if you close the app, you’re all set.
Don’t have the installer handy? No problem. Just open up the Windows File Explorer, navigate to the C:\Remix OS\ directory, and run the UninstallRemixOS.exe file. It’ll remove the operating system, reset your boot menu options, and delete most of the files in this directory.
How to install Remix OS on a USB flash drive
These steps are similar, to those above, but a little simpler.
1. Download the version of Remix OS you want from the Jide website.
2. Plug a USB 3.0 flash drive with at least 8GB of storage into your PC. Note that it needs to support FAT32 and for best results, it should have a write speed of at least 20 MB/s.
Technically you can use a slower USB drive, or even a USB 2.0 drive. But you’ll get much better performance from a faster flash drive.
3. Run the Remix OS Installation Tool and change the option for Type at the bottom of the screen to USB Drive, and select the appropriate drive letter for your flash drive.
4. Click OK and wait for the installer to do its thing.
5. When it’s finished, reboot your PC and follow the procedure for booting from USB.
If you have a newer computer with Secure Boot features, you’ll probably need to disable it. Older computers with BIOS rather than UEFI probably won’t have this issue. But in either case, you may have to hit a special key on your keyboard to get to a menu that lets you choose which drive to boot from (internal storage or the USB flash drive).
For instance, the F12 key usually does this on Dell and Lenovo computers, the Esc key can bring up a boot menu on Asus systems, and HP uses the F9 key to get to the boot menu.
6. Choose whether you want to run in Guest Mode or Resident Mode. The difference is that in Guest Mode, none of your settings will be saved if you reboot. Resident Mode lets you save data to your drive so that your files and settings are still there whenever you boot from the flash drive.
More information about Remix OS
I interviewed Jide co-founder David Ko for an episode of the LPX Show podcast, and he explains where the idea for the operating system came from, what the company’s vision for the future looks like, and many other details.
You can listen by visiting the LPX Show website, subscribing to the podcast, or by checking out this video: