The new Windows Subsystem for Android is designed to let you run Android apps on Windows 11 computers. The official way to get apps is through the Microsoft Store and/or Amazon Appstore. Unofficially you can sideload apps from any source (we have a guide for doing that).
But what if you want to install the Google Play Store so you can access all the apps and services you may have already paid for on your phone, tablet, or other devices? Now you can do that too… although getting everything up and running is a little tricky. Update: There’s a second method which may be a little easier for some users. See below for more details about both methods.
Sideloading apps with the Windows Subsystem for Android
Microsoft released an initial build of the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) to members of the Windows Insiders Preview program this week, and while it’s officially tied to the Amazon Appstore with only 50 apps available at launch, users have already figured out how to:
- Sideload apps from other sources (including third-party app stores like F-Droid and the Aurora Store).
- Install Windows Subsystem for Android on the stable branch of Windows 11.
- Bypass the Amazon Appstore region lock to use it outside of the United States.
Unfortunately when I first tried using the same method to install the full Google Play Store that I’ve used countless times with Amazon Fire tablets, I ran into a roadblock: I could install and even launch the Play Store, but I was unable to login. Pressing the sign-in button did nothing.
But now there are at least two ways to install Google apps and services including tthe Google Play Store on the Windows Subsystem for Android.
Developer ADeltaX has released a tool called WSAGAScript that smashes its way through that roadblock… although it does it in a way that feels a little risky at the moment.
That’s because WSAGAScript involves downloading the Windows Subsystem for Android installer package, modifying its contents by changing partition sizes, adding Google Apps, and modifying permissions. You also need to replace the kernel with a modified, pre-rooted one that allows you to adjust SELinux settings in order to actually login to the Google Play Store (otherwise you’ll get the same unable to sign in problem that I encountered).
After you’ve done that, you should be able to restore the original kernel, which should theoretically be more secure and reliable and allow you to receive updates to the Windows Subsystem for Android from Microsoft without breaking anything.
But seeing as Microsoft has only released one build of WSA so far, there’s no guarantee that everything will continue working after an update.
Plus, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to use WSAGAScripts, including downloading and modifying that Windows Subsystem for Android installer, installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux so that you can run some Linux-only commands, and more.
Of course, it’s possible that WSAGAScript will also be updated in the future and/or that other tools that are easier to use will emerge. But for now, using WSAGAScript takes a fair amount of work.
If that doesn’t scare you off, you can find the script and written instructions at the WSAGAScript GitHub project page or check out a video walkthrough that shows the entire process from start to finish in about 10 minutes:
Developer LSPosed has come up with a way to root the Windows Subsystem for Android, install Magisk, and load the Google Play Store and other Google apps in just a few clicks.
At a high level, the LSPosed MagiskOnWSA method is doing the same thing as the WSAGAScript method, but with less user intervention required. You don’t need to install the Windows Subsystem for Linux and you don’t need to do as much in the command line.
But it does still take a little bit of work, as you’ll need to:
- Have a GitHub account.
- Fork the LSPosed MagiskOnWSA repo.
- Run an action on GitHub to create a pre-rooted Windows Subsystem for Android file with Google Apps pre-installed (you can choose which version of Open GApps to use – I picked “micro” for the Play Store plus a few other key apps).
- Download and unzip the file created in the previous step.
- Enable Developer mode on Windows 11.
- Run PowerShell as an administrator and run one line to install the modified Windows Subsystem for Android build that you just downloaded.
If that sounds daunting, then this might not be the method for you, but I did actually find it a little simpler to follow than the WSAGAScript method, and I’m now running a version of the Windows Subsystem for Android with Google Play enabled on my PC.
Note that you will have to uninstall any previously-installed instance of WSA before beginning, and that will remove any Android apps you may have already installed. But with the Google Play Store, you should be able to re-install them.
Also bear in mind that it’s still early days for the Windows Subsystem for Android, and it’s unclear if rooting or installing officially unsupported apps like the Google Services Framework and Google Play Store will cause problems moving forward. But it’s still pretty cool that within days of Microsoft releasing the first beta builds of WSA, independent developers have figured out how to sidestep some of its key limitations.
does not require installing the Windows Subsystem for Linux, but you do still need to run a few commands in Windows PowerShell.
You can find step-by-step instructions at GitHubt for using the LSPosed MagiskOnWSA method for installing the Play Store on WSA.
This article was originally published October 23, 2021 and last updated October 28, 2021.