This post was most recently updated on December 4th, 2019
One beauty of the android operating system is in its ability to be fully customized. No denying the fact that the android operating system is here to stay for good. More than a decade and still waxing stronger. Today, we will be discussing how to boot your PC from your Android phone with a wonderful android app that goes by the name “DriveDroid”. This app allows you to do other things apart from booting your pc. For example, you can control your pc with it after booting, you can also download any OS from within it. To learn more, please continue reading.
About DriveDroid Android App
DriveDroid is an app by FrozenCow who happens to be a member of XDA Forum. However, on google play store, the app is offered by Softwarebakery. which it allows android users the opportunity to turn your Android device to act as a live USB drive from which you can boot your Computer into various Operating systems from an ISO or IMG files.
Surprisingly, you don’t even need to go through the hassle of downloading and transferring to your device, as the application contains a built-in menu of various well known and lesser-known distros to download straight to your SD card.
This means that you can keep a complete recovery option for your laptop on your device without the need for a separate USB drive or CD.
This app depends on the kernel in use being able to support UMS (USB mass storage mode). Most kernels support this function, but it isn’t usually enabled by default. Activating this feature is what seems to be causing the most issues among users. The app will check for this option being enabled upon the first run and prompt you to enable it if needed. There are also some limitations to the specific ISO files, which can be used with the app, but incompatibilities can be worked around for those with specific needs.
I must admit that this wonder is simply one of the most useful applications I know for Android phones. Say goodbye to burning CDs/DVDs/USB keys. It Saves you time and frustration if you’re the curious/experimental type of user. It works perfectly with LineageOS.
Furthermore, drivedroid saves you from reformatting memory sticks or SD cards and taking years off their lifespan! It is also a great solution to the lack of USB mass storage in newer android phones.
Automatically Boot your PC from your Android Phone with DriveDroid
DriveDroid allows you to boot your PC from ISO/IMG files stored on your phone. This is ideal for trying Linux distributions or always having a rescue-system on the go without the need to burn different CDs or USB pendrives. The paid version of DriveDroid does not include ads and helps the developer.
DriveDroid Main Features at a Glance
- DriveDroid also includes a convenient download menu where you can download USB-images of a number of operating systems from your phone. You can use the app to download operating systems such as Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSUSE. Arch Linux and other 35 OSes.
- Furthermore, you can also create USB-images which allows you to have a blank USB-drive where you can store files in. Another possibility is to use tools on your PC to make a bootable USB-drive out of the blank image that DriveDroid created.3
- First off, you must root your device before this app can work for on your android phone. If you want to learn about android phone rooting, please read this
- This application uses features of the kernel that may or may not be available/stable on your phone. Tests have shown most phones work without problems, but please keep in mind yours might not (yet) work out-of-the-box.
- Most kernels support emulating USB drives, some support emulating CD-rom drives and kernels with the right patches support both.
- Most Linux-related ISOs can be booted from USB drives, but some ISOs can only be booted from CD-rom drives or require some kind of conversion.
Download DriveDroid From PlayStore:
USB Mass Storage (UMS)
DriveDroid relies on the kernel of Android, in particular the USB Mass Storage (UMS) feature. It allows your phone to act as an USB-drive and have a device (SDcard) or file (ISO/IMG) be used as the content for that emulated drive.
Different Android devices implement this feature differently. Most modern devices do not have UMS enabled by default, but it is supported by the kernel. There is an option in DriveDroid to change the USB-mode for devices that do not support UMS by default, but no guarantees.
Since most phones only support emulating USB-drives, DriveDroid will not act as a CD-drive. This means that not all ISO files will work, only hybrid-ISOs and IMG files. Hybrid-ISOs are specially crafted ISOs that are used on many modern Linux-distributions. DriveDroids download list contains most of the distributions that do have hybrid-ISOs.
This is just to notify you that you have to convert non-hybrid ISOs by writing the ISO to the emulated USB-drive. You can get a blank emulated USB-drive by creating a blank image through DriveDroids + menu.
True CD-ROM emulation
True CD-Rom emulation is possible with DriveDroid. It should allow you to run any ISO on your PC.
There is CD-rom support, but it requires patching the kernel. For most users this isn’t an option, however, if you’re interested, the developer has applied patches to the kernel of Cyanogen Mods Nightly builds for the Samsung Galaxy S. The patches are accepted, so the more recent nightlies should work.
The patches can be merged easily to other kernels (for other devices) as well, but I need people to try this for themselves. We can see whether we can get the patches into the nightly builds of CyanogenMod of more devices when it’s well-tested.
Patch to fix booting from the emulated CD-rom drive
Patch to allow applications (like DriveDroid) to switch between USB and CD-mode