The Microsoft Windows operating system has almost completely dominated the PC market since it was first released in 1985. We all remember the good versions like Windows 7, while the unforgettable versions like Windows Millenium are the ones we will soon forget.
One of the best versions of Windows to date is Windows XP, with a small number of users continuing to use this 20-year-old operating system on their PCs. If you want to experiment with XP today, you can use a Windows XP emulator on Android using the Limbo app.
What is a Windows XP emulator?
An emulator is a software that allows you to run software on a device it was not created for. For example, you could run an Android emulator on Windows to give you access to Android apps without having to own an Android device.
Emulators create the right conditions for legacy software to work. This is why most common emulators are game emulators, which allow you to play old console games on your PC, where consoles like the Wii U can be emulated.
You can do the same with Windows XP. A Windows XP emulator is simply a Windows XP virtual machine, which allows you to run this older system on newer hardware. The portability of mobile devices, such as Android smartphones and tablets, makes it an obvious choice for running a portable Windows XP emulator.
You can control it from your Android device or use VNC to turn XP into a remote desktop, allowing you to connect and control it from another device like your PC.
Download the Windows XP ISO
Before starting the installation of the Windows XP emulator, you will need the Windows XP installation files in the ISO image file format.
If you have an old Windows XP installation CD handy, you can create an ISO file using it. Despite the age of the operating system, you will still need a legitimate Windows XP product key to activate Windows.
If you don’t have the old XP installation files on hand, you may be able to locate them online. For example, you can use the files provided as part of the Windows XP mode software to create an ISO file. This is Microsoft’s XP emulator, originally for Windows 7 PCs, and is a legitimate source for XP installation files.
Once you have the ISO file, you will need to move it to your Android device. If your device has a microSD card, remove it and connect it to your PC before transferring the ISO file to it, then put the card back on your device.
Otherwise, use a direct wired connection from PC to Android to copy the file to internal storage. You can also use Bluetooth to transfer your files, but given the size of the ISO file, it may take some time to complete.
Installation of Limbo on Android
Once the Windows XP installation files are accessible on your Android device in the ISO file format, you will need to install the Limbo emulator app. The emulator is not available in the Google Play Store, so you will need to download and install it manually.
You can install the app from your PC using ADB or, alternatively, you can go to the Limbo download page from the browser of your Android device and download the latest APK release file (the android-x86 version to emulate the hardware of the PC).
- Before you can do this, you will need to allow Android APK installations from sources other than Google Play. Depending on the version of your Android device, Android will ask you for permission to install from unknown sources when you try to open the APK file. Follow the onscreen instructions to do this.
- Once Android has permission to install apps from unknown sources, try opening the APK file again. This will start the package installer. Tap Install to authorize the app installation.
Setting up Windows XP on Android
You can use Limbo to emulate a PC capable of running Windows XP, using the ISO file to install it on your device.
- To get started, open the Limbo app. You will need to acknowledge the license agreement when you first launch it, so tap Agree to accept it.
- You can start configuring the correct virtual PC for XP installation from the main Limbo screen. From the Load Machine drop-down menu, tap Next.
- Name the new virtual machine (for example, Windows XP), then tap Create to confirm.
- Limbo will offer you access to a list of Linux operating systems for you to download. Click Cancel, while you are installing Windows from the ISO file.
You will need to configure the virtual machine settings to emulate the correct PC hardware for XP. Tap each section to set the following configuration.
- Under CPU/Card, set the following settings: x64 Architecture, PC Machine Type, SandyBridge CPU Model, 2 core CPU, 1024 RAM Memory (MB). You can select multiple CPU cores and RAM (MB) memory values if the device has multiple CPU cores and available memory.
- Under discs, tap the check box to enable Hard Disks. Select New from the drop-down menu, name the image, set a minimum size of 2GB, then tap Create.
- Under Removable, tap Open next to CDROM. Select the XP ISO file here.
- In Boot, set Hard Disk as the Boot from Device option.
- In Graphics, set VMware as your video display option.
- For security reasons, it is not advisable to provide an Internet connection to the XP emulator. If you understand the risks, you can do so in the Network section before starting it.
- Once you set your settings, touch the button to play/start to start to run the emulator XP on your device.
Access to the Windows XP emulator
You can access the Windows XP emulator using the Limbo app as soon as you hit play. The above settings are designed to allow you to use XP from your device, using the touch screen to move the mouse cursor. You can also use a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard for easier access.
You will need to follow the onscreen instructions when you first boot your virtual machine to install XP into the virtual hard disk file you created. A typical XP configuration will follow, allowing you to configure local settings and other XP settings. The installation may take some time to complete.
Once XP is installed, you can start using it as it was designed to be used. However, you will need to remove the XP ISO from the Removable section to make sure the ISO file does not load the installation files.
If you wish to access XP remotely, you will need to change the UI setting from SDL to VNC in order to use a VNC client such as VNC Viewer on your PC to remotely access the emulator while it is running on your device.