Android is a remarkably versatile operating system, thanks to its open-source nature. It can boot with across various operating systems – and that even includes iOS. However, the opposite is not always possible. Other operating systems are closed-source and difficult to run on Android. But there are solutions. Winlator, a new app, challenges bulky Windows PCs by booting a nearly fully-functional version of Windows on Google’s operating system.
Winlator essentially provides an easy way to run tools like Box (a tool that lets you run x86 apps on Arm devices) and Wine (a software that lets you run Windows apps on Linux) on Android, by combining a collection of existing apps and tools.
It’s not like Windows was impossible to boot on Android before this, though. Other solutions like Box4Droid have existed. However, Winlator stands out by being remarkably easy to use. Setting it up is simple as installing an APK – no terminal controls or suspicious permissions required.
Setting up the app is easy. You just need to download it from its official website, move a secondary file to a specific directory, and run it. Check out the tutorial below for step-by-step instructions.
1. Download the APK and OBB image files from GitHub.
2. Install the APK file on your phone and launch it once following installation. Close it after a few seconds.
3. Open any file manager app and copy the OBB image you just downloaded. Navigate to the Android/OBB folder and paste the copied file.
4. Open the Winlator app again and let it install the OBB image file.
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5. You will see a screen where you can create a container for running Windows games and applications. Leave everything as default if you have a Snapdragon processor, or change the renderer to VirGl if you have a Mali GPU. Then tap on “Create Container” and wait for it to finish.
That’s it. You have successfully set up Winlator on your phone now. You can install or run Windows games and applications directly from their exe files. Your Downloads folder is your D: drive, so you can access any files you have downloaded there.
How does it perform?
Based on our limited testing of the app, we found that it tends to crash occasionally, even when not running anything particularly demanding. Gaming is far from an enjoyable experience, with most titles either crashing or looking like slideshows. The app cannot be considered a stable emulator like PPSSPP and is therefore more suitable for testing purposes.