Android Subsystem for Windows


Did you know you could run your favourite mobile phone and tablet apps from your desktop or laptop? Microsoft has a feature called Android Subsystem for Windows that allowed users to run Android apps on their computer and even have an icon on the task bar to launch your favourite app.

What was Android Subsystem for Windows?

Android Subsystem for Windows is a program that can be installed into Windows 11 that enables the ability to emulate an Android device and the apps you install would have an icon on the desktop or task bar to make it easy for you to open the app.

Unfortunately, Microsoft never got Google on board, so the Google Play Store was never available and so users would have to use the Amazon App store instead. However, Amazon has just pulled their app store from the Microsoft Store, so you can install the Android subsystem but you won’t be able to use an app store to get apps.

In addition, Microsoft is discontinuing the Android Subsystem for Windows on 5th March 2025.

What does Microsoft want you to use instead?

Microsoft has something called Phone Link, which is basically a screen and keyboard for your existing Android devices. They don’t run on your computer, they run on your device and connect over Wi-Fi.

You can then interact with the apps:

  • Single click – behaves like a touch or a tap.
  • Right click – behaves as a back button.
  • Click and hold – behaves like a long press.
  • Click, hold and drag – This selects content.
  • Mouse scroll – Move pages horizontally or vertically.

You need Link to Windows installed from the Google Play Store and works on Windows 10 and Windows 11.

You can use Link to Windows on an Apple iPhone, but it will only connect to Windows 11.

I want to run the app on my PC

There are emulators you can install on your PC that will enable you to emulate a device on Windows. Here is a list of some of the most common:

  • Bluestacks – You install an version of Android for your PC.
  • LDPlayer – Installs Android Pie and leans more on performance for gaming on Android.
  • ARChon – ARChon is an emulator to run in a Chrome browser.
  • KOPlayer – This emulator has a PC and a Mac version.
  • NoxPlayer – This is another emulator optimised for games.

Note that emulators may work faster if you have virtualisation switched on (Intel-VT and AMD-V) in the BIOS.

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