Installing Android x86 on a Gateway LT21 Netbook

A few years back I jumped on the netbook craze and bought the Gateway LT21. I was pretty cool to have a small computer that actually had 8 hours of battery life. But in the last year or so, It became un-usably slow running windows / linux. Leaving it to collect dust on the shelf. Last month I re-discovered the android x86 project, and decided to try it out on my netbook

gateway lt21 running android x86


Booting off the live cd is a breeze. But I had to jump through some hoops to get it to install to the hard drive. The following are the steps I used to install Android x86 to my netbook’s hard drive / ssd.

  1. Download the live cd image from I used the 4.4 kitkat version.
  2. On windows I used rufus to transfer the live cd image on to the hard drive.

  3. I used easeUS partition master to shrink the size of the partition down to 450 megs

  4. I created a new partition the with the remainder of the free disk space and formatted it with ext3

  5. From there I was able to run boot from the hard drive and run the installation process. A couple notes
    • If android is the only os on then hard drive install grub boot loader
    • if the target partition is ext3 then android will be able to use the entire drive . Say the file system was fat32 then the installer would ask you to create a “sd card” image, which would max out at 2 gigs because that’s the largest file size allowed with fat32.

Things that work out of the box

  • wifi
  • suspend / resume
  • mouse
  • keyboard
  • screen brightness
  • camera
    • Taking pictures with the camera app is a little slow. once the capture button is pressed its delayed by about 5 seconds
  • sound, speakers, and headphone jack
  • microphone


Right after I got a working install, all of of the following apps seemed to work as they do on any android device.

  • google music
  • google inbox
  • google now
    • Randomly, this app quits. Some days it works fine
    • “Ok Google”, works great
  • hangouts
  • google keep
  • chrome
  • netflix
    • Local playback doesn’t seem to work but casting does.

keyboard shortcuts

key action
esc back
alt + left arrow toggles cli and the x windows
windows key home
menu key home long press
alt + tab works just like windows / linux alt + tab

On my Gateway LT21 the following function / media keys work

  • screen brightness
  • mute
  • volume up / down
  • suspend

mouse actions

gesture location action
two finger swipe up * swipe down
two finger swipe down * swipe up
two finger swipe left * swipe left
two finger swipe left * swipe right

Its pretty cool to note that most of the keyboard short cuts that work for chrome on the desktop also work.

Some of my favorites are

  • ctrl + page up / down ,swap tabs
  • ctrl + click, open link in a new tab
  • ctrl + t, new tab
  • ctrl + w, close current tab


Although most of the important things work without any configuration, there are features / settings that need to be tweaked before your install can be used.

Battery status

Getting the battery to report the current percent of charge will require a bit of configuration. after reading the documentation On my install I had to do the following

  • create this file structure /vendor/asus/system.prop
  • vi /vendor/asus/system.prop

and pasted the following text into the newly created system.prop
ro.sys.fs.power_supply.bat.feature.voltage.full=/voltage_full is not supported
#ro.sys.fs.power_supply.bat.features.bat.temperature is not supported

And restart, the battery should now report its status correctly. However I have noticed some times when you power off / on it still will report as 0% charged randomly, but all that’s needed to fix it is another restart.

Mouse cursor / I beam

Upon installation when typing with most apps the I-beam isn’t visible when typing. Which makes it quite hard to see where you are in a sentence. I was able to fix this with

  • Installing Null keyboard
  • Adding it to the input settings via settings -> input settings
  • At the top right of the screen the keyboard icon will appear, click it and disable the physical keyboard. Doing so will make the I-beam consistently show up when typing.

No Universal ctrl + z / Undo

It seems in most apps that cntrl + z doesn’t execute “undo”. There dosen’t appear to be a anything built in to android to make this work like it does in windows and or linux. From my experience ctrl + v and ctrl + c work in most apps

Screen Rotation

Some apps like to hijack screen orientation to portrait mode. This is a problem because my netbook doesn’t have a g sensor to “reverse” the screen orientation.

The built in “lock screen” orientation only gets you half way to preventing this from happening. I’ve had a couple apps still rotate the screen, bummer!

Lucky this app - set orientation will solve this issue and prevent the screen from being rotated

Inverse Scroll

Scrolling / panning through screens is done is inverse due to android being built to run with touch screens. I think this is partially due to how the the touch pad is recognized and what driver is loaded. I you plug in a usb mouse and use the scroll wheel it works like you would expect in windows or linux.

Since I’ve gotten used to the inverse scroll, I really don’t consider as annoying as it used to be. So I’ve given up on trying to switch the drivers around for the touch pad.

Parting thoughts

I really gotta tip my hat to the Android x86 project! They really brought the android experience to the x86 platform in a way that I really never thought possible. If you have an old netbook, laptop or desktop lying around I would highly recommend checking it out.