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Old 12-01-2017, 07:02 PM   #1
Registered: May 2008
Location: Washington State
Distribution: Slackware-current
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Smile VirtualBox Android-x86 mouse integration invisible cursor solution

It takes a patch to VirtualBox and a file added to Android-x86 guest to make mouse integration work properly.

This note describes issues associated with running Android-x86 in an Oracle VirtualBox virtual machine which is hosted on an x86_64 physical machine running Slackware 14.2.

VirtualBox is available at The most current version at this time is 5.0.40. Later versions require Qt5.

The virtualbox SlackBuild and the virtualbox-kernel SlackBuild are needed for the host (physical) machine running VirtualBox. virtualbox-kernel requires a reboot, since it adds a module to the 14.2 kernel.

The Android-x86 version used was android-x86_64-6.0-r3.iso("marshmallow"), obtained from the Android-x86 website.

There are YouTube videos out there about installing Android in VirtualBox. This involves configuring the virtual machine to be big enough to run Android. I found that a 512Mb memory with 128Mb of display memory and an 8Gb virtual hard drive worked fine.

With all this done, Android comes up, but there are issues with the emulation of the touchscreen. Oracle provides an extension ("Guest Additions") for the guest system that provides "mouse integration", but only for Linux and Microsoft Windows guests. Oracle does not supply Guest Additions for Android. Without Guest Additions, the basic way to emulate the touchscreen is to turn off "mouse integration" and have VirtualBox capture the mouse when it is clicked in the Android screen, then have the user manually uncapture it (with the right ctrl key) when you want to click elsewhere (including VirtualBox menus). This is cumbersome.

The default VirtualBox input configuration is "USB Tablet", which provides "mouse integration", but does not work correctly. In the default version of 5.0.40, it must be turned off to use the manual method. There was a change in Android-x86 between version 4.4 ("kit-kat") and 6.0 ("marshmallow"). 4.4 had a file called "GenericTouch.idc"(available on the web) which has been omitted in subsequent versions. The effect of this file was to tell Android-x86 that the pointing device was a touchscreen, not an external pointer device. The essentials of it are:

touch.deviceType = touchScreen
touch.touchSize.calibration = default
touch.toolSize.calibration = default
touch.pressure.calibration = default
touch.size.calibration = default
touch.orientation.calibration = none
device.internal = 1

If a file with this content is placed in the Android virtual filesystem at


then mouse integration will work and "capture" and "manual release" will no longer be required. However, the cursor will be invisible inside the Android window, making it difficult to position the pointer.

An easy workaround is to press the mouse on the host desktop, then drag to the place in the Android window that you want to press. The cursor will be handled by the host until you release the button, and will remain visible. When you release the button, the cursor will disappear, but the pointer will remain in the same location. Clicking the button will perform a finger press.

A cleaner fix is to have the host display the cursor, even inside the Android window. The attached patch checks an environment variable to force the host to display the cursor. When VirtualBox is built with this patch, and started with

env VBOX_SHOW_HOST_CURSOR= virtualbox

the presence of the environment variable will be detected and the cursor will remain visible in the Android window. NOTE: this will affect ALL virtual machines run by this invocation of VirtualBox, not just Android.
Attached Files
File Type: txt patch.txt (504 Bytes, 204 views)


android-x86, mouse cursor, slackware, virtual box

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