How You Can Run Android APK Files In Windows 10

Tech Guide
Tech Guide

One of the smoothest features of a full-powered OS like Windows 10 running on modern processors with scads of memory is that this amazing combination makes it a possibility to emulate several computer models. Emulation has been quite popular in the software space for years now, but usually at the consumer level, emulation solutions were weak, ineffective or not proper. The main issue being that operating systems vary and provide different things to developers. This is the reason why running a program written for one operating system on a different OS is one hell of a deceptive proposition to make happen.

But, with Android emulation on Windows, hardware and software scaling now make Android emulation workable and not just possible. Android is designed to function on computers, phones and tabs with little amounts of cash, storage and processors that will not always be high-performance beasts. The OS itself is pretty straight-forward, well-documented, and useful. This means that a Windows 10 machine possess more than enough horsepower to behave like a rapid Android.

If you fancy running Android applications on a Windows machine, there are lots of ways to make that happen. Lets check them out now.

APK Files

Do you even know what an APK file is? It is the package that houses an Android application and its installer. You will mostly find them with names like “filename.apk” and are much like an .exe file in Windows. Smartphone owners usually do not view the APK file after installation of an app in the Google Play Store since the system takes over all the unpacking and installing and all the end-user can see is the “Installing…..” text visible in the store.

The separation is not bad till you need to acquire APK files to do and undo with, develop or reverse engineer. The simplest and most uncomplicated way to get the files is to have them downloaded from your phone and make use of them directly from there. There are websites that let you download the APK files of legal apps, but they are legally suspicious so i will advice that you stay away so you do not install a little malware in return for a free download.

There are proper ways to download APK files from the Google Play store. And if your aim is to download and install an APK on your Android device, there is how to get that done.

Setting Android SDK Up To Run APK Files In Windows 10

One easy and direct way to run an APK file on your Windows 10 machine is to make use of the Android Software Development Kit (SDK). Like other little operating systems, Android development, most times, is not done on a native machine, but instead on a wider and more powerful system. To do it this way, you will require the latest version of Java on your computer and the Android SDK. Download Java and Android SDK from here. Find your way to the bottom of the Android Studio page and select Command Line Tools. If you are not trying to create an Android app, the complete Studio package is unnecessary.

  1. Get the package downloaded to your system and extract to your C- drive.
  2. Head to Control Panel, System and Advanced System Settings.
  3. Choose Environment Variables and highlight Path.
  4. Tap Edit and paste “C:\Android\sdk\tools;C:\Android\sdk\platform-tools” into the variable value.

It is now possible to open a virtual Android device by double-tapping the APK file. The SDK and the app will take sometime to load and can be a bit too slow sometimes. Be patient. Games and other graphics-intensive programs will probably not work but majority of other applications will work like they should.

Making Use Of A Complete Android Emulator To Run APK Files In Windows 10

Running the SDK is effective if you only need to take a fast look at an application or whatever, but if you really intend to use these apps, games, then a full-fledged emulator must be installed. Android emulators for Windows simply create a counterfeit Android machine on your Windows PC. You will simply be
running an Android device from within your Windows device. It sounds tedious but it works well. There are lots of great good emulator programs out there, but let me quickly touch on some of the more popular ones, Nox and BlueStacks.


It is an Android emulator that functions effectively. It does not make use of a total Android version like Android SDK but an edited variant. If your aim is to QA code or soak test an app, this app player will not precisely replicate the release environment. For every other thing, BlueStacks App Player is quite apt.

  1. Download and install the BlueStacks App Player.
  2. Get yourself logged in via your Google account and set up a profile.
  3. Do as you please via the Play Store.

As soon as it is in full effect, BlueStacks resembles any Android tablet. It possesses the regular Android front end, menus e.t.c. You just get to control it with a mouse or tap if there is a touchscreen. The rest feel like Android. BlueStacks will notify you about every possible message it can think of and that can be frustrating. Other than that, it is a decent emulator.


This one is focused in the direction of serious Android gamers that fancy playing Android games on a big screen. Like Bluestacks, Nox is far from the perfect emulation of Android, but applications run on it quite well.

  1. Download the Nox player.
  2. Set up the player with your preferences and defaults.
  3. Load the app you wish to use, via the Play store or manually with APK files.

As you run Nox, a complete-featured Android desktop is created, like BlueStacks. Nox runs Android Kit Kat.

Both Bluestacks and Nox have fully-functional versions that you do not have to pay a dime for. Upgrades to paid versions are available on Bluestacks but Nox has no paid subscription version.

Setting ARC Welder Up To Run APK Files In Windows 10

ARC Welder is a Google Chrome extension that lets you run APK files inside the browser. It is definitely the simplest way to run APK files. The good thing about it is that you are able to run it on any device that can run Google Chrome. The disadvantage is its bugs.

  1. Download and install ARC Welder extension.
  2. Download your APKs and direct ARC Welder to them.
  3. Decide on how you want them, portrait or landscape and if you are fine with allowing clipboard access.

ARC Welder is a dope extension for simulating Android, but it has no Google Play Store access like BlueStacks and Nox. This tells you that APK files must be acquired and downloaded onto your PC, and added manually from inside ARC Welder.

The disadvantage that ARC Welder presents is the fact that you are allowed to only run one app at a time. This will not bother you if you are testing or using one application but to make use of it as an Android emulator, it can be quite restricting. If there is an app open, head back to the install screen and select a different one.


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