Installing Ubuntu on VirtualBox

Linux is known for been a very powerful operative system (OS) but not very friendly to the non-technical user. Ubuntu is gaining popularity as a Linux distribution that is friendly to the normal user.

I’ve been interested in trying out Ubuntu since I heard of it, but I haven’t had a chance. That was until just recently. I just started working on a project for a client that uses MonoDevelop to develop a .NET application for Windows in Linux. This was my opportunity to give Ubuntu a try.

Ubuntu offers an installer for Windows users called Wubi. This installer can install Ubuntu just like any other application in Windows, but it will automatically add the option to start Windows or Ubuntu at the system boot screen. If for some reason you need to uninstall Ubuntu, you can do it from the Windows Control Panel, just like any other application.

This is a great feature, but I wanted to be able to run Ubuntu and Windows at the same time, so I decided to run Ubuntu under my VirtualBox installation.

In a previous post, we installed Windows on a virtual machine. Here, we’ll install Ubuntu on another virtual machine with VirtualBox. This gives us benefits like being able to copy and paste between Windows and Ubuntu.

Go to Ubuntu’s download page and download the latest version. As of this post, the latest version is 10.10. There are 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Ubuntu available for download, but there’s an issue with the 64-bit version running on VirtualBox. Download the 32-bit version.

Save the .ISO file to your computer. Open your favorite CD-burning software and create a CD from the .ISO image. Notice that the new disc will be bootable, so you can use it to install Ubuntu on any computer, including virtual machines.

Create New Virtual Machine

Open VirtualBox. Click on the New button to create a new virtual machine. The New Virtual Machine Wizard will come up.

New Virtual Machine

Click Next to start.

The next screen lets you type a name for the new virtual machine and choose the guest operative system type and version.

Virtual Machine Name

Choose Linux from the first dropdown and Ubuntu from the second dropdown. Click on Next.

The next screen lets you choose how much memory to allocate to the new virtual machine.

The recommended size is 512 MB, but I decided to double that for better performance. We don’t want to assign the whole memory though, since Windows can become unstable. Remember that we’re sharing the hardware.

Virtual Machine Memory

Click Next when you’re done.

The next screen gives you the option to create a new virtual hard disk or choose an existing one. Since this is the first time we install Ubuntu on VirtualBox, we need to create a new virtual hard disk.

Virtual Machine Virtual Hard Drive

Click Next to create a new virtual hard disk.

The Create New Virtual Disk Wizard will come up.

New Virtual Hard Drive

Click Next to start the wizard.

The first screen lets us choose the storage type for the virtual hard drive. We talked about the storage types on another post. I’ll use dynamically expanding storage to save space on my hard drive.

Storage Type

Click Next when you’re done.

The next screen lets us choose the location and the name of the file for the new virtual disk. It also allows us to change the size of the virtual hard disk.

I’ll use the default values.

Virtual Disk Size

Click Next when you’re done.

The last screen will show us a summary of the new virtual disk.

Virtual Hard Drive Summary

Click Finish to close the New Virtual Disk Wizard.

You will then be presented with the summary for the new virtual machine.

Virtual Machine Summary

Click Finish to close the Create New Virtual Machine Wizard.

The virtual machine has been created. You’ll see the new virtual machine listed in the main window.

Install Ubuntu

Select the new virtual machine from the list in the main window. Click on the Start button.

You’ll get a warning letting you know that the virtual machine will start capturing the keyboard. If you need to do something outside the virtual machine, just press the control key on the right side of your keyboard (next to the arrow key). If you need to go back to the virtual machine, just click on it.

Auto Capture Keyboard

If you don’t want to get this warning every time you start the virtual machine, check the checkbox at the bottom.

Click OK to close this dialog.

Since this is the first time we run the virtual machine, and there’s no operative system installed on the virtual machine, the First Run Wizard will appear. This wizard will let us boot the virtual machine from a CD.

Insert the Ubuntu CD in your CD drive.

First Run Wizard

Click Next to start.

In the next screen make sure the correct CD drive is selected.

Installation Drive

Click Next to continue.

The last screen shows a summary of the boot options we chose.

First Run Summary

Click Finish to boot the virtual machine from the CD.

You might get a warning about color mode. You will be able to change the color mode once Ubuntu is installed.

Color Mode Information

Click OK to close this dialog.

You will get a message about the mouse pointer integration. This just means that you don’t need to use the right control key when you need to use the mouse pointer outside the virtual machine like you need to do for the keyboard.

Mouse Pointer Integration

You can check the checkbox at the bottom to not get this message every time we start this virtual machine.

Click OK to close the dialog.

You will now see Ubuntu loading.

Ubuntu Loading

The Ubuntu installer will come up inside the virtual machine.

Installation Options

Click on Install Ubuntu to start the installation.

The next screen will make sure that the virtual machine we set up meets the system requirements. It will also give us the option to automatically download updates during the installation.

System Requirements

Click Forward to continue.

The next screen will give us the option to create a single partition on the hard drive or to manually create smaller partitions. Since we are using a virtual hard disk, we’ll just use the entire disk.

Drive Partition

Click Forward to continue.

The next screen shows the size of the partition that will be created.

Partition Size

Click Install Now to start the installation.

While the installation is in progress, we are able to customize some options.

First, we can change our time zone.

Time Zone

Click Forward when you’re done.

Next, we can choose the appropriate layout for our keyboard.

Keyboard Layout

Click Forward when you’re done.

Lastly, we’ll create our user account. Type in your name, how you want to name the computer (virtual machine), the username you would like to use to log in, and a password.

User Information

Click Forward when you’re done.

You will need to restart the virtual machine when the installation is complete.

Ubuntu Installation Complete

Click on Restart Now to finish the installation.

The installer will give you a chance to remove the installation CD from the CD drive before rebooting.

Remove Ubuntu CD

Remove the CD and press Enter.

Ubuntu will now start.

Ubuntu Desktop

There it is, a Linux operative system running on your Windows computer! Please leave your comments.

Get Free Updates
Related Posts