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How to set up Ubuntu Linux in VirtualBox

My piece last week about setting up MacOS in VirtualBox got me thinking about our Linux test box here at Dave’s Computers in New Jersey. We have dedicated Linux machines here in the store and at home but we also run virtual machines. They offer the same advantages as the Apple VM, a chance to try before you buy.

With the troubles that Windows 10 is having right now, we are fielding more questions than ever about alternatives. MacOS is one but Linux is another. Distributions such as Ubuntu and Mint make replacing Windows with Linux more viable than ever. There is quite the learning curve though, which is why running a Linux VM could be useful.

Here’s how to do it.

Install Ubuntu Linux in VirtualBox

Just like in our MacOS tutorial, you will need a reasonably recent computer capable of running a virtual machine (VM). You will also need a copy of VirtualBox and a copy of Ubuntu Linux.

  1. Install VirtualBox onto your computer and start it up.
  2. Name it Ubuntu and set the Type as Linux and Version as Ubuntu 32 or 64 bit depending on your computer.
  3. Set memory to 4096MB and select Create.
  4. Select Create again.
  5. Select VDI VirtualBox Image and Dynamically Allocated disk space.
  6. Select Create.
  7. Select your new VM and select Settings.
  8. Select System from the left pane and set base memory to the maximum in the green.
  9. Uncheck Floppy in Boot Order.
  10. Select the Processor tab and select the maximum in the green.
  11. Select Display on the left and increase Video Memory to 128Mb.
  12. Select Storage and check the Ubuntu ISO Controller is set to SATA Port 0 on the right.
  13. Select OK to finish.
  14. Select your Ubuntu VM in the VirtualBox main screen and select Start.
  15. You should see an Ubuntu loader screen appear and then a Welcome screen.
  16. Select Install Ubuntu and then Erase Disk and install Ubuntu.
  17. Follow the installation wizard to set time zone, user account and driver installation and allow the process to complete.
  18. Shut down your Ubuntu machine once fully installed.
  19. Select Storage from the main VirtualBox window.
  20. Select the IDE controller and select the small disc with green plus icon beside it.
  21. Select Choose disk and select VBoxGuestAdditions. This is part of the main VirtualBox download and should be clearly visible from the window.
  22. Select Open and Ok.
  23. Boot your Ubuntu VM.
  24. Select the VirtualBox menu from within the window and select Device and Install Guest Additions.
  25. Follow the wizard and allow the process to complete.
  26. Reboot your VM when prompted.

That’s it! If you have trouble installing Guest Additions, open a Terminal and type ‘sudo sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run’ and hit Enter. That should do it.

Now you have a fully functioning Linux installation to play with as you see fit. It works exactly the same as a dedicated Linux machine does and can do all the things you would expect. Good luck with it!