Ever wished to experience Linux while you are on Windows operating system ? You probably have a hidden urge to experience it but you never did cause you do not want to mess up with the dual boot operating system. So the solution for this is to install a virtual machine inside your current operating system and enjoy the Linux inside your windows machine, cool no ?

Ok so lets see what are we going to do here. In this tutorial I am going to show you how you can install a Linux operating system, Ubuntu in this case. You can download the latest version of Ubuntu from the downloads section http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/download. We need the ISO version, which can be mounted on virtual drive such that our virtual machines boots from there.

You will learn –

  • How to setup a virtual machine
  • Boot up the machine
  • And finally install you the virtual operating system 🙂

Firstly you need to download an application which enables virtualization. I recommend downloading Virtualbox, which is an open source software developer by Sun Microsystem and is now owned by Oracle. After download, run the simple setup and lets get started. Download your favorite linux distro, I am using Ubuntu-10.04.2-desktop-i386 for this example.

So now we have the virtualization software, and the operating system ISO, lets make our own virtual machine now. Follow these steps –

  1. Open Virtual box and click on New from the toolbar.
  2. A wizard will open to create a new virtual machineimage
  3. Give name to your operating system. I chose Ubuntu as the name and it automatically picked the Operating system and versionimage
  4. Now we choose the memory (RAM) Size in the next wizard. Minimum recommended is 512MB to run the virtual operating system smoothly. image
  5. Create a new virtual hard-disk and make it dynamic expanding storage. image
  6. So now we have is a bare system ready. A virtual machine with all the hardware and all we need to install is the new virtual Operating system, i.e. Ubuntu in our case. Now lets do the settings for this virtual machine, such that it boots from the Ubuntu ISO which we downloaded. Go to the settings of the newly created machine and mount the ISO into the virtual CD ROM drive. The image below explains it clearly – image
  7. Now that we are done with the settings, lets boot the machine and start with the setup of the virtual Operating system. It will automatically boot from the virtual CD since, the hard disk is empty and the installation will start. image


Now when the installation is complete you have your own very virtual machine. The setup will ask you to remove the disc and restart. To remove the virtually mounted disc, you can goto the settings and remove. However, you can also remove it from the bottom toolbar by right clicking on the CD ROM icon and untick the virtual disk.

Now that you boot the system, you might notice that the screen resolution is not full screen as the host system (Windows). To make it look good, virtual box provides a mechanism to install Guest Additions which install the necessary graphic drivers etc. to run flawlessly on the host machine. When on virtual machine window click Devices and choose “Install Guest Additions”. This will mount a virtual device inside your virtual operating system.


To install these tools follow the steps –

  1. Open terminal and type cd /media/
  2. You will see a virtual media called VBOXADDITIONS_VERSIONNO
  3. Inside this media you will see a file called autorun.sh
  4. Execute it using ./autorun.sh
  5. It will take sometime to install additions and then done.
  6. Reboot the machine and you will see the new graphic drivers installed.



Finally you have Ubuntu installe virtually nice and clear. Enjoy  the experience with the most famous linux distro or whatever you are installing 🙂 . I bet you will then knock out the host operating system down to make Linux your default OS.


Stay Digified !!
Sachin Khosla

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