What is Virtual Box?
VirtualBox (VB) is a cross-platform hypervisor or virtualization software developed by Oracle Corporation. Essentially, VB allows the user to run a guest operating system on a different host operating system with little or no need to partition the hard drive or run another OS on a dual boot, risking the host system crashing.
VirtualBox creates a virtual hard disk and installs the guest OS on it. A virtual hard disk is nothing more than a large file stored on a computer’s hard drive. This file works like a real hard drive for the guest OS.
Running any application software or video game in virtual machines is sometimes not as smooth as running it in an OS installed on full hardware. It all depends on the amount of hardware resources allocated to the virtual machine.
Why use VB?
I know that many of us have heard of VirtualBox but have always been wary of trying or using it just because we think it is a messy task to set up a virtual machine and it can harm our entire computer system. However, this is misleading because it is easy to set up virtual machines and it will not affect your computer system if you set it up correctly.
VirtualBox can be very useful for people like me who always like to experiment with different applications and operating systems because:
- It can also be a very useful tool for app developers who can test their app on another platform before publishing it.
- Software reviewers like me can also use this to try and test software on different platforms in one window.
First go to the downloads page at VirtualBox official website and download the installation package depending on your operating system. I’m about to install virtual box on the latest version of Microsoft Windows 11.
Once the download is complete, run the setup file and follow the installer’s instructions to guide you through the installation process.
You don’t need to change anything during installation. So, just click “Next” every time it asks and completes the installation.
Once the installation is complete, launch VirtualBox from the desktop or from the start menu and the main screen will appear as shown below.
Setting up VirtualBox for Ubuntu installation
We will now see how to set up a virtual machine to install Ubuntu on VirtualBox. You can follow the steps below to install Windows 10, Mac OS and more.
Create a virtual machine
To get started, click the NEW button at the top of the VirtualBox main screen. Then the “Create a virtual machine” window will appear, where you will need to give the virtual machine a name, such as Ubuntu. Then select the type and version of the operating system you are about to install. Here I have a 64-bit ISO file, so I chose the 64-bit version.
I’m going to install Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (Long Term Support) which is a 64-bit operating system.
Click “Next. You will then be asked to allocate RAM. Always remember to allocate more than half of all RAM otherwise it will affect the performance of your computer and in some cases may crash the host system.
I have a total of 8 GB of RAM, so I will allocate 1 GB, i.e. 1024 MB, which should be enough to run Ubuntu. According to your usage, you can allocate your preferred RAM size for your virtual machine.
Click Next again. It will then ask you to create a virtual hard disk.
Set up virtual hard disk
Now you need to create a virtual hard disk to store the virtual machine’s data. Just select the “Create a virtual hard disk now” option and click the “Create” button.
On the next screen, you will be prompted to select the hard drive file type. Just select VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) and click Next.
The next screen will ask you whether to create a dynamically allocated hard drive or a fixed size hard drive. If you want the virtual machine to always run smoothly, you should choose a fixed size where you will need to set the hard disk size. But it will take up more disk space for better performance.
With a dynamically allocated disk, you will need to set a maximum disk size, but the file will not take up more than the allocated disk space. If you need a high performance virtual machine, select “Fixed size” and click “Next”.
You will then need to select the size of the virtual hard disk. The choice of disk size always depends on how you intend to use the VM. If you are going to install many applications on Ubuntu for different purposes, you will need to allocate at least 25 GB of disk space, otherwise you can also allocate less space.
Here I choose only 10 GB because I am creating this virtual machine for this tutorial.
Then click “Create” and you are ready to install Ubuntu in the virtual machine.
As shown in the screenshot above, you can see that the Ubuntu VM has been added to VirtualBox.
Before we start installing Ubuntu, we need to tweak some settings to make sure the Ubuntu VM is running at its best.
Click the “Settings” button, then the following window will appear. Click the Processor tab in the System menu. Here, increase the Processors value to 2 and click OK.
Now select the “Motherboard” tab, where in the “Boot Order” section you will see that the floppy disk has the highest priority. Now uncheck Floppy and move Optical up with the arrow button. Set the priority for optical and hard disk as shown in the screenshot below.
Then select the Show menu. Under the Display tab, you will need to allocate the full video memory i.e. 128MB. Also check the boxes next to “Enable 3D acceleration” and “Enable 2D video acceleration”.
We will now mount the .iso file to install Ubuntu. To do this, go to the “Storage” menu, where you will see “Empty Disk” under “Controller: IDE”, select “Empty”.
Also, in the optical drive, click the “Select Virtual Optical Disk File” drop-down list and locate the Ubuntu installation file.
You can download the installation .iso file Ubuntu from here.
Now you can see that the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso disk is created instead of an empty disk. Finally, click OK and you’re all set to install Ubuntu.
We will now start by installing Ubuntu. This process is no different from a normal OS installation, which we perform using the installation media or bootable flash drive.
Installing Ubuntu 22.04 LTS on Virtual Box
To get started, click the Start button on the main VirtualBox screen. This will initiate the first boot of Ubuntu.
Next, you will be prompted to try Ubuntu or install Ubuntu. You just need to click “Install Ubuntu”.
On the next screen, you need to select your preferred language and go to the next screen which is called “Updates and other software”. Select “Typical Installation” and click the “Continue” button.
Then select your time zone and on the next screen you will be asked to provide user details. Paste the data and click Continue.
The installation of Ubuntu will now begin. Wait for the installation to complete.
Once the installation is complete, you will be prompted to restart your computer. Just click the Reload Now button and VB will do the rest.
The latest version of Ubuntu 22.04 LTS is now successfully installed in the virtual machine.
Install Guest Additions
To enable all the features of VirtualBox, you need to install the Guest Additions on Ubuntu. Select the “Devices” tab in the VirtualBox window and click “Insert Guest Additions CD Image”.
A prompt will appear on the Ubuntu screen asking “Do you want to run it?”.
Click “Run” and enter the password for authentication. Then a terminal window will open and it will automatically do some installation.
When you see the message Press Return to close this window… press Enter to complete the setup.
You have finished the setup and now you can enjoy Ubuntu on your Windows.
All steps and process are done on Windows 11 and Ubuntu 22.04 LTS. You can follow the same steps on older versions of Windows and Ubuntu as well.
2453600cookie-checkVirtualBox: A Beginner’s Guide and How to Set Up an Ubuntu Virtual Machine
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