I mentioned a couple days ago in a quick write up on installing Ubuntu 8.10 in VMware Fusion that I would take a look at the process of installing Ubuntu 8.10 in VirtualBox. VirtualBox, unlike other desktop virtualization products is free for personal use and is opensource. It allows users to install a wide variety of operating systems without having the overhead of physical hardware.
Installing VirtualBox is pretty easy, download the application which supports Windows XP, Linux 32bit/64bit, OS X, Solaris and OpenSolaris as the host operating system and then follow the on screen instructions to complete the installation.
In this article I’ve used the OS X version of VirtualBox because my Mac was handy at the time. However, the screenshots are similar regardless of the operating system you have VirtualBox installed on.
The goal of this article is to show novice users a step by step installation of installing an Ubuntu Desktop inside of VirtualBox without having to mutli-boot their computer. I am going to assume you have VirtualBox installed and have either downloaded the Ubuntu ISO image or have an Ubuntu CDROM handy.
Creating the Ubuntu virtual machine
- Open VirtualBox and create a new virtual machine and click the “New” Icon. A new wizard window will appear as shown in (Figure 1), click “next”.
- Enter the name of your new virtual machine perhaps “Ubuntu810Desktop” and then select “Linux” from the drop down Operating System menu, Ubuntu 32bit will highlight by default, click “Next” (Figure 2)
- Select the amount of RAM you wish to dedicated to your Ubuntu Desktop, the default is 256MB however, 512MB would give you better performance if you have the available RAM, click “Next“. (Figure 3)
- Next, you will be presented with the option to create a new virtual Disk. Click the “New” button and another window will appear (Figure 4), click “Next“, you are presented with an option to for “Dynamic” or “Fixed” storage. Dynamic storage will grow the virtual disk as you require more space (saving space on the hard drive) whereas Fixed storage will pre-allocate the space. I’ve selected “Dyanmic” for this installation (Figure 5), click “Next“.
- Enter the name of the virtual machine and select the amount of space you wish to give your Ubuntu Dekstop, I’ve opted to use the default of 8GB. (Figure 6, Figure 7) Click, “Next” and finally “Finish” to complete the creation of the virtual disk for the Ubuntu Desktop.
- You will be dropped back to the virtual disk screen and you will notice the new virtual disk, click “Next” to continue. (Figure 8 )
- Finally, the last screen will give you a general overview of the virtual machine, click “Finish” to complete. (Figure 9 )
- Now that the virtual machine template has been created we can begin the installation of Ubuntu. The first thing we need to do is attach the Ubuntu ISO image or CDROM to our virtual machine. Click the CD/DVD-ROM link, its blue (Figure 10 ) a new window will appear as shown in (Figure 11).
- Check the “Mount CD/DVD” button and then select either “Host CD/DVD” if you have the CDROM or “ISO Image file” if you have the ISO image. I’ve used the ISO image in this example, click “Ok” to complete. (Figure 11, Figure 12)
- Select the virtual machine from the left menu in VirtualBox and click the green start arrow to turn on your virtual machine. You will be presented with a new window and a warning (Figure 13) click “Ok” to dismiss this.
- NOTE: Once you click in the virtual machine window your keyboard and mouse are locked in.
- Your virtual machine will now restart and the Ubuntu installation will begin (Figure 14), select the appropriate language and press “enter“. You will be presented with another window telling you how to exit the screen (Figure 14a), click “Ok“
- Next, you will be presented with a menu (Figure 15) using the arrow keys select the “Install Ubuntu” option and press “enter“. Installation will begin as shown in (Figures 16). Once the installer has loaded a new window will be presented starting the actual installation (Figure 17 ) the language you selected in the previous screen should already be highlighted. Click “Forward“.
- On the next screen select your timezone and click “Forward” (Figure 18), select your keyboard language layout (Figure 19), click “Forward“.
- Next, you are presented with the disk partitioner. We are going to use the defaults here which is “Guided – use entire disk“, click “Forward” to continue the installation.(Figure 20)
- Next, you will be presented with a series of questions pertaining to setup of your user account. Fill in the fields with the acceptable information and click “Forward“. (Figure 21)
- At this point installation is ready to begin, look over the proposed settings and click “Install” when you are ready. This will take a few minutes to complete. (Figure 22)
- Figure 23 is an example of what you can expect along the way during installation.
- When the installation is completed you will be prompted with a windows requiring you to restart the computer. (Figure 24) Things got kind of weird at this point, since the CDROM is attached to the virtual machine un-mounting it by going to the “Devices > Unmount CD/DVD-ROM” would do no good since the virtual machine would reboot off the CDROM again. I couldn’t find a decent way to remove the CDROM from the virtual machine unless I powered it off. So, hit enter to restart the virtual machine and then power it off by click the “X” on the window. You will be presented with three options select “Power off the machine” and click “Ok“.
- Select the virtual machine and click the green “start” button again.
- Once your machine has rebooted you will be prompted with a login screen as shown in (Figure 26) enter the username and password you specified during installation to log into Ubuntu. You will now see your desktop (Figure 27).
Installing the guest additions
- Now, that our Ubuntu operating system is installed we need to install the “Guest Additions” these are similar to the VMware Tools that VMware provides.
- From the VirtualBox menu select “Devices > Install Guest Additions” a CDROM will appear on your desktop and give you a warning just click “Cancel” it’s trying to auto-run as if it was in Windows. Navigate to “Applications > Accessories > Terminal“.
- Enter the following command to switch to the CDROM directory “cd /cdrom“. Invoke the installer by running the following command “sudo ./VBoxLinuxAdditions-x86.run” if you have a 32bit platform or “sudo ./VBoxLinuxAdditions-amd64.run” if you have a 64bit platform. (Figure 28)
- Once the Guest Additions are installed, reboot and you will be presented with a window telling you the benefits of them. Click “Ok” to dismiss the window. (Figure 29)
Enjoy Ubuntu. 🙂
Edit: Andreas pointed out in a comment below of an issue with keyboard layouts using Ubuntu 8.10 and Windows XP SP3. You can find more information here.