Virtual Machines, or VMs, are an excellent way to experiment with Linux or other operating systems without making them your primary environment. Our Windows PC can run a variety of guest operating systems. We can try out the latest Ubuntu, Fedora, Manjaro, or Linux Mint without spending any money on additional hardware. We can install Windows 11 and even macOS on top of our host, so virtual machines aren’t just limited to Linux.
Oracle’s VirtualBox, a free app that provides an easy-to-use interface and a slew of extra features that combine the host and guest operating systems into one smooth-running machine, is one of the simplest ways to create a VM.
In this tutorial, we will download a Linux distribution and set up a virtual machine to run the Linux operating system.
Downloading a Linux Operating System
The OS choice for a virtual machine should be simple. Since Ubuntu is our favorite, we downloaded the current version with long-term support, 22.04, and the latest beta version, 22.10. The installation for 22.10 worked, but it wouldn’t boot, so we reinstalled using 22.04 and everything went well.
You can choose any Linux OS you want, but think about how much processing power you have to spare. The more powerful the host machine, the more resources we can give to the VM and its guest OS.
How to Install Linux on a VirtualBox Virtual Machines
- Download and install VirtualBox on your Windows system. Accept the default installation options, which include network and USB interfaces.
- Close the installer and launch VirtualBox by clicking Finish.
Creating a Virtual Machine
- To create a new virtual machine, click New.
- Give the Virtual Machine a name and then click Next. By using the name, Virtualbox will automatically suggest the Type and Version of the OS used in the virtual machine. Because we are using Ubuntu 22.10 in our example, Virtualbox set the Type to Linux and the Version to Ubuntu.
- Configure the VM’s available memory and then click Next. This varies according to your system. We have 32GB of RAM, so we can give the VM 8GB (8192MB).
- Click Create after selecting a new virtual hard disc for the VM. This will begin the process of creating a file that will contain the operating system for the VM.
- Click Next after selecting a VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image).
- Click Next after selecting a dynamically allocated disc size. If you need a specific size, choose a Fixed size and adjust the space accordingly. As files are created and applications are installed, dynamically allocated files will grow along with the operating system.
- Set the location of the VDI hard disc as well as the file size. Then click the Create button. We set the size to 20GB, which is sufficient for an Ubuntu 22.10 installation. The size is the maximum amount of space that the VM can use, so make sure to set it appropriately.
Setting Up a Virtual Machine
- Choose the VM and then click Settings.
- Choose System and then the Processor tab. Allow for as many cores as you can comfortably tolerate. If you have a multi-core system, you can give the VM access to multiple cores. If your CPU supports it, you can also enable advanced features like VT-x and AMD-V.
- Choose Display, allocate enough video memory, and enable 3D acceleration. 16MB should be sufficient for a basic installation, but if you want a smoother experience, allocate more. Adding 3D acceleration isn’t required, but it can help speed up applications that rely on it.
- Choose Storage, and then, under Storage Devices, click on Controller IDE >> Empty, followed by the CD icon, and choose a disc file.
- Choose the Linux ISO and press the Open button.
- Select Network and configure a bridged adapter to connect to your physical network connection.
- Click OK to save your changes.
Running the VM in VirtualBox
We can now start the virtual machine and run the guest OS in VirtualBox now that the installation is complete.
- Select the correct VM and press the Start button. This will make the virtual machine run like a real computer.
- From the Live CD boot menu, select Try or Install Ubuntu and press Enter to begin. This will load the OS into the VM’s RAM and allow us to test the VM before installing it.
3. Experiment with the Live Linux OS to ensure that everything works as it should. We may have to live with an incorrect screen resolution for the time being. We will install additional drivers later in the process to enable more resolutions.
- Put the operating system on the virtual machine (VM).
- After the installation is done, turn the computer off and on again.
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