VirtualBox is a free program that allows you to install another operating system on top of your base operating system. It is a convenient option for those who, for example, want to use programs that require other operating systems but have only one computer. In this article I will show you how to install a free operating system called Ubuntu.
First go to virtualbox.org to download an appropriate version for your computer. Install following onscreen instructions. Next, download Ubuntu. Don’t do anything with the downloaded.iso file yet, just save it to someplace you can remember.
Now we’re going to set up a new virtual machine. Open VirtualBox if it isn’t already open and select the “New” button. This will open an installation wizard. Use the “Next” button to proceed. Name your virtual machine Ubuntu or anything you like, but it’s advisable that it’s something sensible. Then choose what type of operating system you’ll be installing (choose Linux). Hit “Next”. Choose the amount of memory that will be used by Ubuntu virtual machine. VirtualBox should recommend an appropriate amount (you can choose the amount you want but it may be best to stick to what is recommended). Hit “Next”.
Now, you’re going to make a virtual hard disk. Follow the instructions to another wizard that will help you do this. When you get there you can choose to have a “Fixed-Size Storage” or “Dynamically Expanding Storage”. It all depends on what you want. If you make it a fixed size, you can only create or download files on Ubuntu up to that fixed limit. Expanding storage means that you start out with the file size of Ubuntu itself and it grows until your physical hard drive is full. Hit “Next” to accept what you’ve done. Then click finish to create the virtual hard disk. Then hit finish again to confirm and create your virtual machine.
Now we’re going to set up the virtual machine to boot from the Ubuntu.iso file. Choose your virtual machine you created and click “Settings”. Hit “CD/DVD-ROM”. Tick the check-box for “Mount CD/DVD-ROM”. Select “ISO Image”. Then you should see a folder that opens the Virtual Media Manger, click it. Click “Add”. Browse for the Ubuntu.iso where you saved it. Hit “Open”. Hit “Select” and then “OK”.
Now select the virtual machine you created and hit “Start”. There will be mention of “Auto capture keyboard”… read the message and click “OK”. There may be mention of a screen mode… read and click “OK”. After this follow the onscreen instructions to install Ubuntu. Remember that the “disk” mentioned in the installation refers to the VirtualBox virtual hard disk that you created for Ubuntu. So when the installer talks about using the whole hard drive, it’s referring to the virtual hard disk.
If you’ve followed all the instructions properly, you should have Ubuntu running on top of your native operating system in no time. Now you can do all sorts of great things with this setup. You can run Linux applications on your, let’s say, Mac. Or you can do even cooler stuff like get a US IP address for your PS3 to access movies and TV shows (see resources below).
If you need any further tips about the Ubuntu installation process, see the resources below.