Installing Ubuntu Linux in VirtualBox

Published March 01, 2010

NOTE: This tutorial is for installing Linux guests on Windows hosts

Do you want to try Linux on Windows XP/Vista or Windows 7 without having to partition your hard disk? Try installing it in a virtual machine. There are many virtual machines out there - VMWare, VirtualBox, etc. We'll use VirtualBox.

Install VirtualBox first VirtualBox

Download VirtualBox from Select VirtualBox 3.1.4 for Windows hosts x86/amd64

Double-click on VirtualBox-3.1.0-55467-Win.exe and install VirtualBox. Allow it to install with full USB and networking support. You will get disconnected from the Internet temporarily as it re-configures the interfaces. We will install Ubuntu Linux in VirtualBox.

Install Ubuntu Linux in the virtual machine

For our example, we'll install Ubuntu on our virtual machine.


  • RAM - At least 2 GB RAM (we will allocate between 512 MB and 1 GB RAM for the Ubuntu vm).
  • Hard Disk - At least 4 GB disk space (it would be great to have 6 or 8 GB of hard disk space).

Download the latest Ubuntu 9.10 iso here and save it C:\downloads\iso (or any other directory).

Start Sun VirtualBox.

Click on the New button. In the New Virtual Machine wizard, click Next.

In the Name field, enter UbuntuLinux, select Operating System as Linux and Version as Ubuntu. Click on Next.

In the Memory section, set the Base Memory Size to a minimum of 512 MB. Just make sure that the memory you allocate is less than half the physical RAM capacity. For example, if your computer has 2 GB RAM and you allocate 1 GB RAM for your Ubuntu vm, you will get an out-of-memory warning when you run the vm.

In the Virtual Hard disk section, check Boot Hard Disk and select Create new hard disk.

Select Next and Next till you come to the Hard Disk Storage Type.

Select Dynamically expanding storage and click on Next.

Set Location as UbuntuLinux and Size as 8.00 GB.

The Summary page should show you something like this:

Type: Dynamically expanding storage
Location: C:\Documents and Settings\...\.VirtualBox\HardDisks\UbuntuLinux.vdi
Size: 8.00 GB (8589934592 Bytes)

Click on Finish. You will see this summary.

Click on Finish. It will take you to the main screen.


In the main screen, select UbuntuLinux and click on Settings.

Navigate to Network on the left panel and change Attached to: to Bridged Adapter. See the screenshot:

Navigate to Storage on the left panel and select IDE Controller > Empty > CD/DVD Device and select your Ubuntu iso file.

In the Virtual Media Manager, click Add, select your iso file from C:\downloads\iso and click on Open.

Click on Select. Your Storage Settings should now look like this:

Click on OK and in the main screen click on Start.

Do you get this screen now? Just follow the instructions and install Ubuntu. It is not over yet.

NOTE: If your cursor suddenly disappears, click on the CTRL key to get it out of the virtual machine.

Install Ubuntu

Now we have to remove the link to the Ubuntu iso file, or else it will start all over again. This step is similar to removing the Ubuntu Live CD from the drive after the installation is complete.

Select UbuntuLinux and click on Settings. Go to Storage. Right-click on ubuntu-9.10-desktop-i386.iso and select Remove Attachment.

Select the vdi file and click OK.

Then in the main screen, select UbuntuLinux and click on Start. You should boot into Ubuntu without any problem.

Share Windows folders in Ubuntu

Install Guest Additions first

First, shutdown Ubuntu vm.

Lets create a directory in WIndows called C:\ubuntushare.

In Settings > Shared Folders, click on Add Shared Folder and set the folder path to C:\ubuntushare. Give it a folder name of ubuntushare. Click on OK.

Now, set the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso in Storage. Look at the screenshot:

Click on OK.

Click on Start and power on the Ubuntu vm.

When it has booted, click on Devices > Install Guest Additions.

Open Terminal and run this:

sudo /media/cdrom0/

After its over, reboot the Ubuntu vm.

When the reboot is completed, test if the guest additions are working.

  • In the vm, go to Machine > Enable Mouse Integration. Now click in the vm and out, it should work without having to press the right CTRL key!

Access the Windows shared folder

In the vb, go to Devices > Shared Folders and select ubuntushare.

Create a mount point and then mount it:

sudo mkdir /media/winshare
sudo mount -t vboxsf ubuntushare /media/winshare

Now in Windows, copy any file to C:\ubuntushare. From the Ubuntu vm, try accessing it at /media/winshare.

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Last Updated: March 01, 2010. ย ย ย  This post was originally written on March 02, 2010.