You hear your friends talking about Linux all the time, or maybe you just wonder which operating system is better for you, Windows or Linux. You’re tempted to give it a try, but you’re not quite sure you like Linux. Is there a way to test it first? Fortunately, there are.
You can use VirtualBox to install a Linux-based operating system in Windows 10. Although you can boot into a Linux operating system alongside Windows, VirtualBox offers a much cleaner list if you decide to ditch the system operating Linux after a few days.
How to Install Linux on Windows Using VirtualBox
You can install any Linux operating system using this method, but we’ll be using Ubuntu for this tutorial because it’s the most popular.
1. Download the ISO for Ubuntu
Start by downloading the ISO for Ubuntu. Don’t worry about not having a blank disc or spare flash drive lying around. Since you’re installing Ubuntu with VirtualBox, all you need is the ISO.
It is ideal to use the LTS (long term support) version. The current LTS version is Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS.
2. Download VirtualBox
You will need to download and install VirtualBox on your PC. You can download the Windows package, but Linux and macOS packages are also available. Please note that the installation process may vary slightly between them.
Run the installation and follow the instructions. Once installed, check if the Ubuntu ISO has finished downloading. If so, you can go ahead and configure VirtualBox for Ubuntu.
3. Configure VirtualBox for Ubuntu
You will see the following welcome screen when you start VirtualBox. Click on New to begin the setup process.
A dialog box should appear. Then follow these steps:
- Give your virtual machine a namefor example, Ubuntu v20.04.2 LTS.
- Click the drop-down menu next to Writing and select linux.
- Choose the Version like Ubuntu (64 bit) or Ubuntu (32 bit).
- Assign memory size to your virtual machine. Ideally, you should choose to allocate around a quarter of your PC’s RAM. For example, if you have 16 GB of total RAM, allocate 4 GB to the virtual machine.
- Select the following button.
You will also need to allocate some of your hard disk to the virtual machine. This part will only be accessible to your virtual operating system, i.e. Ubuntu in this case. You have two options; could you use dynamically assigned storage that increases as you continue to use storage, or allocates a fixed size storage limit providing faster performance.
- On the next screen, you will need to create a new hard drive for your virtual machine. Choose the Create a virtual hard disk now option and click To create.
- Next, you will need to choose the file type you want to use for the virtual hard drive. To choose VDI (VirtualBox disk image) and select following.
- To choose dynamically assigned and select following.
- You will see the default VDI storage location and size on the next screen, leave it as it is and select To create.
This Complete the first part of the setup process. Our virtual machine has been configured, so let’s go ahead and add the Ubuntu ISO to the virtual machine. If you already have an Ubuntu CD/DVD, you can insert it into the drive and use it in the virtual machine as well.
Before going any further, make sure that hardware virtualization is enabled in your BIOS settings. If it is not enabled, the following steps will not work.
You will now see Ubuntu in the left sidebar of VirtualBox. Select it and click Settings.
To look for Storage room in the left sidebar of the Settings dialog box. Click on the small disc icon on the attributes section, select Choose a disk filenavigate to the ISO and select Okay.
You are now ready to install Ubuntu on your virtual machine.
4. Start the Ubuntu installation
Start by clicking on the To start up on the VirtualBox home screen. Select Ubuntu ISO as the boot disk in the dialog that appears and select To start up.
You will see the machine start the process. This may take a few minutes.
You have two options at the moment. You could try ubuntu before installing or Install Ubuntu if you already feel safe.
if you choose try ubuntu, you can start using Ubuntu right away. Alternatively, you can choose Install Ubuntu.
Before installing Ubuntu, remember that you can use it like any other operating system, but you cannot store data in a virtual machine. Each reboot is a fresh start with no data retained from the previous session.
If you chose to continue with the install option, select Install Ubuntu to start the installation.
- Choose your favorite keyboard.
- Follow the installation wizard prompts. You may be asked if you want Erase the drive and install Ubuntu. This is normal, just select Install now and move forward.
- You will then be prompted to choose your region. Select your region and select Continue.
- You will then be prompted to enter your information, such as your name, computer name, username, and password.
- The installation wizard will continue the installation process on its own after collecting the details. This may take a few minutes.
Once the installation is complete, your virtual machine will restart automatically. Run the VM again and it should boot into Ubuntu.
Ready to use Ubuntu as your main operating system?
You might end up falling in love with this free open-source operating system so much that you want to install it separately on your system. You can install Ubuntu as your primary operating system or dual boot with Windows.