How to install Linux in VirtualBox

If you want to try out a Linux distro, you may want to do it in a virtual machine (VM) before dual booting or your system crashes completely. Choose a distro and let’s run it in a virtual machine using VirtualBox.

What is VirtualBox?

VirtualBox is software that allows you to install and run different operating systems (OS) within your current operating system using the concept of virtual machines. As the name implies, a VM is a virtual computer that can run programs and operating systems. It’s a bit like a computer inside a computer.

Before you begin, note that your computer must have sufficient system resources to handle both your VM and your normal operating system in order to create and run a virtual machine smoothly. Otherwise, you may have a slow and problematic experience. Here are what we recommend as minimum specifications for proper operation of a VM:

10 Go de stockage disponible pour chaque VM
Un processeur avec au moins quatre cœurs

Install VirtualBox on Windows, Linux, and Mac

Installing VirtualBox on Windows, Linux and macOS is very simple, although it takes some time to install the operating system in VirtualBox, but don’t worry! We will go through every step. While we are installing and configuring VirtualBox.

To install VirtualBox on Windows, go to the official VirtualBox download page and click “Windows Hosts” to download the installer for Windows.

Download VirtualBox for Windows

Double-click the installer file to run it and follow the steps to install VirtualBox on Windows. You know, the typical Windows way.

Open the VirtualBox installer to install it

To install VirtualBox on your Mac, you need to go to the Downloads page and click on “OS X hosts”. Once the DMG file is downloaded, open it and drag its contents into the Applications folder.

Installing VirtualBox on different Linux distributions (distros) is also simple. You need to go to the Linux downloads page and download the installation package for your distribution.

Download VirtualBox on Linux Distros

Ubuntu and Debian use DEB files, while Fedora, OpenSUSE, RedHat Enterprise Linux, and CentOS use RPM files. Download and double-click the appropriate package to install VirtualBox. If you get stuck, learn how to install a DEB file and an RPM file in Linux.

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Install Linux in VirtualBox

The steps for installing Linux in VirtualBox are very similar on Windows, Linux, and macOS. If you haven’t done so already, choose a distro and start downloading the ISO file so it’s ready by the time we get to the point where we load it into the virtual machine.

Launch VirtualBox from the application menu.

Open VirtualBox from the application menu

Click New.

Create a new VirtualBox VM

Enter a name for your virtual machine, choose the location where you want to save it, change the type to “Linux” and set the version according to the distribution you’re using. If your distro is not listed, choose the nearest distro or the one you are based on. For example, choose Ubuntu for an Ubuntu-based distro like Pop! _OS or Linux Mint.

When you’re ready, click Next.

Name your virtual machine and select Linux vrsion.

Allocate RAM using the slider or enter the value in the text box. If you are installing Ubuntu or Ubuntu distros, we recommend selecting at least 4GB of RAM. Then click Next.

Allocate RAM to your virtual machine

Select the “Create a virtual hard disk” radio button and click “Create”.

Create a virtual hard disk for the operating system

Select the “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)” option and click Next.

Finally, select the “Allocation dynamically” option if you want to limit your storage consumption as much as possible, then click “Create.”

Use the slider or the text box to customize the storage of the virtual machine. If your goal is just to try the distro, then 15 GB will suffice.

Once this is done, you will see the Ubuntu VM on the VirtualBox homepage. Click on the VM and click “Start”.

Start the virtual machine

The virtual machine window opens with a “Select Startup Disk” popup. Click the small “File” icon to select the ISO file.

Select the ISO in the virtual machine

Click the Add icon and select the ISO distribution file from the download site. If you already have a bootable Linux USB, you can also boot from a USB drive in VirtualBox.

Finally, click on Choose and start the VM.

Add ISO to boot the virtual machine

The VM will then boot into the Linux distribution of your choice. You may be greeted with an installation screen, where you usually have the option to try it out or install it in the virtual machine. Once installed, you will no longer need to boot the ISO and can simply run the VM from the VirtualBox console.

Booting the VM into the Ubuntu Installer

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Install the VirtualBox Extension Pack

Want additional features and better control over your VM? Installing the VirtualBox Extension Pack adds support for USB, webcam, and more. Here’s how to download and install it in VirtualBox.

Download the VirtualBox Extension Pack from the downloads page.

Download VirtualBox Extension Pack

Open VirtualBox and click on “Tools”, then on “Preferences”.

Go to the “Extensions” tab.

Go to the tab “Extensions”

Click on the little “+” icon located in the far right corner of the window.

Add a new extension

Select VirtualBox Extension Pack from the download site and click “Open”.

Open the VirtualBox Extension Pack

Finally, click “Install”.

Install VirtualBox Extension Pack

Now that you have your Linux virtual machine up and running, here are some VirtualBox tips and tricks you need to know.

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