1) To let people know that there is an alternative to dual boot (I really dislike dual boots).
2) To let people know that there is a very nice way to keep fully using their windows programs (like MS Office) without having to settle with “wine” (which most of the times does not satisfy our needs).
3) To convince my good friend Wolfman to try out virtual box (as he has never used it before).
The first thing I would like to say is that it is better to install and use VirtualBox in machines (PCs/Laptops) that have enough RAM. The reason for that is because you assign the amount of ram you want to the OS to be installed (called as Guest), but this ram is deprived by your already installed OS (Called as Host) – ofcourse only for as long as you use your guest OS.
In my below guide I will explain how to install win7 using virtual box in linux.
Download and install Oracle Virtual box.
Go here https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads and download the latest release for Linux Hosts.
It is a .deb file so as soon as it is downloaded you double-click it, the software center opens and you click on install.
Create the file(s) for the installation of the new OS.
Open your oracle virtual box program and click on “new”.
Then follow the series of questions of your choise so as to setup the file that will host the new OS.
My specific choices are:
- Choose a VM name: i.e. Win7
- Choose operating system: i.e. Windows 7, 32 bit.
- Choose the amount of memory to be occupied by host: i.e. 1024mb
- Virtual hard disk: Create new. Type: “vdi”
- I prefer to set it as a fixed-size file (not dynamically allocated). Fixed size is faster.
- Choose how much space this fixed size file will be using. i.e. 16GB.
After all the above click on “create” and wait till the file is created.
Install your host OS.
After the fixed-size file is created, open virtual box and you will see that there is an entry in the list called “win7”. Click on “start” right above it.
You will be asked which media should be read for the installation of the Host OS. You either choose DVD (if you have win7 installation files on DVD) in which case you select the DVD drive of your machine - or ISO (if you have it in ISO), in which case you navigate to the file where the iso is.
If all has been done properly, your host OS installation will commence and you will follow the instructions to install it like it was your main os.
This is a very important step. There are some things that you need to do to get the full power of virtual box, i.e. all drivers to be installed, USB ports to be recognized etc.
1) Give rights to your vbox user.
To do that you must install “users & groups”. Open terminal and write
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sudo apt-get install gnome-system-tools
Then open users&groups, click on manage, scroll down to find “vboxusers”, double-click it and in the window that will open put a tick next to your username. Save and exit.
2) Install guest additions.
Open vbox, go to menu>devices and choose the last option which says “guest additions”. Let it be installed.
3) Install the extension pack
Go here: https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads and download the VM VirtualBox Extension Pack. Make sure that you download the correct version.
After it is downloaded, go to your downloads file, double-click it and let it be installed.
4)Go to the settings of Vbox, from the list on the left select “USB” and tick both boxes (enable USB controller + enable USB2.0 ehci controller). Save and exit.
How to exchange files between guest and host.
Open Vbox, go to menu>devices and select “shared folders”. In the new window select “add” and navigate to the file that you want to be shared (i.e. your “Documents” file). From the boxes below also select and tick “make permanent”. Save and exit.
Then load your host OS (i.e. windows). When it is loaded go to “windows network” (this can be located if you open the win-nautilus in the list on the left side) and expand it. Among the files listed you will see a file called something like “\\vboxshared\Documents”. Click on it and you will see inside the contents of your Linux Document folder.
You can use this file as a portal to exchange files from guest to host (or the other way around), or you can add as many shared folders as you like.
You will terminate your guest OS as you normally do, i.e. by going to start>shutdown. Do not just close vbox.
Your guest OS network should work out of the box as it gets internet from the Host OS. If you exprience any problems you can go to the vbox settings>network and try alternative options like "wireless" etc. to see what works best.
Vbox is kernel dependent. This means that you may experience a problem in opening vbox when your kernel is updated. More specifically you may get an error message titled as:
Kernel driver not installed (rc=-1908)
The VirtualBox Linux kernel driver (vboxdrv) is either not loaded or there is a permission problem with /dev/vboxdrv. Please reinstall the kernel module by executing
as root. Users of Ubuntu, Fedora or Mandriva should install the DKMS package first. This package keeps track of Linux kernel changes and recompiles the vboxdrv kernel module if necessary.
Not to worry, open terminal and write:
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sudo apt-get install dkms
sudo /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup
For your info, I have also installed MS office and everything works just fine. Vbox serves exactly my needs as I was needing windows just for 1-2 programs like MS publisher, for which there is no alternative in Linux. I have also installed and played 1-2 windows games, but not something too powerful as the ram I have alocated to the host OS is just 1GB.
Hope the above guide is helpful.
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