How To Install Ubuntu On VirtualBox In Windows 10?

If you are using a MAC or Windows 10 as your operating system and wanted to try out a Linux operating system. And you are wondering what is the best Linux distribution out there that you can start with.

The answer is Ubuntu desktop, it is a very popular Linux distribution that you can try out if you want to be familiar with Linux.

Most of the developers also use Ubuntu for the development work. An alternate option you could also try out is the Linux Mint operating system on VirtualBoxOpens in a new tab. as its UI is a bit identical to windows 10.

For some, they wanted to use Ubuntu as the primary operating system but they don’t want to ditch their current operating system if that’s the case if you are using a windows machine then you can do a dual bootOpens in a new tab.. However, the problem with the dual boot is that you cannot use the same operating system at the same time.

You can either use Windows 10 or Ubuntu at the same time.

Instead of switching completely from your primary operating system, be it Windows, Mac, or even Linux. It is recommended that you try out Ubuntu in a virtualized environment. 

In this blog, we are going to install Ubuntu on a VirtualBox in windows 10. 

The steps performed here are the same for all the older versions of Ubuntu machines as well. Even if you are using a MAC or a Linux machine with the VirtualBox installed, the steps mentioned here are the same.

What is VirtualBox?

A VirtualBox is a free and open-source hypervisor that can be installed on any operating system such as Windows, MAC, or even Linux. Though it is open source it is developed under the oracle corporation. 


Steps to install Ubuntu Dekstop on Virtualbox.

  1. Setup the Ubuntu VM instance.
  2. Configure the Memory.
  3. Configure the Hard disk.
  4. Install the Ubuntu VM.
  5. Start the installation.
  6. Minimal or Normal installation.
  7. Format the virtual Hard disk.
  8. Setup the Time zone and create the account.
  9. Restart the Ubuntu Virtual machine to finish the installation.
  10. Install VirtualBox guest additions in ubuntu command line

1. Setup the Ubuntu VM instance.

Open VirtualBox Manager and click on the New icon to create the new virtual machine.

install ubuntu on virtualbox windows 10

On the next screen, you can name the VM also the location where you wanted to save the VM.

By default, the VirtualBox would pick up the type as Linux and version as Ubuntu 64bit.

If it doesn’t, then you can manually select it.

Once done click on next.

Note:  if you wanted to change VM location, you could do that by clicking the dropdown button next to the Machine folder and click on Other and select different location for the VM, I chose D drive, which had enough storage.

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2. Configure the Memory.

In this step, you have to assign the Memory for the VM (RAM), I am allocating 2048 as RAM here, and click next.

Based on your requirement you can configure the memory for the VM. Since I would require this VM to test some web applications I am just giving only 2GB of storage, but it is good to provide more Ram if you are planning to use this as an alternate operating system.

3. Configure the Hard disk.

We are now going to configure the storage for this VM, choose to create a virtual hard disk now, and click on Create.

By default, VirtualBox would pick up the VDI as the hard disk file type. If you choose VMDK you can move this VM to other hypervisors as well in the future.

So I choose VMDK and clicked on next.

In the create virtual hard disk window you will get three options. choose Dynamically allocated and click on next.

We are going to configure the size of the hard disk that we will be using in the Ubuntu machine.

I am using only 20GB of storage as I am not going to use much storage on this VM. However, you can choose more depending on your usage.

4. Install the Ubuntu VM.

We just configured the Ubuntu VM properties, which include its memory storage and other parameters. Now let’s go ahead and install the Ubuntu in Virtualbox following the below steps.

The Ubuntu VM is powered off by default in VirtualBox. You can start the VM to proceed with the installation.

When you power it on, it would ask for the bootable image which you had downloaded earlier from the Ubuntu site. Browse and attach the Ubuntu ISO and click on Start.

5. Start the installation.

The Ubuntu installation windows now will appear on the screen, select the Ubuntu from the list, and hit enter.

After a few seconds, you will get a prompt to Try or install Ubuntu.

When you click on Try Ubuntu, it would show you the live environment of Ubuntu. But we are going to install the Ubuntu on the VirtualBox, hence click on the Install Ubuntu.

ubuntu vm install wizard

You will have to choose the keyboard layout for your machine.

I choose the default, you may choose the layout depends on your language and click on Continue.

ubuntu vm install wizard keyboard layout

6. Minimal or Normal installation.

You need to decide here how you wanted to use the Ubuntu OS, if you are planning to use it as a full-blown desktop then you need to choose Normal installation, so it would install the required software that you needed.

I am choosing the minimal installation as I am going to use mainly the web browser and the Ubuntu terminal.

You also need to make sure that you unchecked the option that says Download updates while installing Ubuntu.

If you check this option the installation will take time as it requires downloading the software during the installation. If you are okay with that then you may check the option.

7. Format the virtual Hard disk.

In this screen you would get multiple options.

For a normal user it is better to stick with the Erase disk and install Ubuntu.

ubuntu vm install wizard - erase disk and install Ubuntu

when you click on Next here you will get a warning that says you are going to format the drive, click continue.

ubuntu vm install wizard

8. Setup the Time zone and create the account.

Choose your time zone based on your location and click on next.

ubuntu vm install wizard - select timezone

We are now going to configure the account that you are going to use with the Ubuntu desktop.

Specify your login credentials and click on continue, make sure you remember these credentials.

ubuntu vm install wizard - setup credentials

The installation has now started, just give some time for the installation to finish.

ubuntu vm install wizard

9. Restart the Ubuntu Virtual machine to finish the installation.

Once the Ubuntu installation is complete, you would get the below pop up, which says installation complete. You may click on restart now.

During the restart, you would also get an prompt to remove the installation medium, by default it will be auto removed you can clock on Enter here.

Once the Ubuntu machine is back online, You can log in to the server using the credentials that you had set up earlier.

That’s it. Now you are ready to go. You now have Ubuntu VM installed on Virtualbox.

Here is the new 20.10 Ubuntu desktop look like.

install ubuntu on virtualbox windows 10

10. Install VirtualBox guest additions in Ubuntu command line.

To get a good performance from the Ubuntu using virtualbox, you need to install the virtualbox guest additions.

On the VirtualBox menu bar click on Devices, and click on Insert Guest Additions CD image.

install virtualbox guest additions

As soon as you click on that A CD drive will be attached to the Ubuntu and you would get a prompt to install the VirtualBox guest additions in Ubuntu, you may click on Run here.

install virtualbox guest additions

You need to authenticate in order to install the software, enter your account password and click on authenticate.

The installation will start on the terminal, after it is completed you will get an option that says Press return to close this window.

Virtualbox guest additions installation

Note: Virtualbox is great to test your VM’s in your physical box, However, if you would like to go more advanced or integrate with GNS3 I would recommend you to use VMWare workstation pro, you can follow the steps here on how to install ubuntu on VMware workstation pro.

Saifudheen Sidheeq

Saifudheen is in the Computer networking and technology field for about a decade now. He loves technology and new ideas, and in his spare time, he loves to write about them.

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