Installing Ubuntu Desktop on VirtualBox

Ubuntu Desktop Installation

In this lesson, we’ll do an Ubuntu Desktop installation on VirtualBox.

Open VirtualBox by double-clicking the application.

In the upper left, click on New.

In the Name and Operating System window, click in the Name field and add an appropriate name for your system.

I used Ubuntu-Desktop.

Make sure Type is Linux and Version is Ubuntu (64-bit).

Click on Continue.

Leave the memory size at default. Mine was 1024 Megabytes, or 1 Gigabyte.

Click on Continue.

Leave Create a virtual hard disk now selected, then click Create.

Leave VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) selected and click on Continue.

Leave Dynamically allocated selected. This means the drive will be as small as possible, while still storing everything on it. It will grow in size as you add data. Click Continue.

Leave the name for the file location. If you don’t have much space on the drive that is defaulted to, you can select another location, like a USB Drive or external hard drive.

Click on Create.

Your system will be created, but Ubuntu has not been installed to it yet.

Right click on the new system and select Settings.

There are many settings you can make to your virtual machine. This window emulates the hardware settings you would be able to make on a real system.

We’ll just do a quick overview now with more covered in a later or a bonus lesson.

Under General, Advanced, you can see where the snapshot is stored and enable or disable features like Shared Clipboard, or Drag’n’Drop. If you enable these and install the “Guest Additions” on your VM, you’ll be able to paste things from the host operating systems clipboard to the VM, and drag items from your host to guest and vice-versa.

Under System, we can change things related to system settings, like adding memory, enabling or disabling virtual floppy or optical (CD or DVD) drives.

Display settings are changed using the Display icon.

Storage shows storage controller related settings like your hard drive information (SATA here).

Audio settings are under Audio.

Network shows your Network adapters.

Under Attached to, you have several options.

  • Not attached
  • NAT
  • NAT Network
  • Bridged Adapter
  • Internal Network
  • Host-only Adapter
  • Generic Driver

NAT stands for Network Address Translation. It lets your system share the IP address of your computer in this instance.

Bridged Adapter gives your VM its own IP Address on your network.

If you want to connect to your VM from your Host system using TCP/IP (networking), you’ll probably want to use Bridged Adapter.

Bridged is fine when you’re at home, but if you’re on a laptop, you should set it to NAT or Host-only Adapter when you’re not on your own network.

You won’t likely have to interact with Ports very often.

You could share a folder under Shared Folders. You could then place things in there and share between your host and your VM.

We won’t be using User Interface in this course.

Double click on the new system to prepare for installation, or right click, go to Start, then Normal Start.

You’ll be asked for the media to “load” into your virtual optical disk. Select the .iso file you downloaded from ###a href=”http://ubuntu.com/download” rel=”nofollow”>ubuntu.com/download and click on Start.

If you hadn’t already done it in the last lesson, you can pause here and download it now.

In the Install (as superuser) window, leave English selected, or select your language, and click Install Ubuntu.

If you were testing this out on your existing operating system, not in VirtualBox, you could click Try Ubuntu to do a trial run. It would not destroy your hard drive. The temporary Ubuntu installation would be gone once you shut it down or reboot your system.

I recommend selecting Download updates while installing Ubuntu, and leaving Install third-party software unchecked.

This will save you some updating time later.

Click on Continue.

Leave Erase disk and install Ubuntu selected. Also check Use LVM (for Logical Volume Manager) with the new Ubuntu installation, then click Install now.

In the Write the changes to disk? window, click Continue.

Make sure your location is reasonable (should be at least in the right time zone) and click Continue.

If it’s not right, just start typing in the field to find the nearest major city.

Leave English (US) selected or select your language if different, and continue.

Enter your name, your computer’s name (I usually make it match the VM name), your username (first name, last initial, or first initial, last name for example) then choose a password and re-type it to confirm. Then click Continue.

Leave Require my password to log in checked.

Click Restart Now to restart your newly installed Ubuntu Desktop.

Once your system reboots, enter the password you created during installation and hit Enter.

You’re presented with the default Unity desktop.

Navigation is similar to getting around in Windows or on MAC OS X. You mouse over an icon to see what it is, and left-click on it with your mouse to open the program the icon represents.

The tool bar running down the left of the screen is called the Launcher in Unity.

On the launcher, you see icons representing many of the installed programs. From the bottom going up, you see System Settings, Amazon, Ubuntu Software, LibreOffice Impress (similar in concept to Microsoft PowerPoint), LibreOffice Calc, a spreadsheet program, LibreOffice Writer, a word processor, Firefox, a web browser, Files, to browse your file system, and Search your computer, to look for programs that aren’t on the launcher.

We’ll be covering much more about Ubuntu Desktop in upcoming lessons.

For now, use Search, and type Terminal to bring up programs that have the word Terminal in them.

Click the one named Terminal to bring up a BASH Shell. You’ll learn much more about shells and the power of the BASH shell in upcoming lessons.

One of the commands you can use to shut down a Linux system is Shutdown.

To shutdown the virtual machine, type shutdown -h now and hit enter. -h is for Halt, or power off. Now, of course, means right now. You can have shutdown delay shutting down if you want.

The system will gracefully shut down.

It is important to shut down your system as you would a physical system to avoid corrupting your virtual machine image.

On to installing Ubuntu Server!