The complete guide to VirtualBox and virtual machines

A virtual machine is a great way to try out an operating system without installing it. A virtual machine allows you to be simultaneously running two operating systems at once. This guide will go over how to use a virtual machine with the VirtualBox software. First of all you must install VirtualBox. In Ubuntu you can enter the following commands:

sudo apt-get install virtualbox

And that’s it! When you first open up VirtualBox you should see a screen like this:

Your screen may look different but the layout is the same.

Your screen may look different, but the layout is the same.

To make your first virtual machine click on the new button in the top left-hand corner.

For this tutorial, I will be making an Ubuntu virtual machine. It will automatically change the following menus to match your title but you can manually select a distro as well. Hit next.

Ubuntu virtual machine

This screen allows you to select how much memory will go towards your virtual machine. I normally use 1 GB so I can still use my main computer normally.

1 gb ram virtual machine

On the next screen select ‘Create a virtual hard drive now” and then select VHD. Now press dynamically allocated. Because I’m only running a distro in it’s live CD state I don’t need that much storage. If you were installing a distro, you would want more storage. Now press the start key at the top of the window.

Virtual Box size selection

Go and download the ISO of your preferred distro.

Thank you for downloading Ubuntu

Now go back to VirtualBox and click on the little folder icon. Now select your ISO file and hit start.

Ubuntu VirtualBox booting

If you see your distro loading like normal then give yourself a pat on your back, you did it! Do note that things may look different in a virtual machine than in real life.

Ubuntu 15.04 running alongside my main machine.

Ubuntu 15.04 running alongside my main machine.