We have already analyzed how one can try a full distribution Linux, with Create Bootable Live Persistent Linux USB. But this article was more about how we can run Linux, on old computers, or on machines with limited computing power. For more modern machines we have VirtualBox.
VirtualBoxis is an excellent VM (Virtual Machine) developed by Oracle and freely available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is a very powerful tool for both professionals and amateurs who want to run a second operating system on their computer. It does, of course, require a lot of system resources as there are essentially two operating systems running at the same time.We will try to install it on a modest machine with i5 processor and 4GB of RAM. Just to find out how it will work with minimal requirements.
Go ahead and download as many versions of Linux as you want in iso format. You can read Best Linux Distros , download and save them to a Folder.
The next step is to download VirtualBox.
We chose the version for Windows Hosts, under the VirtualBox 6.1.2 platform packages
Run the exe file you will find in Download Folder to begin the installation process.
If we have downloaded the iso with the Linux distributions we want to install, we are running VirtualBox. For those who have not yet stepped on this step can read as we said Best Linux Distros.
Linux Distro Installation
We are running VirtualBox. Once we run it for the first time we will see that there are no VMs available. Any VMs we create will be seen in the left column. Press Machine and select New
On the first screen we will define a name for our Virtual Machine, the storage folder and the type and distribution of the operating system we want to install. Then click Next
Here we need to determine how much of the available RAM we will allocate for Virtual Machine operation. It always depends, of course, on what Linux distribution we want to install, so it’s a good idea to look at the specifics of each distribution. We will choose 2048 MB (not 1024) as the minimum requirement for Ubuntu to operate. Click Next
To create a Virtual Machine you will need to create a Virtual Hard Disk. Let’s go Create
Here it is advisable to select Dynamically allocated so that the disk can be adjusted if it exceeds the original GBs we have set. Then press on Next.
Here we can choose the location of the virtual disk as well as the initial size that we will set for our Virtual hard drive. Then press Create
The virtual machine is ready. Before proceeding with the installation of the operating system, it is advisable to choose Settings to set some parameters, mainly for the resources that we will allocate from our system so that our virtual machine can function properly and comfortably in relation to the capabilities of our system.
Select System and go to the Processor tab. There we see that VirtualBox recognizes the Threads available in our system, while the green indicates how many of them we can have on our virtual machine so that both are operating smoothly. In our case, out of the 8 cores available, we have 2 available to the virtual machine when it is running.
Then select Display. Here we define Video Memory and available screens. Although we have two monitors in our system we only choose one for the virtual machine.
We then proceed to the rather interesting Shared Folders option. Here we can define folders from our main operating system that want to be accessible through the operating system that runs on our virtual machine.
Once our settings are complete we press OK and go to the main screen. We are ready to install our operating system on the virtual machine. Click Start
On the first screen it asks us to select the ISO file that contains the operating system we want to install. Press Folder
We choose the Linux distribution we want. Open and Start
The installation starts, and there is no difference than a complete Linux installation on any system. Press Install Ubuntu
We choose Install Third Party for any graphics drivers, Wi-Fi and Media formats. A stage you can skip as everything can be sorted out later.
The installation starts and the truth is that it took us quite some time, probably due to the limited resources and the lack of SSD drive in our system.
And after following the well-known installation steps such as defining a Language, User, e.t.c, the process is completed successfully and we now have a virtual machine running Ubuntu in the Windows environment.
Positives and negatives
We only detect one downside for using VirtualBox to run Linux distributions on our Windows Computer. We need to have a robust enough system capable of delivering enough RAM and threads to the virtual machine while running Windows.
It is not a solution to give life to old computers and for that matter choose Create Bootable Live Persistent Linux USB.
But if we have the necessary hardware then it is a very valuable tool to run two operating systems in parallel. We can even create as many Virtual Machines as we want with different Linux distributions.