Categories Windows Vista

Virtualise an operating system with VirtualBox under Vista

Virtualising an operating system is an increasingly common operation that has many advantages. This makes it very easy to emulate a Linux system or XP on Windows Vista with this excellent program that is VirtualBox. An effective way to easily test risky manipulations without taking any risk. Curious about such a principle? Follow the guide!

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According to Wikipedia:

In computer science, we call virtualisation all hardware and/or software techniques that allow several operating systems and/or applications, separately from each other, to be operated on a single machine as if they were operating on separate physical machines. Virtualisation tools are used to operate what is commonly called Virtual Private Servers (VPS) or Virtual Environments (VE).

Source: Virtualisation (IT)

In short, virtualisation software will allow us to use an operating system in the one you are currently using. For example, you can run Vista in Vista, XP in Vista, Ubuntu in Vista, etc. All combinations are possible!

In our example, we will emulate the Ubuntu Linux distribution in a Home Premium version of Windows Vista.

To complete this virtualisation operation, download the following program:

VirtualBox (34.0) MiB, 2,275 downloads)

Once downloaded, install the program and launch it.

Virtualisation of a Linux Ubuntu system on Windows Vista

Configuration of a virtual machine

First of all, you must have a live Ubuntu CD on hand which you can download to the following address if you do not own it:

Live CD Ubuntu (666.6) MiB, 2,251 downloads)

Insert the Live CD into the drive — close the automatic run warning, then return to VirtualBox. Here, click on Nouveau.

Capture décran - Création dune nouvelle machine virtuelle
Screenshot of screen — Creating a new virtual machine

Click for the first time on Next. Now indicate the name that you want to assign to this virtual machine — for example, Ubuntu. Then select the operating system then the version correspondent.

Capture décran - Choix du système à émuler
Screenshot — Selection of the system to emulate

Note the considerable extent of supported OSes. To validate, click on Next.

Let’s now set the amount of memory that will be allocated to it. Depending on operating systems, VirtualBox sets a default setting. For Ubuntu, the value is 384 Mo which suits perfectly.

Capture décran - Choix de la quantité de mémoire vive allouée à la machine virtuelle
Screen capture — Select the amount of RAM allocated to the virtual machine

Click again on Next.

The last step is to create a virtual hard drive that will be used to boot — start, the virtual machine in the same way as if you turned on your PC. Wait till you see the rest, you‘ll better understand where I’m going.

Again, VirtualBox sets us a reference value that is set at 8 192 MB. To create the virtual hard drive, click on the button New... then click for the first time on Next and check the box Dynamic-sized disk image — this will allow us to save disk space because the software will not immediately use the 8 GB but will increase the basic size as it needs up to these 8 GB.

Capture décran - Création dun disque dur virtuel
Screenshot of screen — Creating a virtual hard drive

Click once more Next. We now need to define the location and size of the virtual hard drive. Leave all default values unless you want to specify a location different from that proposed for disk space reasons. Also note that the 8 GB are well determined.

Capture décran - Choix de lemplacement et de la taille du disque dur virtuel
Screenshot — Choice of location and size of virtual hard drive

Click on Next then on Finish twice.

Congratulations, your virtual machine is now operational. We will now explore the various features.

Start-up of the virtual machine

To better understand the use of VirtualBox, I have used video support — your opinions on this use will be welcome.

You now have a minimum of knowledge to engage in more in-depth virtualisation tests. Do not hesitate because I remind you that virtualisation is safe!


Leave a Reply to JUSTer Cancel reply

  • Anthony

    Good morning,

    In the case of an installation with XP home is it necessary to have a license.
    Should it be installed only on that virtual machine or can it be installed on another UC.

    Well, it’s all right.

  • Justiciate

    @Maigret: Never look more ready virtualbox, seems it’s really nice and simple I've always been used to using Vmware, especially since it’s free!

    @Anthony: Which says software installation, at least OS, says forcefully license key, and activation... (for Kro$oft software)

  • Yves

    All right, this first video tutorial Maigret...
    Bravo, it’s nice to see bloggers who use all the media that are available today, including video!
    It’s really nice all this!

  • @Anthony : I confirm that if you want to install XP in any way, you will have to use a valid license. Virtualisation is not a lawless world.

    @Justiciate : this is the first I tested and I have to say that ergonomically speaking I am very satisfied, especially since it is free and cross-platform.

    @Yves : thanks to you for giving me your opinion before publication because, for information to all, yves is probably one of the first on the French-speaking blogosphere — at least to my knowledge, to have launched video tutorials and so I invite you to visit his blog!

    However, the use of video media should not be systematic but was largely justified in this article — screenshots would not have been sufficient in this second part. And then, it’s an excellent communication exercise — especially in diction.

  • Lion77

    Good morning,
    Very interesting topic but if I followed all the presentations well, I guess VirtualBox (or equivalent) is not necessary if we use wubi.exe that you presented to us earlier?

  • @Lion77 : in fact, these are two totally different concepts. Virtualisation allows you to emulate operating systems directly from your Windows Desktop or Gnome. Everything stays virtual, so any changes will have no impact on your PC — no risk of getting infected with a virus, for example. So it’s a good way to test random manipulations.

    As for Wubi — install Ubuntu as a Windows application, it’s nothing virtual. Ubuntu is installed like your XP or Vista. The only difference is that you didn't partition your hard drive to make it work.

    I hope this will bring additional information to everyone on a topic that seems to be of interest to more than one!

  • Hajdar

    Hi Maigret (why this name?)
    I tested VirtualBox but I encountered a lot of problems with the can support of sound cards and above all the impossibility of sharing a folder (in this case my software folder to install on my virtual partition)

    So I remixed my good old “Microsoft Virtual PC 2007”.

    Thank you if not for your blog that I am regularly now

  • @Hajdar : quite simply because I am a fan of Commissioner Maigret — both played by Bruno Cremer on TV and in the form of pocket books. Its author — Simenon, is one of the greatest in French literature of XXe century whose work is considerable:

    It is also to take the opposite of most blogs that use almost all their own name, first name or word formed from the term “geek”. It is therefore a choice of differentiation.

    And then, in the way of Maigret I conduct investigations on my PC to create tutorials.

    Of course, there are several virtualisation software that are all good overall, to everyone’s tastes in short. VirtualBox had attracted my attention for its cross-platform support and ease of use.

    And I thank you for your loyalty!

  • Lion77

    Thank you for your explanation, dear Commissioner, which is as you used to be particularly clear.....
    All right! Finished the rounds of legs... because I nevertheless denote (as Cyrano said) a slight mistake..... Following "Virtualisation of a Linux Ubuntu system on Windows Vista
    Setting up a virtual machine" I fear that the link to load the "Live CD of Ubuntu" is wrong — it sends us to Ubiquity....

  • @Hajdar : I don't know this software but personally to block ads I prefer to use Adblock in Firefox.

    But, maybe I'm going to devote a case to security in the near future, so thank you for the info!

    @Miguel : VirtualBox para correr, lo más important es la memoria y espacio en disco. From 1 GB — 2 GB recomendado en Vista y 5-25 GB de espacio de almacenamiento — todo depende del sistema virtualizado.

    Gracias por su visita!

  • OlivierT

    Good morning,

    I tracked your installation for a Debian (identical as Ubuntu) — on the other hand I can't play the video despite installing the plug-in
    My question: how do you make sure that your virtual machine (Debian) and my PC (Vista) can communicate on the network — in fact I'm going to test a website under debian (local), so both have to see each other and communicate on the same network.
    I made a network bridge but nothing did

    If you have an idea?

    Thank you

  • OlivierT


    I managed to squeeze on it and I found it.
    In fact, after the creation of the machine and before the installation of the “virtual system”, go to the “Network” section, and do not put “Nat” as written by default but “Interface Hote” and select the network card.

    Then we start the installation of the system and everything works

    That’s it.
    Good end of the day

  • Fredy

    Hey... why when I go to this page, UAC of 7 offers me to launch setup.exe that is located in C:\User\Fredy\AppData\Temp...?