Why not let me type virtual box

Instructions: Set up and use a virtual machine without prior knowledge

The "virtual machine" is now quoted at every opportunity. Many normal PC users who only need the computer as a tool are unlikely to know what it is. We'll explain briefly what a VM is, what it's good for and then show you step-by-step how a VM is set up, regardless of whether it is for / under Windows or Linux. And after the installation, we still have the most important tips for optimization:

Tip: Install Guest Additions
Tip: Make VM visible in the network
Tip: Use external USB devices
Tip: Exchange files with the host computer

What is a virtual machine?

Virtual machines are simulated (even if the term is not technically correct) computer hardware that operating systems such as Windows can access just like real hardware - Windows does not even notice that it is running on a virtual computer. A virtualization program like the free VirtualBox creates such a VM, which in itself is nothing more than a small configuration file that states how much memory the VM has, what is used for a graphics card, what network connection and what storage media are connected . VirtualBox boots using this configuration file and you see a black screen, just like the real computer. As a storage medium, the VM uses a virtual hard disk, an empty container file that behaves like a real disk. On the other hand, the VM uses ISO files, which are "inserted" in the same way as real CDs / DVDs - only that "inserting" here means "integrating" or "mounting". If VirtualBox boots with the ISO mounted, for example from the Windows installation DVD, it starts from the CD just like a real computer and you can install Windows 1: 1 on the virtual hard disk as in real life. At the end of the procedure, VirtualBox starts the VM and you see a window in which a complete Windows or Linux is running.

Why all this?

You can do all your work in the VM and create extremely simple backups - VirtualBox can clone VMs and create snapshots and your entire computer only consists of the configuration file (a pure text file) and the virtual hard disk, which you can back up as you wish and of course can start on any other system. If you play the two files and the portable version of VirtualBox on a USB stick, you always have your entire computer in your pocket - including media, mailboxes, office and so on. You can also safely test dangerous software, viruses, worms and Trojans, create a system for guests, test Linux and much more - and all systems can be reset to their original state or any snapshot at any time. In other words: Virtual machines are also practical for noobs, DAUs, beginners, laypeople and ordinary users - and very easy to set up, here with Ubuntu as the guest system (i.e. in the VM) and Windows 7 as the host (real computer):

1. Install VirtualBox

First you install VirtualBox and start the assistant with the "New" button.

2. Create the system

When assigning a name in the next step, you should use the name of the operating system to be installed - VirtualBox then sets sensible default settings, which you can change in the next steps.

3. Determine RAM

If you have a lot of physical RAM, give the machine a gigabyte or two, it benefits from it just like real computers.

4. Integrate hard disk

In the next step, you now determine that a new hard drive should be created. You can ignore the size specification.

5. Determine the hard disk format

If you do not want to use the virtual hard disk in any other way than in VirtualBox, simply stick to the standard, VirtualBox Disk Image (VDI) when choosing the format.

6. Type of storage

You choose "dynamically allocated" as the storage type. This means that your virtual hard disk offers about 40 gigabytes of space, but the container VDI file is only as large as this space is actually used. After installing Ubuntu, the VDI file would only be about 1 GB in size. If you then boot the VM and create a 2 GB file, the VDI would grow by this 2 GB. If you were to choose "fixed size", the VDI file would be 40 GB from the start.

7. Specify the hard disk size

And that's exactly why you can make the size generous - it doesn't hurt.

8. The VM in the manager

The virtual computer is now ready and you can find it in the main menu - the "CD" with the operating system is still missing.

9. Mount the operating system / ISO

To insert the Ubuntu ISO, open the settings of the VM via the context menu and the entry “change”, switch to “mass storage”, click there on the CD symbol for “Controller: IDE” and then open it with the small icon on the right in the picture the entry "Select file for virtual CD / DVD drive".

10. Select ISO

Select the downloaded ISO file, here for example Ubuntu 12.04.

11. The ISO in the manager

Now you can see that the IDE controller recognizes the Ubuntu CD as inserted.

12. Start the VM

Now start the machine from the main menu.

13. The computer on the desktop

If everything is good, the VM will now boot from the Ubuntu CD and you can test or install - here you can also see that a VM is just a perfectly normal window.

14. The running system

Once booted, you can use Ubuntu exactly as you would on a real computer. In full-screen mode, the inexperienced cannot tell that you are sitting in front of a virtual machine - but this should not work at all now, the Ubuntu desktop is very small by default. The so-called guest add-ons must first be installed under Ubuntu, which adapt the operating system for operation in a VM and, among other things, ensure full screen resolution. You can find the link to the instructions in the tips above.