Linux is everywhere — in phones, smart devices, cloud storage services, cars, thermostats, and pretty much anything with an embedded system or major third-party service.
It can also be on your desktop. Linux is a fantastic choice as a desktop operating system because it’s incredibly reliable, secure, and more flexible than any other operating system on the market. But for those who might hesitate to install Linux over macOS or Windows, what can you do? One route that makes testing and using Linux very easy without changing anything to your primary operating system is the virtual machine route.
With that said, let’s get our virtual machine up and running.
Creating the virtual machine
1. Open VirtualBox
First, open VirtualBox from your computer’s desktop menu. Once the application is open, click on Tools and then on New (illustration 1).
2. Name your new guest operating system
I’m going to boot up a virtual machine for FerenOS, a Linux distribution. In the first window of the wizard (figure 2), give the virtual machine a name, select the folder for the files, select the operating system type and version for the new virtual machine, and then click Next.
3. Configure RAM
In the next window, move the memory size slider to the right to increase the amount of RAM you want to allocate to the computer (figure 3).
4. Create a virtual disk
Click Next and in the resulting window (figure 4), click Create to create a new virtual disk.
In the next two windows, select VDI and then select Dynamically Assigned. In the last window, slide the slider to the right to increase the virtual disk size to the desired size and make sure to select the folder where you want the drive to be (Figure 5).
Click Create and you will be returned to the main VirtualBox window.
Configure your guest operating system
We can now configure our guest operating system. One thing you should definitely do (before doing this step) is download the ISO file for the version of Linux you want to install.
1. Add the ISO image for installation
Select the virtual machine you just created in the left pane, then click Settings. In the resulting window, click on Storage and then click on the left + labeled Controller: IDE (Figure 6).
In the resulting window (Figure 7), click Add, and when your file manager opens, navigate to the location where you saved the ISO image for the Linux distribution you downloaded.
After choosing your ISO image, click Choose and then click OK. You should now find yourself back in the main VirtualBox window where you are ready to run the virtual machine.
Start the installation
Select the virtual machine you just created in the left navigation and click the Start button, which will launch the bootable image and you should – depending on your chosen Linux distribution – end up on either the live image ( where you can either test or install the guest OS) or immediately install the guest OS (Figure 8).
Make sure you go through the full installation process for your chosen guest operating system. In most cases, this involves clicking the Install icon on the desktop.
Congratulations, you have just created your first virtual machine with Linux as the guest operating system. Enjoy pedaling the hoops of your new open source platform.