About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

March 8, 2011

Virtual Box

Several weeks ago I mentioned a application when talking about Ubuntu called, VirtualBox.  I had a couple of people writing asking if there was a program like VirtualBox they could use to run Ubuntu, Windows XP or another operating system on their Windows 7 computer.

imageGuess what?  There is and it is called, "VirtualBox", ( the exact same program.  There are different downloads for Windows, Mac, Linux (Ubuntu) and Solaris (another free operating system) depending on which operating system your uses as its base system.

What VirtualBox does is really simple; however, how it does it is quite complicated.   This article may be for more advanced user so if you feel you are more advanced (not sure what the definition is) then read on.  If you do not feel you are a more advanced user, then come back next week for a more "universal" discussion.

Let us pretend that you run Microsoft Windows XP on your computer.  Over the past month or so you read my articles concerning Ubuntu and you would like to try it out.  You have run it off of a CD and found that it was a little too slow for you.  You would like to run it off of your actual computer to really find out how good/bad it is.  The other, currently more likely scenario is that you use Windows 7 on your system and you would like to run XP for some "trust issue".  Either way, VirtualBox,, is where you need to look.

As long as you have a licensed (if a license is needed although one is not needed for Ubuntu) installation disc of that additional operating system you can install it on your computer.  It will allow you to run that operating system on your computer while your original OS is also running.

Windows 7 running Ubuntu 10.10 in VirtualBoxAt present, VirtualBox runs on Linux (Ubuntu), Windows, , Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports the ability to run Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4, 2.6 and all Ubuntu like OS), Solaris, OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD.  If you have never heard or do not care about any of the items mention in this paragraph re-read the last sentence in the third paragraph above.

Basically you start your computer as you normally would.  Next, you start VirtualBox and choose to run the OS you previously installed.  It will open a window that starts what looks like another computer running.  However, this window will be running the "other" OS.  If you go to I have posted a picture showing what it looks like when you are running Windows 7 as your host (native OS) and Ubuntu 10.10. The graphic is provided by with a couple of edits by me.

If you are looking for something like this, give VirtualBox a try.  There are several other free applications out there that offer almost identical features; however, this one is the easiest to set up and useā€¦in my opinion.

[Screenshots are from]

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