PDR: Tutorial 1: Introduction to UNIX: VirtualBox Use

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VirtualBox is a free program that allows you to run another operating system on your machine without needing to reinstall anything. You just have to install the VirtualBox client, which installs like any other program and is available for many different platforms (Windows, macOS, Linux). We provide you with a pre-configured VirtualBox image that contains an Ubuntu Linux installation that you can use for this course.

Emulating 64-bit

When stepping through the steps below, you need to select 64-bit Linux/Ubuntu, and NOT 32-bit. If the only options that appear at that step are 32-bit OSes, then you need to enable your computer to emulate 64-bit OSes. Two of these things are done in the BIOS (hit delete, F1, or F10 when your computer starts). Because everybody’s BIOS is different, we cannot provide specific instructions as to which exact steps to take. However, you need to enable the following two features in the BIOS:

  1. Intel Virtualization Technology
  2. VT-d

In addition, if you are using a Windows machine, you will need Hyper-V disabled in the “Turn Windows Features on and off” menu. You can get to it by searching for that quoted text in the start menu.

Quick start



Transferring files back and forth

The easiest solution may be the last one listed here, but read through all of these before you start on any of them.

One option is to set up an e-mail client (or use a web browser - Google Chrome is installed, and the icon is on the bottom menu bar) and e-mail your files back and forth. Or use an online file server.

You can also set up ‘shared folders’ to directly read and write files back and forth. To do so, see here.

Dropbox may be the easiest way to sync files between your virtual machine and your host machine. To install, see the instructions toward the bottom of the Virtual Box Image Creation Details (md) page.

Image creation details

Here (md) are the details of how the image was created. That page lists a number of installation options. The only sections needed for this course are the Basic Installation (html), and the Development Installation (html). The Development Installation has three sections, and only the first is needed for this course; however, the image has the other two sections configured as well (they are used for another course). In addition, the Image Finalization part of the Image Completion (html) section was done on the image, although that is not necessary if one is installing this on their own machine.