VirtualBox on Ubuntu
For some time now I have been running Windows XP inside Sun’s VirtualBox on top of my Ubuntu 8.04 OS on my Dell Inspiron 1420N.
Since writing this a new version of VirtualBox, 2.1.2, has come out, you probably want to use that instead (see http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads ). It’s just that mine works.
Installation was relatively painless. I downloaded the package straight from the VirtualBox site instead of from the apt-get version, which seems to be the best bet immediately, and basically followed all the instructions here:
For Ubuntu Hardy 8.04 running on my Dell 1420N (which I received in Feisty and then upgraded myself to Heron) I download VirtualBox for Ubuntu 8.04 (“Hardy Heron”) I had installed
http://download.virtualbox.org/virtualbox/2.0.4/virtualbox-2.0_2.0.4-38406_Ubuntu_hardy_i386.deb using the package manager (just click it).
On my shiny Intrepid AMD 64 server, I downloaded the binary appropriate for that Platform (Ubuntu 8.10 amd64) http://dlc.sun.com/virtualbox/2.0.6/virtualbox-2.0_2.0.6-39765_Ubuntu_intrepid_amd64.deb.
Look for your own, then follow the above instructions on how-to forge, and you should be fine.
I had never installed the guest additions before. These are additional programs and device drivers that are installed _inside_ XP. To install it involves mounting /usr/share/virtualbox/VBoxGuestAdditions.iso as a CD-ROM inside Windows (I have XP running).
To do this somewhat automatically I ran Windows XP on virtualbox and then clicked on the menu choice Device/Install guest additions. At this point, clicking on the CD/DVD ROM drive takes you to the installation disk. If autorun has not already done so, execute VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe
If the CD/DVD ROM did not mount automatically, click Devices/Mount CD/DVD ROM/CD/DVD ROM Image… In my case the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso was right there, otherwise browse for it and add it. Then the autorun takes over or else execute VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe in the CD-DVD ROM.
Just install (there are some scary warnings from Microsoft about some drivers or whatever, I just said yes, disregarding them, as per instructions in the VirtualBox help (read, by the way).
The immediate advantages were:
0. CUT AND PASTE WORKS SEAMLESSLY. Used it to write this mail in Ubuntu Firefox.
1. Mouse now seamless, not “captured” any more by windows.
2. Can share a folder between the two systems easily.
3. I was told my graphic resolution was too low (with the new drivers, I could now do better). After changing to 32 bits, I found that “Host key” F ( (my Host key was set to Ctrl) now filled the complete window of my Dell Inspiron 1420N, so anyone looking would be convinced I was running Windows XP and not Ubuntu. Before there had been a black border and Windows XP full screen was not able to fill the whole screen.
4. Hitting “Host key” L takes you to “seamless” mode: here, windows apps run in their own window as if they were Ubuntu apps, and the windows task bar situates itself near the Ubuntu taskbar. Weird! Cool! I changed back via “Host key” L immediately, but someone else may like it.
Now I can cut and paste between Irfan View and Gimp