As part of my ongoing application development work, I had occasion to install Sun VirtualBox 3.0 recently. For those who have not used VirtualBox before, it is a x86 virtualization product, which runs on a number of host operating systems. Since I already had the VM software available, it seemed like a worthwhile experiment to see what would be required to get a Windows session running in VirtualBox under Ubuntu.

The first thing I did was to start up the VirtualBox application (System Tools-> Sun VirtualBox).

Sun VirtualBox Manager

Sun VirtualBox Manager

At the main dialog, I hit the New button to create a new virtual machine.

Create New Virtual Machine

Hitting Next moved to a dialog where I entered the name of my VM (in this case, I called it WinXP). Notice that the default Operating System and Version were already set. I then hit Next once more to choose the memory for the VM. I took a little above the recommended amount of 192 MB, setting it to 512 MB.

Create New Virtual Machine-OS

Create New Virtual Machine-OS

Create New Virtual Machine-Memory

Create New Virtual Machine-Memory

I then hit Next to create a new hard disk image to use as the primary boot for this virtual machine, accepting the recommended size of 10 GB, and hit Next again.

Create New Virtual Disk

Create New Virtual Disk

This started up the wizard to create the virtual disk. I set the virtual disk to dynamically resize to a maximum of available the host machine drive space, and also accepted the default location and size for the virtual drive.

Create New Virtual Disk-Sizing

Create New Virtual Disk-Sizing

After confirming the drive specifications, I hit Finish to create the virtual drive.

Create New Virtual Disk-Sizing

Create New Virtual Disk-Sizing

Finally, I reviewed all details entered for the virtual machine, then hit Finish to begin the process of generating the virtual machine profile in Virtualbox.

Create New Virtual Disk-Confirm

Create New Virtual Disk-Confirm

The next step was to power on the virtual machine, and actually install Windows XP. I highlighted the WinXP profile in the Virtualbox manager, and clicked the Start button.

Sun VirtualBox-WinXP

Sun VirtualBox-WinXP

This  activated the WinXP VM, which for the first run, presented the profile to install the OS in the VM hard disk. Hitting Next, allowed the selection of the media source for the guest OS software (Windows XP); in this case, I chose the system CD/DVD drive.

First Run Wizard

First Run Wizard

First Run Wizard-Media Selection

First Run Wizard-Media Selection

First Run Wizard-Confirm

First Run Wizard-Confirm

After hitting Next and confirming the media source selection by clicking the Finish button in the first run wizard, the virtual machine detected the Windows XP CD already in the drive, and began the boot install process.

WinXP Install - Sun VirtualBox

WinXP Install - Sun VirtualBox

On completion, the Windows setup process restarted the virtual machine, and allowed sign in using the user chosen during setup.

Windows XP Running in Sun VirtualBox

Windows XP Running in Sun VirtualBox

The real advantage of this approach to running Windows is that it reduces the need to set up dual-boot, as well as allowing the creation of different environments for specific functions or execution profiles. I expect to make use of VirtualBox quite a bit in my development and regression testing tasks in the future.

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