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How to install Ubuntu on your Windows PC

This in-depth guide will explain step by step how to install Ubuntu Linux on your Windows PC or laptop, using VirtualBox – a free (open source!) App. This method allows you to run Ubuntu and Windows on Same time!

Using the steps in this guide, you can install and use Ubuntu directly from Windows itself. You do not have to install a dual-boot system or restart your computer each time you want to switch from one operating system to another. Another great advantage is that you can try Ubuntu and if you do not like it, you can easily get rid of it. Also, it will not affect the other files on your computer at all. None of the information on your computer is at risk of being deleted or altered. As if that was not enough, All of the software used in this guide is completely free and open source.

We also have a MacOS version of this guide, which can be found here.

  1. Start by downloading the VirtualBox app for Windows. When you install VirtualBox, you start downloading Ubuntu ̵
    1; which comes packaged as one iso file. After installing VirtualBox and downloading Ubuntu, open VirtualBox and click New button.
  2. the main VirtualBox interface

  3. IN Name: field enter Ubuntu (or something similar descriptive). The Type: and Version: fields must be filled in automatically Linux and Ubuntu (64-bit) respectively, but if they do not, make sure that is how they are set. Then click on Next to continue.
  4. set the virtual box name and type

  5. On memory Size make sure you have allocated at least 1024 MB of RAM to the virtual machine (Ubuntu). The more memory your computer has, the more you can allocate to Ubuntu – but be sure to leave at least half for Windows. Click Next when you’re ready.
  6. set up RAM in VirtualBox

  7. Select Create a virtual hard drive now on Hard disk and then click Next to continue.
  8. set the hard disk type in VirtualBox

  9. Select VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) as the Hårddiskfiltyp and then click Next button.
  10. set the hard disk file type in VirtualBox

  11. Select Dynamically assigned and click Next.
  12. set the hard disk to dynamic or fixed in VirtualBox

  13. On File location and size Use the “slider” to determine the size of the virtual hard drive that Ubuntu will use. Make sure it is at least 10 GB – if you plan to install many apps in Ubuntu, you want it to be much larger than that. Remember that because you choose Dynamically assigned in the previous section, it will not directly be the size you configure, it will only be as large as it needs to be – up to the limit you set here. So do not worry about making it bigger than you think you may need, it will not actually grow to that size if you do not install lots of software etc. Create to continue.
  14. set the hard disk size in VirtualBox

  15. Now that you have installed VirtualBox, it’s time to start installing Ubuntu. Select your newly created Ubuntu VirtualBox from the column to the left of the window, then click Start button in the top panel.
  16. the main VirtualBox interface with a newly created virtual Ubuntu OS

  17. You will be asked to select a boot disk. Click the “folder” button next to the drop-down menu (see screenshot below)
  18. set up the boot drive in a VirtualBox

  19. click add button.
  20. add a boot disk to VirtualBox

  21. Navigate to Ubuntu iso file, select it by clicking on it once and then click on Open button.
  22. select an Ubuntu ISO on VirtualBox boot disk

  23. Make sure the Ubuntu .iso file is selected, and then click Select button.
  24. the optical disk selector window in the VirtualBox app

  25. Click to finish Start.
  26. start a virtual copy of Ubuntu

  27. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate to the language you want to use in Ubuntu and press Enter / Return to select it.
  28. The Ubuntu language selection language

  29. At some point, a pop-up window will appear explaining how your cursor / mouse and keyboard interact with the virtual machine (Ubuntu) and Windows. In all likelihood, you can just switch back and forth between the two without having to use it, though control Key on Right the side of the keyboard works like yours host key. This means that if you are using Ubuntu and you want to switch the keyboard and mouse back to Windows, press the right control key.
  30. VirtualBox explains the host key

  31. Back in VirtualBox, use the arrow key to go down to Install Ubuntu and select it by pressing Enter or Return on the keyboard.
  32. Install Ubuntu in the Windows confirmation window

  33. After a few moments (may be several minutes or longer depending on the speed of the computer) a graphical interface is displayed. Select your language again, then click Continue button.
  34. Ubuntu install GUI

  35. Select the keyboard layout you want to use while running Ubuntu, and then click Continue button.
  36. choose a keyboard layout for Ubuntu

  37. On Install screen, make sure that Normal installation, Download updates while installing Ubuntu and Install third-party software for graphics and Wi-Fi hardware and additional media formats are all selected, and then click – you guessed it Continue.
  38. installation options for Ubuntu in Windows

  39. Ensure Delete the disk and install Ubuntu highlighted and then click Install now button. Note: nothing will actually be deleted. You create a “virtual hard drive” and that p what Ubuntu thinks it deletes. Again, all your Windows files and folders are completely secure and will not be affected.
  40. format a virtual device in an Ubuntu VM

  41. Click Continue on the confirmation screen.
  42. a continuation button in Ubuntu

  43. Select your time zone by clicking on your location on the map and then click on Continue.
  44. select the time zone in the Ubuntu installation

  45. Enter the desired information in each of the supplied fields. Click Continue.
  46. set Ubuntu login options

  47. At this time, you may want to have a cup of tea or coffee. The installation process will take at least a few minutes and up to half an hour – depending on the total speed of the computer (hard disk, amount of memory, CPU speed, etc.).
  48. install Ubuntu in Windows via VirtualBox

  49. When the installation is complete, click restart to restart Ubuntu. Again, it will not restart your computer, only Ubuntu will run into VirtualBox.
  50. complete installation of Ubuntu in VirtualBox for Windows

  51. You do not need to delete anything – just press Enter.
  52. restart the Ubuntu confirmation screen

  53. When Ubuntu restarts, log in with the username and password you created back in step # 23.
  54. Ubuntu login screen

  55. Ta-da! You now have a new installation of Ubuntu on your Windows computer! You will probably have a couple of updates to install, and Ubuntu will notify you when it’s ready to install them.
  56. default Ubuntu desktop

  57. Have fun! In the future, every time you want to use Ubuntu, just open VirtualBox, select Ubuntu from the list of virtual machines and click Start button. That’s all!

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