James Selvakumar’s Blog

July 22, 2008

Easiest way to try linux on windows

Filed under: unix-linux,virtualization — James @ 2:25 pm
Tags: , ,

Ever had these questions in your mind..?

- You are a windows user but want to try linux

- You are interested in trying linux but don’t want to ditch windows either

- You want linux and windows in your machine without disturbing each other

- You are afraid of installing linux as it might make your machine unusable or might destroy your data

If your answer is “yes”, read further…

Even I had these questions on my mind.

I wanted to learn linux, but all I have is one simple laptop with windows xp installed on it.

I need windows to work on all my current projects, but at the same time I don’t want to turn my head from linux.

I had two options:

1. Install linux on my machine in such a way that either windows or linux boots. (Dual boot)

2. Use a virtualization software and install linux as a guest operating system.

I tried both. I spent so many days searching the web to figure out how to setup dual booting in my machine. After many days of hardwork, I managed to install linux on my machine without disturbing windows.

Fine. But that was not the end of the road. I was so used to windows that I couldn’t just come away from that. I need to use Google talk, Picasa etc.. which all work only in windows at that point of time. Also I faced issues in booting when I removed the linux os (ubuntu gusty). I had to run the windows recovery to resume things to normal.

So, I searched for other options and “Virtualization” looked like the best bet for me. I started exploring the options available and the following looked promising.

- VMWare Server (Proprietary. Also VMWare Workstation (which is not free) had lot more options than VMWare Server)

- Microsoft Virtual PC (Need to say anything about the license..? )

- Innotek VirtualBox (Now took over by Sun)

I ruled out the VMWare Server as I felt that it was a stripped down version of VMWare Workstation.

I gave a try to Microsoft Virtual PC. It was ok, but the support for linux as “guest os” was not very good. Also I couldn’t get much support about running ubuntu linux on virtual pc. The support for installing other windows os might be good (who needs that in first place..?)

I was left with the last option. I thought, “Will this satisfy my need atleast?”. It did.

Installing and configuring VirtualBox should be as simple as eating apples. You need to just read the excellent documentation available in their site. Support for linux os is excellent.

I thought of giving it a try and managed to install Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse and PCLinuxOS on it without any issues. The seamless mouse integeration between host (windows) and guest (linux) is simply astonishing. Currently I’m running Ubuntu 8.10 on top of VirtualBox.

VirtualBox makes installation of operating system look like a very simple affair. If you can install firefox on your machine, you can definitely install ubuntu or fedora in your machine using VirtualBox. If you don’t need any guest os, you can simple delete it.

Installing linux has never been so easy.

Still scratching your head? Go ahead and download VirtualBox and install your favourite linux distro on it.

Further reading:

MS Virtual PC vs VirtualBox

My older posts about VirtualBox

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5 Comments »

  1. [...] Go to the author’s original blog: Easiest way to try linux on windows [...]

    Pingback by Easiest way to try linux on windows — July 22, 2008 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  2. You could also try Ulteo Virtual Desktop, which seamlessly integrates Linux into Windows — Linux applications appear as items on the Windows taskbar. Takes a while to start up but once it’s running it’s quite speedy.

    BTW: anyone looking for a simple way to dual-boot should check out Wubi, which allows you to install/uninstall Ubuntu as if it were a Windows application.

    Comment by Stickman — July 23, 2008 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  3. There is also dsl embedded: http://damnsmalllinux.org. It can run *inside* windows http://www.tuxs.org/dslwin.htm

    Also consider cygwin with the x-window package, which requires some more setup work.

    Comment by Kurt Miebach — July 23, 2008 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  4. You could also try Cygwin, just to get the feel of the basics. http://www.cygwin.com/

    Comment by Grus i Salaten — July 27, 2008 @ 12:09 am | Reply

  5. [...] – bookmarked by 5 members originally found by SandPRODUCTIONS on 2008-08-30 Easiest way to try linux on windows http://jamesselvakumar.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/easiest-way-to-try-linux-on-windows/ – bookmarked [...]

    Pingback by Bookmarks about Windows — September 24, 2008 @ 11:45 am | Reply


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