How to set up a Windows virtual machine in Linux
Do you need to run Windows software in Linux? One of the typical answers is to install Windows in a virtual machine. If that sounds scary to you, don't worry too much. Here's a step-by-step guide to doing that.
To get started, you'll need the following:
- Virtual machine software
- Official Windows ISO (a bootable disk or USB) with a licensed Windows version
- PC or laptop supports virtualization (you will also need an external DVD drive if your laptop is ultrabook or you can create your own drive)
- Full system RAM
The first two things are quite easy to prepare. It is rare to own a computer that does not install a Windows version, even if you are running Linux, but you will need a virtualized computer.
Virtualization feature, if not enabled by default, can be enabled in the system BIOS. How to do this will depend on the hardware you are using. For best results, boot into your system BIOS and look for references to Intel VT (on Intel structured PC) or AMD-V (on a PC with an AMD CPU and motherboard).
Regarding the system RAM, while you can perform some virtualization process on the old operating system with 4GB, you should start with 8GB for the best results. The laptop used for this tutorial has 12GB RAM.
Set up Windows virtual machine in Linux
- Choose virtualization software
- Set up Windows in Oracle VirtualBox
- Install Windows on Linux
- Launch Windows and install the software!
Choose virtualization software
Before installing Windows, you need to decide on your favorite virtualization application. Three options are available for Linux:
1. Oracle VirtualBox (free) - Probably the most popular choice and it is important for free. Oracle VirtualBox is released as open source software under the GNU public license, version 2.
2. VMWare Player (free or $ 250) - This is the free version of the popular virtualization tool VMWare Workstation. VMWare Player is free for domestic users.
3. QEMU (free) - Short for Quick Emulator, QEMU is capable of running multiple operating systems, including many rare and uncommon platforms.
While QEMU is considered a premium option for Linux systems, users often want a quick and easy installation solution as possible. Of course, you can choose one of the options above, and for this tutorial, we will use Oracle VirtualBox.
- VirtualBox and VMware: Which virtual machine software is better?
Install VirtualBox from the Software Center in Ubuntu or from the corresponding application on your Linux distribution. You can also use the command line. For systems based on Debian:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox
Then install the VirtualBox guest utility:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox-guest-dkms
This will help you move data between the server system (your Linux computer) and the guest system (your virtual Windows environment).
Set up Windows in Oracle VirtualBox
With VirtualBox installed on your Linux computer, launch the software.
Today's article will select options for Windows 7, but you should choose the installation that is appropriate for the version of Windows you want to use.
Start by clicking New, then name the virtual device. In the drop-down Type menu , make sure that Windows is selected and in Version, select the correct Windows version. You can run pretty much everything from Windows 3.1 to the latest version today.
Click Next to continue, and in the next screen, select the memory size for the virtual machine. The recommended default size will appear based on your chosen operating system and your physical computer hardware.
Click Next to create the virtual hard drive, again choose the default option unless you have a particularly large amount of data to run in the VM.
Once done, click Create, then select the file type you like. If you only use virtual hard drives with VirtualBox, click Next. If not, choose another appropriate format. Then, you must specify whether the virtual HDD is dynamically assigned (ie it increases the size required, up to the upper limit set earlier) or has a fixed size. In most cases, you will want it dynamic.
Click Next to continue, confirm (or change) the file name, location and size, then select Create again to continue.
Install Windows on Linux
With the virtual machine configured - treat it like building a PC but with virtual components - you're ready to install Windows. Whether you are using a disk or USB drive to distribute ISO, it's time to plug the device containing this ISO file into your computer!
Now, click the blue Start arrow, and select the location of the source data - the Windows installation disc. Click Start, then wait for the virtual computer to load Windows settings.
If you have previously installed Windows, you will get used to this. If not, the wizard will help you with the process.
Launch Windows and install the software!
At this point, you have completed the necessary steps. You will be able to boot into Windows and install the software, via DVD (thanks to VirtualBox tools) or by downloading and installing.
All of your normal Windows applications will run as usual, only limited by the server's hardware - the physical computer that you have installed VirtualBox. Using virtual machines is probably the best way to run Windows applications and games if tools like Wine and PlayOnLinux fail.
Having a Windows virtual machine that you can easily turn on and off conveniently, while continuing to use your Linux computer every day, is a great advantage. If you need to run Windows software and have hardware that supports virtualization, this is a great solution.
Do you run Windows in a virtual machine on Linux? Is this your preferred method of running Windows software? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below!
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