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Run Windows in a virtual machine using Ubuntu and Virtualbox

Virtualbox in Ubuntu
A few months back we let you know that open source virtualization software VirtualBox was available in the Ubuntu repositories, meaning Virtualbox is a one-click install for Ubuntu users. What that means is you can install and run pretty much any operating system in a window while using Linux.

So we decided it would be fun to try running Windows XP within Ubuntu. Because as much as we love a good open source Linux operating system, there are some Windows applications that we just need to run on a day to day basis. And rather than rebooting into Windows. Inspired by an article showing 4 virtualization applications for Ubuntu, we fired up VirtualBox OSE (open source edition) and pulled out a Windows XP install disc.

Installation was pretty quick on our virtual machine. It took just about 20 minutes to get Windows XP SP1 up and running on a system configured with 512MB of RAM and a 4GB virtual hard drive. It took a few minutes more to upgrade to SP3 RC, which we were able to download easily, because VirtualBox automatically recognized our network connection.

One thing to note is that you'll need to add your username to the vboxusers group. You can do this by clicking the System menu in Ubuntu, then finding the Users and Groups option in the Administration submenu.

Windows XP seems just about as responsive when running in VirtualBox as it does when running from a dedicated partition on the same computer. Sound was turned off by default, but that was easy to fix by tweaking the VirtualBox settings. The only real problem we have is that VirtualBox and Windows XP were unable to recognize USB devices. We tried following several sets of instructions from the Ubuntu forums to no avail. Has anyone else tried running Windows XP or Vista in VirtualBox on Ubuntu? What problems have you run into, and how did you overcome them?

Tags: opensource, ubuntu, virtualbox, virtualization, windows-xp