This detailed beginner’s guide shows you how to install Windows 10 in a VirtualBox in Linux.
I regularly encourage people to use Linux and when I give reasons to switch to Linux, I always mention that they can use Windows and Linux together if they are ‘scared of Linux’.
One of the ways to use the two OS together is to dual boot Windows and Linux. It works well for except that you have to switch between the operating system by restarting the system. This is inconvenient to a certain extent.
If like me, you too are an infrequent user of Windows and do not want to trouble yourself with dual booting Ubuntu and Windows 10, I suggest installing Windows 10 inside Linux by creating a virtual machine. In an earlier tutorial, I showed you how to install VMWare in Ubuntu but in this tutorial, we shall be using Oracle VirtualBox to create virtual machines to install Windows 10.
What is VirtualBox and what are its advantages?
VirtualBox is an open source virtualization software from Oracle to create virtual machines. With a virtual machine, you can run an operating system like an application inside your current operating system. It’s like a computer inside a computer.
These are called virtual machine because they are basically emulating other operating system but they are not really interacting with the system like a true operating system would.
Bottom line is that with virtual machines software, you can use Windows like an application inside Linux. Unlike regular applications, it will consume lots of RAM. This way, you can use Windows specific software and program inside Linux, without the need to install Windows altogether.
Install Windows 10 in VirtualBox in Ubuntu and Linux Mint
Before installing Windows 10 in VirtualBox, let’s see what do you need beforehand:
- Internet connection with good speed orr already downloaded Windows 10 ISO
- At least 4GB of RAM. The more RAM you got, the better it is.
- Around 20 GB of free storage for installing Windows 10
Once you have made sure of the prerequisites, let’s see how to do it. If you prefer, you can watch this video of this tutorial. Do subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Linux tutorials:
Step 1: Download Windows 10 ISO
The first and foremost step is to download Windows 10 ISO. You can download Windows 10 32 bit or 64 bit, depending upon your system. Go to the link below and choose what version of Windows 10 you would like to download:
You’ll have to choose the edition, language and then pick between 32bit or 64bit system before you download the ISO.
Step 2: Install VirtualBox in Ubuntu and Linux Mint
VirtualBox is available by default in Ubuntu and Linux Mint. Install it is very easy. All you need to do is to use the command below:
sudo apt-get install virtualbox
Step 3: Install Windows 10 in VirtualBox
Start VirtualBox. You should see a screen like the one below. Click on new:
Name the VM anything worth remembering. Also select the Operating System and version, in this case Windows 10 and 64 bit for me.
Choose RAM size. The recommended RAM size for 64 bit Windows 10 is 2 GB while for 32 bit Windows 10, it’s 1 GB. But I suggest to have a little more than that for a smoother experience.
Next is the size for the virtual machine. If you are crunch on space, choose the recommend size else have it little more than the recommended size.
For the format, go ahead with VDI format.
Confused about dynamic or fixed size? If you choose dynamic, the installed VM will later grow out of the allocated size. If you are not going to use Windows extensively, I suggest to go with fixed size.
Finalize the things around the installation. You can choose where to create the virtual disk. Default location (Home directory) will work as well.
You should be back to start screen. But wait, we haven’t used our Windows 10 ISO yet, have we? Now is the time to actually use the ISO. Click on Settings.
In here, go to Storage and add a new Optical Drive. I added this screenshot later because a few readers had difficutlies in finding it.
Choose Disk and point to Windows 10 ISO.
Now you should see the Windows 10 ISO listed under the Storage. Press OK.
You should be back to the main screen of Oracle VirtualBox.You have everything ready now. Next step is to install Windows 10. Click on Start from the main screen:
Voila!! You should see the familiar Windows boot screen:
A couple of seconds later, you should see the option to install Windows:
Note: At this time, if you see Windows logo with black background and it never starts to install, you may have to do a little tweak.
As It’s FOSS reader Larry points out, “There seems to be an incompatibility between Virtualbox and Windows 10 1703. A virtual machine that runs W10 1607 fine will fail to boot W10 1703 -UNLESS- the following parameter is set: Under System – Acceleration you must set Paravirtualization to None and then reboot.”
I think you can handle things from here as installing Windows is just a matter of few clicks. For your convenience, I am adding the screenshots in a gallery. Click on the images to enlarge them, if you need to take a hint.
Once you have successfully installed Windows 10, you’ll find that the internet connection is shared with the virtual Windows as well. No need for further configuration. Here, It’s FOSS in Edge browser in Windows 10 inside a VM.
When you are done using the virtual Windows, you can go back to the main screen and switch off the virtual Windows from there:
To start the virtual OS again, just click on the Start (green arrow) in the main screen of VirtualBox again. That’s it. More on using virtual OS later. I think this gives you a good idea of how to install Windows in Linux Mint in first place :)
Did this tutorial help you to install Windows in Linux using VirtualBox? If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop a comment.