It’s been a while since my last post on symbian phone hacking but this time around, I’m bringing something different from mobile stuff. I’m posting a tutorial with detailed screenshots on how you can install, run and switch between multiple operating systems with a software called VirtualBox.
VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64 / Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL)
Why is virtualization useful?
Although I have dropped the full link for a complete user manual for this software below, I shall however brief you about why this software (VirtualBox) is particularly useful. The techniques and features that VirtualBox provides are useful for several scenarios:
* Running multiple operating systems simultaneously – VirtualBox allows you to run more
than one operating system at a time. This way, you can run software written for one
operating system on another (for example, Windows software on Linux or a Mac) without
having to reboot to use it. Since you can configure what kinds of “virtual” hardware should
be presented to each such operating system, you can install an old operating system such
as DOS or OS/2 even if your real computer’s hardware is no longer supported by that
* Easier software installations — Software vendors can use virtual machines to ship entire
software configurations. For example, installing a complete mail server solution on a real
machine can be a tedious task. With VirtualBox, such a complex setup (then often called
an “appliance”) can be packed into a virtual machine. Installing and running a mail server
becomes as easy as importing such an appliance into VirtualBox.
* Testing and disaster recovery. Once installed, a virtual machine and its virtual hard disks
can be considered a “container” that can be arbitrarily frozen, woken up, copied, backed
up, and transported between hosts.
On top of that, with the use of another VirtualBox feature called “snapshots”, one can save
a particular state of a virtual machine and revert back to that state, if necessary. This way,
one can freely experiment with a computing environment. If something goes wrong (e.g.
after installing misbehaving software or infecting the guest with a virus), one can easily
switch back to a previous snapshot and avoid the need of frequent backups and restores.
Any number of snapshots can be created, allowing you to travel back and forward in virtual
machine time. You can delete snapshots while a VM is running to reclaim disk space.
* Infrastructure consolidation – Virtualization can significantly reduce hardware and electricity
costs. Most of the time, computers today only use a fraction of their potential power
and run with low average system loads. A lot of hardware resources as well as electricity
is thereby wasted. So, instead of running many such physical computers that are only partially
used, one can pack many virtual machines onto a few powerful hosts and balance the
loads between them.
What you need to get started
- You need a standard Computer with at least 1gb or ram and 40gb of hard disk although I will advice anybody to use 2GB RAM and anything above 40GB harddisk as the minimum requirements.
- The parent OS must have admin priviledges.
- You need the installation CD for the oerating system you wish to use in your virtual machine
- Install both Virtualbox and Vitual Box extention pack compatible with your OS
- After installation run the program and select NEW from the top left corner,
you will see something like what is shown below:
- Next Select the Amount of base memory i mean ram that you want to allocate to this virtual machine. this will only be used when running the two windows simultaneously
as you can see from my screenshot i was having 3054mb of ram but i gave my virtual machine 512 of ram(dont panick you can adjust this afterwards
- Click next to create your vitual hard disk.
- Click next to choose virtual disk storage details. The Default which is Dynamically allocated is very okay
- Next is for you to give the new machine a name and select the type of operating system you want to install and the hard disk storage space as indicated below
- Once you sucessfully create it, you should see something like what is in the picture below
- You will see a message, Welcome to the first run. Click NEXT
- Select installation media (you can install from either USB or CD/DVD but I go for a DVD installation disk)
- If everything is done right, you should see something like the screenshot below
- Just follow the on-screen message as you would when installing windows on a normal computer
You have sucessfully created a virtual machine just insert your CD or DVD/USD flash drive to start installing your files and programs.
Like I told you, this your new OS is independent of your primary OS and at the same time, it will perform 100% as a normal OS would.
If you want to test a software that you think can damage your computer try it on the VM and let it damage it instead afterall you can install another easily witout loosing anything.
As I have pointed out in earlier, the advantages of using it outweigh the disadvantages – you can use two or more operating system like Mac, Ubuntu, Vista, XP, Windows 7 e.t.tc on your computer without having to reboot/ restart your computer see my first sceenshot.
Also note that Virtual box can’t use your parent hard disk it can only use drives such as USB and DVD drives. Before your virtual machine can perform optimally, you need to install Guest addition / extension pack. To do this goto Devices>> and click on the last option there which is ”Install Guest Addition.” The drivers installations will start, just let it finish then reboot.
To install any usb device, go to Devices>> and click on USB Devices, do the same for CD/ DVD drives.
Microsoft also has similar Virtual Machine called VirtualPc but it doesn’t support other operating systems like Virtualbox. You can give it a try.
If you’re having issues with it, you contact me here, however, any comment(s) made will be duly attended to.