Monday, January 5, 2009

Installing Windows in Virtual Box on Linux

I was pretty excited to get VirtualBox finally running on my Ubuntu 8.10 installation so I decided to go ahead and install Windows 2008 on VirtualBox. I mounted the installation disk as an ISO image and booted up a virtual machine with 1GB RAM, 64MB video memory, and 3D acceleration. Each time I started up the installation, the CPU usage would peak to a high, the Vista installer's black-and-white text-mode screen with the progress bar would appear, then the window size would increase with complete blackness followed by a text mode window with complete blackness.

After a failed attempt at installing Windows 2008 on VirtualBox, I decided to install Windows XP instead. I mounted a physical Windows XP CD, booted up the virtual machine and the installation went on as usual. The formatting part was zippy-quick as it's a virtual machine and not a real physical disk on a real physical machine. That's the best part about installing on a virtual machine.

When the GUI portion of the Windows XP installation started, I realized that Virtual Box just wouldn't capture my mouse pointer, no matter what I did. I went ahead with the installation anyway using just the keyboard. After the installation was complete and I still had a defunct mouse pointer so I thought I'd try and setup Remote Desktop and connect to it via the Terminal Service Client in Linux. I clicked on Devices and clicked Remote Desktop and... nothing. I was hoping for a dialog box or something but none appeared. Perhaps I forgot to set something up? I then tried Install Guest Additions, went through the install in the virtual machine with the keyboard, moved the mouse, and voila! The mouse pointer was working!!!!

I then went on to install Visual Studio Team System 2008 and even as I speak, VirtualBox is emulating a physical system on which Microsoft Windows XP is installing Visual Studio 2008!!! How cool is that?! :-)

I'll tinker around with VirtualBox some more and let you know how things are flowing.

I wish the VirtualBox guys would spend more time testing the Linux version 'cos trying to get it to work was frustrating.

UPDATE: I've been wondering why Windows 2008 didn't work in VirtualBox because I was pretty sure I used it in VirtualBox before so I booted up in Windows, tried running VirtualBox again, mounted the Windows 2008 DVD and tried again. This time, I noticed a loooong pause before the Windows 2008 installer would do anything :-P

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