Getting Started With VirtualBox

What if you could test practically any operating system from within your current computer setup?  By setting up a virtual machine inside of your current computer, you can do exactly that – and the best tool to use to get this done is Sun VirtualBox.  I am far from being any sort of operating system geek, but even I was able to get Ubuntu up and running from within my Windows Vista machine, so anything really is possible.

So why would you want to run a virtual machine from within your own computer?

Well, there are a number of reasons.

  • To Test Your Web Site in Multiple Environments
  • To Play with a Different Operating System, without Ruining Your Current Setup
  • To Raise Your Geeky Street Cred

So then, how do you get started?  First things first, you must go to the Sun VirtualBox web site, and pick up the latest version of their software. They have versions available for Windows, Mac and Linux.  Once you get it up and running, you can click the New button from the program’s interface to start the program’s wizard up that will guide you through the rest of the setup process.

Name Your New Virtual Machine

First, you have to give your virtual machine a name, and decide what operating system you wish to install.

Base RAM for the Virtual Machine

Next, it will ask you how much RAM (memory) you wish to allocate to the virtual machine, best to leave it now to the level it sets as default. You can always tweak it later if needed.

Setup the Virtual Machine Hard Drive

After that, select a hard disk image to be used as the boot disk.  Once again, I would suggest to go with the defaults it suggests for now, and you can tweak things later if needed.

Dynamic or Fixed Storage Types

Time to create your new virtual hard drive disk for your virtual machine to use. For the hard disk storage type you can select to dynamically expand your storage or set it to a fixed storage size, that does not grow.

Virtual Machine Hard Drive Space

Now, you will need to decide how big the virtual hard drive will be.  I would keep this under 10 GB, so you do not use any disk space that you might really need for your actual computer.

Final Virtual Machine Setup Steps

After that, confirm your settings are correct and hit the button labeled, “Finish”.  Your virtual hard drive disk will then be created for you.  Once it has been created, then you will be asked to confirm your creation of your new virtual machine.  Click the button labeled, “Finish” for it too, and you will almost be well on your way to virtual machine land.

As you can see, this is a pretty easy process to go through, as long as you don’t get freaked out by making a few geeky decisions. In my next article, I will be showing you how to get the operating system installed for your brand new virtual machine.

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