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Being a software reviewer means I'm always willing to test new apps, check out innovative web services or even have a look at the latest version of an operating system. If you're anything like me – and don't want to ruin your computer in six months with all those software experiments – you should use a virtual machine.

Virtual machines can run on your system as separate computers, with their own hard drive, operating system and file structure. Therefore you can test anything you like without compromising your actual system. It's the perfect sandbox for beta versions, new operating systems or software apps you want to try out before installing them definitively on your PC.

A few months ago I wrote a post about the two most popular virtual machine solutions (VMware vs VirtualBox) but today I'm going to focus on the latter, and explain how to install and run a new operating system in VirtualBox with an ISO file. This may be the best way to take your first steps in Linux, for example.

The first step is obviously downloading the ISO file with the operating system you want to try out. There are many sources from which you can obtain them. You only need to be a bit patient because these image files are usually massive and can take a long time to complete downloading.

1. Once you've got the ISO image file of the OS you want to test, launch VirtualBox and click on New.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

2. Give your VirtualBox machine a name and select the OS type.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

3. Assign a portion of your RAM memory to the virtual machine. The amount you decide to select depends on how much RAM you have and how much the virtual OS needs.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

4. The next step requires you to select a hard drive for the virtual machine. As you won't have any created yet, click on New.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

5. Now we're in the Virtual Disk Creation wizard. Select the type of disk you want – dynamically expanding or fixed size.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

6. Select the size of the hard drive for the virtual machine. Again, this setting depends on your actual hardware components (i.e., the size of your hard drive) and the operating system's requirements.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

7. After creating the virtual disk, you're back again to the previous wizard. Click on Next and you'll be done.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

8. The newly created virtual machine now appears on the VirtualBox interface, but still needs some configuration. Right-click on it and select Settings.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

9. Select CD/DVD-ROM on the left-hand menu and enable the Mount CD/DVD Drive option. Then click on the ISO Image File option to select your ISO file.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

10. Finally, while still on the Settings window, select General on the left-hand menu and configure video memory according to the operating system's requirements.

New operating system on VirtualBox with ISO file

Your new virtual machine is ready to use!

Commented

  • Syreph |
    13/01/09
    Syreph

    Coolly New Year Truly January Really into February Surely through March

  • backtrack 4 beta iso is available for download | Lifedork |
    11/02/09
    backtrack 4 beta iso is available for download | Lifedork

    [...] How to: install a new operating system on VirtualBox (onsoftware.en.softonic.com) [...]

  • asde |
    13/10/09
    asde

    hi.... im instal backtrak 4 in my virtual box... but my wifi drive's can't detect... how find it....

  • Dani |
    14/10/09
    Dani

    Hi I am beginner and need some help in making inter networking between host and virtual machine.On my machine these software are installed 1. ubuntu 9.04 (Host) 2. virtual Box 3.0.8 3. ubuntu 9.04 (virtual machine) i have assigned the IP to host eth0 using file /etc/networking/interfaces. while on virtual machine eth0 ip assigned by VirtualBox. i am replacing this IP with same class which assigned host. The problem is that, when i was send a ping command from host to virtual machine or virtual machine to host , then response is unreached host.

    any tutorial or web link that helpful for me.thanks for advanced.

  • deepali |
    16/08/13
    deepali

    all you need to do is install all the wifi drivers of ur current virtual machines and then u can manage wireless connection and add a network thn ur wifi will be detected.

20/10/14
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