Installing Ubuntu (10.4) on Windows Virtual PC
I use a Windows 7 notebook at work but, sometimes, it’s just easier to drop back into a Unix or Linux machine – for example when I was checking out command line Twitter clients a few days ago (yes, there is a Windows one, but Twidge is more functional). After all, as one of my friends at Microsoft reminds me, it is just an operating system after all…
Anyway, I wanted to install Ubuntu 10.4 in a virtual machine and, as I have Windows Virtual PC installed on my notebook, I didn’t want to use another virtual machine manager (most of the advice on the subject seems to suggest using Virtual Box or VMware Workstation, which is a workaround – not a solution). My first attempts were unsuccessful but then I stumbled upon a forum thread that helped me considerably – thanks to MrDerekBush and pessimism on the Ubuntu forums – this is what I found I needed to do:
- Create a virtual machine in Windows Virtual PC as normal – it’s fine to use a dynamic disk – and boot from an Ubuntu disk image (i.e. an ISO, or physical media).
- At the language selection screen, hit
F6and bring up the boot options string. Delete the part that says
quiet splash --and replace it with
vga=788 noreplace-paravirt(other vga boot codes may work too).
- Select the option to try Ubuntu without installing then, once the desktop environment is fully loaded, select the option to install Ubuntu and follow the prompts.
- At the end of the installation, do not restart the virtual machine – there are some changes required to the boot loader (and Ubuntu 10.4 uses GRUB2, so some of the advice on the ‘net does not apply).
- From Places, double click the icon that represents the virtual hard disk (probably something like 135GB file system if you have a default sized virtual hard disk). Then, open a Terminal session and type
mount, to get the volume identifier.
- Enter the following commands:
sudo mount -o bind /dev /media/<em>volumeidentifier</em>/dev
sudo chroot /media/<em>volumeidentifier</em>/ /bin/bash
mount -t proc none /proc
vga=788and comment out the
#) in /etc/default/grub, then save the file and exit nano.
- Enter the following command:
- In the
args="$4 noreplace-paravirt", then save the file and exit nano.
- Enter the
update-grubcommand and ignore any error messages about not being able to find the list of partitions.
- Shut down the virtual machine. At this point I was left with a message about Casper resyncing snapshots and, ever after leaving the VM for a considerable period it did not progress further. I hibernated the VM and when I resumed it, it rebooted and Ubuntu loaded as normal.
There are still a few things I need to sort out: there are no Virtual Machine Additions for Linux on Virtual PC (only for Hyper-V), which means no mouse/keyboard integration; and the Ctrl-Alt-left arrow release key combination clashes with the defaults for Intel graphics card drivers (there are some useful Virtual PC keyboard shortcuts). Even so, getting the OS up and running is a start!