Vista on Ubuntu Using VirtualBox

Check out the new guide to installing VirtualBox 1.4.0 from a repository. This is a guide to installing Microsoft Windows Vista on a Ubuntu Edgy machine using VirtualBox. Note that Feisty is not yet fully supported by VirtualBox, but the edgy package is reported to work in feisty. Certain versions of Vista may be illegal to run in a virtual machine, according to the EULA, namely the Home flavors of Vista.

Get Ready

I like to keep stuff clean, so I am going to download everything to a folder. Adjust according if you decide to not make this folder. At the terminal:

mkdir ~/install_files

Install VirtualBox

Get VirtualBox and the necessary libraries.

cd ~/install_files
sudo apt-get install libxalan110 libxerces27
sudo dpkg -i VirtualBox_1.3.8_Ubuntu_edgy_i386.deb

If you have any dependancy issues:

sudo apt-get -f install

Add yourself to the vboxusers group. System > Adminstration > Users and Groups > Manage Groups > vboxusers > Properties, click the box next to your user's name. Make sure to restart. If you get an error "VirtualBox kernel driver not accessible, permission problem ...", make sure you are in the vboxusers group and restart your computer. (Logging in and out, did not work for me).

Set Up VirtualBox

From the terminal:


Go through the steps to make a new virtual machine (Click "New"). Remember that Vista has a minimum requirement of 512 MB RAM and 15 GB HD (if you have a powerful system, consider using 1 GB RAM and 20 GB HD, with a dynamic disk). has a screen by screen guide for making a new virtual machine On the settings tab, mount your Vista DVD (or ISO if you have it and want a speedy install). Now just start the virtual machine, and wait about an hour as Vista installs. You won't get any Aero fanciness with a virtual machine (but you should already be running Beryl ...right?)

Install the VirtualBox Additions

From the Devices menu, click "Install Guest Additions"

Get the Missing Network Driver

Microsoft decided to not include the network driver that VirtualBox uses in Vista, so you will have to install it yourself. (Doesn't Microsoft claim that Windows has better driver support than Linux ... ?)

cd ~/install_files
unzip -d driver
mkisofs -o driver.iso -R -J driver

In the VirtualBox window, mount driver.iso . Then go to: Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Device Manager. Right click on Ethernet Controller > Update Driver Software > Browser my computer... Navigate to the CDROM drive, and click ok. Wait a minute... and congratulations, you have installed Vista


I did upgrade to Feisty, but had an issue when upgrading. There seemed to be an issue of upgrading the kernel. I was told to run /etc/init.d/vboxdrv setup, however, this kept on erroring out, which showed a compilation error in /var/lib/vbox-install.log . To rectify the situation, find out what version of the kernel you are running:

uname -r

This should give you what version of the Ubuntu linux kernel you are running. In my case it was "2.6.20-13-386". Now you want to install the kernel headers for your specific version of the kernel. In my case:

sudo apt-get install linux-headers-2.6.20-13-386

Modify the numbers of the end of the apt-get command to match what uname -r tells you! Now, just reinstall the VirtualBox package (I had to do it twice, until I got no errors) that you downloaded earlier,

cd ~/install_files
sudo dpkg -i VirtualBox_1.3.8_Ubuntu_edgy_i386.deb

Now everything should work nicely! If you have any further issues, post them in the comments and I will try to help.