Running Ubuntu 8.04.1 Server on XP with VirtualBox – Part 1

Not only does running your own Linux Server make you feel like a big man, but like having a towel in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it will make everyone else think you’re a hoopy frood. Moreover, it’s a great way to learn Unix on the side. In this first installment of a two-part series, I will show you how to install Ubuntu Server in VirtualBox on a Windows XP system.

This article will cover the installation of Ubuntu Server. In the second part, I will show you some value-adds that will hopefully assist you in accessing and maintaining your server more effectively. As the instructions in this article are fairly basic, you may want to ignore them, but just beware the caveat in step 3 of the VM configuration below.

Let’s get started. To perform the installation you will need the following:

Install VirtualBox by double-clicking the installer and following the prompts. You can safely accept all the defaults. If you have done this, congratulations! You have finished the first part of this tutorial.

Now for the server installation:

Set up the VM

  1. Run VirtualBox from the Start menu.
  2. Click on the New button (Ctrl-N) to define a new VM
  3. Name your server “Ubuntu Server” (or anything else) and select Ubuntu as the OS type. Click Next.
  4. Choose the memory size. Mine defaulted to 256MB, which proved sufficient. Click Next.
  5. Click New… to add a new hard disk image. Click Next.
  6. Choose “Dynamically expanding image” and click Next.
  7. Choose the hard drive size. Mine defaulted to 8GB which seems enough. Click Next.
  8. Click Finish to go back to the VM creation wizard. Click Next to proceed. Click Finish to end the new VM wizard

Configure the VM

  1. Select your newly created VM and click the Settings button. This brings up the settings dialog.
  2. In the General category, choose the Advanced Tab
  3. Enable the option “Enable PAE/NX”. (This is probably the most important step. Without it the installation can complete, but the server will not boot).
  4. Choose the CD/DVD-ROM section to mount the ISO
  5. Select “Mount CD/DVD Drive”
  6. Choose ISO Image File
  7. Click the Select (folder with green arrow) button to bring up the Virtual Disk Manager dialog
  8. Click the Add button and browse to the ISO image of the Ubuntu Server installation CD that you downloaded
  9. Click Select to select the newly added image and return to the CD/DVD-ROM section in the Settings Dialog. Click OK.

Well done. You are now ready to perform the server installation on your VM.

Installing the Server

The next part is pretty much all about accepting defaults, so you might want to attempt it on your own:

  1. On the main window, select your VM and click the Start button. A new window is launched.
  2. Wait for the menu to come up and choose the installation language
  3. Select “Install Ubuntu Server”
  4. Choose the language for the system and press Enter
  5. Choose your country or territory and press Enter
  6. For the keyboard layout, I tabbed to “No” (do not detect keyboard layout) and pressed Enter. Then I chose USA on the next two dialogs, because I know what keyboard layout I have
  7. Wait for the hardware detection to finish.
  8. Accept the determined host name by pressing Enter
  9. For the disk partitioning, choose “Guided – Use Entire Disk” (the default) and press Enter
  10. Choose the displayed disk by pressing Enter
  11. On the next screen, accept the partition settings by tabbing to “Yes” and press Enter
  12. Wait for the installation to complete.
  13. Enter the name of a user to create and press Enter. Enter the ID of the user as well and press Enter. Also enter and confirm a password, pressing Enter each time
  14. If you are behind a proxy, you can enter the proxy details here, but I will cover this in more detail in the next article. Press Enter
  15. You now have the option to install certain server components. I chose LAMP Server (which installs Apache, MySQL and PHP) and PostgreSQL database. Press Enter to proceed. If you chose LAMP, you will be prompted to enter and confirm a password for the MySQL root user.
  16. Once everything is complete, you are ready to reboot. Choose Devices > Unmount CD/DVD-ROM from the window menu, and press Enter to reboot your VM server. You can now log in using the user you created during the installation.

Congratulations! You are now the proud administrator of your own Linux server! In the next part, I’m going to show you some value-adds that will hopefully help you get more out of your installation.

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