SLP: Introduction to UNIX: VirtualBox Use

Go up to the main SLP documents page (md)


VirtualBox is a free program that allows you to run another operating system on your machine without needing to reinstall anything. You have to install the VirtualBox client, which installs like any other program and is available for many different platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux). We provide you with a pre-configured VirtualBox image that contains an Ubuntu Linux installation that you can use for this course.

Quick start


VT-x support

For 64-bit VMs, VirtualBox requires some hardware support from your processor. This support is present on almost all processors made recently (including all laptop or desktop processors introduced by Intel since 2013). However, some computer manufacturers disable this support by default. When they do this, you can usually re-enable the feature in BIOS or "the Setup Utility".

How you access the BIOS/Setup varies between manufacturers. Common ways include pressing Enter or F2 or F12 or Del while booting the machine. If you are using Windows 10, you may need to first shut down the machine while holding shift - some Windows 10 installations default to not performing a "complete" shut down. You should be able to look up full instructions online for accessing BIOS/Setup based on the model of your laptop or desktop.

Once in the Setup utility, the option to change is likely to be called something like "Intel VT-x", "Intel Virtualization Technology", "virtualization technology", or "AMD-v". Confusingly, this setting is sometimes under category called "Security" instead of something more obvious. After changing it, save the settings and reboot.

If you have trouble setting getting 64-bit VMs to work on your machine, please do not hesitate to contact the course staff for assistance.

In the unlikely event that you have a laptop that does not support running 64-bit VMs with VirtualBox, we will make alternate arrangements such as making the assignments only use 32-bit, or finding a way for you to do the assignments by remote logging into lab machines.


Transferring files back and forth

A few options:

Image creation details

Here (md) are the details of how the image was created.