Thanks largely to the hardware equipment that users have at our disposal at the moment, the virtualization of alternative operating systems to Windows is on the rise. We say this because it generally requires some power in the PC that we have. For all this we can use specific programs such as VirtualBox that we will talk about in these lines.
It is true that at the moment we have a multitude of specific applications for this type of task, as is the case that we are commenting on. This is software, VirtualBox, owned by a reputable Oracle firm , used worldwide. In fact, it is arguably one of the most popular in the industry, in part due to how affordable it is for most to use.
How to download and install VirtualBox
Actually it is a free application that we can use to test operating systems that work on the main one in a virtual way. More and more users are opting for this type of practice, more if we take into account the equipment that we have today. That is why in these same lines we are going to show you the easiest way to create a virtual machine through VirtualBox in a few steps. It is clear that for all this we need two key elements. The first one is the ISO with the image of the operating system that we want to virtualize .
On the other hand, we find that we are also going to need the program as such. That is why the first thing we need is to download VirtualBox, something we can do from this link .
Thus, as we see on the web, we find a direct link to download the file, both for Windows and Linux . Thus, we select the platform that interests us in this case to download the corresponding file. This is downloaded like any other program, so we will only have to install it on the computer on a regular basis.
Create a virtual machine with VirtualBox
First steps in VirtualBox
Well, once we have downloaded and installed the program on our computer, we can start it up. Thus, once executed in the system, we find its main interface.
As we can see, here we find a very good-looking, modern and easy-to-understand interface. On the left side of it we find the entries that correspond to the virtual machines that we will create over time, as well as the assigned name.
On the other hand, the moment we select any of them, on the right side we will see a summary with its internal data, while at the top, we can put it into operation.
Start creating a new machine
But as you can imagine, what really interests us here is to be able to create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox, from scratch; let’s see how to do it. For all this, the first thing we have to do is click on the New button of the main interface of the program that we find in the upper central part.
Then a window will appear where we only have to specify the personal name that we want to assign to it. We recommend using a sufficiently representative name so that we do not get confused in the future. At the same time, here we will also have the opportunity to choose the type of system that we are going to virtualize in this case. In order to make things easier for us, the program offers us a drop-down list where we can mark our choice.
Another aspect to take into account here is that we can specify the disk path where we want to store the virtual machine. Here we can select any of the internal drives of the PC, or some external, at our choice.
Allocate the most suitable virtual RAM
Well, once the name, type and location of the new machine have been specified, we move on to the next step, which is none other than memory allocation. This is very important to indicate to the program the amount of local RAM we want to assign to that virtual machine that we are going to create. So, depending on the total RAM available in the PC, we have to make a calculation of how much we will allow this machine to use when it is running.
Keep in mind that it should be enough for the virtual system to run smoothly, but at the same time not affect the main system. For example, on a PC with 16 gigs, reserving four to virtualize Windows 10 is a good choice. It is enough to move the bar that we find here to the assigned value.
Configure the virtual hard disk in VirtualBox
Once we go to the next window of the wizard that we are following in the program, after specifying the RAM to use in virtualization, let’s go to disk. Here we will have the opportunity to create the virtual hard disk as such, so we recommend that you check the option to Create a virtual disk now.
Then we go to the next configuration window of the virtual disk itself, where we can specify the type of file that we want to use for the virtual disk mentioned. In the event that this is not going to be used with another virtualization software alternative to VirtualBox, as is the case, we leave the selection by default. Therefore, among the three that we see on the screen, we leave VDI or VirtualBox Disk Image marked.
The next step is very important, since it refers to the physical disk space that we are going to let the virtual one use in this machine that we are creating. We have two possibilities here and the choice will depend on each case. On the one hand, we have the possibility of leaving a dynamic reservation, so the virtual machine will take up disk space as it needs it. On the other hand we can leave it as fixed, with which we specify the gigs of the disk unit that we give to this machine. In this case, for example, we are going to leave it as dynamic, so we mark the corresponding option and click on Next.
To avoid confusion, say that the fixed disk takes longer to create at this moment, hours in some cases, but when used in the future, it is faster. However, the dynamic is assigned faster, but once that space is taken, it no longer frees it.
Although we leave the size as dynamic, we have to assign a maximum so that the virtual machine does not take the entire disk if it needs it. This is something we do in the next window, where we also give a name and path to the file of the machine that is going to be created.
Therefore, if in this case we choose the dynamic one, as we mentioned, now we are going to establish the maximum that the machine can take. For example, in the present case, we are going to give a total of 50 gigabytes. To finish we just have to click on Create.
Prepare and configure the virtual machine
This will lead us to the initial interface with the created machine, this is located on the left side of it. Of course, first of all we have to load the operating system in the form of an ISO image on the machine as such. To do this, we select it and click on the Settings button that is located at the top.
In the window that appears, we go to the Storage section of those that are located in the left panel. So here we will have the opportunity to choose the medium from which we are going to install the virtualized system on the created VirtualBox machine.
Here we click on the section that says Empty in the right panel, which is where we are going to load the ISO of the system that we want to load. Next we click on the button that is located to the right of the Optical drive section. This way we can choose the location of the corresponding image file that we are going to virtualize.
Once the file is loaded, we return to the main screen of the program, so that we can now select the created machine, and click on Start. This will give way to the installation or execution of the virtual system in the machine that we created before, that simple.
Tweaks to improve virtual machine performance
By default, VirtualBox establishes an intermediate configuration that guarantees an acceptable performance of the virtual system without experiencing a very large impact on the performance of the main system. However, if we have a high-end PC, with many resources, we can take advantage of it to improve the performance of the virtual system and make it run much more fluid.
Some of the settings that we can change to improve performance are:
- Settings> System> Motherboard: expand RAM.
- Configuration> System> Processor: increase the number of processors (cores).
- Settings> Display> Display: increase video memory.
- Settings> Display> Display: activate 3D acceleration.
These values can be modified at any time, both to increase and decrease them. Therefore, we should not be afraid to try until we find the balance. The important thing, above all, is not to leave the main system without memory or without CPU, since then the PC would go excessively slow, and with it, the virtual machine.
In addition, it is important to remember to install the Guest Addition, the necessary “drivers” so that the virtual system can communicate with the real system and thus obtain better performance.