How to Install Linux Mint in VirtualBox

There are plenty of options to choose from when creating a VM. For now though, we will set up a VM adequate to run Mint Cinnamon and perform well.

With Oracle’s VirtualBox now up and running, the next task is to create the Virtual Machine (VM) environment, into which you install Linux. This process won’t affect your currently installed operating system, which is why a VM is a great choice.

Installing Mint in VirtualBox

With VirtualBox open, click on the New icon in the top right of the app. This opens the new VM Wizard. In the box next to Name, type Linux Mint and VirtualBox should automatically choose Linux as the Type and Ubuntu (64-bit) as the Version; if not then use the drop-down boxes to select the correct settings (remember Mint mainstream is based on Ubuntu). Click Next when you’re ready to proceed.

Installing Linux in a Virtual Environment2

The next section defines the amount of system memory, or RAM, the VM has allocated. Remember this amount is taken from the available memory installed on your computer, so don’t give the VM too much. For example, we have 8GB of memory installed and we’re giving 2GB to the VM. When you’re ready, click Next to continue.

Installing Linux in a Virtual Environment3

This section is where you start to create the virtual hard disk that the VM uses to install Mint on to. The default option, ‘Create a virtual hard disk now’, is the one we’re using. Click Create to move on.

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The pop-up window that appears after clicking Create is asking you what type of virtual hard disk you want to create. We’re going to use the default VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) in this case, as the others are often used to move VMs from one VM application to the next. Make sure VDI is selected and click Next.

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The question of whether to opt for Dynamically or Fixed sized virtual hard disks may come across as being somewhat confusing to the newcomer. A Dynamically Allocated virtual hard disk is a more flexible storage management option and won’t take up much space within your physical hard disk to begin with. Ensure Dynamically Allocated is selected and click Next.

The virtual hard disk is a single folder, up to the size you state in this section. Ensure the location of the virtual hard disk, on your computer, has enough free space available. For example, we’ve used a bigger storage option on our D:\ drive, named it Linux Mint and allocated 25.50GB of space to the virtual hard disk.

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After clicking Create the initial setup of the VM is complete; you should now be looking at the newly created VM within the VirtualBox application. Before you begin though, click the Settings button and within the General section click the Advanced tab. Using the pull-down menus, choose ‘Bidirectional’ for both Shared Clipboard and Drag’n’Drop.

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Follow that by clicking on the System section, then the Processor tab. Depending on your CPU, allocate as many cores as you can without detriment to your host system; we’ve opted for two CPUs. Now click on the Display section, slide the Video Memory up to the maximum and tick ‘Enable 3D Acceleration’. Click OK to commit the new settings.

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Click on the Start button and use the explorer button (a folder with a green arrow) in the ‘Select Start-up Disk’ window to locate the downloaded ISO of Mint; then click Start to boot the VM with the Linux Mint Live Environment. You can now install Linux as per the standard PC installation requirements.

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David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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