How to install Ubuntu Studio in Windows using VirtualBox – a complete walkthrough

This tutorial will take you every single step of the way through installing Ubuntu Studio using VirtualBox for Windows. In other words, even your parents should be able to follow along.

1. Who this tutorial is for
2. Background
3. Setting up VirtualBox for Ubuntu
4. Installing Ubuntu Studio
5. Tidying up (adding sound and a CD/DVD-ROM)

Who this tutorial is for

This tutorial is for anyone with a PC running Windows (Windows 2000 SP3, XP or Server 2003) who is curious about Linux – specifically Ubuntu Studio, and has about an hour to kill (not including the time it takes to download Ubuntu). The great thing about installing Ubuntu Studio using VirtualBox is that if you decide you don’t like it, you can uninstall VirtualBox, delete its files and folders, and its like it never happened. You don’t have to worry about partitioning your hard drive (which when done incorrectly can delete your valuable files). That, and all of the software involved is entirely free.

The steps and screenshots used for this tutorial are specific to VirtualBox 1.3.8 and Windows XP SP2. With that said, they will be nearly identical if you have 2000, XP SP1 etc.


Ubuntu Studio is a free, open source Linux-based operating system. It’s referred to as the “multimedia creation flavor of Ubuntu”. Ubuntu Studio is aimed at the GNU/Linux audio, video and graphic enthusiast as well as professional. Their aim is to make it more accessible for new users to get into the tools that GNU/Linux has to offer for multimedia creation/production. For more information on Ubuntu Studio, visit

VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware. Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software. Download VirtualBox here.

Before you start – make sure to download Ubuntu from The file you’ll want to download (as of 5/13/07) is ubuntustudio-7.04-alternate-i386.iso (use the bittorrent link if possible to help the mirror conserve bandwidth). Also, make sure VirtualBox is installed.

Setting up VirtualBox for Ubuntu

  1. During the installation of VirtualBox, don’t be surprised if you get a few “are you sure you want to do this” messages. Just click Continue Anyway when they pop up.

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  3. Launch VirtualBox and click the New button.

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  5. The Wizard will open – click Next to continue.

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  7. Give your new virtual machine a name – it doesn’t matter what you call it, but something descriptive is a good idea. From the OS Type select Linux 2.6. Click Next to continue.

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  9. Select the amount of RAM you want to dedicate to Ubuntu Studio. The amount you select should be at least 128MB, but you probably won’t want to select more than half of your actual PC’s RAM. If you have 512MB of RAM, select 256MB (give or take) for your virutal machine. Click Next to continue.

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  11. Click the New… button to create a virtual hard drive.

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  13. Click Next

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  15. Review the differences between a dynamically expanding image and a fixed-size image. Dynamically expanding image is a good choice. Again, click Next to continue.

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  17. Give the Image File Name a name – again, it doesn’t matter what you name it, but something descriptive is always good. Then use the slider to determine how large to make your virtual hard drive. VirtualBox suggests at least 8GB, but you can get away with less (but going below 2 or 3GB isn’t a great idea). When you’ve selected an amount, click Next.

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  19. Review the settings and click Finish when you’re ready.

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  21. Now that your virtual hard disk is set up, click Next to continue.

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  23. The wizard is now done. Click Finish.

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  25. Back in the main VirtualBox window, click Settings

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  27. Select the CD/DVD-ROM entry from the left navigation. Place a check in the box labeled Mount CD/DVD Drive, and then select ISO Image File.

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  29. A Virtual Disk Manager will appear. Click the Add button.

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  31. Navigate to your Ubuntu Studio ISO file, select it, and then click Open

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  33. Once the ISO has been added, click Select.

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  35. Your CD/DVD-ROM screen should look similar to the screenshot below. Click OK when you’re ready.

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Installing Ubuntu Studio

  1. Now it’s time to install Ubuntu Studio. Click the Start button to begin.

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  3. You’ll probably be given a ‘warning’ that explains how to change the cursor and keyboard focus from the virtual machine to Windows. By default, use the right control (ctrl) key. Click OK.

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  5. Watch as VirtualBox loads Ubuntu Studio…

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  7. Click inside the VirtualBox window, make sure that Install Ubuntu Studio is highlighted, and hit Enter on your keyboard.

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  9. Use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to select your language, and hit Enter when you’ve made your choice.

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  11. Again, use the up and down arrow keys to select your Country, and hit Enter to continue.

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  13. Use the left and right arrow keys to select Yes to auto-detect your keyboard layout. As always, hit Enter to continue.

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  15. You’ll be prompted to press one of several keys on your keyboard. Click the appropriate key.

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  17. Similar to the previous step, click the appropriate key on your keyboard.

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  19. Use the left and right arrow keys to select Yes or No regarding the keys on your keyboard. Hint: if you’re using a US keyboard, select No. You’ll be prompted to repeat this step with various “keys” a number of times. Again, if you’re using a US keyboard, select No every time.

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  21. Assuming Ubuntu detected the correct keyboard, make sure Continue is selected and hit Enter.

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  23. Watch as Ubuntu detects your hardware..

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  25. and loads additional components…

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  27. and configures your network.

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  29. Now enter a Hostname for your virtual machine. As usual, a short but descriptive name is a good idea.

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  31. Once again Ubuntu will detect your hardware.

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  33. Then it will start the partitioner.

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  35. Select Guided – use entire disk and hit Enter.

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  37. Hit Enter again.

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  39. Watch as the partitioning finishes up.

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  41. Select Yes and then hit – you guessed it – Enter.

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  43. Your newly created virtual partitions will be formatted.

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  45. Use the up and down arrow keys to select your time zone. Hit Enter when you’ve selected the appropriate one.

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  47. Select Yes, hit Enter.

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  49. Enter your name and hit Enter.

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  51. Select a user name. This is the login/user name that you’ll use in Ubuntu. Note that user names can contain numbers (though it can’t start with one), and all letters must be lower case.

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  53. Enter the password you want to use to login to Ubuntu.

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  55. Re-enter the password.

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  57. Ubuntu Studio will begin installing the base system. Go grab a cup of coffee. This will take a while.

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  59. Review the packages that Ubuntu Studio can install.

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  61. Select the packages you wish to have installed. Use the up and down arrow keys to move through the list, and use the Space Bar to select a package. Hit Enter after you’ve selected the packages you want installed.

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  63. Grab yourself another cup of coffee. Again, this can take quite a while, but it depends on how many of the software packages you opted to install.

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  65. Now you’ll select the resolutions you want available to Ubuntu studio.

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  67. Use the up and down arrow keys to navigate through the list, and the Space Bar to select them. Keep in mind – if your video card and monitor don’t support a specific resolution, don’t select it.

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  69. Watch as more software is installed.

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  71. And finally, it’s done. Ignore the message about removing media from your CD-ROM, but if you have a floppy in your floppy drive, take it out. Select Continue and hit Enter.

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  73. Watch as the pretty Ubuntu Studio boot screen loads.

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  75. Enter your user name and hit Enter.

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  77. Enter your password and hit Enter.

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  79. To enter Full Screen mode, select VM from the top menu, and then Fullscreen Mode from the drop-down list. The first time you enter fullscreen mode, you’ll be given a ‘warning’ that explains how to exit and return to ‘windowed’ view.
  80. Ta-da! Have fun with Ubuntu Studio!

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Tidying up (adding sound and a CD/DVD-ROM)

  1. After you’ve powered Ubuntu Studio off, select Settings from the top menu.

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  3. Select the Audio entry from the left navigation. Place a check in the box labeled Enable Audio, and choose Windows DirectSound from the drop-down list.

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  5. Next select CD/DVD-ROM from the left navigation, and change the Mount CD/DVD Drive from ISO Image File to Host CD/DVD Drive.

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  7. The next time you start Ubuntu Studio, sound should work and you’ll have access to your CD/DVD-ROM.

59 thoughts on “How to install Ubuntu Studio in Windows using VirtualBox – a complete walkthrough”

  1. great walkthrough.

    i assume VirtualBox will install ubuntu 7.04 and not only the studio version…

    i will give this a try.

  2. noobie –

    Yes, VirtualBox will work just fine w/ Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn). The step will be different because Feisty is a “Live CD”, but it’s very straight forward.

  3. I assume there’s little chance this virtualized Ubuntu Studio will use the native drivers of my M-Audio sound card?

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  7. Linux Nut –

    Not sure – I don’t have an external TV/USB peripheral to try out. I suspect it will work as USB is supported via VirtualBox.


    Sadly, no. Beryl/Compiz will not work w/ VirtualBox, Parallels or VMWare.

    Hope this helps –


  8. Alexander Pieps

    If you want to install Ubuntu 7.04 be sure to download the alternate desktop cd: ubuntu-7.04-alternate-i386.iso
    This gives you the same text oriented menu as in Ubuntu Studio. There are a few extra steps such as language selection.

  9. Hi.

    I installed this in hopes of finding out how Ubuntu Studio works before installing a real copy of it. It was just so horribly slow I lost my patience and shut it down in the middle of the program updates after the install was complete (It didn’t move anywhere in 15 minutes). Now it wants me to run pkgd or something similar, but it wants administrative rights, which my own account doesn’t have. Root password doesn’t match the one I put as my own password, even if the program updater accepted my own password when it prompted for one.

    How to fix this problem? I think I’m going to need the root password sooner or later anyway…

  10. Oops, nevermind my earlier problem. All the necessary information was provided in the help menu. ;)

    But it’s still going so slowly, like trying to run WinXP on a 386. I’ll have to make test runs on a newer computer.

  11. For some reason my networking wouldn’t work until I used the generic kernel instead of the low latency one. If anyone else has this trouble, press escape when Grub is loading and select the generic kernel. Everything else worked like a charm, great tutorial.

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  13. Sammie – this is Ubuntu through an emulator running on XP. Which means you’re not only running XP, but you’re running ANOTHER OS on top of it. Yeah, it’s going to be slower. You can’t expect full speed functionality when running on emulation! Heck, you can’t even expect full functionality when running a LiveCD, since it has to load everything from CD.

    If you really want to know how well Ubuntu would work for you… I guess the only realistic way of knowing is by installing it.

    Get the GParted LiveCD, make a small (10GB) partition, and install ubuntu on it (make sure you keep windows in the boot list – it should be automatic). Then, you can boot into Ubuntu and try it out. If you don’t like it… you can try installing something else.


  14. Sonny Crockett

    Hey folks!

    Great Tut :)!

    But is there some way to reach the internet from the virtualbox? I have a dsl internet subscription and i couldnt use it using vbox. How can i fix it? Or vitualbox doesnt allows you to use the internet?

    HELP! :)

    Thx in advance!

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  22. now that i got this far
    can someone kindly explian
    how do i get two way ip traffic
    between guest and host

    great tutorial

  23. Very complete walkthrough. I got my virtual machine into full screen and forgot how to get out. Was able to find out by looking at your walkthrough.

  24. hello i tried the walkthrough but for a strange reason when i chose to install ubunu it came up with a grey dash in the top left hand corner, with a black backround does anyone have any ideas?

  25. If i were to use this to install Linux upon my computer, how high are the risks of me losing data(music, docs)or even my entire computer because i didn’t partition right?

  26. Nice walkthrough for nOOB. Anyways, I tried installing Ubuntu Ultimate on Virtual box. Installation was smooth. But As soon as the installation is complete and its asking me to restart Ubuntu and then enter my login/password. It just keeps going back to the login/password window. Did I miss something? Ive done this installation three times. I still get the same thing.

  27. Great walkthrough!

    However, I’m not able to install any additional software or make changes to the configuration as I don’t know the root password. Is it asked during the installation? What am I doing wrong?

  28. Great tutorial! I’m now using Ubuntu Studio 7.04 and updating it via VirtualBox.

    Can I access my NTFS partitions in XP in Ubuntu Studio, so that I can play my videos/mp3’s?

  29. I am trying to install the NVIDIA videocard drivers, but it says that I have to login as root. I don’t remember being asked a root password in the installation process, and I also tried to put the password that I entered during the installation process, but it wouldn’t let me! I tried to use the “su” command in the terminal, then entered my password, but to no avail. I know this sounds silly, but what password should I put?


  30. pancho – can you use the sudo command? your default user probably isn’t in the group that can use su, but is in the sudo group. I can’t remember it’s been a while since I’ve last installed Ubuntu Studio, and I don’t remember if this is the same in Ubuntu. Anyway – try sudo. It should work. Once it does, you can add yourself to the su group.

    And I could be totally wrong on this one, but I don’t think you’ll be able to do what you want w/ the nvidia drivers. If you’re using Ubuntu Studio inside Virtualbox, you won’t be able to use things like Compiz Fusion. 3D acceleration in virtual environments are coming along, but they’re not there yet. Parallels and VMWare Fusion (both $, but w/ free demos) both support some 3d accel in Windows.

  31. Like a couple of other on here, when I start the installation in virtualbox, after the initial ubuntu screen and my selection to install, I just get a black screen with a cursor top left. I’ve tried two or three times and the happens each time. I’m on Vista, so I wonder if it’s that that is causing theis?

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  37. grub / lilo troubles with ubuntustudio install in virtualbox, ubuntu 7.10 as host system, using a fixed-size virtual harddisk of 16G. Everything seemed to work ok until it wanted to install grub; lilo didn’t work neither, any tips?

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  39. Farzan Karimi

    Great walk-through. This works with the 8.04 release as well.

    One note: The article should have included the fact that you need to go into your Virtual Box settings->Advanced and Enable PAE. Otherwise you may get a boot error after initial install.

  40. I can use linux in virtual box but my computer wont boot dvd even with a force boot floppy any ideas?

    Oh i have xp service pack 2 if it helps?

  41. I installed Ubuntu 7.10 on Virtual Box (on Vista) but the resolution goes only up to 800×600. Is this a compatibility issue on 7.10’s part or is it something else? Will 7.04 go fullscreen? Thanks.

  42. Hi,
    Thanks for the wonderful walkthrough. I could get vbox and ubuntu working together (needless to say was struggling to get it working earlier). However, I did not get the beautiful gui (login screen)on the screen, I just get a text version askign for logina nd password. Waht settings I need to select?


  43. when i do the formatting of the partition. i get the error that there is low memory, close any applications and then continue


  44. alright … now how do u undo this? How to u remove the ubuntu from within your harddrve and windows and convert the storage space back to ntft … pls help

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  46. Linux4Life2009

    Hi ! this installation procedure is gr8 …. I tried the same on red hat 5.3 linux and its installed …. but the problem is when i shut down from the virtual OS and restart my PC … and then start the virtual OS again … it starts from booting again as if it was never installed ? any way I can fix this and make this installation work even after restarting my PC ?

  47. Hi!
    I have installed UbuntuStudio usin VirtualBox (Windows)
    And now when i try to open it, it will stop to “Starting Up”.
    What i can do to make it work?

  48. in the walkthrough it is recommend to use ubuntustudio 7.04 ,does it work with 9.04 too ?
    and another question – @ point 33 in the walktrough you mention to configure x-server ,but in 9.04 it is not

  49. I installed Ubuntu Studio 10.04 into VirtualBox 3.2.6 on Ubuntu 9.04, and I have no sound. How can I get the sound to work? I have tried selecting Alsa in the settings, and also PulseAudio, but neither made any difference.

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