Setting up an Ubuntu 14.04 LTS virtual machine on LTU laptops

My cousin +Joseph Kielasa recently needed Linux installed alongside Windows 8.1 on our LTU school laptops for his work at Parjana Distribution on our sensor boxes. I have already tried to setup a dual-boot between Ubuntu 14.04 and Windows 8.1 on our new school laptops over the summer, but that kind of failed. So this time, I tried going the virtual machine approach.

Here is how you too can run Ubuntu and Windows at the same time on your LTU laptop.

Get an image

Obviously, you will need an Ubuntu image to install into the virtual machine. Go to and get Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS (64-bit desktop image). This will download as a .iso file to your computer. The download is almost 1 GB big, so be prepared to wait a while.

After it downloads, you may want to check the MD5 sum to ensure the file's integrity before you try to use it. Get Microsoft's File Checksum Integrity Verifier Utility if you want to verify this (you can get the md5sums for the different Ubuntu 14.04 LTS disk images here).

Get virtual machine software

The school laptops use Windows 8.1 Enterprise, which comes with Microsoft's own Hyper-V virtual machine technology by default. Unfortunately, there's something with group policy settings on these laptops which prevented me from being able to create a virtual machine with it, so we can't use it until LTU's IT department comes up with some sort of solution. As a result, we'll need to install something else.

There's a wide variety of virtualization software available; in this post, I will be using Oracle's VirtualBox. This is largely because I've used it before, so I'm familiar with it.You will want the x86/amd64 Windows host. If you are looking for an alternative, you could give VMWare Player a look since that sounds pretty popular, but note that you will need to pay for a commercial license if you want to use it for work.

Change UEFI settings

For this to work, you will need to also change a setting in your UEFI firmware options if it's not already set to enable Intel virtualization for your processor. To get into the UEFI, you can simply select the Restart option on your power menu while holding down the Shift key, or you can follow these instructions.

Once in the settings, you'll want to use your arrow keys to go to the Security tab, and enter the Virtualization subtab. There's only one option in there for Intel virtualization technology; use the Enter and arrow keys to change this setting from "Disabled" to "Enabled". Hit F10 to save your changes and reboot into Windows.

Create the virtual machine

Start Oracle VirtualBox. You may get an error window stating something about a DLL; you can safely ignore this Window and Oracle VirtualBox will still come up.

To create a new virtual machine, click the New button in the toolbar. In the popup dialog, give this machine whatever name you like; ensure that the virtual machine type is set to Linux and the version is set to "Ubuntu (64-bit)". Click Next.

After that, you'll be asked several questions regarding how much memory your virtual machine will be allocated. I think the recommended amounts of 512 MB of RAM and 8 GB for the hard drive is a bit stingy; instead, I set these values to 2048 MB (2 GB) for the RAM and 50 GB for the (fixed size) hard drive. You can leave the virtual hard disk type on the default value. The actual values you use are really up to personal preference. Creating the virtual hard drive will, again, take some time.

Once the machine is created, we still have some things to do before the first boot. With the new virtual machine highlighted in the main window, click the Settings button in the toolbar. There's a few things we want to modify here:

See the CD icon on the right side of the Window? That's what you click to choose your .iso image file.
  • We probably want to allocate more video memory. I recommend 64 MB, but again, you can change this to suit your tastes.
  • I'd recommend bumping up the number of virtual processors to 2.
  • Enable 3D acceleration. (There's also a checkbox for 2D acceleration, but we don't need to enable this and VirtualBox will complain if you try to.)
  • Choose your downloaded .iso image file for Ubuntu for the virtual IDE disk drive and check the box telling VirtualBox it is a LiveCD/LiveDVD image disk.
Once this is all taken care of, boot the virtual machine. You should enter the live session of Ubuntu at this point; just install it like you normally would for a single-boot setup. Restart the virtual machine and run all updates through the Software Updater.

Install Guest Additions

We're not quite done yet, still. At this point, you probably will notice that the virtual screen size is very small. This is because it is still missing the drivers for its virtual hardware.

While the virtual machine is running, go under the Device menu and click "Insert Guest Additions CD Image..."

After a few moments, you should see a CD appear in the Ubuntu launcher and a dialog window will come up asking if you want to run its contents. Click Cancel; we will be doing this manually.

Hit the left Control key (the right one belongs to Windows still), Alt, and T at the same time to summon a Terminal window. For your first command, type cd /media and hit Tab a few times to autocomplete the rest of the path to the virtual CD drive. Hit Enter, and use the ls command to show the CD's contents. It should look something like the below screenshot.

Now, enter the command:

sudo sh

and provide your virtual machine login password. This will begin the process of compiling and installing the virtual machine drivers. Once the command completes (you see the normal ~$ prompt again with nothing after it), you may eject the Guest Additions CD by right-clicking it in the launcher and choosing "Eject", then reboot the virtual machine. You should now be operating at full screen resolution (i.e. however big the virtual machine window is).

A couple things to note about this step:
  • If you press right Control and F while in the virtual machine window, you can activate full screen mode, where it will appear as though Ubuntu is running at your native OS. You can return to windowed mode through the same key combination.
  • You will need to repeat these steps for installing the Guest Additions drivers anytime a Linux kernel update comes down through the Software Updater; this is because the drivers are compiled against the current kernel and will need to be rebuilt for each newer one which is installed.

That's it!

This should be everything you need to know to get started using an Ubuntu virtual machine on your LTU school laptop. Feel free to leave comments if there's anything you think I missed or I should clarify.

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