In this article, you will learn how to install Linux Mint 19 on VirtualBox. I will guide you through each step so you don’t get lost. If you just want to try out Linux for the first time, it is probably a good idea to do that in a Virtual Machine first, before committing to completely wiping Windows from your Computer and running Linux on it. I really like Linux Mint, it’s a great newbie Distribution for people coming from Windows (and I think it was designed with that in mind).
If you were scared or didn’t know how to get started with Linux, this tutorial is for you. You can’t break anything on your computer and I will take you through the process step by step. So let’s get started and let us install Linux Mint 19.
If you prefer to try Ubuntu instead of Linux Mint, I got you covered. Ubuntu also is a great beginner Distro.
What do you need to install Linux Mint 19 on VirtualBox?
If you run Windows 10, you should have a computer with at least:
- 8GB of RAM
- A Dual Core Processor
- At least 20GB of free hard disk space
If you use Windows 10, Windows alone will already eat up your 4GB of RAM, so there is nothing left to run a Virtual Machine on.
Before starting, make sure you download those two files:
Step 1 – Installing VirtualBox
As the first step, we are going to install Oracle VirtualBox. This is pretty straightforward, just run the installer and leave everything on default. Start VirtualBox soon as you got it installed.
Step 2 – Creating a Virtual Machine
Good, now we are going to create our first Virtual Machine. This is much easier than you might think. Once you have VirtualBox started, click on New. Give it a Name, choose a Type and a Version as follows:
- Name: Linux Mint 19 (Or whatever you want to call it)
- Type: Linux
- Version: Ubuntu (64bit)
Click on Next and assign it a certain amount of Memory. For a good experience, a rule of thumb is: If you have 8GB of RAM, assign it 4GB. If you have 16, you can assign it more but you don’t have to. Mint runs pretty well even on 4GB.
Click on Next when you are finished and select: Create a virtual hard disk now and click on Create. Leave it on the default VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) and click Next. Leave it on Dynamically allocated and click Next. Dynamically allocated means that if you choose to give the VM 20 GB of space, but the size of your installation is only 6GB big, it will only eat up 6GB of your physical hard drive instead of the whole 20. But it will fill up to a maximum of 20GB.
On the final screen, click on the folder on the right to select a location where you want to save the VM file. The VM will be stored in a single file. Assign it 20GB for a good experience.
Next, right-click your VM, navigate to Display and make sure you choose VboxVGA for your Graphics Controller.
Perfect, you just created your first VM! Easy, wasn’t it? Next, we are going to install Linux Mint 19.
Step 3 – Install Linux Mint 19
Alright, time for the fun part! Let’s start up your VM. Once you start it, it will ask you to provide an image file. That’s the Linux Mint 19 ISO file we downloaded earlier. Select your Linux Mint 19 VM and either click on Start from the navigation bar on the top or simply right-click the VM and hit Start -> Normal Start.
Now select the Linux Mint 19 ISO file from your Downloads folder.
After you did this, Linux Mint 19 will boot into its live environment. Simply double-click Install Linux Mint on the Desktop.
This will bring up the installation menu. Now I won’t attach a screenshot for every step but I will guide you through in text-form:
- Welcome Screen: Select your language and click Continue.
- Keyboard Layout: Select your preferred Keyboard layout and click Continue.
- Preparing to install Linux Mint: Leave the install third-party software box unticked. Click Continue.
- Installation type: Check Erase disk and install Linux Mint. Choose if you want to Encrypt your Hard Disk. Click Install Now.
- Write the changes to disks: Click Continue.
- Where are you: Select your Region to set the correct time zone.
- Who are you: Select a Username, a Computer Name, and a strong password. Click Continue.
Finally, the installer is running and installing Mint on your Virtual Hard Disk. Lean back and enjoy some cat pics, or check out some other Open Source Tutorials. When the installer is finished, click on Restart Now to reboot into your brand new Linux Mint 19 installation.
Press Enter in the remove the installation medium screen. VirtualBox automatically removes that for you.
Step 4 – Logging in
Now you can log in with your Username and Password that you set up earlier. You can play around with Mint now, even use the Internet, without having to install it on your physical computer. Great, isn’t it? You can go ahead and maximize the VirtualBox Window or even run Mint in Fullscreen mode to have a real Linux experience. Simply click on View -> Full-Screen Mode.
I really like Linux Mint from a SysAdmin point of view. It’s the closest thing to Windows 10 that I know of, and really good for beginners who are interested in giving Linux a try.
If you are Windows user and try Mint for the first time, let me know about your experience in the comments below!