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Thread: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    10

    Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    Hello,

    I have had an Ubuntu-only laptop for the last four years and I am now at the point of needing to replace it. I have found that, as much as I would prefer to have nothing to do with Windows, I still need MS Office. (LibreOffice is fine but not truly compatible with Office, which the rest of the world uses. I have learned this the hard way over and over.)

    Therefore I have decided I need some access to Windows on the new laptop. Here is my question:

    For my limited need for Windows, is the best, safest, and most problem-free solution to install Ubuntu as a replacement for the pre-installed Windows (NOT alongside it as a dual-bootable partition)--and then to download VirtualBox and install Windows within VirtualBox and run it there virtually?

    Or...is the best, safest, and most problem-free solution to set up an Ubuntu partition alongside the pre-installed Windows, and then dual-boot between Windows and Ubuntu?

    I would appreciate any advice on which approach would be best. And also suggestion for where I can find clear and current installation instructions for either approach.

    (Searching the forums suggests there are problems in either approach, but doesn't tell me whether these problems are rare or frequent, so I am unclear which approach is more likely to be trouble-free for me.)

    Thanks very much.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Arizona USA
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    249
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    Depends on what you want to do. I have a mid range box, dual core, 4g ram. I found VB 4.2 easy to install and set up. I have tried XP SP1 (the disc that I have), 8 preview, android-x86. It seems to work well except for 3D apps like games.

    I am impatient when it comes to booting and VB seems a quicker way to get to Windows for a once in a while thing. You can do something else while waiting for windows to get started.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ohio
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    Kubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    The only need I have for a Windows system is to upgrade my GPS software.

    I set up the computer with the Windows system, updated everything, then removed that hard drive and set it aside.

    I bought another hard drive for installing and using Ubuntu/linux. If I have a need to use Windows (very seldom) I will install the original hard drive, update (takes hours), complete my tasks then reinstall the Linux drive.

    For someone needing more frequent access to Windows this is probably not the best solution, but it has worked well for me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    I multi-boot and have vBox installed. They are both good. Don't think you can go wrong with either way.

    About VM's; they will help make testing out things; packages; systems easier. You have snapshots to work with and its like having a reset button that lets you step back in time quite easily (a few clicks) if things get screwed up. But there is a learning curve. And your machine should be atleast dual core with a couple of gig of ram, minimum. More depending on what your doing.

    https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/UserManual.html

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Italy
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    I've only tried virtual box, but it works very well and I can swap files with Ubuntu in real time with a shared folder! joy!
    My site - for my role-playing games, spaceships and stuff like that.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    1,290

    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    A few years back I needed Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel on my work system. I got Crossover Office which is the commercial version of Wine. It worked perfectly, and I wound up getting Internet Explorer too because of the updates. That turned out to be handy for testing.
    Help stamp out MBR partitions. Use GPT instead!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    gypsy encampment
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    I've been using VirtualBox for a while now, and have never had it screw up my Ubuntu installation. I don't think that the same can be said for setting up a dual-boot system of Windows/Ubuntu. For one thing if I remember correctly, Windows needs to be installed before Ubuntu, or Windows won't boot.

    I would try the VirtualBox method first; if you can't get it to work you can always uninstall it.
    Serp7: Intel Core i7-2860QM w/ 8Gb RAM @ 2.5 Ghz, GeForce/560M PCIe/SSE2 w/1.5Gb VRAM, 491 Gb hybrid HDD, Ubuntu 11.10 upgraded to 12.04

    Ubuntu problems? A search on Googlubuntu is your friend: http://www.googlubuntu.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    I would go for VirtualBox.

    However, one thing to think about is if you have a legal way to install Windows as a guest OS or not.
    The recovery disks that you receive with a new laptop (or the recovery disks that you create from your first Windows boot) will almost definitely not work for installing Windows as a VM as they are linked to the physical hardware of your laptop, a VM presents different virtual hardware to the OS so the installation will usually not work.

    Even if you do download a Windows install CD that works, the serial number that is printed on your Laptop usually isn't legally usable for a VM, you will probably have to purchase a new copy of Windows to get a legal VM installation.
    Last edited by Cheesemill; October 5th, 2012 at 04:23 PM.
    Cheesemill

  9. #9
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    May 2008
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    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    Running Windows in a VM works great if you have just a few windows related things you want to do.
    We have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our Great War is a Spiritual War. Our Great Depression is our lives. - Tyler Durden

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Brooklyn, NY
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    Ubuntu Development Release

    Re: Is VirtualBox best solution for limited Windows needs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesemill View Post
    I would go for VirtualBox..
    +1

    Works very well. Fast to start, both Win and Ubuntu are running simultaneously and you can share folders between them.

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