I only put the 'usually' in there because some laptops I work with are supplied by schools or businesses and are covered by the Microsoft Software Assurance program and therefore the OS is legally allowed to be run as a VM.
I do agree with you that any PC bought from a normal retailer has a version of Windows that isn't legally allowed to be transfered to a VM (I believe the license conditions have been changed for Windows 8 though).
> 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.)
Same over here. Office is a must. LibreOffice is fine in and of itself, but it is in most cases not worth the trouble to troubleshoot and solve compatibility issues -- the best method being installing Office.
> 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?
Absolutely. Including "safest." I would recommend downloading from their website (latest version; upgradable at wish), then installing Windows, and installing the guest additions (host-key + d).
After that, shut the VM off, set up a permanent shared folder, and perhaps untick "show toolbar in fullscreen" from the advanced settings, and consider entering the full-screen mode for more comfort.
From there, you would be a winner. ;)
System76 Serval Pro 7: Ubuntu 14.04; Dell Latitude D800: Lubuntu 14.04
Ubuntu problems? http://www.googlubuntu.com/
It's not really the VM part that is a problem, an OEM copy of Windows is only licensed to the first set of hardware it's installed on.
Because the OEM version that comes with your machine has already been installed on your physical hardware, you can't then install it on a VM because this presents a different set of hardware to the OS.
It is perfectly legal to purchase an OEM copy of Windows and install it only on a VM though.
Also since when when have software licenses been common sense
Not to sound like "mister who knows all," although I perceive your preference as quite an uninformed one.
I personally can't stand having to reboot in order to use an app in another OS. First thing, the frequency with which I need some app in Windows is next to nothing.
Frankly the Crossover Office license is cheaper than any full-blown Windows I know of, and you don't even have to start a VM.
VirtualBox is great if you actually need a VM, but if you just need Office then there's not really any need for that.
Help stamp out MBR partition tables. Use GPT instead!