How to Install Ubuntu Linux on Windows 10

Install Ubuntu in VirtualBox as a virtual machine for Windows 10

While it's possible to dual boot Ubuntu and Windows on the same PC, you may prefer to install Linux as a virtual machine so that you don't have to worry about partitioning your hard drive. Here's how to install Ubuntu in VirtualBox on Windows 10.

Instructions in this article apply to installing Ubuntu 18.04 on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

How to Install Ubuntu on Windows 10 With VirtualBox

To install Ubuntu as a virtual machine on Windows 10:

  1. Download VirtualBox for Windows and install it on your computer. 

    VirtualBox download page
  2. Download Ubuntu for Windows.

    Download Ubuntu for Windows

    The current version of Ubuntu only works on 64-bit machines. Check the Windows Control Panel to tell if you're running a 32-bit or 64-bit system.

  3. Open VirtualBox and select New in the top taskbar.

    Open VirtualBox and select New in the top taskbar
  4. Give your virtual machine a name, choose Linux as the type, choose Ubuntu (64-bit) as the version, then select Next.

    Give your virtual machine a name, choose Linux as the type, choose Ubuntu (64-bit) as the version, then select Next

    If you're using a 32-bit version of Windows, you can install an older 32-bit version of Ubuntu instead.

  5. Choose how much RAM you want to assign to the virtual machine and select Next. The recommended minimum is 1 GB.

    Choose how much RAM you want to assign to the virtual machine and select Next

    The amount of memory you set aside is only used while the virtual machine is running.

  6. Choose Create a virtual hard disk now and select Create.

    Choose Create a virtual hard disk now and select Create
  7. Choose VDI and select Next.

    Choose VDI and select Next
  8. Choose Dynamically allocated or Fixed size and select Next.

    Choose Dynamically allocated or Fixed size and select Next

    Fixed size is the better option since PCs generally have more disk space than memory and processing power.

  9. Choose how much space you wish to set aside for your virtual hard drive and select Create.

    Choose how much space you wish to set aside for your virtual hard drive and select Create

    The amount of space you allocate for Ubuntu determines how much room you have to install applications, so the more you can spare the better.

  10. Select Start in the VirtualBox taskbar.

    Select Start in the VirtualBox taskbar
  11. This is the point where you need to choose the Ubuntu ISO file you downloaded earlier. Select the folder next to the Empty field.

    Select the folder next to the Empty field
  12. Select Add.

    Select Add
  13. Choose your Ubuntu disk image and select Open.

    Choose your Ubuntu disk image and select Open
  14. Select Choose.

    Select Choose
  15. Select Start.

    Select Start
  16. Wait for Ubuntu to load in the VM window, then select Install Ubuntu.

    Select Install Ubuntu
  17. Choose your keyboard layout and select Continue.

    Choose your keyboard layout and select Continue
  18. Choose Normal installation or Minimal installation, then select Continue.

    Choose Normal installation or Minimal installation, then select Continue

    Check the boxes under Other Options to download updates and install third party software for Ubuntu.

  19. Choose Erase disk and install Ubuntu and select Install Now, then select Continue to ignore the warning.

    Choose Erase disk and install Ubuntu and select Install Now, then select Continue to ignore the warning

    This step will not erase your computer's physical hard drive; it only applies to the virtual machine.

  20. Choose your time zone on the map, then select Continue.

    Choose your time zone on the map, then select Continue
  21. Set up your user account and select Continue.

    Set up your user account and select Continue

    You can choose to encrypt your home folder for extra security.

  22. Select Restart Now.

    Select Restart Now

The Ubuntu desktop should boot in the virtual machine window. To enable full-screen mode, select the VBox_GAs icon to install VirtualBox Guest Additions.

Select the suitcase icon to open the Ubuntu Software app, which lets you install additional applications on your virtual machine.

To enable full-screen mode, select the VBox_GAs icon to install VirtualBox Guest Additions