Setting up an Ubuntu 11.04 Virtual Machine using VMWare Player

In my previous post on Introduction to Virtual Machines, I provided some of the basics concepts and the rationale for using a Virtual Machine (VM) to run different...

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2307 4

In my previous post on Introduction to Virtual Machines, I provided some of the basics concepts and the rationale for using a Virtual Machine (VM) to run different operating systems (OS) within your current host OS.  In this post, I’m going to show you step by step how easy it is to setup Ubuntu 11.04 in a VMWare Virtual Machine.

Step 1. Download and install VMWare Player. You can find the latest version for your OS here. The installation is generally straightforward so I won’t cover that part here.

Step 2. Download Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop ISO image. You can find it here. I chose the 32-bit version since it is compatible with both 32 and 64-bit hardware. If you opt for the 64-bit version you will be limited to running the VM on 64-bit hardware. Save the image file in a place where you can find it later. It’s a good idea to check the MD5sum to be sure that you’ve got a valid download before proceeding to install the OS. There is NO need to actually burn a CD / DVD unless you plan to use it for installing the OS directly onto the hard drive of another machine.

Step 3. Start VMWare Player. You will see a startup screen as illustrated below.  To begin, simply click “Create a New Virtual Machine”.

Starting VMWare Player
Starting VMWare Player

Step 4. Now select the ISO image you downloaded in Step 2. I’m using the Desktop 32 bit version. Notice how I keep all my Linux ISO images in a common directory. This makes it easy to find them and saves me having to go through a long download should need them again in the future.

Browse for CD-DVD Image File
Browse for CD-DVD Image File

Step 5.  After selecting the proper ISO file you are presented with this screen. Just hit Next to continue. Notice that it automatically detects that you are installing Ubuntu 11.04 and uses the “Easy Install” option.

New Virtual Machine Wizard with Ubuntu 11.04 ISO selected.
New Virtual Machine Wizard with Ubuntu 11.04 ISO selected.

Step 6. You are next prompted to create your user name and password for the Ubuntu VM. Remember to use a strong password and store it in your password manager on your host OS.

New Virtual Machine Wizard Entering Username and Password
New Virtual Machine Wizard Entering Username and Password

Step 7. In this step you give the VM a name and a storage location. The default name is Ubuntu. The default location in my host OS (also Ubuntu) is /home/vmware/ubuntu. You will need to select a location that works on your machine and host OS. You will also need to make sure that you have write permissions on the directory.

 

New Virtual Machine Wizard Setting Name and Location
New Virtual Machine Wizard Setting Name and Location

Step 8. Here you are prompted to set the size of the disk for the VM. I chose to use the default 20 GB for this example which should be sufficient for most folks wanting to try out and use Ubuntu in a VM. You probably wouldn’t want to create a 500 GB VM disk since that’s overkill for programs and if you’re like me you’ll keep your user data on the host OS or a server and make it available to the VM via network file share. Note also that with VMWare you can simply cut and paste files between the host OS and most guest OS. There are lots of other options in creating virtual disks but those I’ll save for another post.

New Virtual Machine Wizard Set Disk Size
New Virtual Machine Wizard Set Disk Size

Step 9. Now we are presented with a summary of the settings that will be used to create the VM. The default memory size of 512 MB is relatively small. Since I have plenty of RAM (between 4 and 16 GB of RAM) on most of my machines I usually opt to give a VM about 1 GB of RAM. You use the “Customize Hardware” button to make the change as seen in the next step.

New Virtual Machine Wizard Setting Summary
New Virtual Machine Wizard Setting Summary

Step 10. Here is the screen you would use to adjust the RAM and make other changes to the VM such as adding additional CPUs. Note that its easy to change the hardware configuration later if you move your VM to a computer with more RAM or additional CPU cores.

Virtual Machine Settings
Virtual Machine Settings

Step 11. After saving the changes you make to your RAM or other settings and clicking Save and then Next the Ubuntu installer will take over and you will see various screens some of which are shown below. There is nothing else you need to do however at this point. The Ubuntu install is totally automated and you can sit back and watch or go answer some e-mails until its all done and ready for you to log into your new Ubuntu 11.04 VM.

VMware Player Installing Ubuntu screen 1
VMware Player Installing Ubuntu screen 1
VMware Player Ubuntu Installer Screen 2
VMware Player Ubuntu Installer Screen 2
VMware Player Ubuntu Installer Screen 3
VMware Player Ubuntu Installer Screen 3
VMware Player Ubuntu Installer Screen 3
VMware Player Ubuntu Installer Screen 3

Step 12. After the installation is complete, the VM will automatically be rebooted and present you with an Ubuntu login screen as shown below. Normally you’d just click your user name and enter your password but the default “Unity” desktop, a new feature in 11.04, won’t work in the VM since it requires direct access to a 3D video card. To get around this, I simply opted for the traditional Gnome desktop without effects as seen in the lower part of the screen shot. With that you should be all set to start using and experimenting with an Ubuntu 11.04 VM.

VMware Player - Ubuntu 11.04 login screen.
VMware Player – Ubuntu 11.04 login screen.

Step 13. Here’s your new Ubuntu 11.04 desktop. Enjoy!

VMware Player with Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop and Firefox
VMware Player with Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop and Firefox

 

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