windows

Virtualbox Setup to Run Windows XP Inside Ubuntu Jaunty

I had no trouble with the initial virtualbox-3.0 install from Sun’s repositories. I popped in my old Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 1a CD and installed the software on a virtual disk — all of this was easy to do and required no special tricks.

I did learn something important, however: I tried to install SP2 of XP and kept getting a blue screen on reboot. I tried every combination of updates and rollbacks I could think of, but could not get SP2 to install. I wouldn’t have bothered, since my Epson scanner software runs fine on SP1a, but I couldn’t install my TV tuner drivers without upgrading.

After a lot of experimenting, I realized that I had to start over and wait to install the VirtualBox Guest Additions until AFTER installing all the XP updates and Service Packs. Everything seems to be fine now.

Installing VirtualBox to Run Windows XP Home Edition on Ubuntu Jaunty

VirtualBox allows you to run a nested operating system on top of Linux. I want to use it with Windows XP (which I have an old copy of) in order to run the imaging software which came with my new Epson Perfection V500 Photo scanner. It may also come in handy if I want to run some of my favourite old games like Age of Empires and Starcraft. The difference between VirtualBox and dual-booted operating systems is that the nested (or guest) OS will be running at the same time as my regular Ubuntu applications — no reboot required. I’m keen to see how it goes.

In Ubuntu Jaunty, the installation was a snap. I followed the instructions in the VirtualBox manual:

First I installed virtualbox with apt-get (you could use aptitude or synaptic, of course), then I added myself to the appropriate group:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers kevin

That was it for the initial installation. Next I had to set up the Windows XP virtual machine. After getting a “session3_initialization_failed” blue screen error the first couple of times I tried to install Windows XP Home, I found the instructions here. In particular, the post suggests adding this line

none /proc/bus/usb usbfs devgid=000,devmode=664 0 0

to /etc/fstab where “000″ is replaced by the group id for vboxusers which you can obtain from the /etc/group file. Note that the original post suggests this technique for Ubuntu Intrepid, but it also worked for my Ubuntu Jaunty install.

I now have Windows XP Home Edition running perfectly inside my Ubuntu system.

UPDATE: Turns out to be slightly more complicated than I thought. The virtualbox-ose (open source edition) packages work great unless you want USB support. For that you have to re-install using the virtualbox-3.0 non-free packages available from Sun. I simply added Sun’s repository, installed the other version and everything worked fine from there.