Monday, February 15, 2021

Installing Linux Mint on a Virtual Machine

Linux Mint remains on of the best Linux distributions for new users. Learn on this tutorial how to install and test Mint on a Virtual Machine
Linux Mint's beautiful Cinnamon desktop

Before switching to Linux permanently, it's recommended to test it on a virtual machine so that you can feel the experience before making permanent changes on your system. On this tutorial, we will continue revisiting the best distributions for beginners in 2021 and install Linux Mint on VirtualBox in Windows 10.

Please note that this process should be pretty similar to accomplish in either VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation player.

Downloading Linux Mint

Head to Mint's download page an grab the ISO. On this tutorial we'll install Linux Mint 20.1 Ulyssa 64-bit with the Cinnamon desktop. The file should be around 2Gb in size so go grab a coffee while it downloads.

Click on the link closest to your region to download Mint's ISO
An ISO is simply an image of the installer containing all the files needed to boot and install that distribution in your system.

Installing Linux Mint

With the ISO downloaded, let's start the process. Open VirtualBox:

VirtualBox's main screen

Click New, enter the name of the VM and select its save location:

Choose the memory size (4Gb or more is recommended):

Create a Virtual Hard Disk:

Choose VDI (VirtualBox's default format):

Set it to Dynamically Allocated (slower) if you don't have much disk space or Fixed Size (faster) if you do:

 

On the File Location and size menu, make sure you set at least 15Gb for your VM:

After clicking Create, you should see a summary of your new VM:

Booting the VM

Okay, so it's now time to boot (load) our VM so we can install it in the virtual hard drive. On the screen above click on Start to have your VM initialized. We'll first need to attach our ISO as if it were a virtual CD-ROM. Click Add and select your downloaded ISO from your Downloads folder and click Create to set it:

Confirm on the next screen and click Start. Your VM should now boot. Select Start Linux Mint and wait for the boot to complete:

Installing Mint

Once the initial boot ends, you should see the following beautiful Mint Desktop:

What you see here is a live environment. It's meant for testing the system, checking if it's compatible with your hardware and if you like, install it. Click on the CD icon labeled Install Linux Mint to start the installer. Select your language and click Continue:

Choose your keyboard layout:

Enable multi-media codecs if you feel like using multimedia from your VM:

On the Installation Type menu, choose Erase disk and install Linux mint, click Install Now > Continue to proceed. At this point, the installer will format your virtual hard disk :

Choose your time zone:

Enter your basic information (name, username, password and host name) and the installation will start:

First Login

With the installation done, let's login the first time. Enter your username/password as specified during the installation on this beautiful login screen:

Default Desktop

After login, you should see Mint's beautiful Cinnamon desktop:

Linux Mint's beautiful Cinnamon desktop

Next Steps

There you are! Feel free to have fun with your new Linux Mint VM! We will cover some more interesting topics in the future but we recommend that you play with it in the meanwhile.

Conclusion

On this tutorial we learned how to install Linux Mint in a VirtualBox virtual machine (VM). Installing Linux on a VM is the first step you need to explore Linux in its multiple variations. The next step is obviously, replacing your Windows or Mac. But take your time!

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