Monday, March 29, 2021

Installing Fedora Xfce on a Virtual Machine

If you're looking for a lightweight and robust Linux distribution, check Fedora Xfce, a lighter (and simplified) version of Fedora Workstation but not not less powerful
Fedora Xfce's default desktop

Before switching to Linux permanently, it's recommended to test it first 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 lightweight distributions of 2021 and learn how to install Fedora Xfce on VirtualBox in Windows 10.

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

About Fedora Xfce

Fedora Xfce's is a Fedora spin of the Fedora that runs Xfce, a lightweight desktop environment and aims to be fast and lightweight, while remaining visually appealing and easy to use for new and advanced users.

Another advantage of using Fedora Xfce is that it integrates well into the RHEL/Enterprise Linux ecosystem allowing you to test, use and learn the tools enterprise Linux software uses in your own workstation.

Downloading Fedora XFCE

Head to the download page an grab the ISO by clicking on the download button. For this tutorial we'll use Fedora-Xfce-Live-x86_64-33-1.2.iso which's the latest version available at the moment. The file should be around 1.5 Gb in size so go grab a coffee while it downloads.

An ISO is simply an image of the installer containing all the files needed to boot and install that distribution in your system.

Installing Fedora Xfce

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

VirtualBox's main screen

Click New, enter the name of the VM, set Type = Linux and Version = Ubuntu (64-bit) and specify its save location:

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

Create a Virtual Hard Disk:

As Hard disk file type, 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:

Specify file location and size (recommended: 20GB), click Review > Create:

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:

Installing Fedora Xfce

Once your VM boots, choose Start Fedora-Xfce-Live 33 on the boot screen:

Soon you will be greeted by Fedora Xfce's default desktop. Double click Install to Hard drive to launch the installer:

Fedora XFCE's default desktop


Once the installer loads, you'll see Fedora's familiar Anaconda installer. On the first screen, choose your language:

On the Installation Summary screen, there are a couple of settings to adjust. Those in red are the required that still require our attention:

On the Installation Destination, choose a disk among other settings (encryption, etc). Let's keep it simple for now:

Set your root password:

Create your user:

Once all settings are good, click Begin Installation:

The installation process starts:

Once the install is done (should take 10 minutes or so), finish the installer and reboot your VM from the installation.

First Login

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

Default Desktop

After login, you should see Fedora Xfce's desktop:

Fedora Xfce's standard desktop

Next Steps

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


On this tutorial we learned how to install Fedora Xfce 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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