Monday, March 22, 2021

Installing Manjaro on a Virtual Machine

If you're looking for a good, lightweight and solid Linux distribution, check Manjaro.
Manjaro's beautiful Xfce 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 Manjaro on VirtualBox in Windows 10.

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

About Manjaro

Manjaro is a free and open-source Linux distribution based on the venerable and community-based Arch Linux operating system. Manjaro has a focus on user friendliness and accessibility, and the system itself is designed to work fully "straight out of the box" with its variety of pre-installed software. It features a rolling release update model and uses Pacman as its package manager.

There are three official editions: GNOME, KDE and XFCE, being the latter the most lightweight and the one we'll review in this article.

Downloading Manjaro Xfce

Head to Manjaro download page an grab the ISO by clicking on Get Xfce 20.2.1 (or later). For this tutorial we'll use Manjaro Xfce 20.2.1 which's the a version supported until April 2023. The file should be around 2.8 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 Manjaro

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 Manjaro

Once your VM boots, you will be prompted with beautiful boot this menu. Click on Boot with open source drivers to start the installer:

As soon as the boot finishes, you will see this beautiful menu. Click on Launch Installer:

The Installation will start. Choose your language:

Next choose your location:

Next, choose your keyboard:

Select Bios, boot loader, encryption and partitioning:

Create users and set root password:

Choose an office suite (or none):

Review and if all looks good, click Install to proceed with the installation:

The installation starts:

Once it completes, it will ask to restart your system:

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 Manjaro's beautiful Xfce desktop:

Next Steps

There you are! Feel free to have fun with your new Ubuntu 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 Manjaro 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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