Monday, March 15, 2021

Installing Solus on a Virtual Machine

If you're looking for a lightweight and elegant Linux distribution, you should check Solus, an independent open-source project focused on the Linux Desktop

Solus' Budgie 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 Solus on VirtualBox in Windows 10.

This process should be pretty similar to accomplish in either VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation player.

About Solus

Solus (previously known as Evolve OS) is an independently developed operating system for the desktops running on x86-64 architecture. It currently offers Budgie (built by their own team), GNOME, MATE or KDE Plasma as the desktop environments, it follows a rolling release model built on top of its package manager eopkg.

For more information on Solus check this Wikipedia page.

Downloading Solus

Head to Solus download page an grab the ISO by clicking on the download button below Solus Budgie. For this tutorial we'll use Solus 4.1 which's the latest version available at the time. The file should be around 2 Gb in size so go grab a coffee while it downloads.

Click on the Download button to download the 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 Solus

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 = Other Linux (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 Solus

Once your VM boots, you should see a splash screen:

Taking you directly to the Budgie Desktop. To install Solus, click on the second icon on the bottom:

First thing is selecting your language:

Then a keyboard layout:

Then select your time zone:

Next, select where to install:

You still can enable LVM and Encryption if you want:

Next, configure where the bootloader and the hostname:

Create your account:

And review everything before the installation starts:

Then, the installation starts:

Once the installation starts, give it 10 minutes or so. Once it ends, you'll be asked to reboot:

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 Budgie, Solus' beautiful desktop:

Solus' Budgie 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 Ubuntu MATE 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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