Introduction: Create a Computer Inside Your Computer

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Getting Started with Virtual Machines - Why use virtual machines?

What are virtual machines good for and what is a virtual machine (VM) anyway? Think of a virtual machine as a computer that lives inside of your computer. A virtual machine uses your computers physical hardware (RAM, storage, processing power, etc) to 'spin up' a new virtual machine. This is useful for many reasons and I will list only a few here.

  • It allows you to run multiple operating systems (OS) on one machine. For example if you have a Windows 7 computer you could run an older version of Windows like XP or a Linux machine. You also can run Mac OS but this is a little tricky (perhaps a future post)
  • It can provide (some) security from viruses. If you know that you are going to be experimenting with some websites or downloads you do not trust a virtual machine can provide a first line of defense. NOTE: this does not always work
  • It can provide scale-able lower cost solutions for businesses servers. Servers for businesses cost lots of money and space virtual servers bring that cost down by utilizing as much of the servers as possible

Getting started with virtual machines seems much harder than it actually is. Below are some easy steps to download a virtual 'player' from VMWare and install your first Virtual Machine (VM)

This post is originally from www.tech4noobs.com

The post can be found HERE

Step 1: Install VMWare Player

Picture of Install VMWare Player

What is VMWare Player? – VMWare player is a computer virtualization program that allows you to have ‘virtual’ computers inside of your physical computer. This is really useful for multiple reasons including if you want to run a different OS but do not want to pay for a new computer and many other reasons too.

Steps to download VMWare Player

  1. Download VMWare player (Virtualbox [made by Oracle] is another free option) It can be hard to find on the website but scroll to near the bottom and find this part and click “download”. Make sure you get the right one (there is one for Linux and one for Windows)
  2. Install it like a normal program and once complete open the program
  3. You should see this (1st picture above) click “create a new virtual machine
  4. You will see this (2nd picture above). This is where you run into a problem. There is nothing to boot the new machine to. Once we find an “ISO” we will click the “Installer disc image file (iso)” option and “browse”. For now you can close VMWare

Step 2: Downloading Your First Linux OS

What is Linux and why do I care? – Linux is a free open source platform with many different ‘distributions’ or flavors that specialize in different things. While Windows is great for many things there are certain things that Linux does best (I will not go into them now)

This example will use Ubuntu but feel free to use Mint, Fedora, Lubuntu or any others you like. The beauty of Virtual Machines is you can have as many as you want (be careful though running too many at one time will really slow down a computer).

Step 3: Go to Ubuntu.com and Download the Desktop ISO

Picture of Go to Ubuntu.com and Download the Desktop ISO

Go to Ubuntu.com and navigate to Desktop

Find out if your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit. To do this in Windows 7 and Vista go to Start>right click computer>go to properties> a screen will pop up and on there it will say either 32-bit or 64-bit

Download the right copy for your computer

Step 4: Donation Page

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You will get a page asking for money. Just make everything $0 and click download (or you can decide to donate). It should look like the picture above.

Step 5: Once Ubuntu Finishes Downloading

The Download will start automatically. Let it download and then move it to a folder on your computer you can easily find.

Open VMWare player again and click “create new virtual machine” (just like before in the VMWare instructions above [step 1])

Click the “installer disc image file (iso)” and click browse (just like before in the VMWare instructions above [step d in first section])

Find the Ubuntu file you downloaded and select

Step 6: Type in a User Name and Password

Picture of Type in a User Name and Password

You will see this screen (below) use any name, user name and password you like but remember it – ALSO no uppercase in the username!

Step 7: Name Your VM

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You will get this screen (below) name it what you like but I would say just stick with Ubuntu 64-bit – leave the location alone

Step 8: Decide How Large the VM Hard Drive Should Be

Picture of Decide How Large the VM Hard Drive Should Be

Next screen keep everything the same (20GB should be fine) or increase it if you would like.

On the final screen just click finish – everything will take a min or two just let it do its thin

Step 9: Ubuntu Will Install

Picture of Ubuntu Will Install

The install process will begin automatically (may take 20-30 min) - it may look similar to this

Before the process starts it may ask you to try it out or install. Since this is a VM just click install.

Step 10: Adding RAM Resources to Your VM to Improve Performance

Picture of Adding RAM Resources to Your VM to Improve Performance

YOU SHOULD BE DONE! Congrats you just installed your first virtual machine (VM). Explore have fun with it. You may notice the machine lags a bit. This is because only some of the RAM from the physical machine is being used to run the VM. You can allocate more RAM if needed from within VMWare. To do this see below

Click “player” in the top left corner

Go to “manage”

Click “Virtual Machine Settings”

Use the scroll bar to change the RAM allocated – be careful not to go above the Blue arrow

Step 11: Final Notes

There are literally a million things you can do in Ubuntu. It is really neat. Try to check it out and play around with it.

VMs eat up lots of computing power so the more RAM and faster processor you have the smoother the experience will be.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. For more posts like it go to Tech4noobs.com

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