Update April 24, 2008 – The newest version of Ubuntu, 8.04 is out. Look for complete install instructions here.
Update: October 18, 2007 – Ubuntu 7.10 is now out, for full instructions on installing it, see
Note: If you are looking for instructions for version 6.06, see my post at: http://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2006/12/19/installing-ubuntu-on-virtualpc-step-by-step/. There are still good reasons to install 6.06, mostly because it’s the version targeted as the LS, or Longterm Support version. Many companies will likely stick with 6.06 for some time.
For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to install Ubuntu 6.10 under VPC 2007, using the standard install model. I’ve come to an important conclusion. It can’t be done. (If you’ve figured out how, leave a comment cluing the rest of us in on it!)
Now, before you become distraught and start with the wailing and gnashing of teeth, note I said “standard install model”. There is a way to get it working.
Before you get started, spend a few minutes getting familiar with VirtualPC if you have not already done so. You can find my step by step instructions for VirtualPC at http://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2006/09/20/virtual-pc-step-by-step/. Keep it handy, at various points I will be referring to it. OK, let’s get started.
First, you need the right installer. Go to the Ubuntu website (http://www.ubuntu.com). Under desktop, click the Download link. Scroll down to the Ubuntu 6.10 area. Click on the region you live in, and find a mirror close to your location. Now, here is the inside trick, instead of “CD Image for desktop and laptop PC’s”, you should instead select “Other installation options”.
When the next screen comes up, scroll down to the “Alternate install CD” area. Find the link that says “PC (Intel x86) alternate install CD” and download the ISO it’s associated with. It’s a big download, so be patient.
UPDATE! UPDATE! Ubuntu has changed their site, and so far I haven’t been able to find the alternate cd via their site. For now you can go to http://mirrors.gigenet.com/ubuntu/6.10 and grab the file ubuntu-6.10-alternate-i386.iso. This is the same file I was describing. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post…
Note that selecting the right version is the first thing you have to know, but there’s a few other tweaks you’ll have to do during the install process, so keep reading.
Once you have it downloaded, burn it to a CD or use Virtual CDRom Control Panel (see my post http://arcanecode.wordpress.com/2006/09/13/virtualization/) to load it into a drive.
In Step 1 of my VirtualPC Step by Step you are instructed to create a new machine, please do so. I’ve named mine “Ubuntu 6.10”. In step 2, you are prompted for your OS. You will need to pick Other. In step 3, you are asked about Ram. Ubuntu will run OK under 256 megs, however if you have the available space I’d highly suggest upping it to 512, especially if you intend to get into doing some graphics or mono coding. I’ve selected 512 meg for this tutorial.In step 4 you will want to create a new hard disk, and in step 5 confirm what you’ve selected. OK, now you are up to step 6, installing the OS, which is where this tutorial picks up.Your first screen comes up, but before you start pressing buttons there’s one tweak you have to make. So you can see everything correctly during the install, press the F4 (VGA) button. Select a video mode that ends with 16, in my example you can see I changed to 800 x 600 x 16.
Now you can proceed, press enter to start the “Install in text mode” option.
The first screen to come up asks about your language. I took the default of English, but if you are elsewhere please select your language, then press Enter to continue.
Next you are asked for your location. Select your location, or the one closest to you, and press Enter.
Next you are asked to let the installer determine your keyboard. Take the default, Yes, which will take you to the next screen.
You will then be asked to press a series of keys. Here’s the first screen in the series:
On some screens there may be keys you don’t have, if so just wait for the time out.
After going through each screen, you will see what keyboard pattern Ubuntu detected for you. If it’s correct just click Enter to continue, if not you can go back and reselect.
Next Ubuntu will scan for your CD rom, then begin loading components. Just kick back and wait, it will go through all sorts of detection steps as it finds hardware, networking, and more.
If all went well, you will now be asked for a host name. I took the default of Ubuntu, but you are free to change it. Enter your host name, or just hit Enter to continue.
Next Ubuntu will begin detecting your disks and hardware. Be patient. You will then be asked about partitioning disks. This should be a new partition, so take the default by pressing Enter to continue.
The next screen is the first place you don’t want to take the default. It’s asking you to confirm the partition format plan. Use your left arrow to move the red bar (shown below on No) over to the Yes side, then you can press enter.
Wait while Ubuntu formats your drives.
Next you are asked for your time zone. Select it, then press Enter.
Next you are asked if the system clock is set to UTC. I just took the default of Yes, this is easy enough to fix if it’s wrong.
Next you are asked for your name. Note this is not your login user name, but your real name. Ubuntu will use this in your documents and e-mails. I entered a name, and pressed enter to continue.
On the next screen you are prompted for the user name you want. This is what you will enter when you login. Enter something that suits you, then press enter to continue.
If you’ve done this sort of thing before, you’d probably guess Ubuntu wants your password next, and you’d be right. Enter a password and press enter to continue.
Now you are asked to re-enter the password, to confirm. Do so and press enter to go on.
Now sit back and wait. Ubuntu will start installing itself.
After running for a while, you are next asked about video modes. Use the space bar to toggle the modes you want, and use the arrows to move up and down. When you’ve selected the modes you want, press enter to continue. Below you can see I’ve selected a few common modes for my system.
OK, sit back and wait some more, while Ubuntu installs various software packages. This step takes a loooooooooong time.
Ubuntu has completed it’s install. But don’t hit enter quite yet! First, on the Virtual PC menu pick CD, Release Physical Drive Z: (where z is the drive you are installing Ubuntu from). This will let Ubuntu to boot from your newly installed virtual hard drive instead of the CD. After you’ve released the drive, you can hit Enter to continue.
When the system reboots, you will see your login screen, but it’s going to look very trashy. Don’t worry, we’ll fix in a moment.
Key in your user name, and press Enter. You probably won’t be able to read what you are typing so be careful.
If all went well, you’ll now see another garbled screen where you enter your password. Carefully, do so and press enter.
More garbled screens will appear. When it appears as if Ubuntu has loaded (see below, if you look close you can make out the menu across the top), press the CTRL+ALT+F1 key combo.
This key combo exists the graphic interface and puts Ubuntu in text mode. Key in your user ID, then (when prompted) password to login.
You’ll now see a command line, below.
We need to modify your xorg.conf file to change the color depth. First, let’s back it up. Type in this command:sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backupNote to copy it exactly, Linux is case sensitive, so if you were to type in say x11 instead of X11 your command will fail. Also, because you are attempting to run the command as the root user (the sudo part of the command) you will be prompted for your password.
Now that we’ve backed it up, we need to edit it. Type in this command:sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.confYour new screen should look like this:
Press CTRL+W (Where is) and when prompted key in DefaultDepth
and press enter.You should now be landed on DefaultDepth. Cursor over to the 24…
And hit delete twice, then type in 16.
Now hit CTRL+O (WriteOut) to save the file, and press enter to take the default xorg.conf file name. Then hit CTRL+X to exit.
You’re now back at the command prompt. Just type in this command:sudo reboot
and press enter.
Give it several minutes to shut down and restart. If everything worked, you should now see a beautiful, non garbled Ubuntu screen.
Key in your user name and password and you will be logged in to your working copy of Ubuntu 6.10 on Virtual PC 2007!