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: https://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 https://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 https://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.
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.
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.
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.
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.