Category Archives: Linux

Getting Started with PowerShell Core on Linux and macOS

My newest course, Getting Started with PowerShell Core on Linux and macOS, is now live on Pluralsight! This course is my eighteenth in a long line of Pluralsight courses.

I begin the course explaining the difference between PowerShell for Windows (version 5.1) and the all-new PowerShell Core (version 6.2 was used for this course), which works not only on Windows but on Linux and macOS as well. I then show how to install PowerShell Core, along with a few other key components such as Visual Studio Code, on both Linux and macOS.

Not familiar with PowerShell? No problem! I quickly cover the basics of PowerShell including cmdlets, the use of the pipeline, how to write functions, and how to put those functions in reusable scripts.

As if that weren’t enough, I show how to do some “cool things” with PowerShell Core, including working with Docker containers, SQL Server, and Azure.

For the course, I primarily used Ubuntu 19.04 and macOS Mojave. The code was also tested on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and 18.10, as well as macOS High Sierra. In addition, I tested the Linux installs on a variety of distributions including CentOS, Manjaro, and more. The samples include markdown files with information on how to install on these other distributions.

All of the samples are included in the downloadable components of the course on Pluralsight. New with this course I have the samples also available on my GitHub site. As I move into the future the GitHub codebase will be updated with new samples and information.

Also included in the samples are several markdown files that have additional information not included in the course, such as setting VSCode on Windows to use PowerShell Core instead of Windows PowerShell 5.1 as the default terminal.

While you are up on my GitHub site be sure to check out the full list of repositories, I have a lot of examples on it, including some from previous courses such as my recent Reporting Services course. (For a full list of my courses just check out the About ArcaneCode page on this site.)

Note the sample file on Pluralsight will remain static, so if someone watches the course their samples will reflect what is in the course. For the latest updated samples see the GitHub site referenced above.

What? You don’t have a Pluralsight subscription yet? Well, no worries dear reader, just email me, free @ and I can send you a code good for 30 days with which you can watch all 18 of my courses, plus anyone else’s course at Pluralsight.

Setting Your Ubuntu 18.10 Favorites Bar In A Script

Of late I’ve been setting up and tearing down a lot of Ubuntu virtual machines as part of a PowerShell Core on Linux and macOS course I’m working on for Pluralsight. I wanted to create a script to install everything I need in one fell swoop so I could start testing my PowerShell Core code on a new box.

The one thing that annoyed me though was the Ubuntu Favorites bar on the left. I wanted to be able to add and remove my favorited automatically, rather than manually setting them up each time.

I didn’t think it’d be that hard, but it took a surprising amount of web searching to find the correct answer.

From inside a bash terminal session, you can issue the following command:

/usr/bin/gsettings get favorite-apps
(If /usr/bin is in your path, which it likely is, you could omit that part as we’ll see in a moment.) This will produce an array containing a list of your favorites.
['ubiquity.desktop', 'firefox.desktop', 'thunderbird.desktop', 'org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop', 'rhythmbox.desktop', 'libreoffice-writer.desktop', 'org.gnome.Software.desktop', 'yelp.desktop', 'ubuntu-amazon-default.desktop']
I’ve seen all sorts of suggestions on how to update the array, Use Python, Ruby, you could even use PowerShell to rearrange it if you wanted. To be honest though, I took the simple approach.
I just set my favorites manually, one last time. That way I could let Ubuntu tell me the correct application names to use in the background, without having to hunt them down. Once I had them set, I simply ran the gsettings get command (see above) again to get the list of apps, in the order I wanted them.
I then used gsettings again, this time in set mode.
gsettings set favorite-apps "['firefox.desktop', 'org.gnome.Terminal.desktop', 'org.gnome.Nautilus.desktop', 'code_code.desktop', 'azuredatastudio.desktop', 'org.gnome.Software.desktop', 'yelp.desktop']"
Just add this to your setup bash script, or enter it at the terminal, and ta-da! Your favorites are now setup like you want.
Naturally all of this is entered as a single line, this is just wrapped here due to space. Also, these are the favorites I want for my situation. Rather than just copy and pasting above, follow my suggestion to set things up manually, then use the output of gsettings get as input for the set.
I have tested this in Ubuntu 18.10, in theory it should work in 18.04 as well. I would imagine it would also work in 19.04 when it’s released, I’ll come back and update this post once I’ve had time to test it.

Installing Ubuntu 8.04 under Microsoft Virtual PC 2007

Update: Nov. 10, 2008 – New blog post on installing Ubuntu 8.10 is now out:

I’m pleased to say that Ubuntu 8.04 is probably the easiest install I’ve had to do with VPC yet! One quick reminder before we begin, when working inside the VPC your mouse will get “trapped” or captured by the virtual computer. You won’t be able to move outside of it. To get it released, just press the RIGHT side ALT key. Left side won’t work, has to be the RIGHT side of your keyboard.

To start with, create a new Virtual PC. For a tutorial, see either my step by step tutorial or the video tutorial if you need more instructions. Since I had the space, I was using 768 meg of ram, and left the disk space at the default of 16 gig. If you can, try and use at least 512 meg of ram for good performance. Use the CD menu option to capture the desktop ISO you downloaded from Ubuntu, or if you have a real CD put it in the drive and capture that. When it launches, you’ll see this screen. (By the way, you can click on any of the screens to see the full size graphic, these have been resized slightly to fit in with most common browser sizes).

[image - Select Language]

Pick your language, I just took the default of English.

[image - Safe graphics mode]

Now press F4 to select an alternate starting mode. When it pops up, change to Safe graphics mode, as you see above, and press Enter. Now pick “Try Ubuntu…” (should already be selected) and press enter. Do NOT pick the Install Ubuntu option, I kept getting VPC errors when trying to install directly.

Additionally, don’t be alarmed if the screen goes black for a while, then you see some garbled graphics. This is perfectly normal, it is just passing through and will be OK when Ubuntu gets done doing it’s thing. It took me about 7 minutes to get from the previous screen to the next one.

[image - live environment]

After it boots you should be in the live session trial environment. Double click the Install icon to begin the install process.

[image - Installer welcome screen]

Screen 1 is just a welcome screen, although you can change your language here if you need to. Press Forward to continue.

[image - Installer Set Time Zone]

Next it wants to know where you are, at least time zone wise. I’m in the central time zone, but set yours appropriately and click Forward.

[image - Installer Pick your Keyboard]

Next you can specify your keyboard. Since I’m using a typical USA style keyboard, I just clicked Forward.

[image - Installer Prepare Disk Space]

Next it asks how you want your disk space partitioned. Since we’re in a virtual environment, it made the most sense to just take the defaults and click Forward.

Be aware, after clicking forward my mouse went into the “I’m busy” mode, and there was a delay while the disks were prepared. Mine went about five minutes. Don’t be alarmed, just wait a few minutes and you’ll then proceed to the next screen.

[image - Installer Who Are You]

On this screen, first supply your name; this will be used in documents and the like. The next text box is the important one – it is for your Ubuntu user name. By default it uses your first name, now is your chance to change it. I rather like mine so will accept it. Next you’ll need to key in a good password and confirm, and finally name the computer. When you are happy, click Forward.

Now is where you may get confused. In the screen above, you are on step 5 of 7. When you click forward, you are suddenly on step 7 of 7. I’m not sure what happened to step 6, I even ran the installer yet one more time just to make sure it was gone. Perhaps it was kidnapped by space aliens?

[image - Installer is Ready]

Apparently even without the missing step 6, the installer has everything it needs. Just click Install to begin the install process. Kick back and wait. Don’t be alarmed if the screen goes black during the process, it’s just the screen saver kicking in. Just click in the VPC and wiggle your mouse and your display will return. I had it kick in several times during the 45 (or so) minutes it took to get everything installed.

[image - Install complete time to reboot]

Eventually Ubuntu will complete it’s install, then give you the above message. On the Virtual PC menu click CD, then release the cd. Then click on the big Restart now button inside VPC.

This was the only real snag I hit in the whole install process, I waited a while and it never did restart on its own. I gave it about five minutes, then in the Virtual PC menu I clicked Action, Reset. I figured since it’s already installed, I wouldn’t lose anything, and I was right.

The boot process does take a few minutes; you’ll see some text then a black screen for about 90 seconds. Then it comes up to the big Ubuntu logo and the orange bar as it loads. You’ll see some garbled graphics for a few seconds, then the login screen finally appeared. I gave it my user id and password, and minutes later I was in Ubuntu.

One last piece of business, fixing the networking. First make sure the network card is mapped to a real network card in your computer. For more instructions on this, see my video, Virtual PC Advanced Settings. After that, click on the network icon in the upper right side of the toolbar, as you see below.

[image - Fix Networking]

Then just pick Wired Network. Once connected you’ll be free to visit your favorite websites!

[image - Ubuntu open for business]

I haven’t had much time to check out other features, or get the sound working so if anyone has a quick fix for that by all means leave a comment below.

Installing Ubuntu 8.04 Beta under Virtual PC 2007

Update: April 24, 2008 Today Ubuntu 8.04 was released, and it’s a much easier install. Ignore the directions below, and instead jump to my post for April 24th, 2008 – Installing Ubuntu 8.04 under Microsoft Virtual PC 2008.

Like a lot of folks I was interested in working with the latest Ubuntu. However, I had some real issues getting it installed under VPC. On the good news side the pesky mouse problem is gone, apparently the kernel got updated to fix the mouse bug that plagued us with 7.10.

A quick disclaimer, the instructions below were created using BETA software. As new betas trickle out, or the final version is released, some of the things here may or may not work for you.

I do have some bad news. Attempting to install the standard desktop version, when the install got 6% into the Partitioning phase the VPC either locked up, or crashed all together with an unrecoverable error. Now for the good news, I did find a way to get Ubuntu 8.04 Beta installed, but it took some work on the post install to get the display to work. Hang with me though and I’ll show you the steps.

First, you need the right bits. Go to the website . Scroll past the download area and find a mirror that is appropriate to your area. I chose as I live in North America, but all of the pages look the same.

Once on the mirror site, scroll down past the Desktop area, down past the Server section, until you find the “Alternate install CD” area. That’s the one you want! I used the one for the PC Intel platform.

OK, fire up Virtual PC 2007 and create a new machine, I’ll assume you are familiar with VPC and won’t recreate those instructions here. Only note I’ll make is to make sure and pick ‘Other’ for the OS, and for memory you need at least 256 meg of ram for Ubuntu, 512 would be better. Of course if you have more, feel free to bump it up to 768 or even 1024. Since I had the available ram I used 768.

Boot the machine, and use the CD menu to mount the Alternate Install CD ISO that you had downloaded. After it boots you’ll see this screen:


Just press Enter to continue to the next screen.


Again, all we have to do is press Enter to continue.


Now select your native language. Since mine is English all I had to do is press Enter.


After picking my language, Ubuntu further wants to narrow in on where I live by asking about my country. I picked my country and pressed Enter.


Next Ubuntu wants to detect my keyboard. If you want you can go through the default of Yes, and walk through a series of screens where you press a letter on your keyboard, or tell it you don’t have that key. Frankly I found it much faster just to tell it what kind of keyboard I had, and picked No and pressed Enter.


Now it’s asking what the origin country of my keyboard is, since mine is USA (the default) all I had to do is press Enter.


Next I’m asked what keyboard type. If you want to use something different (I know a few fans of Dvorak) you can pick those, but since I’m using a standard keyboard, I just went with the default you see above and pressed Enter. A

After doing so, the installer went through a series of screens where it was doing a lot of scanning of my (virtual) system and installing various components. It took about 10 to 15 minutes to get to the next screen.


Here we are asked to give our system a name as it will be known on the network. The default name is ubuntu, but I modified it to what you see above so it would be unique. I would advise you to do the same, in case you wind up running your VPC on a network with others. Once you name your system, tab to Continue and press Enter.


On this screen you are asked what time zone you live in. I live in the great state of Alabama, which is in the Central time zone, select the time zone for your state and press Enter.


Next we are asked about partitioning the drive. I just took the default that you see here and pressed Enter.


Now Ubuntu wants to make sure we understand that it’s about to wipe out what’s on the drive. Since it’s just a virtual drive, that’s fine we can safely press Enter to continue without risking any damage to our host ‘real’ hard disk.


Ubuntu wants to make sure we really understand it’s about to wipe the drive and create two partitions. It even makes the default No. Change the answer to Yes, and press Enter. At this point a rather long process begins, on my system it was around fifteen to twenty minutes. Your time may vary depending on your system speed and hard disk speeds.


Now we are asked for our full name. I just entered my nick name here, but you can put your full name if you wish. This will not be your login, but just used as the initial default in e-mails and the like. Once you enter a name, tab down to Continue and press Enter.


OK, now it is asking you what name you want to use for a login / user ID. Make sure you pick something good as you may be keying this often. By default the installer takes your first name and lower cases it. That’s fine for me, so I’ll just press Enter to continue.


Next you are asked for a password. Enter a good password, tab down to Continue and press Enter. On the next screen, which I won’t bother to show you as it looks almost identical to this one, it asks us to retype the password. Do so, again tab down to Continue and press Enter to proceed to the next screen.

Ubuntu will do a short install, then show you this:


Ubuntu wants to find out if you need to use a proxy server. If you do, enter it here. Most people do not, so all you have to do is tab down to Continue and press Enter.

One last question from Ubuntu, asking about the system clock:


While it’s true many servers are set to UTC, most home machines are not, so I took the NO option and pressed Enter. On my system it took about an hour before I got to the next screen. It didn’t hang up through most of it until the very end. It stayed at 97% – Cleaning up… for quite a bit. But eventually it moved on to the next screen.


OK, you may think this is the finish line, but not quite. We still have to edit two files before we can use the system, otherwise we wind up with garbled graphics. When you press Enter on the screen above to reboot, look very carefully at the screen during the reboot. When you see the line:

Grub Loading Please Wait…

Immediately press the ESC key, and you should see this menu.


Change the menu to the second option and press e to edit the line. This will bring up the next screen.


Move to 2nd line and press e to edit. At the end of the line, add a space then vga=791 . Press Enter to save the change, which returns you to the above screen. Now press b to boot. The system will work, the screen may even go black for a minute, but eventually you will bring you to the following display.


Change option to root – drop to root shell prompt, tab to OK and press Enter. This will drop you to a command prompt.


At the command prompt, type sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf and press Enter. This will bring up the nano editor, and let you edit the file that controls system settings.

Scroll down until you find the section titled Section “Screen” . At the bottom add the line DefaultDepth 16 as you see in this snapshot:


I put spaces, not tabs between DefaultDepth and 16. Once done, press CTRL+O (that’s the letter O, not a zero) to writeOut the file, then CTRL+X to close the editor.

OK, one more file to edit. Now type in sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst as you see in this screen snippet, and press Enter.


Now scroll down to the very end of the file. What we are looking at is the menu that appears when you press the ESC key on the GRUB loader. We are going to modify the first item, which is the default, to boot in VGA 1024×768 16k color mode.

Find the first line that says kernel at the end of the file (see where my mouse is pointing in the screen capture below.


Hit the END key to go to the end of the line. The line ends with quiet nosplash. Remove those two words and replace them with vga=791 , as you see below.


Hit CTRL+O (that’s the letter O for writeOut) to save it, then CTRL+X to exit the nano program. When you are returned to the command prompt, type in sudo reboot and press Enter to reboot Ubuntu.

This time, don’t press anything at the grub menu, just let it load. What I found was during the boot you wind up with a black screen that lasts about one minute, but if you carefully observe you’ll notice your drive light flashing. It then returns to a text screen, and eventually you are presented with a pretty screen asking you to login.


Enter your user name and press Enter, then on the next screen type in your password and press Enter again. And after a minute or two of churning… TA-DA!


I’m still looking into things like networking and sound, but at least these instructions will get you up and running with the Beta.

As I said at the beginning, these instructions are based on BETA code. When the final version is released sometime this month things may or may not change. Feel free to post your experiences in the comments area, along with any tips you may have on getting up and going with things like networking and sound.

See, I TOLD you Apple is the Evil Empire

Some time back, I wrote a blog post describing Apple as “The Evil Empire”. Now a nationally known figure is adding her voice to the chorus. In this CNet Buzz Report, Molly Wood describes Apple as her “bad boyfriend”. They The guy who forces her to look good, tell her what cell phone carrier to use, etc without caring about her.

I thought that was a pretty apt description, and it really helps delineate the differences between the Apple philosophy and everyone else. Apple keeps tight control over their domain. Who cares if the new Air only has 1 USB, no firewire, no internet, no optical drive, no media card reader, and no expansion slots? Hey it LOOKS good. And those pretty new i-Phones? Oh, you can only use the carrier THEY pick out for you. Third party apps? Only if they give their blessing, which they still haven’t done. But hey, it LOOKS good.

Contrast that with both Windows and Linux. You can run the OS on any machine you wish. Windows Mobile? sure, any company who wants to license it for their device or carrier great with them. Heck Microsoft was even so open they let the i-Phone work with Exchange. But people complain that Microsoft isn’t open enough? And after Apple’s latest stunt of trying to force Safari down everyone’s throats via the iTunes update, I’d better not hear any Mac-Head deride the Windows Update process as “sneaky”.

It’s no wonder people are resorting to installing Windows on their MacBooks, it’s the only way they can get the freedom to get any work done!

Installing Kubuntu 7.10 In Virtual PC 2007

After last weeks post on Ubuntu 7.10 (, I had several requests for Kubuntu. Since I’m happy to please, here are the step by step instructions for Kubnutu. By the way, I’ve reduced the screen sizes a little to make them fit the flow of the blog, but you can click any of them to see them in full size should you need to make out any of the details.

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to download the latest image of Kubuntu, you can get it from .

Kubuntu has some of the same issues as Ubuntu under Virtual PC when it comes to graphics and the mouse. When you fire up the VPC with the Kubuntu disk in the drive (or you’ve captured it’s ISO image), you’ll want to move the highlight down to “Start Kubuntu in safe graphics mode”. To fix the mouse, at least for this session, press F6 for boot options, and type in “i8042.noloop” after the –. Once your screen looks like the one below, press Enter to continue.


Once Kubuntu boots, click the install icon on the desktop to begin the installation process.


On the Welcome screen, just confirm your language, then press Next.


In this step you get to play Carmen whats-her-name and do the “Where in the world are you” bit. Select a city in the time zone in which you live, then click Next.


Now pick your keyboard, and click Next.


On the disk space screen, just take the defaults and click next.


OK, now we actually have to do some work, and give Kubuntu some info. Make sure to remember your password, not only will you need it to login but you’ll also need it for any commands that need super user privlidges.


OK, Kubuntu finally knows everything it needs in order to install so just hit next.


And wait. And wait. And wait. If you thought Ubuntu took a while to install, just wait for Kubuntu. My experience was a couple of hours, but to be fair I was also playing a couple of Quicktime videos (some of the cool shows from and testing an openSuse install in another VPC. And I have sloooooooooooow hard disks, so your milage (or kilometers) may vary. But it’ll still take a while.

About 84% or so into it I got this error. This is similar to the error I got with Ubuntu, just click OK to let it keep going. Oh, and wait some more.


Yea! It finally finished the install.


When you get to this screen, just press OK, then reboot Kubuntu. Don’t forget to eject the CD (or release the ISO) during the reboot. But before you press OK, make sure to read the next step!

OK, time for a tricky part. Pay close attention during the reboot. When you get to the screen that talks about the GRUB menu, press the ESCape key. You should see a screen like this:


With the top line highlighted, press the e key to edit the command line.

On the next screen, press the down arrow once to highlight the line that begins in “kernel”, then press e again to edit that line. When the edit screen appears, we need to add the – i8042.noloop to the end of the line. It should look something like:


Press Enter, then when you return to the screen with “kernel” on it, press ‘b’ (just the letter b) to boot Kubuntu. What this will do is enable the mouse for this session only! Once we get booted, we’ll fix the mouse permanently, so hang on.

When the login screen appears, enter your user name and password (the ones you entered on the “Who Are You” screen during the installation) and press enter. Now give it a minute while Kubuntu finishes loading.

OK, now it’s time to fix that pesky mouse issue once and for all. Click on the big K in the lower left (it’s like the Start button in Windows), and go to System, then bring up Konsole.


Now in the Konsole window, type in

sudo kate /boot/grub/menu.lst

and press enter.


Enter your password when prompted, and you should be in the kate editor. Note you may see a few errors on the terminal window. These can be ignored.

Once kate is up, scroll to the very bottom of the editor where you’ll find three sections of “title… kernel… “ etc. In the first section, which is the default, we need to edit the kernel line to add:

— i8042.noloop

to the end of the line, as you see here. Once done, save it by using File, Save on the menu or clicking the floppy disk. Then exit kate (File, Quit) and exit the terminal window (type exit and press enter, or close by just clicking the x button as you would in Windows).


And that’s it, you should be good to go and enjoy Kubuntu 7.10 virtually.

PS If you found this useful, please give it a digg so others can find it too.

Installing Ubuntu 7.10 Under Virtual PC 2007

Update April 24, 2008 – The newest version of Ubuntu, 8.04 is out. Look for complete install instructions here.

Update April 7 2008 – If you are interested in also playing with the 8.04 BETA, you can read my post here.

Ubuntu version 7.10 was just released. In keeping up with tradition I’d like to describe step by step instructions on how to install and get it running under Virtual PC 2007.

Before I begin though, I’d like to give a word of thanks to all the folks who have commented on my previous postings. It was their findings and efforts that helped to create this work, I owe them a big thanks.

OK, first thing you need is to download the Desktop install ISO from the Ubuntu site ( You can skip right to the download mirrors page at if you want to save a few mouse clicks.

Once you get it downloaded fire up Virtual PC, and create a new machine. If you are not familiar with VPC, see my step by step instructions for creating a machine at Make sure to pick “other” as the OS type. I used 512 meg of ram because my system has 2 gig, but if you have less you can get away with 256 meg of ram for the Ubuntu Virtual machine.

Fire up your new virtual machine, and use the option in the CD menu to “Capture ISO image”. Point the image at the desktop iso you just downloaded.When it starts, immediately press the down arrow, so that “Start Ubuntu in Safe Graphics Mode” is highlighted.

When 7.04 was released, the new kernel had issues with the mouse emulated by Virtual PC. To be blunt, the mouse just didn’t work. However, several work arounds were found. The easiest was brought to my attention via comments on the blog, the i8042.noloop option. That’s what we’ll implement, so we can use the mouse during the “live mode”.

Hit the F6 key, for Options. When the line appears, at the very end type in a space (if there’s not one after the two dashes) then i8042.noloop . Your screen should look something like this:


Press Enter to start the launch process. Be patient, it takes quite a while. Once it’s finally up though, you’ll see this screen:


Double click on the Install icon to begin the install.

On the first screen, below, you are welcomed and asked about a language. Pick your language and hit Forward.


Now pick your time zone, since I’m in the Central zone I picked Chicago as a city in my time zone and clicked Forward.


No it asks about keyboard layout, pick your keyboard if yours isn’t US English, then press Forward.


Ubuntu will crank and grind for a minute, then you’ll see this dialog asking about your disks. Just take the defaults and click Forward.


Time for a little personal info, give your name, a login id, enter the password you want to use, and what you want to name the “computer”. When done click Forward.


OK, you’re almost ready to start the install process. Look this over, if everything looks good just press the Install button and we’re off to the races.


Did I say races? Well, turtle race might be more like it, the install runs pretty slow, so get some coffee, or maybe a second bowl of ice cream if you’re doing a late night install.


I did encounter one error during the install. You may see this as well, but you can go back later and correct this through the normal updates process.


Now Ubuntu will finish, and ask if we want to reboot. Tell it no, then reboot by shutting down by pressing the red shut down icon in the very upper right of the Ubuntu window.

OK, you’ll have to be very quick with this next step. Remember the mouse issue? We’ll still need to fix it. First, boot the new machine, after clicking on CD and releasing the ISO if it’s still held. Now when you see the words “Grub loader” hit the Escape key. If you were fast enough, you’ll see this screen.


With the line you see selected, press the “e” to edit the line. Now a new screen will appear.


Move the highlight down one to the Kernal line, and press “e” to edit that line. When the new screen appears, you’ll need to add two dashes, then the i8042.noloop command. Your screen should look like this:


Press Enter, then when you are returned to the screen with “kernel…” on it, make sure the kernel line is still highlighted and press b to boot.

Once booted, login using your user id and password. When Unbuntu is up, it’s time to fix the mouse issue once and for all. Click on Applications, Accessories, Terminal. When the terminal window appears, type in:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst


When you press Enter you’ll be prompted for your password, enter it. An editor should appear. Scroll down to the very bottom of the text and find the line that begins with “kernel”. Add the – i8042.noloop to the end of the line, as I’ve shown below. (Note I have highlighted the line to make it easy to see, yours won’t be normally highlighted in your session.)


Save the file and exit the editor and the terminal window. When you next reboot, you should be able to just login normally, and the mouse should work.

And there you go, Ubuntu 7.10 up and running, complete with mouse, under Virtual PC 2007.

P.S. If you found this post useful, please give it a Digg so others can find the same happiness you did.

Microsoft Goes Open Source

For years critics have been blasting Microsoft over their proprietary standards and applications. Over the last few years, however, Microsoft has slowly been answering those critics by adopting internet standards instead of insisting on their own, and releasing more things to the community.

The ability to save Office 2007 documents as XPS comes to mind, as does the ability for CardSpace to use open standards like OpenID. Now, in their next step they are embracing the open source community through the addition of a new Open Source page within Microsoft.

On this site you can find all sorts of information and resources for those wanting to do open source projects using Microsoft software. Links to articles, websites, and the Visual Studio Express editions can be found. I won’t try to reiterate the entire site here, but if you have an interest in Open Source it’s well worth your time to have a look.

In addition is another site called Port 25. It is the outreach site for Microsoft’s Open Source Software Lab. Some really cool stuff here on Linux interoperability, as well as the new Dynamic Language support such as IronRuby and IronPython.

I can tell right now I’m going to be spending a lot of time on Port 25.

Finally, I should mention a site that’s been around for a bit by the name of CodePlex. It’s Microsoft’s site to host open source project done by both Microsoft folks and those of us in the community. (Well, I say us, one day I keep swearing I’ll find time to crank out some cool project and put it on CodePlex.)

Currently they show about 2000 projects right now, so there should be a lot for you to check out.

No, I don’t foresee Vista going open source anytime soon. But I really have to hand it to Microsoft. Somewhere over the last few years they realized they weren’t the only game in town. Since then they have really made an effort to “play nice” with other communities, and embrace many new open standards. The creation of their Microsoft Open Source site is just another step in that journey.

Fixing Ubuntu 7.04 Fiesty Fawn Mouse under Virtual PC 2007

Update: October 18, 2007 – Ubuntu 7.10 was released today, and I’ve now posted step by step instructions for installing it. If you haven’t yet installed Ubuntu, you may prefer to start with the instructions on 7.10, found here:

OK, one of my readers “John” (thanks John!) shared a link to an unsupported patch that fixed the Ubuntu 7.04’s mouse under Virtual PC. Let me give you the quick summary of what I did:

  1. Fired up a new VirtualPC with the Fiesty Fawn “Live CD” in the drive. Booted up in safe graphics mode.
  2. Once up, I activated the keyboard mouse using the fix I described in my post “Ubuntu 7.04 and Virtual PC 2007 – Mouse Issue Workaround (sort of)” at
  3. I then installed Ubuntu, it was pretty straightforward although a bit annoying using the numeric keypad as a mouse. One hint, sometimes it didn’t recognize my mouse click until I moved the mouse off a button then back on.
  4. After the install I rebooted, then in my new install repeated step 2 to activate the keyboard mouse in my new install. Setting this in the Live CD didn’t carry over to the new install.
  5. I then opened firefox and went to the link John provided, Since that’s a lot of typing, I shrinksterized it to make it very easy to type,
  6. Joe Soroka has posted a script, I downloaded it using the “shell script” link at the very top of the message and saved it to my home folder.
  7. I opened my File Browser (use Left Alt+F1 select Places, Home Folder). I moved the mouse (again using the numeric keypad) and clicked once on the sh file I’d saved.
  8. Now in the browser, with the file highlighted, hit left alt+enter or select File, Properties on the File Browser menu.
  9. In the dialog that appears, move to the Permissions tab, and check on the box that says “Allow executing file as program”. Click the close button to close the dialog.
  10. Now double click the sh file or press enter. You should see a dialog appear that asks if you want to open in a text editor or run the script. Select the “run in terminal” option. (Update, added “in terminal” based on feedback.)
  11. While the script executes it will ask for your admin password, give it.
  12. At one point it will also stop to ask if you want to skip or configure grub manually, or let it do it for you. I pressed enter to let the script do it for me.
  13. That ended the app, when the terminal window closed I rebooted (still using the numeric keypad as my mouse).
  14. When Ubuntu came back up, it flashed a quick message from the grub asking which kernel I wanted to load, I just took the default.
  15. I logged in and what do you know, my mouse worked!

Just FYI, I’m running Virutal PC 2007 under Vista, using the standard desktop version of Ubuntu 7.04.

The real hero here is Joe Soroka for posting such a simple fix. I encourage you to give it a try. If you are concerned about messing up your Ubuntu install, simply copy the VHD/VPC files to a backup location before running the fix.

A big thanks to Joe Soroka, and to “John” for posting the link. Now I can actually start playing with Ubuntu 7.04.


I mentioned I was on a business trip, during our long road miles my co-worker and I listened to quite a few podcasts. One that was really interesting is the current episode of Security now, episode 91. (

In this episode Steve and Leo interview Marc Maiffret of eEye Digital Security ( about the state of security both in the Enterprise and at home. In this episode Marc makes a starting yet fascinating assertion, namely that Microsoft Software is no longer the biggest vulnerability on the Windows platform. Instead, their research shows it’s other software that’s opening up vulnerabilities.

Part of the issue occurs because these vendors lack the concept of “Patch Tuesday” that MS has. Additionally, they tend to bundle their security fixes with other software updates. A user looks at a 47 meg update and goes “hmm, my app is running fine, don’t see a need to update” and misses all the security fixes.

Now, before some joker comes off with “run Linux it’s secure”, on a recent episode Steve talked about a Javascript exploit that can affect your router and effectively open it up. And yes, the exploit works on both Windows and Linux and it also runs under FireFox as well as IE. (Please note I’m not bashing Linux, I have it on a few of my boxes, I’m just realistic about its security abilities.)

The point I’m making here is to make sure to update ALL of your software. Like many I dutifully have my Microsoft updates run automatically each week, but have declined updates of other software thinking “nah, it’s working right now not gonna worry about it”. You can bet I won’t make that mistake again!

Ubuntu 7.04 and Virtual PC 2007 – Mouse Issue Workaround (sort of)

Update: October 18, 2007 – Ubuntu 7.10 was released, the install for it is a bit more straight forward. If you haven’t installed 7.04 yet, I’d suggest giving 7.10 a try. Complete instructions here:

Update: A reader named John posted a link to a fix, see my post on May 17 ( for full details. But keep reading this post, as you’ll need the info here to implement the fix. OK, thanks to a suggestion I saw on the Ubuntu forums, I found a workaround for the no mouse issue, of sorts. This won’t give you the mouse back, but it will let you use Ubuntu 7.04 using keyboard control.

First, let me take a second to explain what the issue is. There was a bug in the kernel code that affected many different distros of Linux. Apparently the kernel was not finding PS/2 style mice. Some work has been done and now most PS/2 style mice are now being found.

Except, sadly for the ones being emulated. Both VMWare and VirtualPC emulate a PS/2 style mouse, and are not getting found by the kernel. Remember, it doesn’t matter what type of mouse you have hooked up to the host box (I have two mice, a Logitech MediaPlay and Microsoft Travel mouse, both USB). It only matters what the virtual machine is telling the guest OS (Ubuntu), which is PS/2 style mouse.

OK, that explained let’s play with Ubuntu some. Fire up Virtual PC, then use the CD menu to either capture an ISO image or capture the CD Drive you have the Ubuntu Desktop disk in.

When the menu appears, select “Start Ubuntu in Safe Graphics Mode” by hitting the down arrow once and pressing Enter. If you fail to do this, you’ll get garbled graphics.

Once Ubuntu gets fully loaded, press the left ALT key plus F1 (Left ALT+F1, remember VPC takes over the right ALT). This should highlight the Applications menu. Press the right arrow twice to System, then down once to Preferences. Now press the right key once to get to Accessibility, then right again. Finally go down to Keyboard Accessibility and press ENTER.

[Picture of Ubuntu 7 menus]

When the Keyboard Accessibility Preferences window appears, you should already be on the “Enable keyboard accessibility features”. (You can tell you’re on it because of the little ‘dancing ants’ rectangle around it.) Just press the SPACE BAR to check this on, as you see below.

[Picture of Keyboard Accessibility window]

Now press the TAB key to get on the Basic tab. Press the RIGHT ARROW key twice to get the Mouse Keys highlighted.

[Picture of Keyboard Accessibility window]

Press TAB again to get to the “Enable Mouse Keys” and press the SPACE BAR to check it on. Now tab on down to the Close button and press ENTER.

What you just did was turn the numeric keypad into your mouse. When you press left (number 4 ), the mouse moves left, press the up arrow (number 8 ) mouse goes up, and so on. The angles work, pressing 7 (the home key on my keypad) moves up and to the left, for exampe. Finally, the number 5 key works as the mouse click.

One thing to be aware of, these only work with the numeric keys. It will not work with the standard arrow keys. Laptop owners with compact keyboards are in for a painful experience, you’ll have to hit NUMLOCK to activate the mouse, then turn Numlock off to be able to type letters again.

Well there you go, a way you can use Ubuntu 7.04 in Virtual PC 2007. Not the greatest solution, but might work for you until the kernel issue gets fixed.

I’d like to give credit where it’s due, in reading through the Ubuntu forums I saw someone suggest using keyboard accessibility to work around the no mouse issue. After playing with it some, I decided it was worth documenting and hence this post. I’d like to give credit but haven’t found the original post since then, so if someone happens to notice it in the forums please let me know so I can give credit for the idea to the original poster.

Ubuntu 7.04 and Virtual PC 2007 – No Mouse Issue

Update: October 18, 2007 – The new version of Ubuntu, 7.10 is now out. If you haven’t yet installed Ubuntu, I’d suggest using 7.10. I have step by step instructions at

Last week the folks at Ubuntu released Fiesty Fawn, better known as version 7.04 of the Ubuntu OS. I had planned a new version of the “step by step” to detail how to install under VirtualPC 2007.

Sadly there seems to be a severe error that prevents 7.04 from running in Virtual PC. This error lies somewhere deep in the kernel, and affects the mouse. As you have discovered, Ubuntu won’t recognize the mouse when running inside VPC.

This was actually a much more serious error at first, Ubuntu and several other Linux distros had errors recognizing most PS/2 style mice, as you can see from this bug:

They have opened a new bug specifically for Virtual PC, which you can monitor here: (Credit due alert: Thanks to Michael Wexler for first pointing out these links!).

I’ve spent quite a while trying various combinations, but thus far have found no easy solution or workaround to the problem. So for now, my advice is simple.

If you have an existing Ubuntu install under VPC, I recommend you NOT upgrade. You will lose your mouse for sure, and probably keyboard as well. If you want to experiment, start with a fresh virtual machine and go from there.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the second bug I listed. I’m hopeful there will be an update in the near future. At that point I’ll work up some step by step instructions, which should be pretty similar to the 6.06 instructions.

Update: (April 25th, 2007) – I found a work around (of sorts) that will let you use your numeric keypad as a mouse. Not the most pleasant experience, but it does work. See my post on the 25th ( ) for full details.

What to do with Ubuntu

OK, you’ve now installed Ubuntu under Virtual PC or on your spare machine, or perhaps as your main computer. If you are a “newbie” to Ubuntu, as am I, you might want some suggestions on things you can do with your spiffy new OS. Never fear, I have scoured the web and found some sites and other blogs with some good suggestions.

Linux on Desktop: 13 Things to do immediately after installing Ubuntu. or

Has some really useful suggestions on some basic things you will want to do to make you Ubuntu experience more enjoyable.

Ten Tips for New Ubuntu Users

Just as it says, some useful tips for those new to Ubuntu.

Check out the Ubuntu Forums

Lots of good info and a good community to ask questions and learn more.


A great podcast on Linux. Chess Griffin does a really good job with lots of info, including (search the archives) a three part introduction to Ubuntu.


If you are here, most likely you have some interest in .Net development. Mono is the open source project to allow you to do .Net development on the Linux platform. Check out the Mono pages for more info on .Net programming in Ubuntu.

Installing Ubuntu 6.10 on Virtual PC 2007 Step by Step

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: 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 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 ( 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.

[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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 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 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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]
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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

Next you are asked for your location. Select your location, or the one closest to you, and press Enter.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

Next you are asked to let the installer determine your keyboard. Take the default, Yes, which will take you to the next screen.[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

You will then be asked to press a series of keys. Here’s the first screen in the series:
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]
Wait while Ubuntu formats your drives.

Next you are asked for your time zone. Select it, then press Enter.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

Now you are asked to re-enter the password, to confirm. Do so and press enter to go on.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

Now sit back and wait. Ubuntu will start installing itself.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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 6.10 Step by Step]

OK, sit back and wait some more, while Ubuntu installs various software packages. This step takes a loooooooooong time.[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]
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.[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

If all went well, you’ll now see another garbled screen where you enter your password. Carefully, do so and press enter.[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

This key combo exists the graphic interface and puts Ubuntu in text mode. Key in your user ID, then (when prompted) password to login.[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

You’ll now see a command line, below.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]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:[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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…
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

And hit delete twice, then type in 16.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]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.
[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

Give it several minutes to shut down and restart. If everything worked, you should now see a beautiful, non garbled Ubuntu screen.[Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

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![Ubuntu 6.10 Step by Step]

Installing openSUSE 10.2 on Virtual PC Step by Step

My “Installing Ubuntu on VirtualPC Step by Step” post ( continues to be one of the top read posts on my blog each day. I thought it was about time to look at another Linux distribution, openSUSE.

In November 2006 Microsoft and Novell announced a new initiative, stating they were collaborating on Linux / Windows interoperability. Read the full press release at or

In the spirit of collaboration, many of you may wish to explore openSUSE but may not have a spare machine to use it on. VirtualPC is the answer to your problem.

Before we begin, you’ll need to download a few components. First, you need Microsoft VirtualPC itself. or I’m using the 2007 Beta RC1, but this should work with 2004 as well. Previously I’ve installed openSUSE 10.1 on VirtualPC 2004 with no problems.

Next you will need the openSUSE.distribution, or is the place to grab it.

Be warned OpenSUSE ISO image is quite large, you’ll be a while downloading it. You will probably want to burn it to a DVD. If you don’t have a DVD burner handy, you can also use the Microsoft Virtual CD tool (which will work for DVDs too). I blogged about it at

A quick note, there are, as of this writing some issues with openSUSE 10.2 not recognizing the sound drivers with Virtual PC 2007 RC1. If sound is important to you, consider staying with Virtual PC 2004, or use openSUSE 10.1. As sound wasn’t that big of a deal, I used 10.2 and VPC 2007, but I’ve also installed 10.1 under VPC 2004 and my experience was almost identical to what I write about here.

Finally 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 Keep it handy, at various points I will be referring to it.

Like now. In Step 1 of my VirtualPC Step by Step you are instructed to create a new machine, please do so. I’ve named mine “openSUSE”. In step 2, you are prompted for your OS. You will need to pick Other. In step 3, you are asked about Ram. openSUSE 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.

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.

The first thing you will see is the boot screen. Here it asks if you want to boot from the hard drive (you can’t as nothing’s installed yet on your virtual hard disk) or install in a variety of methods. Hit the down arrow so “Install” is highlighted and hit the Enter key.

[openSUSE 01]

The screen will turn blue, churn for a bit, then black with a little clock. Be patient, it’s working. Finally, you get to see a screen to begin your installation journey. On the first one, you get to select which language you want. Select your language of choice, and click next.

[openSUSE 02]

Next you are shown the license agreement. If you are hyped up on Jolt Cola and Double Espressos and need some sleep go ahead and read through it. Otherwise, click the “Yes I agree”, then click next.

[openSUSE 03]

Now you are asked what mode you are doing the install in. Since this is a fresh machine the only valid option is New Installation. If there had been an older version of openSUSE on the machine you would also have the upgrade option. For now, take the default of New Installation and click Next.

[openSUSE 04]

The openSUSE installer will now do some System Analysis. It will read over your system and produce you a list of what it’s going to install. It’ll take a minute or two, so be patient.

On the next screen you are asked about the Time Zone. Pick the time zone you live in and press next.

[openSUSE 05]

Now comes your first difficult decision. openSUSE wants you to pick a default desktop. Unlike Windows, Linux will let you pick from a variety of desktop shells. The desktop defines the look and feel of what you see as you interact with the computer.

If you are a Windows user, you might be more comfortable with the KDE desktop. It has a start bar and “K” menu across the bottom. On the other hand Gnome has something more akin to a look and feel from the Mac line. There are others out there, but these are the top two.

There’s one other item to take into consideration. If you intend to do any coding using Mono, you will need to use the Gnome desktop. The last time I checked, the majority of the Mono development tools were designed for the Gnome desktop. (I don’t claim to be a Mono expert, so if this is incorrect please feel free to leave an enlightening comment.) Mono, by the way, is the open source implementation of the Microsoft .Net Framework. Using Mono you can write C# code for a Linux environment.

Don’t stress over this too much. The nice thing about Linux is you can change your mind later, or you can try out a new desktop just to see what it’s like without making a permanent change to your default desktop.

Since one day I hope to dabble in Mono, I will pick the Gnome desktop and click Next.

[openSUSE 06]

OK, getting close. Now openSUSE will show you an installation summary, with everything it’s going to do and install. Give it a glance, and if you are happy with your options click Next.

[openSUSE 07]

This is where the folks at Novell like to play an April Fool joke, in that you only thought you were done with license agreements. In the 10.2 version I downloaded, I’m additionally asked to confirm the licenses for some Adobe product and the Flash player. I clicked OK on both.

[openSUSE 08]

[openSUSE 09]

OK, openSUSE asks you one last time if you are sure. We are (well at least I am) so click Install to begin the install.

[openSUSE 10]

Now sit back and wait. And wait. And wait some more. This thing takes a long time to install, for me the counter started at over 2 hours, although in the end it didn’t take that long.

First you’ll see some screens that talk about preparing your hard disk. Don’t worry, it’s the virtual disk it’s formatting, you’re safe. Finally you’ll see this screen as it begins the process.

[openSUSE 11]

Over to the right you’ll see the count down timer, and the center part will change during the install, giving you nice little tidbits and tricks. This would be a good time to refill your coffee, put some Jolt Cola on ice and order that pizza. You’ll be sitting here a while. (While you’re waiting might be a good time to explore some of my other posts, LOL.)

One real important thing: if your VirtualPC screen goes blank during the install, don’t freak out! Believe it or not, the screen saver is actually active during the install. All you have to do is click inside the VirtualPC window. The screen will then update to show you where it’s at in the install process.

After it’s finally done, it will tell you it’s going to reboot. Go ahead and let it, obviously. If you do nothing, the machine will reboot itself.

After the reboot you’ll see the same screen you saw when you first started, assuming you didn’t eject the openSUSE dvd. Pick the “Boot from Hard Disk” option, or if you do nothing it will take it as the default.

[openSUSE 12]

The next screen asks if you want the default of openSUSE 10.2, to boot off of Floppy, or the Failsafe mode for 10.2. Failsafe is kind of like Safe Mode under XP. Normally you’ll pick the openSUSE 10.2 option, which is what we will do now. (Doing nothing by the way will automatically select this.)

[openSUSE 13]

After the system finally gets done rebooting, there are some final installation steps that need to take place. First, you are taken to a screen and asked what you want the root user password to be. This is the master password for the system, you need this to install software or do any serious maintenance. Enter something secure, but easy to remember. Most of all don’t forget it, or your lovely Linux install will become severely handicapped. Enter your chosen password now, then click next.

[openSUSE 14]

Next you are prompted for a host name and domain name. Take the defaults and click Next.

[openSUSE 15]

In the next window you are asked about the network configuration. Be patient while openSUSE examines your virtual system. When done, just click Next to take the defaults it finds.

[openSUSE 16]

At the end of the network configuration, openSUSE wants to test your connection. Assuming you are connected to the web, leave Yes selected and click next to perform the test. Now, when I tried to do the test, it kept failing on me. I puzzled, fumed, changed things, but could find nothing wrong.

Finally, out of desperation, I clicked the Back button to return to the screen below, then told it to skip the test, and go on. By golly, it actually worked just fine! I guess the problem is on the Novell end, as openSUSE happily proceeded to download all sorts of online updates with no problems. Your experience may vary a little, but if you try the test and it fails, try using the Back button, tell it No, skip the test, and go on from there. I’m betting it’ll work OK for you too.

[openSUSE 17]

The online update is next, here openSUSE will try to download the latest patches and what-not for your system. You have the option to skip by picking No, but I would suggest you let it run so you can have all the latest security updates and bug fixes. (Note if you are not hooked to the internet, or were unable to get the networking to work, you will want to skip this step.)

As the first step in the updates, you are asked about additional installation sources. For now, take the defaults as shown and tell it Yes, to register the checked sources.

[openSUSE 18]

You will now see a series of update screens flash by as your system is updated from the internet. The screen will look something like this:

[openSUSE 19]

Just let it go, it will take a bit (especially if you have a slow connection). When it’s done openSUSE will automatically take you to the next area.

In this next area you are prompted for users. First, you are asked about the method for authenticating users. There are some nice options here, including the ability to check against a windows domain. For our purposes though, the default of Local (/etc/passwd) will do just fine, so click Next.

[openSUSE 20]

Next you are prompted for user info. Enter your name, what user name you’d like to have, and a password for that user. There’s also a checkbox for Automatic Login. If you will be the only one using this VirtualPC, you can leave this checked on.

On the other hand, if you will be sharing this VPC with friends, you may wish to uncheck this. When you do so openSUSE will request you to login each time. One last note, you will want to make your password different from the one you entered for the root user. It’s not a requirement, but it is a good idea. Once you have entered everything, click Next.

[openSUSE 21]

OK, now sit back and wait a few minutes, as openSUSE is going to finish setting up your user account, then is going to run some cleanup.

[openSUSE 22]

When the cleanup is done you are automatically shown the release notes. This describes changes and the like since the last version. Take a quick glance, and know that you can always pull these up later if you are in a hurry. Go ahead and click Next when you are done.

[openSUSE 23]

In this last step you are shown your hardware configuration and asked to confirm it’s what you want to use. While it’s examining your config your screen may switch back to a text display, then back to the graphical installer. This is normal behavior, just be aware of it.

When it’s done examining, you’ll be ready to click Next. Note one item, there have been some issues with openSUSE not detecting the sound card of Virtual PC 2007. If sound is extremely critical to you, consider sticking with either VPC 2004, or drop back to openSUSE 10.1.

I can wait for the sound issue to get fixed in a later patch, so I’ll be clicking Next at this point.

[openSUSE 24]

You’ve hit the finish line! You installation is complete, all you have to do now is click the Finish button.

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When you do, openSUSE will complete a few tasks, then ‘reboot’ your virtual system. This will take a few minutes, and when done you are logged in and ready to use your openSUSE Virtual PC.

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Click on the “Computer” icon in the lower left, to begin exploring your openSUSE installation.

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To get up and running with openSUSE I’d recommend a good podcast to you called Linux Reality. Chess Griffin is the host, and did a great three part tutorial on openSUSE at these links:

Part 1:




Part 3:


His original tutorial was for 10.1, so there may be a few minor differences but not enough to make a difference.

There’s also a support site for SUSE Linux you can find at or

That’s about it, one final note. As I tell my kids, when you are done playing make sure to put away your toys. To shut down your Virtual PC openSUSE, just select Logout from the Computer menu, and it will give you a screen with the standard Logout, Shutdown, etc. menu options. Just pick Shutdown and you are free to go get that cup of coffee you’ve been waiting for.