Would you tell me more about Virtual Box? I have a friend who has a Mac,and he runs Windows 7 with virtual box on his Mac. How does that work, and I really like the idea of Linux Mint- I thought it would be more difficult to learn than Ubuntu.
I suspect your friend may be running Windows 7 in BootCamp, an Apple (or Mac) only exclusive.
VirtualBox is how one can run an OS inside of an OS, kind of like the old idea of a "TV inside of a TV" back in the 90's. The cool thing about VirtualBox, is that it's a choice in your Software Manager & can be quickly installed, and you can install much anything that can be installed to the guest OS if it were the main one. There are a couple of nags, such as popping in a USB drive & opening it in the virtual OS, but there are workarounds. As of late, I haven't downloaded VirtualBox straight from the site to see if it would make a difference (it can be installed that way, but I was playing it safe), but it seems that the older versions were better than the new in this area (USB support).
Like as of yet, I haven't been able to connect my webcam nor printer, with older versions, this was a dropdown click away.
I'm also interested in trying VMware Player, where one gets better graphics support, this is great for gamers & could be a deciding factor to switch to Linux for some users. That way, one has the best of both worlds. Looks like I'm going to have to create a Topic on this, as the instructions provided to install aren't working. Normally, what runs on Ubuntu 14.04 will also on Linux Mint 17/17.1, as the current Mint versions are based on Ubuntu 14.04.
To run virtual machines though, one needs adequate resources, preferably a dual core CPU running at 2.0GHz or higher, and 6GiB or more RAM (4GiB if running light Linux OS's), though one cannot have "too much" memory if VM's are being used. 8GiB or more is preferred, so that the user can at least lend the full 3.25GiB RAM that a 32 bit OS can handle w/out going over half of the system's total RAM amount (the user will be warned if getting close to half the available RAM). One reason why I upped my RAM from 12 to 24GiB, if I tried to lend 6GiB to the guest Windows 7 64 bit OS, I'd be warned it was too much, and being peculiar, I don't like the sound or idea of 5GiB, prefer to stick with even numbers. I cannot overstate how imperative adequate RAM is to run VM's & they run as good (or better) as native mode.
One can also assign more than one CPU (or core) to the VM, another surefire option to boost performance, as well as enable PAE/NX, required for some OS's, as well as enable the host I/O cache. If one has an SSD, even if the VM is on a HDD, which is recommended, the host I/O cache can give a powerful speed boost.
VM's also runs better if the CPU has native support for these, the option may be on one's BIOS if so, with others it's automatic. In rare cases, a BIOS may need to be downgraded to a previous version to have VM (called VT in these terms) support, but flashing the BIOS is not a risk free action. Usually VirtualBox would (or may still) run on computers w/out native support, but with reduced function, or so that's the way it was when I was running it on older computers. As software progresses, some of the old rules changes, so I'm not going to promise that today's VirtualBox will run on non-optimized hardware.
Unfortunately, I don't know if the older builds are available for Linux, as they were for Windows.
One can also run other Linux OS's through VirtualBox, and for this, one doesn't need as much RAM. Most any version of Linux will run find on 1 to 1.5GiB of RAM, some "lite" versions, less than that, though I recommend 1GiB minimum for most anything, to get the best performance. However, if all the RAM one has is 2GiB, that user can try running the guest with 512 to 768MiB RAM, this will at least allow the user to see how the guest OS runs, if it'll be liked, and so on.
Finally, one doesn't need anything other than the ISO of the OS to be installed, but optical media can be used if this isn't available. It's just that the ISO will install the OS with blazing fast speed, even on a not so powerful computer. After going through the virtual disk creation wizard, this is where one chooses the size of the disk & builds it, before configuring other settings, once all is done, when the machine is started, point the media source to where the ISO is, it takes over from there. Do not format the partition if installing Windows 7 or higher when installing, that 100MiB system partition isn't needed on a VM.
Another way, if the user has limited hardware resources, is to boot & run from Live DVD, or Flash drive installer. Most all Linux install media doubles as a Live OS, and that's a plus. Many Windows users has saved their valuable files (such as photos & software) from sure loss through this method, if the OS is too severely infected to clean by normal methods.
This is just scratching the surface on VirtualBox, the best way to learn, as I did, was through hands on experience. Took me 2-3 months to get comfortable with VirtualBox, but still learn new tricks myself.
Hope that this is of some assistance.
Edited by cat1092, 02 January 2015 - 01:05 AM.