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Kubuntu Linux + XP in VirtualBox == absolute sweetness


After a few months of dual booting Windows XP and SuSE Linux 10.2, and feeling rather bifurcated by the workflow, I've finally hit upon my perfect setup.

I have a Dell Inspiron 9300 notebook with a 17" screen. It's a big computer - too big to pull out on an airplane - at least in coach, where I tend to ride. :) To the left and right of the touchpad there's enough flat space that I actually use it as desk space for writing notes upon. It has been a solid machine and has given me no problems in the almost three years I've had it. So when XP started getting old and slow (as can happen with time), I began to consider ridding myself of the dual boot curse and installing Linux as my primary OS and then running XP in a virtual machine via Parallels (I have a license) on top of it.

I'd been trying Kubuntu Gutsy Gibbon in Live CD form for a while and was pleased to find that things just worked - Samba let me access files on our Windows network, and once I discovered that Parallels wasn't going to work for me, I found a free/open source project called VirtualBox

So I switched to Kubuntu Linux as my main OS about a week and a half ago and I haven't regretted it once (especially since I can run XP as a virtual machine using VirtualBox for free. That means I still have access to Photoshop and... well, really that's it - everything else I've found Linux equivalents that match or exceed their Windows counterparts. (Note: the open source version of VirtualBox didn't want to work for me, but the free-but-not-open version worked just fine in Kubuntu Gutsy.)

Installing Kubuntu was quick and easy. I had repartitioned my drive for SuSE, and wanted to reconsolidate things. I decided to leave the partitions Dell sets up in place, just so I wouldn't regret removing them later - not that I expected I would.

The partitioning program in the Kubuntu installer was a little pared down, but it got the job done. For non-experts like me, I would have found more help info valuable, but one of the nice things about installing from a Live CD is that I was able to open a browser and search out the info I needed on the web. And other than that, the install worked wonderfully.

I'd love to do a how-to based on my install to give back, you know, but it was really so simple and I didn't run into any problems that I could elucidate on, so... I guess my advice could be summed up by saying, "Just try it. Back up your data, and give it a go." If you're a web developer, programmer, or just someone who likes transparency and configurability, and if you want to empower yourself (and also assume more of the responsibility for your computer's workings), Kubuntu Linux may be your cup of tea.


Your Virtual Machine

Just a question... I will be doing the same thing with my machine. I have installed Kubuntu as my Primary OS and i am planning to run a VM with windows XP Pro SP2.
Im glad to hear it went so easy for you.
Have you heard of WINE or (Red Wine)
If so did you try using that to get Adobe Photoshop happening on Kubuntu and did it work?
If you havent heard it is a program for Kubuntu that allows .exe files to run in the linux world.
Be good to hear from you.

BTW my site is under sontruction atm.

I'm familiar with WINE, but

I'm familiar with WINE, but have never tested it with Photoshop. Previously I'd searched around for folks doing Photoshop in WINE and not seen anything very positive, so I went the virtual machine route. Since then, I've seen which looks promising and means I'll probably be checking Photoshop via WINE before long.


Wine and Virtualbox

Do not confuse the way WINE is working with VirtualBox. Virtualbox will let you install a full OS over a virtual hard disk, while Wine is a compatibility layer for running Windows programs under Linux. ( You can install it using kubuntu/Ubuntu repos.

I tried Adobe Photoshop CS2 with wine 1.1.4 and it works great. I tried to run Adobe Photoshop CS3, but it won't work. Luckily, CS3 works in some other distros which means that it will soon be supported under kubuntu/ubuntu as well in the near future. You can always check the application databade ( to see which software can be succesfully run using WINE.

Wireless mouse and keyboard


I've been looking to move to Kubuntu and was considering the dual boot option. Just one question: I have a bluetooth mouse and keyboard. I recently tried running Kubuntu (Cannot remember which version but quite recent.) from the live CD that I downloaded from the internet. However my mouse and keyboard were not detected and I had to borrow a wired mouse/keyboard from work to have a play around with the system. Is this a major problem when installing the system to my hard disk?... Also one point related to the virtualbox software. If I install Kubuntu (XP already installed) and the virtualbox does this mean I can access my Windows XP files and software through the virtualbox straight away or will I need to reinstall XP and the Apps?

I don't know the answer to

I don't know the answer to the keyboard and mouse question.

As regards your XP, you would have to reinstall it to have a virtual copy to run inside VirtualBox.

As a side note, I'm not running VirtualBox that much these days - only to check a site in Internet Explorer on occasion - since I've discovered that while I couldn't install my copy of Photoshop CS2 in Linux using Wine, I could run my copy of Fireworks Studio 8 just fine (after following the instructions at

Copying files to VB XP

I have a Dell XPS 630i that takes about 6 minutes to boot to a "working" windows (about 35% success rate). I got so tired of it that I installed XP in VirtualBox with Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron. It takes about 42 seconds for Ubuntu to boot and then about 35 for XP to boot! The Linux drivers are so much better than the Windows ones apparently. The question I have is I was wondering if you knew how to copy files from the Ubuntu desktop to that of the XP? I'm in Pleasure Valley near Chinden and Eagle. Beautiful snow we've been having today! Thanks for your time.

Mathew Vyse

It was beautiful snow we had

It was beautiful snow we had today. And so light and airy - easy to scrape off the walk!

There is a way to share a folder between VirtualBox and Ubuntu. I'm not running VirtualBox very often anymore and so I can't recall exactly how it was set up. (I've managed to get myself arranged so I can use Kubuntu for almost everything (Netflix Watch Instantly, I'm looking at you)) I'd suggest searching the forums on the VirtualBox site for how to get that shared folder set up.

Another option, and probably less hassle (since I did have issues with shared files getting corrupted with VirtualBox), is setting yourself set up with Dropbox on both your XP and Ubuntu (Dropbox provides clients for each) - It's a great service, and will probably prove helpful beyond just this situation.


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