Is Ubuntu better installed in Virtual Box or as a seperate OS on my system?

Rickesh John April 9, 2012
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I would like to know if Ubuntu would work better on Virtual Box or as a separate operating system alongside my Windows XP?

I already have Windows XP installed and was thinking of installing Ubuntu on my system, when I came across Virtual Box. I read the installation manual provided for VB, but I don’t have any insight on how Virtual Box actually works.

So I was meaning to ask that would my system take a performance hit if I ran Ubuntu on Virtual Box? Would it be better if I installed it properly as another operating system?

My system details:

IBM Thinkpad R 52
Intel Pentium M Processor 1.73 GHz
2 GB RAM

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  1. me
    September 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I have the exact situation as you and the answer i've come up with after studying virtualization for two weeks and doing EVERYTHING THE COMPUTER GEEKS EVERYWHERE SAYS TO DO to get the damn software to open up ANYTHING in a virtual window is ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!! DO NOT PUT UBUNTU ON YOUR COMPUTER, DO NOT COMMIT!!!! YOU WILL REGRET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If you put Ubuntu on your computer, you'll regret it when you can't take ubuntu off (and there IS NO EASY SOLUTION FOR GETTING IT OFF, JUST ALOT OF PAIN). You'll need the windows CD when you change your mind which most people who bought a windows machine wasn't given... So that'll cost you 100 bucks to remove Ubuntu or else you'll literally left with half the computer you used to have and you won't have enough hardware room or configuration to run ANY VIRTUALIZATION SOFTWARE with what's left.. Don't committ to Ubuntu, again, YOU WILL REGRET IT!!!! If you have a life outside of computers and just want the damn software to work then DON'T MESS WITH YOUR HARD DRIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ubuntu is good as long as you don't let it make ANY CHANGES TO YOUR COMPUTER!!!!!!!!!! That's what virtualization software is for in the first place

    DON'T LISTEN TO THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They don't care about the stress and frustration these free software packages will do to your machine!!!!!!!!! Hopefully you didn't take their advice or you'll already know everything I've said by now

    • Simon
      October 7, 2012 at 9:16 am

      That's a little hysterical, "me".

      I think in fairness it is wise to get to grips with Ubuntu as a virtual machine first of all. Then when you wonder what you're still actually doing in Windows other than booting up VirtualBox, then it's perhaps time to commit. Also, when speed for example becomes an issue.

      As for all that panicky nonsense about damaging your hard drive, the key is simply to do your homework. Learning to partition your harddrive manually takes about half an hour - just make sure you pay attention to the instructions. In any case, Ubuntu makes it so you don't have to manually partition anymore. Plus, getting rid of Ubuntu is also very easy now. You just need to download EasyBCD.

      Will you prefer it to Windows? Depends what you're looking to do. I came to the conclusion that a Linux-based set up was simply more convenient for PHP-related web development, with LAMP being easy-peasy to set up and it made sense to use the same OS as the server of my website (to understand what is being done with my files once they're up there etc.).

      If you're just a regular user/gamer and you already have Windows, I'd advise you to stick with that. While there are arguments for greater security in Linux, if you're not paying attention you can get yourself into difficulty.

      There will be a learning curve but you can get through most of that in a VirtualBox installation. Therefore, my advice is to stay virtual until you answer your own question and the move seems logical/inevitable. I also had teething troubles when making the switch but I persevered and to be honest, if you're not at least a wee bit inclined to tinker, Linux is probably not best for you.

  2. FIDELIS
    April 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Hello, with the specs you have given, I would say your best option is to install Linux by itself.  2 GB of memory to run xp + virtual machine + linux I think it is too much for your system.  It would be really really slow or freeze.

    In a system with lots of memory and a good multicore processor I would say using virtual box would be better.  The advantage of doing it this way, is that you do not have to be restarting your computer to use the other operating system. 

    • Rickesh John
      April 11, 2012 at 5:47 am

       Thanks for the reply man, it does seem that my system would be better of with Ubuntu as a separate OS.
      I was thinking of a complete switch to ubuntu but I am not sure whether UB will be able to run some games that windows only.

      • FIDELIS
        April 13, 2012 at 9:59 pm

         Hello, yes that seems to be the optimal solution for you.  You might get some games to run using wine but of course it is not the same. 

  3. Indronil Mondal
    April 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    just use the wubi installer (its in the cd) if you like it fine if not satisfied just uninstall it from add or remove programs in xp

    • Indronil Mondal
      April 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm

       better to install it separately on your config.

  4. ha14
    April 10, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    if your processor support virtualization technology and you have good hardware configuration then virtualbox will eliminate some problems like dualboot issues which means you will always boot to windows safely. But the speed in virtualbox will be less compared the speed of real installed Ubuntu as separate partition or hard drive.

    You can use virtualbox to see if you are capable of handling Linux in good way. Once you are confident with all Ubuntu issues then you are ready to use as real desktop installed on hard drive.

  5. Susendeep Dutta
    April 10, 2012 at 4:55 am

    Virtual box acts as emulator of an operating system(OS)  i.e it makes the OS  works as if it's running in actual hardware.Virtual box is a virtual machine which virtualize the PC hardware for the OS to be installed in it.

    Running an OS in your laptop will definetly make it run slow.It's better you run Ubuntu as a separate OS.

  6. Jim Blaich
    April 9, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Are you going to use it or just fool around?

    Linux is best when you commit.  If you do a bare metal install it will perform significantly better.  You'll also be tempted to actually learn about how it works rather than "thinking it's a clone of windows" and since it "can't do windows" and uninstalling; it's best to put yourself in the best position to actually discover all the new and great things.

  7. Simon Slangen
    April 9, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    It's always best (performance-wise) to install it as a separate operating system. Maybe the speed will be enough for your purposes, but it does take a performance hit because you're effectively running two operating systems at the same time.

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