How To Use VirtualBoxes Free Images To Test & Run Open Source Operating Systems [Linux]

Justin Pot 11-04-2012

Quickly try out a wide variety of open source operating systems, some you’re familiar with and some you aren’t. You can start browsing now at Virtualboxes, a website that takes almost all the work out of trying out operating systems in Virtualbox.


VirtualBox, in case you’re not familiar with it, is free virtualization software. It lets you run any operating system in a window, meaning you don’t need to worry about partitioning, dual-booting or any of the other complicating factors that come with trying out a new operating system. You can find out more about VirtualBox in our VirtualBox manual, if you’re curious. Read that manual and you’ll learn: installing operating systems within VirtualBox can be annoying. You’ll need to go through all the steps of installation, just as if you were installing the OS to an actual computer.

Skip that step by visiting Virtualboxes, a collection of pre-installed virtual machines you can use. You’ll find most major Linux operating systems there, and more than a few free operating systems you probably didn’t realize exist 10 Free Operating Systems You Maybe Never Realized Existed Sick of Windows? Not keen on Linux? Consider an alternative, like these free operating systems that you probably haven't heard of. Read More . For (obvious) legal reasons you won’t find Windows or Mac OSX here, but there’s a wide variety of free operating systems you can try out. They’re really easy to get started with.

Download Your Operating System

To get started, head to Virtualboxes, then click the “Images” button. Here you’ll find a list of operating systems you can download.

virtualbox images

Click any of these operating systems and you’ll be presented with different versions of your chosen operating system to try out.


virtualbox free images

The newest version is usually at the bottom, and is probably the version you will want to try out. You’ll also find, when necessary, a username and password. Take note of this – you’ll need it later to use your virtual machine.

In my case, I’m curious about Haiku, an open source version of the classic pre-Windows operating system BeOS. I downloaded the third alpha release from VirtualBoxes, so let’s set it up together.

Set Up Your OS In VirtualBox

Open up VirtualBox, if you already have it; download VirtualBox now otherwise.


The file you download will be compressed using 7zip, a free program for archiving files 7Zip: A Free Program to Unzip Uncommon Archive Formats Read More . Install 7zip and you’ll be able to open this file easily. In Windows, this is done by right-clicking the file and clicking “Extract“:

virtualbox free images

Once you’ve got VirtualBox running, add a new machine. Let VirtualBox know the operating system you’re adding, selecting “other” if there’s no exact match (the case for me with Haiku). Make sure you give the machine enough RAM to run your new operating system; check the website of your operating system for requirements if you’re not sure. When asked to create or select a hard drive, simply browse to the file you download from VirtualBoxes.

virtualbox free images


You should now be able to start your virtual machine. Do so and start exploring.

virtualbox images

It’s certainly different than any system I’ve used before. I’ve never used BeOS, myself, but if you have I’d recommend checking this out. I’m not sure I want to switch to Haiku anytime soon, but it’s fun to play with.


What operating systems will you use Virtualboxes to play with? Let me know in the comments below, because I want to play too. Recommend something and I may review it later.


Also feel free to point out any other collections of virtual machines, because I love to learn.

Related topics: VirtualBox, Virtualization.

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  1. linux, linuks, portal linux, linux portal,
    April 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Wow, awesome weblog structure! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you made running a blog glance easy. The whole glance of your site is fantastic, let alone the content material!

  2. othniel
    April 12, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Great post, love it. Downloading CentOS right now, since it's not practical for me to download the DVD when I'm only testing it out for fun, furthermore the image is compressed. Thanks Justin :)

    • Justin Pot
      April 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Enjoy! Let me know what you think of CentOS.

  3. Craig
    April 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Not quite true about Windows, you can always download a demo (working) version that is good for 120 days. It is a full blown version.

    • Justin Pot
      April 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      You can download that, sure, but it's illegal for someone to produce a derivative work based on Windows. Hence, VirtualBoxes can't offer Windows.