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Install Ubuntu 9 on Virtual PC 2007

July 3rd, 2009

I have been using Virtual PC to test reported problems, as a windows developer we only ever had to use Virtual PC for Windows OS, (Vista, XP and so on), but now I wanted to use it to install Ubuntu. If you don’t know what Ubuntu is, Wikipedia has a nice little article about it, basically it is a Linux operating system that has all the pretty desktop feature that most of us Windows users have grown to love.

This is what I used to install Ubuntu on my virtual server.

  • Virtual PC2007 sp1, (get it here).
  • Ubuntu Alternate CD, (get it here).

Create a virtual machine with enough resource, I chose 1024Mb of memory and 30Gb disk space. I think the minimum requirement is 256Mb of memory or something like that but if you can spare 1Gb of memory, use it .

Start the virtual machine and go to CD->Capture ISO image…, (you might need to reset the virtual machine afterwards if, like me, you are not quick enough).

When Ubuntu start it should pickup your ‘CD/ISO image’, you then choose your language
At this point if you try to do the install it will not work, this is because the install program does not ‘guess’ what your video mode is, (after all it is a virtual machine, so you cannot blame Ubuntu for guessing wrong).
So you need to tell it what to use.

To do that when you see the Install Ubuntu menu, (make sure that it is highlighted) . Press F6 and then press esc again to close the menu, (I know, I know there are other ways of doing it, but this way is good enough).

You will see a new line at the bottom that will say ‘Boot Options‘ at move your cursor, (with the arrows), to the end of the line. It should say something like “… quiet —“, delete that and replace it with “ noreplace-paravirt vga=791” and press enter to start the install.
The rest of the install should be fairly straight forward.

A couple of notes:

Select ‘No’ when asked to setup the keyboad, it will then ask you what country you are in and what country your keyboard comes from, otherwise Ubuntu will ask you to test your keyboad.

Be careful when choosing a username and password, remember that this is all case sensitive and the username must start lower case.

I chose not to encrypt the directory.

That’s it, enjoy Ubuntu 9.0.4.

<edit>Please have a look at the 2nd part, there are still some more tweaks needed to get your Ubuntu to work as expected.

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  1. Sheru
    July 13th, 2009 at 08:11 | #1

    Dear All,
    I have been trying whole night to install Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope on Vitual PC 2007. It’s my first time trying to install Ubuntu.

    I have been running problems and can’t insall Ubuntu.

    At first couple of try: It went black screen after Squashfs…

    Then I deleted created *.vhd and *.vmc and created with 512 mb ram and 30 gb hardisk. this time, installation went well upto keyboard installation, after that it stuck on “Startup Disk Partitioning point”. only 50% progress bar shown and stuck there. As I left overnight to run but no success till morning.

    Then again I tried to install, it went blank screen.

    At the same time I got pop small window saying “Install or Update Virtual Machine Additions” what is it? Do I need to install VC additions for Ubuntu?

    Your help would be greately appreciated.


  2. July 15th, 2009 at 20:57 | #2

    Excellent! Exactly what I needed!! Thank you for helping me figure out why it kept crashing! :o)

  3. Matthew Carroll
    August 10th, 2009 at 16:45 | #3

    Dear everone,
    This is a total rookie question. I have Ubuntu 9.04 working fairly well in Virtual PC 2007 except that I cannot get it to recognize USB devices such as my Kingston data traveler memory key. What do I need to do?

    Thank you for your time.


  4. Simon
    August 29th, 2009 at 22:46 | #4

    Nothing happends when I choose “Install Ubuntu”. No, the installation program doesn’t freeze, just nothing happends.

  5. Shell
    September 7th, 2009 at 13:37 | #5

    Got through the install finally with your help thanks, but it won’t boot! Any ideas?

    You get the grub loader then lots of text scrolls past.

    Last few lines are:
    [ 1.788004] [] ? unknown_bootoption+0x0/0x1f8
    [ 1.788004] [] __init_begin+0x99/0xa1
    [ 1.788004] –[ end trace 4eaa2a86a8e2da22 ]

    There’s a lot more than that but I thought the last few lines seemed the most interesting 😉


  6. JLee
    September 9th, 2009 at 22:12 | #6

    you have to edit the same thing in the GRUB menu to get it to book. I just booted to the live cd, open GRUB menu, and in the boot list it, again, will say quiet splash. change that to “noreplace-paravirt vga=791” again. then it should boot up fine.

  7. October 11th, 2009 at 17:58 | #7

    Simon- I am guessing that rather than erasing “quiet –” you simply appended the VGA directive. Be sure to replace the string, and you may be in luck.

    THANKS for the great tip! Got me out of a bind.

  8. October 11th, 2009 at 21:44 | #8

    In addition to these steps, it seems I also had to edit the standard boot line in the same way this post recommends. I hit ESC to get the boot menu, (e)dit the default line, and added noreplace-paravirt vga=791 as before. Without this, I got a stack dump on boot, and the vm froze in that state.

  9. October 25th, 2009 at 04:09 | #9

    Now… THIS is a total rookie question. I’m going thru the setup and it comes to the partitioning the drive part. Now, this is a virtual machine, so this “partitioning” thing is only happening with the virtual machine, NOT with my actual hard drive, is it?

    As a victim of a couple of recently self-inflicted partitioning accidents, just thinking better safe than sorry.


    • admin
      October 28th, 2009 at 07:09 | #10


      Yes, you will only be partitioning the virtual drive, not your actual drive.
      But because it is a virtual machine, there is no real need to partition the drive, (unless you are testing something specific to partitioning).


  10. reginald
    October 29th, 2009 at 21:48 | #11

    reginald :I use vitural PC with knoppix and personally i think knoppix works better than unbuntu. I have all the drivers and and it plays all my videos without any problems.

  11. phramusca
    November 19th, 2009 at 13:16 | #12


    Thanks for the great posts. It is working well!
    I however have a question: how to update resolution to 1024*768 ?
    The splash screen is in 1024*768, but when I log into it changes to 800*600.
    I have modified /etc/X11/xorg.conf to add the following in “Screen3 section:
    Subsection “Display”
    Depth 16
    Virtual 1024 768

    That worked, after a gdm reboot (sudo /etc/init.d/gdm restart), but Virtual PC is still in 800*600, so Ubuntu screen is bigger than the Virtual PC window (even in full screen). I have tried to stop and restart: same problem.


  12. phramusca
    November 19th, 2009 at 13:18 | #13


    Also, anyone knows how to have the mouse scroll to work ?

  13. phramusca
    November 19th, 2009 at 15:04 | #14

    I finally found out the solution for the screen resolution, by looking around on internet. I was modifying the proper file, but not properly.
    Here is the solution:
    Type Ctrl+Alt+F1 to get a console and login
    Edit X config file:
    $ sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf
    And replace content with:
    Section “Device”
    Identifier “Configured Video Device”
    Driver “vesa”
    BusID “PCI:0:8:0”
    VideoRam 8192

    Section “Monitor”
    Identifier “Configured Monitor”
    Option “DPMS”
    HorizSync 30-70
    VertRefresh 50-160

    Section “Screen”
    Identifier “Default Screen”
    Monitor “Configured Monitor”
    Device “Configured Video Device”
    DefaultDepth 16
    SubSection “Display”
    Depth 16
    Virtual 1024 768
    Modes “1024×768”

  14. January 4th, 2010 at 01:19 | #15

    I had no problems whatsoever installing Ubuntu 9.1 under win7-64. However, Ubuntu cannot access my wireless card. This same wireless card runs flawlessly when Ubuntu is installed on a physical drive or partition (or as a live cd) on the same system. However, this card would not work with Ubuntu prior to version 9.04.


  15. bill
    January 8th, 2010 at 19:07 | #16

    Hi folks,

    I finally made mine work too. Thanks for the description of the Ubuntu installation. Some minor points I can share with everyone:

    1. The download from Canada has some problems. I tried the US download and that was fine. I discovered the problem by booting the Ubuntu CD image in Virtual PC 2007 and running a test on the disk. Both 9.10 and 8.04 LTS had 1 file with an error. The US 9.10 was good.
    I made a minimal attempt to contact Waterloo and/or Telus about the problem (just to soothe my concsience) but I didn’t succeed. Maybe someone there will read this post.

    2. I still have to figure out how to increase my screen resolution. It sounds like the job involves editing a boot file and making finicky changes. I guess that describes pretty much everything you do in Linux (just kidding – I hope).
    I eat Windows and DOS for breakfast. Linux is foreign food and it just takes me a lot longer to get something done.

    3. This may be a dumb comment, but make sure you DON’T “Release the Ubuntu disk image” after installation has completed. I did, and that was the wrong thing – had to reinstall again.


  16. February 14th, 2010 at 09:24 | #17

    i have known of a little trick re: anything LINUS.
    you MUST have a DOS … (?!? yup DOS!) formatted partition as partition 1
    on drive 1, before you begin installation. having created a 4 gb part,
    formatted (FAT32) by loading a win98boot.ima for floppy, Ubuntu 9 installed using ONLY GUI and not even 1 keystroke at a ‘Command Prompt’.
    ! ;-}
    ps … allow partitioner to allocate 100% … automagically …

  17. February 14th, 2010 at 09:41 | #18

    pss …
    i had posted re: Ubuntu on VPC 2007, as the most recent posting was
    Jan 8, and perhaps this isn’t completely off the road.
    i thought i should add a note.
    i created a 4gb virtual drive as a FIXED SIZE vd.
    it therefore only contained 1 4GB partition. (DOS Formatted FAT32)
    ram is set at 512MB.
    upon booting to mounted CD (ISO), i selected English.
    i then chose ‘Install Ubuntu’.
    as Ubuntu Install automaticly ejects the cd …. the image is of course
    released when Install asks to ‘Restart The Computer’ .

  18. February 15th, 2010 at 10:22 | #19

    ha ha ha … oh really?

  19. February 20th, 2010 at 17:18 | #20


    Thanks for the post. This got me going. Now, how can I get full screen?


    • admin
      February 20th, 2010 at 17:29 | #21

      All you need to do is press Right-Alt, (the one to the right of the space bar), and Enter at the same time.
      Do the same to get out of full screen.

  20. Snapshot
    March 18th, 2010 at 21:59 | #22

    I’ve successfully intalled Ubuntu 9.1 in Virtual PC 2007. All works well except… No sound. Won’t recognise the built in sound card. I don’t seem to have any trouble creating any other Virtuals; Vista, 7, XP, no issues. New to Ubuntu. Any suggestions?


  21. October 22nd, 2010 at 04:12 | #23

    Also you may want to edit the GRUB menu to support the replaced quiet splash code for ever — otherwise every time you restart you’ll need to replace quiet splash again. You can enter a special VirtualPC option to your splash menu

  22. admin
    October 22nd, 2010 at 05:16 | #24

    @Alex Sirota
    Yes, this was covered in the second and third part

    Maybe I should add a link to those in this post.

  23. puneet
    February 10th, 2012 at 19:31 | #25

    Is there to install VM additions on Ubuntu or else a way to share files b/w ubuntu & windows?
    Please reply me the solution to my email id as mentioned in this post.

    • admin
      February 17th, 2012 at 14:54 | #26

      I don’t think you can use VM additions with ubuntu. You are better off using VirtualBox
      I didn’t reply by email, because I am not your personal help desk.

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