For the fall semester 2011 I was lucky enough to pickup a contract at Seneca to teach the ULI101 (UNIX/LINUX, Internet) course in the Diploma programs at the college. One of the weeks included a lecture on using Fedora Live. I decided to show my students how to use virtual box in the labs to use Fedora within a Virtual Machine environment. The infrastructure of Seneca’s computer labs is setup favorably for this way of using Fedora easily. VM’s have also become a standard in large corporate environments to help reduce the total cost of ownership on server hardware and to better utilize CPU cycles, power, and floor space in server rooms.
Below is a step by step guide to setup VirtualBox with the Fedora Live ISO on Windows 7.
Step 1: Download Fedora live cd ISO at:
Step 2: Install virtual box. (Seneca lab computers already have it included in the image).
Step 3: Run Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager.
Step 4: Click New to create a new Virtual Machine using the Fedora ISO you downloaded.
Step 5: Click Next on the Create New Virtual Machine wizard window
Step 6: Give the VM a Name you can recognize easily like “Fedora Live”, Choose “Linux” from the Operating System list and “Fedora (64 bit)” from the Version list.
Step 7: Set the memory to the amount of RAM you want to allocate to the VM. The default of 768mb is fine for most needs. Make sure this amount is less than the host machines total ram minus 2GB to leave 2GB for windows 7 minimum.
Step 8: Use defaults for Virtual Hard Disk at 8GB space and “create a new hard disk” options, click next.
Step 9: Use defaults for File type of the “virtual disk with VDI”, click next.
Step 10: Use defaults for “Dynamically allocated disk size”, click next.
Step 11: For Virtual disk file location and size you might want to have students put their VDI file on a USB so they can save it and reuse it in other sessions by remounting it. If they are just using it for one session and throwing away the VM each class session and recreating it then the default settings are fine.
Step 12: Press create to create the VM.
Step 13: Click on the new VM and press start to start it up the first time.
Step 14: Press next to begin, then select the ISO file for Fedora that you downloaded earlier. Press next.
Step 15: Click start to start up the VM.
Notes about using the VM:
When you click inside the VM sometimes the VM hijacks the mouse cursor to the window and wont let it move outside the window. To release it the default key is RIGHT CTRL.
you can map a CD or USB drive from the host machine to the fedora VM so you can access files from the local hosts CD, USB, DVD, or HDD even.
The VM will use whatever amount of RAM you allocated it in the setup from the host. If you set it to use 3GB and the host only has 4GB only 1gb would remain for windows which may cause slow downs or virtual box may not let you start the VM at all if the memory amount is to high that it would starve the host machine.
To close the VM you exit it the same way you would if the OS was running normally with Shutdown from the top right menu. the VM will shutdown and close its window automatically.
You can run the VM in fullscreen mode and it will operate similar to how a remote desktop session would work in windows with a small popup tab at the bottom center of the screen to switch back to windowed mode or close the VM window.