Running Windows and Linux on Mac

I got a new Macbook Pro for work and am getting adjusted.  I have to admit that I don’t love it.  I have only had it a week, so I’m going to let it settle a little.  I’m already getting used to the interface and differences.  I’ve worked on macs before and done some troubleshooting before.  I wanted to install some other operating systems and looked into triple booting.  I was about to go through the steps of doing it, but decided against it.  I’m not saying there aren’t good tutorials about changing your boot loaders and partitions, etc.  But I got to thinking and virtualization is perfect for this.  Why go through the hassle of potentially screwing up my machine when I can just run it as a virtual machine?  Sure, if you want full access to the resources of the Mac, then by all means, go the partitioning route and load into the OS.  If not, do what I did.

The first thing you are gonna want to do is install VirtualBox.  VirtualBox is a free alternative to VMware Fusion and Parallels.  As such, for most users, I would recommend to at least give VirtualBox a try.  I think it will suit most users’ needs.

So, go download VirtualBox for Mac OS X.

Okay, so, how in the heck do you get going quickly on VirtualBox.  Well, if you have a Windows CD, just insert it in the CD drive.  Alright, I’ll walk thru this part with you:

Obviously, click “Continue”

Type in a name for the Virtual Machine (VM).  Virtual Box takes hints on your naming to grab the best OS and version.  It’s usually right.  This also goes for linux, btw.

Now, I usually allocate about half of my memory to the VM.  So, figure out how much memory you have and make your VM half.  Just don’t start two VMs at the same time if you do that!  That will kill your memory and your Mac will say, “Uncle.”

Again, the defaults are fine here.

Now you get to have fun with virtual disks…

Leave the disk to expand dynamically.  This way you don’t have to mess with expanding stuff later, which is a pain…

Once again, defaults are fine if you want them.

You have now created a dynamically expanding disk for your OS.  Congrats.  Now, go ahead and start your VM…

This screen welcomes you…

This has defaulted to your CD drive to get the OS moving.  This is fine here.

NOTE: For most linux distros, where you have an .iso file, you will want to select the .iso file here to boot from.

Well, lookie here, the familiar crappy Windows setup screens.  Now you should be off and running.

NOTE: Once installation is done, eject the disk, and reboot.  If you are installing from a linux .iso, shut the machine down.  Go into the settings and storage and remove the .iso from the list.  That way you aren’t constantly booting into the live version of the OS.

That’s it!

I love the ease here.  Yeah, you may lose some graphics capability here.  But, if you are wanting test machines, this is a great solution.  If you are needing access to Windows and linux, this solution works very well.

Have fun!

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