Trying to run Ubuntu/Lubuntu/Xubuntu on VirtualBox for school, no joy

shorttiminshorttimin regularRegistered User regular
So I'm taking an assembly language class this fall and the instructor emailed us yesterday with directions for downloading VirtualBox and running Ubuntu for class. No matter if it's Lubuntu, Xubuntu or plain old Ubuntu, the VirtualBox screen turns into random colors filled with random punctuation symbols ( @&$%*^ etc.)

I'm running it on a work laptop and checking with our IT as to whether or not something the company put on there is interfering with this. They know I'm attending class for comp engineering though, so they're mostly cool with me installing stuff. Since the instructor seems to think low-end computers will have trouble running things, here are the specs from my system page.
Windows 7 Enterprise-SP1
Intel Core i7-4810MQ @ 2.8GHz
32gb RAM
64-bit OS

Here are the instructions the instructor gave us
SE/CmpE102 section 1 will have its first meeting soon. I will be sending out some information in advance to the students who are already registered.

Section 1 will be based on a Linux environment. students will have to provide their own Linux systems and bring them to class.

There are many many ways to do this, but in the interests of simplicity I propose a standard approach. If you want to go in another direction, feel free, but I will not be able to provide support for a multitude of different environments.

If you have a PC, I recommend installing VirtualBox and then installing Ubuntu on it. The process is described at http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/virtualbox

For SE/CmpE102 we need the 32-bit version of Ubuntu. The file name will have 386 or 686 in it, not AMD64. The current version of Ubuntu is 16.04

I have discovered that the VM install will not work on an old or low-end system. You will get stuck with a lot of colored bars on the screen. Instead I picked a more stripped down version, xubuntu. The file I used is xubuntu-16.04-desktop-i386.iso

This seems to work OK on my very low-end laptop.

Keep in mind that the install process can take a very long time on a low-end system. It would be good to get going as soon as possible.

Any Linux version would work about the same, but using a 32-bit version is best for this class.

I successfully installed VirtualBox, followed the instructions he linked and set up the VM as follows
Type - Linux
Version - Ubuntu (32-bit)
RAM - 1GB ( I tried 8, 1/4 of total memory like the instructions suggested, but VB apparently didn't like that
HD - 8GB
File type - VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)
File size - fixed instead of dynamic at the suggestion of the instructor's linked guide

I've tried booting from these .iso files
xubuntu-16.04-desktop-amd64.iso (tried this for shits and giggles, VirtualBox said I had a i686 CPU)

The lubuntu has gotten me the farthest, but only if I select "Try Lubuntu without installing" and then hitting Ctrl-F1 followed by Ctrl-F7. The instructor says it has something to do with the Guest OS trying to get control of the system graphics. I believe my graphics card is an Nvidia Quadro K1200M, if that's useful.

EDIT: My IT dept just confirmed they don't block VirtualBox or anything running in VirtualBox.

Also, by following the "Try Lubuntu without installing" it appears I made it to a desktop, with an icon that says "Install Lubuntu". I clicked on it, and one of the installation options "Install Type" has "Erase disk and install Lubuntu" with a warning that says it will delete all my programs, docs and everything else in all OS's.

That's only going to have effect within the 8Gb I set aside for VirtualBox, right? I'm not gonna wipe my work computer, right?

shorttimin on


  • Options
    a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    Yes, the Ubuntu installer will only touch the VDI image. If you're able to boot the live image all the way to the desktop, you should be OK.

  • Options
    shorttiminshorttimin regular Registered User regular
    Ok, so after that info I finished the install, it appears that Lubuntu starts up fine. No idea why Lubuntu worked and not the others and only if I "try it before installing" instead of just installing.

    Hooray for throwing crap at the wall and seeing what sticks!

  • Options
    a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    I'd guess some kind of compatibility issue between VBox and your laptop's graphics or something.

  • Options
    shorttiminshorttimin regular Registered User regular
    Under VBox Settings/Display, there are only three tabs, Screen, Remote Display and Video Capture. I don't see anything where I might be able address that, but I guess as long as it's working don't mess with it?

  • Options
    a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    Under VBox Settings/Display, there are only three tabs, Screen, Remote Display and Video Capture. I don't see anything where I might be able address that, but I guess as long as it's working don't mess with it?

    Yeah, that seems prudent. Maybe old drivers?

  • Options
    ButtcleftButtcleft Registered User regular
    edited September 2016
    Does the system you are installing in have a Radeon video card (No it doesn't have to be a bleeding edge gaming card, could be old onboard video or whatever)?

    Ubuntu 16.04 shits the bed, hard, with Radeon cards..cause it dropped support for AMDs propriety drivers and is using some terrible open source piece of crap.

    Buttcleft on
  • Options
    a5ehrena5ehren AtlantaRegistered User regular
    Vbox doesn't expose the GPU to a Linux guest OS as far as I know. I think it just emulates old Intel stuff.

Sign In or Register to comment.