Installing Linux Using an Image for VirtualBox
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In this course, you will learn how to install a Linux system and connect to it, whether that be on Mac or Windows. You'll also learn how to install Linux from scratch. This course is part of the Linux Administration Bootcamp learning path, designed to get you up and running with Linux.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what a Linux distribution is, what the most common Linux distributions are, and how to choose the right one for you
  • Learn how to install VirtualBox on Windows and Mac
  • Learn how to install Linux using an image for VirtualBox
  • Understand common issues that may arise with VirtualBox and how to deal with them
  • Learn how to install CentOS from scratch
  • Learn how to connect to a Linux system

Intended Audience

  • Anyone with little to no knowledge of Linux who wants to learn more about the operating system
  • Professionals who want to learn about Linux to enhance their career prospects


This is a beginner-level course so there are no prerequisites, but an interest in Linux and programming knowledge in general would be beneficial.


The external resources for this course can be found here:


The first thing you need to do is download a CentOS VDI, or virtual disk image. Open up a web browser, and visit I'll put a link to this page in the resource section for this lesson. Now, simply scroll down here and click where it says, "Click here to download the VDI." At the time of this recording, the file is hosted on Google Drive. Now, you might see a message stating that the file is too large for Google Drive to do a quick virus scan on it, but that's totally okay. The image is perfectly fine to use. Simply click Download Anyway.

Now again, this is a very large file, so it will take at least several minutes to download. Once the download is completed, you need to extract the contents of the archive. First, you're going to navigate to the folder where you saved the download. Now, this is typically your Downloads folder. Now I'm on a Windows system, so I'm going to right click here on the file that we just downloaded, go to 7-Zip, and then from here, I'm going to click Extract Here.

Now, remember that this process was covered in an earlier video, one for Mac users and another one for Windows users, so if you have any questions about how to extract this file, go back and watch one of those videos. Now that you have your virtual disk image downloaded and extracted, it's time to go ahead and start the VirtualBox application. I'm here on Windows, so I'm just going to search for it here. And I see Oracle VM VirtualBox, and that's what I wanna run, so I'll start it there.

Next, create a new virtual machine for your CentOS operating system installation. So I'm just going to go ahead and click New here. And as you can see, it asks you for a few bits of information, the name, the machine folder, the type, and the version. I'm going to name my virtual machine "centosdesktop". As I type that in, VirtualBox automatically selected Linux as the type, and Red Hat 64-bit as the version. If it didn't, you could simply use the drop down boxes and make the appropriate selections. For example, I would have selected Linux here, and then, out of my menu here, I would have selected Red Hat 64-bit.

By the way, if you do not have a Red Hat 64-bit option, that most likely means that your hardware acceleration features for your computer are not enabled. This means that you need to enable the hardware acceleration and, or virtualization settings in your computer's BIOS. Reboot your computer and enter the BIOS, and make sure that you have VT-x enabled for Intel processors, or AMD-V enabled for AMD processors. Also, if you have any settings that say anything about virtualization technology or virtualization extensions, go ahead and enable those as well. Now, this specific process varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you might have to look up the documentation for your specific computer.

Again, you only need to perform these steps of going into the BIOS and enabling these settings if you do not see Red Hat 64-bit as an option for version. Also, you can leave the machine folder set to the default. Now that you have a name, a type, and version set for your virtual machine, you can continue. So we'll click Next. The minimum amount of RAM recommended is 1,024 megabytes which is one gigabyte.

Now I have plenty of RAM to use on my system, so I'm going to dedicate about half of my memory resources to this virtual machine. So I'm gonna use 8,192 megabytes or eight gigabytes. Once you've selected your memory size, go ahead and click Next. Here, you'll want to click on Use an existing virtual hard disk file.

Next, click on the folder icon here to the bottom right. Now, this opens up the Virtual Media Manager window. Go ahead and click on Add, and then, navigate to where you extracted the virtual disk image. Again, this will probably be in your Downloads folder. So I'm gonna click on Downloads for me, and CentOS8-gnome, and then here we can see the file that is our virtual disc image. So I'll highlight that and click Open. Next, click on Choose. Finally, click the Create button to create your virtual machine.

Now, power on the virtual machine by clicking the Start button at the top. Once CentOS is booted up, you'll be presented with a login screen. To log in as the admin user, simply click on that username. Now, enter the password which is also admin user. Simply press Enter or click Sign In. By the way, the username and password for the system will be supplied with the disk image.

For example, I'm supplying this disc image for you, so I set the username and password. But if you happen to use a different disc image than the one that I recommend, look for the username and password combination that works with that particular image. As you can see here, the first time you log in, you'll be presented with some tutorials that will help you get started. Of course, these are optional to watch but the tutorials are short and worth watching.

Once you're done with the tutorials, click the X in the top right window to close the screen. So here is our CentOS 8 desktop install. And now that we see that everything works, so I'm just gonna shut down the system by clicking in the top right-hand corner, and then clicking on the power button. From there, I'm going to click Power Off. Now you have a Linux installation you can use to complete this course and practice your Linux skills.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Jason is the founder of the Linux Training Academy as well as the author of "Linux for Beginners" and "Command Line Kung Fu." He has over 20 years of professional Linux experience, having worked for industry leaders such as Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, UPS, FireEye, and Nothing gives him more satisfaction than knowing he has helped thousands of IT professionals level up their careers through his many books and courses.

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