How To Create Ubuntu Virtual Machines the Easy Way

Microsoft provides a simple process for creating Ubuntu virtual machines on Window desktops. This tutorial explains the steps for setting up a VM.

Brien Posey

August 25, 2022

4 Min Read
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Ubuntu is an open-source Linux distribution that is based on Debian. While you can download a copy of the Ubuntu installation media and use it to set up a Ubuntu virtual machine, there is an easier option. Microsoft has greatly simplified the process of deploying Ubuntu virtual machines, particularly on Windows desktops.

In this article, you will learn how to quickly set up Ubuntu on a Windows 10 desktop.

Before we begin, this article assumes that you have already installed Hyper-V on your Windows 10 system. If Hyper-V is not currently installed, you can install it by opening the legacy Control Panel, then clicking Programs. Click the Turn Windows Features On or Off link. Now select the Hyper-V option, shown in Figure 1. Click OK, then follow the prompts to deploy Hyper-V.

Screenshot of Windows 10 Program and Windows Features dialogue box

Ubuntu VM 1

Figure 1. You will need to install Hyper-V if it is not already set up.

Create an Ubuntu Virtual Machine

The primary tool for managing Hyper-V virtual machines is the Hyper-V Manager. The simplest way to access the Hyper-V Manager on a Windows 10 machine is to type “Hyper-V” into the search box at the bottom of the Windows desktop. Click on Hyper-V Manager within the list of results.

Generally, the copy of Hyper-V that comes with Windows 10 is identical to the one that is included with Windows Server. There are some exceptions, however. For example, there are enterprise-grade features such as failover clustering and replication that are not supported on the desktop version of Hyper-V.

Related:How to Install Ubuntu on Windows Services for Linux

The desktop version of Hyper-V has at least one feature that does not exist on the Windows Server version. The feature, Quick Create, is a tool designed to simplify the process of creating virtual machines. Quick Create allows you to set up new virtual machines without having to worry about manually provisioning virtual hardware or downloading operating system binaries.

Figure 2 shows what the Hyper-V Manager looks like. The Quick Create link is in the upper-right corner of the console (in the Actions section).

screenshot of Hyper-V Manager on Windows 10

Ubuntu VM 2

Figure 2. This is the Hyper-V Manager.

To create an Ubuntu virtual machine, click the Quick Create link. This causes Windows to open the Create Virtual Machine dialog box. As you can see in Figure 3, Microsoft provides shortcuts for different versions of Ubuntu. To get started, simply select the Ubuntu version you want to deploy, then click the Create Virtual Machine button.

Screenshot of shortcuts for different versions of Ubuntu on Windows 10

Ubuntu VM 3

Figure 3. Choose the Ubuntu release that you want to deploy and then click the Create Virtual Machine button.

Even though using Quick Create greatly streamlines the process of setting up a new virtual machine, the process can take some time to complete. That’s because Windows must download the operating system binaries and any other required components prior to beginning the installation process. When the deployment process eventually finishes, you will see a screen like the one shown in Figure 4.

screen says Ubuntu virtual machine has been successfully created

Ubuntu VM 4

Figure 4. The virtual machine has been created.

Clicking the Connect button opens the virtual machine’s console, whereas clicking the Edit button causes Windows to open the Hyper-V Settings page for the newly created virtual machine. You can use the Settings page to adjust the virtual hardware allocation (e.g., add more memory to the virtual machine). However, the default settings are typically adequate unless you plan to run a resource-intensive workload within the virtual machine.

Final Steps

The only thing left to do at this point is to finish setting up Ubuntu. To do so, just connect to the virtual machine (you may need to start the virtual machine), then follow the prompts.

As you can see in Figure 5, for example, you will need to specify the language that you want to use.

Screenshot shows system configuration box and selection of languages to choose from

Ubuntu VM 5

Figure 5. Complete a few minor configuration tasks and Ubuntu is ready to use.

About the Author(s)

Brien Posey

Brien Posey is a bestselling technology author, a speaker, and a 20X Microsoft MVP. In addition to his ongoing work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years training as a commercial astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space.

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