How to Install Ubuntu Linux in VMWare

In short, software like VMWare provides an easy way to try and use Linux in Windows. This article provides a step-by-step guide to installing Ubuntu in VMWare on Windows.

Virtualization is a great way to try out Linux from the comfort of Windows. WSL and WSL2 may be easier, but not everyone has access to them. And for a relatively better desktop experience, a VM is better.

You may need to use Linux as part of the course curriculum, for some development tools (like Docker), or just to experiment with the Linux desktop before making the switch. VMWare and similar virtualization software can be of great help.

You don’t need to make any actual changes to the disk partition, no boot changes and Linux runs just like any other application in Windows.

In this tutorial I will show how to install Ubuntu in Windows using VMWare.

Install Linux on Windows with VMWare

Your actual operating system is called the host operating system, and the operating system you install in the virtual machine is called the guest operating system. I will use this terminology in the tutorial here.

The virtual machines use the system resources of your host operating system. Ubuntu GNOME requires 4GB of RAM to work properly, your system should have 8GB to allocate 4GB to the guest OS (Ubuntu) and keep 4GB for the host OS (Windows).

Let’s see all the requirements.

requirements

  • Good internet connection for downloading software and Linux ISO. (You can also use another computer with an internet connection to download these files.)
  • Windows system with at least 20 GB of free disk space. Free space above 25GB is good for installing the latest version of Ubuntu.
  • Windows system with 8GB RAM. (It can also work with less RAM, but your system will start lagging if you use Linux in the virtual machine.)
  • Make sure virtualization is enabled in BIOS
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I’m installing Ubuntu 22.04 in this tutorial, but the same steps apply to any other Linux distribution. If you prefer videos, you can watch the following on our YouTube channel.

Step 1: Download and install VMWare Player

Go to the VMWare website and download the VMWare Player .exe file. At the time of writing this article, VMWare Player 16 is the latest version.

Once downloaded, double click the exe file and follow the on-screen instructions to install VMWare.

Step 2: Download the Linux ISO

Next, you need to download the Linux distribution ISO file. You can get this image from the official website of the Linux distribution you want to use.

In this example I am using Ubuntu and you can download ISO images for Ubuntu from the following link:

Step 3: Install Linux with VMWare

You installed VMWare and downloaded the ISO for Linux. You can now install Linux on VMware.

Now start VMWare and click Create new virtual machine.

Create a new virtual machine in VMware
Create a new virtual machine in VMWare

Select the option “I will install the operating system later” and press “Next”.

Select the Install operating system later button 1
Select the Install operating system later button

On the next screen, set the operating system to Linux and the version to Ubuntu 64bit.

Select Linux type and Ubuntu 64 type
Select Linux type and Ubuntu 64 type

Give the virtual machine a name and click Next.

Name the virtual machine
Name the virtual machine

In the next screen, set the disk size to at least 20 GB and also select the option “Save virtual disk as a single file”.

Choose the disk size and save it as a single file
Choose the disk size and save it as a single file

On the next screen, you can either press Finish and later set the ISO file by right-clicking and Settings. Or you can choose the ISO file on the go. To do this, click the “Customize Hardware” button.

Press the Customize Hardware button.
Click the Customize Hardware button

This screen allows you to optimize memory, processors, etc. However, you need to select the “New CD/DVD” button and add the Ubuntu ISO as shown in the screenshot:

Specify the ISO image file in the Customize Hardware dialog box
Specify the ISO image file in the Customize Hardware dialog box

Now you can close this and press the “Finish” button. Once done, you can now start the VMWare virtual machine and begin installing Ubuntu.

Select the virtual machine to start the installation
Select the virtual machine to start the installation

Now you can use it after installation by opening the virtual machine by name from the VMWare home screen.

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Quick note on how to easily install VMWare

This is another installation mode in VMWare. Instead of pressing “ISO file later”, here you can select the downloaded ISO file and start the process.

Choose the disc install option for easy installation
Choose the disc install option for easy installation

But I found both processes almost the same because the installer asked for the same steps in the previous method here as well.

Install Ubuntu into VMWare

Once the created machine is open, you will get the Ubuntu splash screen.

Ubuntu splash screen in VMware
Ubuntu splash screen in VMWare

You must press Enter Try or install Ubuntu. This will take you into a live environment. Here you can either test the system before installation or install it directly. Since it’s a VM, you can install it directly by pressing Install Ubuntu Button.

Select Install Ubuntu to start the installation process
Select Install Ubuntu to start the installation process

Next, you need to set your keyboard layout, which is set to US English by default.

Select keyboard layout
Select keyboard layout

Ubuntu offers Normal and Minimal installation options, with the former containing all essential software such as Office, media player, etc. In contrast, the latter only includes essential utilities and a web browser. Also, there are several other options, you can install third-party codecs, download updates during installation, etc.

Updates and other software settings
Updates and other software settings

Press after setting continue. The next step is to set up the installation. There are multiple options, like erase and install, custom partition, etc.

For VM purposes, you can accept the default (Delete and Install) and continue.

Don’t worry. It will not erase your disk on the host OS (Windows). They’ve created a virtual disk for it, and that’s the disk it’s taking over.

Select installation type
Select installation type

Once you are done with your settings, you can click the Install Now button. This will prompt you to specify a time zone. Normally it detects your time zone automatically. Otherwise, you can click on the region in the associated map to set your time zone.

Set time zone
Set time zone

When you click Next, you will be prompted for user credentials such as name, password, etc. Specify all and press Next.

Provide user credentials
Provide user credentials

Now the installation will start and once complete you can use Ubuntu by rebooting the system.

Press the restart button once the installation is complete
Press the restart button once the installation is complete

This will prompt a message Remove the installation media and press Enter. The installation media, which is the attached ISO, will be removed automatically once the installation in VMWare is complete. So you can press Enter here.

Prompt to remove the installation disk
Prompt to remove installation disk

If the ISO is not removed automatically, you can remove the ISO by going to Player > Removable Media > CD/DVD.

VMware player menu button
VMWare player menu button

Once done, you will have installed Ubuntu 22.04 in VMWare.

Ubuntu runs in VMware on Windows
Ubuntu runs in VMWare in Windows

Wrap up

That’s all you need to do to install Linux in VMWare on Windows. If you have any doubts or encounter any problems, please feel free to ask your questions in the comment box below.

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