There are many advantages to having Virtualbox. One such advantage is having the ability to try out any Linux distro that you want, without deleting or touching one file or program on your Desktop computer. You can keep your desktop environment intact, and at the same time, play with a brand new Linux distro.
Trying out a new distro usually requires downloading the ISO from a project’s website, whether it’s from Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint or openSuse. This whole process can get tedious after a while, not to mention all the wasted CDs and DVDs, each time a new distro comes out.
There is a way where you can avoid burning CDs and DVDs, and still be able to install a new Linux distro in a Virtualbox. So, instead of booting a distro from a CD or DVD drive, you will have to tell Virtualbox to boot from a virtual disk file or ISO.
Let’s say, you created a brand new virtual machine. You go through the process of assigning the appropriate resources, e.g. CPU, RAM, diskspace, etc. Once you are done, you will be asked to start the virtual machine.
The virtual machine, by default, looks for a bootable CD or DVD. Since you don’t have one CD or DVD on hand, it will complain that there is no bootable partition. You can now tell Virtualbox to use a virtual file instead of a CD or DVD.
You can do this by going to Devices > CD/DVD Devices > Choose a virtual CD/DVD disk file. Point it to your downloaded ISO file. Mine resides in my Downloads folder in my home directory. Here’s a snaphot of how to assign the CD/DVD drive to a virtual file.
Once you have the ISO selected, you will need to restart the virtual machine, to get it to boot from the ISO. The virtual machine should now boot with the latest distro you just downloaded. You can now proceed with the install of your latest Linux distro.