Ubuntu 7 runs great inside of Virtual PC 2007, at least once you get it installed. The installation would turn away most new Linux users since, by default, neither the graphics or mouse work. Not being able to see or interact with the installer is obviously a major issue. With a few simple text commands however, the graphics and mouse issues can be fixed.
To start, you will need a Ubuntu 7 installation CD or iso image. Create a new virtual machine, start it up, and capture the Ubuntu CD (or image file). Once you get to the Ubuntu boot menu, do the following.
- Make sure the option to “Start or Install Ubuntu” is highlighted, then press “F6”. This will show you a line of text and allow you to add additional boot options.
- Scroll to the very end of the line (using your right arrow key), type a space and then “i8042.noloop”.
- Press enter. The live CD will then start, be patient.
- Once loaded, you’ll noticed the graphics are messed up. In my case, I just saw a bunch of colored horizontal lines. Hold down the left “CTRL” and “ALT” keys and then tap “F1” at the same time.
- You’ll leave the graphical user interface and be presented with a text interface which should be readable.
- Type “sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf” and press Enter. This will open up the GUI configuration file for editing.
- Press “CRTL” and “W” to open a search box, then type “depth” and press Enter.
- You will see a line that says “DefaultDepth 24”. Use you arrow keys to move to the “24” and change it to “16”. This tells Ubuntu you want it to use a value of 16 for color depth, not the default 24.
- Press “CTRL” and “O” and then Enter to save the changes.
- Press “CRTL” and “X”. To exit the editor.
- Press “CTRL”, “ALT”, and “F7” to switch back to the GUI.
- You need to reload the GUI for the changes we made to take effect, so press “CTRL”, “ALT”, and “BackSpace”.
The graphics and mouse should now be working. Ubuntu will load the LiveCD, from which you can play around, or click “Install” to permanently install Ubuntu on your computer.
Assuming you install Ubuntu, you will need to make one more change so as to make the mouse work every time you boot the virtual machine.
- Boot into Ubuntu (from the hard drive, not the LiveCD).
- Press “CTRL”, “ALT”, and “F1” to switch to a console.
- Log-in with the user-name and password you created during setup.
- Type “sudo nano /boot/grub/menu.lst”. This opens the boot list for editing.
- Press “CTRL” and “W” and type “end default options”, then press Enter. This will search for and find the section we want to edit.
- The first entry in the list you see is the entry for booting Ubuntu in regular mode. Find the line that begins with kernel and use your arrow keys to move to the end of the line. At the end, type “i8042.noloop”.
- Press “CTRL” and “O”, and then press Enter to save the changes.
- Press “CTRL” and “X” to exit the text editer.
- Type “sudo reboot” to restart the virtual machine.
That’s it! Your Ubuntu install should be ready to go.