Monday, 10 November 2014

How-to: Install Ubuntu 14.10 in VirtualBox

It's that time; Ubuntu 14.10, the Uptopic Unicorn, was released at the end of last month and I've just got around to testing it out in Oracle VirtualBox and....

Oh. Here we go again. It's the graphics. It doesn't appear to set the right graphics mode when the 14.10 ISO image fires into the installer.

But we can fix that. Again.

My Debian 7 host has the latest version of VirtualBox (4.3.18 r96516) running 14.04 in a virtual machine, so I'm going to re-use that VM for 14.10.

Selecting f12 and 'boot from CD' I can boot to the install menu and start the process  by selecting either option to install or try as a Live CD session; it shows  the initial Ubuntu 14.10 loading screen with the dotted progress bar; then it selects an unsupported graphics mode and gives me a low-res, 62x24, 16-colour bar pattern and nothing else.

The mouse pointer shows up full height and moves around, so I know the VM hasn't crashed.

The suggested solution on the web is to switch to a tty terminal session and back again, to force-refresh the Guest graphics mode. Normally I'd do this using CTRL+ALT+F1 to go to tty1, then CTRL+ALT+F7 to switch back to the GUI;  but you will probably find this is key combination is received by the Host and not the Guest.

So with window focus on the Guest VM, the correct key combination to switch to Guest tty1 is:


At this point you sould drop into the tty terminal window:

Welcome to Ubuntu 14.10 (GNU/Linux 3.16.0-23-generic i686)



should switch back into graphical mode, with the guest re-querying and selecting the right display size to drop into the installer.

Note: I have right CTRL setup as the default escape focus key for VirtualBox VM's.

Beyond that, the installer should run fine through to a clean desktop, albeit in a limited display resolution.

Next, run Software Updater to apply the latest patches, then from the VirtualBox Devices menu, select Insert VirtualBox Guest Additions CD and the Guest Additions installer should prompt you to install the latest guest drivers. The VirtualBox guest display driver should select something more useful, although getting optimum settings is something you may need to play around with. RC

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