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Is it Safe to Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu on VirtualBox?

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Yes, it is entirely safe to erase the disk and install Ubuntu on VirtualBox. This article will delve into the reasons why this is safe and provide a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Quick Answer

Yes, it is safe to erase the disk and install Ubuntu on VirtualBox. The erasure only affects the virtual environment created within VirtualBox and does not impact your physical hard drive or main operating system.

Understanding VirtualBox

Before we proceed, it’s crucial to understand what VirtualBox is. VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise and home use. It’s a software utility that allows you to run operating systems virtually, that is, without interfering with your main operating system.

The Safety of Erasing Disk in VirtualBox

When you opt to “erase disk and install Ubuntu” in VirtualBox, the erasure doesn’t affect your physical hard drive. Instead, it erases the virtual hard disk you’ve created within VirtualBox. This virtual hard disk is essentially a large file on your actual hard disk.

The Ubuntu installer within VirtualBox has no knowledge of your main operating system and cannot access your physical hard drive. Therefore, any actions you perform, including erasing the disk, will only affect the virtual environment.

How to Erase Disk and Install Ubuntu on VirtualBox

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to erase a disk and install Ubuntu on VirtualBox safely:

Step 1: Download Ubuntu ISO File

Download the Ubuntu ISO file from the official Ubuntu website. This file is necessary for the installation of Ubuntu on VirtualBox.

Step 2: Create a New Virtual Machine

Open VirtualBox and click on “New” to create a new virtual machine. Name your virtual machine, select “Linux” as the type, and “Ubuntu” as the version. Click “Next” to proceed.

Step 3: Allocate RAM

Determine the amount of RAM you want to allocate to your virtual machine. The recommended minimum is 2GB. Click “Next” to continue.

Step 4: Create a Virtual Hard Disk

Choose “Create a virtual hard disk now” and click “Create”. You can select the hard disk file type as “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image)” and click “Next”. Choose “Dynamically allocated” for storage on the physical hard disk and click “Next”.

Step 5: Allocate Disk Space

Determine the amount of disk space you want to allocate to your virtual machine. The recommended minimum is 10GB. Click “Create” to finish the setup.

Step 6: Install Ubuntu

Start your virtual machine and select the Ubuntu ISO file you downloaded earlier. Follow the prompts to install Ubuntu. When asked about disk setup, choose “Erase disk and install Ubuntu”. This will erase the virtual disk, not your physical hard drive.


VirtualBox is a safe and effective tool for running multiple operating systems on your computer. When you choose to erase a disk and install Ubuntu in VirtualBox, it only affects the virtual environment and not your main operating system. Therefore, you can confidently experiment with different settings and installations without worrying about damaging your computer.

Is VirtualBox free to use?

Yes, VirtualBox is a free and open-source software that can be used for personal and commercial purposes.

Can I run VirtualBox on any operating system?

Yes, VirtualBox is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Solaris, so you can use it on a wide range of operating systems.

How much disk space does VirtualBox require?

The disk space required for VirtualBox itself is relatively small, typically around 200-300MB. However, you will need additional disk space to store the virtual machines and their associated files.

Can I install other operating systems besides Ubuntu on VirtualBox?

Yes, VirtualBox supports a wide range of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux distributions, and even legacy systems like DOS and OS/2.

Can I share files between my host operating system and the virtual machine?

Yes, VirtualBox provides a feature called "Shared Folders" that allows you to share files and folders between the host and guest operating systems.

Can I use USB devices in the virtual machine?

Yes, VirtualBox supports USB passthrough, which allows you to use USB devices directly within the virtual machine.

Can I take snapshots of my virtual machine?

Yes, VirtualBox allows you to take snapshots of your virtual machine at any point in time, so you can easily revert back to a previous state if needed.

Can I run multiple virtual machines simultaneously?

Yes, VirtualBox supports running multiple virtual machines simultaneously, as long as your computer has enough resources (CPU, RAM, etc.) to handle the workload.

Can I resize the virtual hard disk after installation?

Yes, VirtualBox provides a utility called "VBoxManage" that allows you to resize the virtual hard disk, both increasing and decreasing its size, even after the installation of the guest operating system.

Is it possible to run VirtualBox in a headless mode?

Yes, VirtualBox can be run in a headless mode, which means it can be controlled and managed without a graphical user interface, making it suitable for server environments or remote access.

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