Running Windows inside Arch (never leaving Arch again)Tags: arch, virtualbox, technical
I am a die-hard Linux user, and yet, I used to have to boot up my Windows at times. I loathed that, I had to leave all my work, I missed the concept of workspaces, I missed the terminal.
At one point, I used to be an expert about Windows related troubles, and now I hardly ever open it. If you are thinking of doing that too, I’ll list some reasons I have about not removing it altogether.
- Visual Studio: Yes this is probably the only IDE I use (For Windows Phone App Dev for code.fun.do finals). The IDE is good enough, and, I pretty much don’t have a choice.
- Gaming: Well, I manage the occasional Counter Strike game with friends on my Linux itself, with Wine. But for games like GTA 5, you don’t have any choice but to boot up Windows.
- Proper phone support: It’s possibly just me, but I have troubles with MTP for my android phone. Can be fixed.
Anyhow, here’s about how to never have to boot out of Linux again: Wine + VirtualBox !
This lets me run Counter Strike, small exe programs meant for small tasks, and the big boy Office 2010 right in my Linux. Agreed I don’t use it so often, but it feels great to have this functionality.
The cure to the main trouble I had: Visual Studio. Run Windows inside your Linux. Boot up is faster (as this Windows just has things my Linux doesn’t have, i.e. Visual Studio), and I get workspaces ! (I keep Windows on one workspace, and the rest of the work on another). Oh and works quite fast (although you need a good PC to be able to say this).
Without further ado, I’ll show you how to get the same experience:
Installing a Windows guest inside Arch Linux host
You would first have to check whether your processor supports Virtualization. To check this, run
lscpu in your terminal. You should see a line like
Virtualization: VT-X or something similar. A missing line means you’re out of luck. If that is so, you should either look at Emulation, for example Wine, or should upgrade your CPU (well I feel this step should be done nonetheless :) ). Now if your PC did support Virtualization, well read ahead. You need to have Virtualization enabled in your BIOS (it wasn’t in my case). To check this, do a
lsmod | grep kvm. You should see a ‘kvm’ and a ‘kvm_intel’ or ‘kvm_amd’ modules there. If not, enable the setting in BIOS, the module should load then (assuming it was already installed, which it is in the default Linux kernel).
Here’s a list of packages you need to install:
- vboxguest-hook (AUR)
You might already have qt4, that would provide you with a GUI for VirtualBox too.
Now to add your user to the necessary groups:
sudo gpasswd -a <user> vboxusers Make SURE you logout and login again after this command to make this take effect.
Now run this:
sudo dkms install vboxguest/4.3.28 (version as of 6/6/2015. Change it as per your Virtualbox version installed).
Also, you have to add the entry “vboxguest” to the array “HOOKS” inside /etc/mkinitcpio.conf
Now to loading necessary modules and services. Here are the command I run the first time I have to open vbox after a fresh boot:
- sudo modprobe vboxdrv vboxnetadp vboxnetflt vboxpci vboxvideo
- sudo systemctl start vboxservice
This should be all. Now Open up virtualbox, and create a new machine. I gave mine 4 GB RAM out of 8 and 3 processors out of 8. Next allocate harddisk space. I kept it on my home drive, 30 GB (its almost full now, with Visual Studio + Windows Phone taking up almost half of it).
Now if you have a DVD drive, insert a DVD of Windows 8 and then start the machine. It should boot from the drive (you must enable the drive access from the menu below).