Ubuntu is an open source Linux distribution based on Debian. Although you can download a copy of the Ubuntu installation media and use it to set up an Ubuntu virtual machine, there is an easier option. Microsoft has greatly simplified the process of deploying Ubuntu virtual machines, especially on Windows desktops.
In this article, you will learn how to quickly set up Ubuntu on a Windows 10 desktop.
Before we begin, this article assumes that you have already installed Hyper-V on your Windows 10 system. If Hyper-V is not currently installed, you can install it by opening the old Control Panel, then clicking Programs. Click the Turn Windows features on or off link. Now select the Hyper-V option, shown in Figure 1. Click OK, then follow the prompts to deploy Hyper-V.
Figure 1. You will need to install Hyper-V if it is not already configured.
Create an Ubuntu virtual machine
The primary tool for managing Hyper-V virtual machines is the Hyper-V Manager. The easiest way to access the Hyper-V manager on a Windows 10 machine is to type “Hyper-V” in the search box at the bottom of the Windows desktop. Click Hyper-V Manager in the list of results.
Typically, the copy of Hyper-V that comes with Windows 10 is the same as the copy that comes with Windows Server. There are, however, a few exceptions. For example, some enterprise features such as failover clustering and replication are not supported on the desktop version of Hyper-V.
The desktop version of Hyper-V has at least one feature that does not exist on the Windows Server version. The feature, Quick Create, is a tool designed to simplify the process of creating virtual machines. Quick Create lets you set up new virtual machines without having to worry about manually provisioning virtual hardware or downloading operating system binaries.
Figure 2 shows what the Hyper-V manager looks like. The Quick Create link is in the upper right corner of the console (in the Actions section).
Figure 2. This is the Hyper-V manager.
To create an Ubuntu virtual machine, click the Quick Create link. This causes Windows to open the Create Virtual Machine dialog. As you can see in Figure 3, Microsoft provides shortcuts for different versions of Ubuntu. To get started, simply select the version of Ubuntu you want to deploy, then click the Create Virtual Machine button.
Picture 3. Choose the Ubuntu version you want to deploy, then click the Create Virtual Machine button.
Although using Quick Create greatly streamlines the process of setting up a new virtual machine, the process can take some time. This is because Windows needs to download the operating system binaries and any other required components before beginning the installation process. When the deployment process finally completes, you will see a screen like the one shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. The virtual machine has been created.
Clicking the Connect button opens the virtual machine console, while clicking the Edit button forces Windows to open the Hyper-V Settings page for the newly created virtual machine. You can use the Settings page to adjust virtual hardware allocation (for example, adding more memory to the virtual machine). However, the default settings are generally adequate unless you plan to run a resource-intensive workload within the virtual machine.
The only thing left to do at this point is to complete the Ubuntu setup. To do this, simply log in to the VM (you may need to start the VM), then follow the prompts.
As you can see in figure 5, for example, you will need to specify the language you want to use.
Figure 5. Perform a few minor configuration tasks and Ubuntu is ready to go.