Installing Linux Mint In VirtualBox

Linux Mint is a Ubuntu-based distribution whose goal is to provide a complete out-of-the-box experience by including browser plugins, media codecs, support for DVD playback also because its Ubuntu-based, Linux Mint is compatible with Ubuntu repositories, Hell ” It’s my favourite distribution”.

This Post is going to run through Installing Mint 18 (Sarah) into VirtualBox. You can download Mint from here and I will assume that VirtualBox is already installed and ready to go. If VirtualBox is not already installed, check out my post on setting up a hacking lab.

So let’s get started by opening VirtualBox


Creating The Virtual Machine

Step 1



Once VirtualBox is open click New and you should be presented with the Create Virtual Machine Window. Start by giving your VM a Name, changing the type to Linux and as Mint is an Ubuntu-based system make sure the Version is set to Ubuntu (64-bit). Next, set the Memory size. The minimum system requirements state that it should be at least 512MB but I’m going with 2GB, make your choice depending on how much ram you have on your host machine, but it’s quite easy to change at a later date. Lastly, make sure Create a virtual hard disk now is selected and click Create.


Step 2


Now we are Creating the Virtual Hard disk, First choose where you want to save the VM and select how large a hard disk you want to create, again like with the memory this all depends on how much space you have on your host, the minimum is 9GB. Select what type of Virtual Machine you would like to create, I’m going with VDI but you could just as easily create it as a VMDK if you wanted to use the same VM in VMWare. Make sure you click Dynamically allocated this will save on disk space if it is not needed.


Step 3


Now your Virtual Machine is created right click it and click settings this should bring up the settings window, go to storage and select the CD icon that says empty then select the CD icon to the right,  you can now choose the Linux Mint ISO you download from the Linux Mint download page earlier. Then just click ok and you are now ready to fire the virtual machine and start installing Linux Mint.


Installing Linux Mint

Step 1


If everything has been done right Linux Mint will start to Live boot into the OS.


Step 2


you should get presented with a desktop just like this from here you can try out Linux Mint before actually installing anything onto the disk.


Step 3


Click Install Linux Mint and in a few seconds, you should get an Install window pop up select your language and click Continue.


Step 4


Now it’s going to ask us if we want to install the third-party software. Here I am going to click it but if your VM is kinda small or you would rather install them individually leave it unchecked.


Step 5


It now wants to know how you want to partition your virtual hard disk as this is the only Operating system on this VM, just select Erase disk and install Linux Mint and click Install Now.


Step 6


Next, you get a pop-up asking if you are sure you want to write the changes to disks just select Continue.


Step 7


Select your location and click Continue…


Step 8


..and then keyboard layout and click Continue.


Step 9


Now It wants you to setup the user. Type your name, the name you want to give this VM then what username you want to login as. It does fill a lot of this out for you once you have typed something in the Your name field. then you just have to choose a password then confirm that password and click Continue.


Step 10


It will now start to install Mint into our VM this takes about 5 – 10 minutes depending on how you configured your VM.


Step 11


Once the Installation is complete just click Restart Now.


Step 12


It will ask you to press enter to remove the installation media this is just so it boots off the hard disk and does not Live boot again.


Step 13


After it reboots you should be presented with a login screen click your username and type your password you set in step 9.


Step 14


And that is it, our VM is installed with Linux Mint all we have got left to do is upgrade everything to the latest version and install VirtualBox guest additions, this will get rid of that annoying pop-up “Running in software rendering mode”.


Updating and Upgrading

Step 1


Open up a terminal and type sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade. This updates all the repositories and upgrades Linux Mint. You will be asked to confirm the sudo command by typing in your password for your user.


Step 2


if there is stuff to be upgraded you will be asked if you want to continue just type y and hit enter. You can also just add a -y to the end of the command in step 1 above.


Step 3


The upgrade will take a while but when it finishes just type sudo reboot to refresh the VM and apply all the upgrades.


Installing VirtualBox Guest Additions

Step 1


Start by clicking Devices at the top of your VirtualBox window and click insert guest additions CD image. You should then get this pop-up, just click cancel.


Step 2


Open up a terminal and type…

cd /media/Your Username/VBOXADDITIONS Version/

then type ls and it should then list the contents of the CD.

now just type…

sudo ./

..and confirm your password it will start to install the guest additions but will state that you have a version of guest additions already installed just type yes and hit enter.

Once it’s finished just type sudo reboot to restart the VM.


Step 3


lastly, shutdown your VM and right click it in VirtualBox, bring up the settings and once the Virtual Machines settings window is open, click Display and increase the video Memory to something greater than the 12MB standard and select the Enable 3D Acceleration tick box. click Ok and now when you restart the VM will be using full 3D Acceleration and the annoying software rendering pop-up should be gone.


Problems with host Video Card


I did get this issue with my VM after enabling 3D acceleration, which I spent ages trying to troubleshoot but I believe its to do with the latest driver for my intel EXTREAM Cough, cough Piece of shit Onboard Graphics Card, After buying a better card the error went away.

If you can’t replace the hosts’ video card or find a driver that works, just deselect the 3D acceleration checkbox in the display settings on the VM but Mr annoying software rendering message will return.


  1. Hi there, I’m new to all this so please forgive my ignorance and possible use of incorrect terminology. I followed this tutorial and everything works absolutely perfectly, until I enable 3d acceleration. Once I enable it and then load up the VM again, the menu button and “task bar” are gone and any windows I open don’t have any edges, as in the “minimise” “maximise” and “close” buttons aren’t there. Like I said, everything else works perfectly and if I disable 3d acceleration again and load up the VM, the menu button and task bar and window buttons are there again. If you know how to fix this I would be eternally grateful. Just in case it helps, the version of cinnamon I am using is 18.3 codename “sylvia”. Thanks for this tutorial and thanks for any help in advance.

    1. Hi Chris

      Thanks for your comment.

      What type of Graphics card do you have on the host operating system??…

      I ask this because I have had a ton of problems when I just had an onboard Intel HD extreme Graphics card and I enabled 3d acceleration on the mint VM..

      Make sure you are running the most up to date version of Virtual Box which as I’m writing this is 5.1.30 and download the latest version of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack.
      Once the extension pack is installed re-install the VirtualBox Guest Additions CD on to mint and It should be fine. Well that is as long as you are not using an onboard Intel Graphics.

      If you are stuck with Intel Graphics or your card just does not work, leave 3d acceleration off It does not make too much difference if it’s just a test Environment.

      Let me know how you get on…

      If you have any more questions post them in the comments below I check the site every day..

  2. Thank you for a wonderful graphic depiction of a Linux Mint installation. Unfortunately, I cannot get past Step 1 of your tutorial. The automatic boot timer runs down, what looks like a terminal window then opens and freezes with a blinking cursor. I wonder if you have seen or heard of this problem and have any recommendations? I’m running Windows 10 Pro version 1809 and am running the 6.0.6 version of VirtualBox. Thank you for any help you may be able to provide!!

    1. Hi Robert Thanks for your comment,

      Have you checked in the Bios of your PC / Laptop that you have hardware virtualisation enabled.
      This will appear as Virtualisation Technology and/or “VT-x or AMD-v” or words to that effect. Different manufacturers word it differently.

      let me know if this helps you out or not.

  3. Hi Hemp. Thanks your your response.

    Virtualization is enabled in BIOS. Funny thing is, the initial Linux boot screen begins, changes to a terminal window, and then nada, so Mint begins the install process but freezes for some reason. Never had this problem before under Windows 10. Some people are blaming Microsoft upgrades/patches (they sure do make a nice, reasonable target) but nothing definitive yet. Thanks again for your assistance.


    1. Hi Rob

      Have you tried using all the preset defaults for Ubuntu 64 bit… maybe its some sort of over previsioning issue with the Host..

      also i have a similar issue because I had the 3D Acceleration box ticked under Display settings.

      let me know how you get on…


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