Installing TarHeel Linux 7 as Guest OS in Windows 7 Using VirtualBox

The following instruction is for installing TarHeel Linux 7.4 with VirtualBox 5.2.2 running on Windows 7.  Similar procedure applies to other subversion of TarHeel Linux 7 and other version of VirtualBox.

Installing TarHeel Linux 7 as guest OS in Windows 7 using VirtualBox is somewhat simpler than on a physical machine assuming that Windows 7 is already configured to have access to the network.  Therefore, there is no need to register the MAC address of the machine again.  TarHeel Linux 7 will be using the networking capability provided by Windows 7.

Installation of VirtualBox in Windows 7

If VirtualBox has not been installed, you can download Virtual Box for Windows 7 from “Download VirtualBox” page and install it.

Downloading TarHeel Linux 7 Network Installation Disk iso Image

Virtualbox is capable of accessing an iso image and treating it as a CDROM/DVD disk.  So, there is no need to burn a disk from the iso image.  Go to the TarHeel Linux Installation page to click on the proper URL to get the latest TarHeel Linux 7 network installation iso image.  The iso image will be saved in Downloads folder in your Windows 7 home directory by default.

Setting Up VirtualBox for TarHeel Linux 7 Installation

Before TarHeel Linux 7 installation, one should set up a new instance in VirtualBox.  Depending on the hardware Windows 7 is running on, you may want to adjust the setup parameters as needed.  First of all, invoke VirtualBox by double click on the “Oracle VM VirtualBox” icon.  You should then see the following “Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager” window.

Click “New” to create a new virtual machine.

Enter name of the virtual machine, we have “TarHeel Linux 7 ” as an example.  It is with Type “Linux” and Version as “Linux 2.6/3.x/4.x (64 bit)”.  In fact, TarHeel Linux 7 is running 3.x kernel.  Click “Next” to continue.

Depending on the memory size of your machine, you should allocate at least 1GB of memory for TarHeel Linux 7.  In this above example, we have a total of 8GB in Windows machine.  By default, it takes 1GB.  If more memory is needed, adjust the slider or type the value in the box on the far right of the slider.  Click “Next” to continue.

We are going to select “Create a virtual hard drive now”.  Since this is a new installation, we need a new virtual hard drive.  In reality, the virtual hard drive is just a file in Windows.  Click “Create” to continue.

In “Hard drive file type” window, we take the default “VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image).  Click “Next” to continue.

We can pick the default “Dynamically allocated”.  In this mode, the size of the VDI file in Windows will depend on how much real space TarHeel Linux 7 is needed.  Therefore, it will not take too much space in the Windows machine.  Click “Next” to continue.

Choose file size over anything over 100GB will be sufficient.  Adjust the slider to change the size of the hard disk or type the value in the box.  Click “Create” to continue.

Let click “Details” to look into the detailed setup of the virtual machine.

For a fresh TarHeel Linux 7 installation, the TarHeel Linux 7 NetInst disk needs to be mounted to the virtual machine.  Click “Storage” to show the Storage window.

In the Storage Tree under Controller IDE, the disk shows “Empty”, click on it, then, click the disk icon under Attributes to select the TarHeel Linux 7 Network Installation iso file.  As an example, the file TarHeel Linux-7.4-netinst-x86_86.iso is selected.  The line “Empty” should be changed to “TarHeel Linux-7.4-netinst-x86_64.iso” like the following.


Click “OK” to finish mounting the installation disk.


Installation of TarHeel Linux 7

Once the TarHeel Linux 7 instance in VirtualBox has been set up, you should see the following window showing the installation disk has been mounted and the virtual disk is in SATA Port 0.  The optical drive has TarHeel Linux 7.4 Netinstall iso mounted.

Click “Start” to power on the virtual machine.


One can hit return to start up the installation right away.  If not, it will start automatically after pausing for 60 seconds.  If installer has started properly, you should see the following window.  The installer is going to ask a few questions.  The answers of these questions will be used to configure TarHeel Linux 7 properly.  First of all, it will ask about networking.

TarHeel Linux 7.4 Netinstall Installation
*                                                        *
*   How can this machine get IP address? [d/s]           *
*                                                        *
*   Answer d for getting IP address with DHCP            *
*                and MAC address has been registered     *
*                                                        *
*   Answer s for static IP address                       *
*                and Gateway and Netmask are known       *
*                and 2 Nameservers are available         *
*                and Hostname is in DNS                  *
*                                                        *

Getting IP address? [d/s]:

Enter “d” for DHCP.  Enter “s” for static IP.  For TarHeel Linux installation under VirtualBox, it is recommended to use DHCP.  Enter “d” and hit enter.



*                                                        *
*   Do you want to partition the hard drive? [y/n]       *
*                                                        *
*   Answer y for partitioning the WHOLE hard drive       *
*   Answer y for erasing the WHOLE hard drive            *
*   Answer y for partitioning a VIRTUAL drive            *
*                                                        *
*   Answer n for setting your own drive partition        *
*   Answer n for installing dual boot system             *
*   Answer n for installing in non-default drive         *
*                                                        *

Partition the hard drive? [y/n]:

With VirtualBox, we are creating a virtual drive for the TarHeel Linux 7 installation.  Therefore, it is fine to partition the hard drive.  Type “y” and hit enter to continue.



*                    W A R N I N G                       *
*                                                        *
*   This process will completely erase a hard drive      *
*          connected and install TarHeel Linux.          *
*                                                        *
*               Do you wish to continue?                 *
*        (Type the entire word "yes" to proceed.)        *
*                                                        *

Proceed with installation?

The installer will give you a warning saying that the hard drive will be completely erased.  Again, since it is an empty virtual drive, it is safe to erase it.  Type “yes” and hit enter to continue.



*                                                        *
*   Enter ONYEN of Primary User for this machine?        *
*                                                        *
*   Primary User is the ADMINISTRATOR of the machine     *
*      and the one who owns the SUPERUSER password.      *
*                                                        *

ONYEN of Primary User: 

You entered: Your_ONYEN
Is this correct? [y/n]:

Primary user is the owner/administrator of the TarHeel Linux 7 system.  Enter your ONYEN and hit enter.  The installer will respond and ask if the entry is correct or not.  If it is correct, type “y” and hit enter to continue.  Otherwise, type “n” to enter your ONYEN again.



*                                                        *
*   Enter Password of Primary User for this machine?     *
*      (WITH or WITHOUT VALID ONYEN)                     *
*                                                        *
*   Primary User WITH VALID ONYEN will log in only with  *
*      ONYEN password.                                   *
*   Primary User WITHOUT VALID ONYEN wil log in with     *
*      the password entered here.                        *
*                                                        *

Enter desired primary user password: 
Confirm primary user password: 


In TarHeel Linux, you will log in with your ONYEN account and your ONYEN password.  In case you are having problem with your ONYEN, TarHeel Linux installation would like to create a temporary local password for you.  You are welcome to enter the same password as your ONYEN password.  Or, you can enter something different.  Please follow the ONYEN password rule to enter a strong password.

If your ONYEN with ONYEN password has no problem, you can use that to log in to the TarHeel Linux system and you can ignore the password you enter here.


*                     IMPORTANT NOTE                      *
*                                                         *
*  This installation requires setting up root password.   *
*                                                         *
*      You will be prompted to enter root password.       *
*                                                         *
*    After installation, log in as root user and run      *
*   "root_passwd_unc" to set up STRONG root password.     *
*                                                         *
*  It is absolutely essential that a strong password be   *
*  used. Root password is set to use about the same       *
*  rules as the ONYEN password. The password may NOT      *
*  contain ANY dictionary word. The length must be at     *
*  least 8 characters and must include 1 upper case, 1    *
*  lower case, 1 number and 1 special character.          *
*                                                         *
*                Do you wish to continue?                 *
*        (Type the entire word "yes" to proceed.)         *
*                                                         *

Proceed with installation?


The installer is warning you about root password.  For TarHeel Linux 7 installation, you will be asked to enter root password.  Please follow the ONYEN password rule to enter a very strong password.  If you are not sure about the strength of the root password, you are urged to change the root password with the “root_passwd_unc” command right after installation.  If you understand that, type”yes”, hit enter to continue.


Enter desired root password: 
Confirm root password:


Enter root password and then confirm it by typing it again.


Then, the installer will proceed to install TarHeel Linux 7.  The progress of the installation will be shown in a window like above.  Depending on the network speed, it will take from 15 minutes to 30 minutes to finish installation.  The first part of the installation is to pick up over 1000 packages from TarHeel Linux servers through the network.  Then, the installer will go through a bunch of steps to further configure the system.


When the installation is finished, it will say “Complete!” and the system will shut down all by itself.  Before we boot the virtual machine up, we will need to remove the installation iso disk image from the virtual machine.  In the “Oracle VM VirtualBox Manager” window with TarHeel Linux 7 instance selected, click on the “Storage” tag.



Select the TarHeel Linux iso disk image, click on the disk icon and select “Remove Disk from Virtual Drive”.  You should see that the IDE Controller is “Empty” as above.  Click “OK” to continue.  Once the installation disk image is removed, it will not repeat the installation again when rebooting.  At this point, we go back to “Oracle VM VirtualBox Manage” window, select “TarHeel Linux 7”, hit “Start” to boot it up.  Once TarHeel Linux 7 is booted up, you should see the following.


Congratulations, you have successfully installed TarHeel Linux 7.

Logging into TarHeel Linux 7

The installation of TarHeel Linux 7 has created an account for the primary user.  Type your ONYEN as your username, hit enter or click “Next” to continue.  It will then ask for your password, type in your ONYEN password to log in.


Once you have logged in successfully, you should see the above window.  TarHeel Linux 7 installer has pulled out the ONYEN database to find your full name and other information to set up the account for you.

Setting Up VirtualBox Guest Additions

We now install VirtualBox Guest Additions to allow full screen with TarHeel Linux 7 instance.  Use the VirtualBox pull down menu, select Devices -> Insert Guest Additions CD Image….  Once you have done that, TarHeel Linux 7 will mount the Guest Additions CD image for Guest Additions installation.


Click “Run” to install VirtualBox Guest Additions.  You may be asked to type your ONYEN password again.  Once the installation is done, you can reset the virtual machine by using the pull-down menu Machine -> Reset.


Once it comes back up, log in as usual.  Then, you can hit “Right Ctrl + F” to toggle on and off of full screen.