Raspberry Pi

How to install Raspberry Pi Desktop on Virtualbox

Installing operating systems on a desktop computer was never an easy task until the release of open-source software known as virtual box. Users are able to run multiple systems on a single machine by using a virtual box.

A growing number of users are interested in using Raspberry Pi OS on a desktop computer because of its simplicity and great usability. However, most of them continue to use the old method of installing the operating system from scratch. As a result, they are limited to using only one operating system at a time. They are unaware that if they have a good machine, they can run two operating systems at the same time. Thank you to the creator of VirtualBox for making the lives of people easier and helping them to save their previous time. Virtualbox can now easily create a virtual machine on a desktop.

Those who want to install the Raspberry Pi Desktop on Virtualbox can do so with ease.

Installation of Raspberry Pi Desktop on Virtualbox

A step by step procedure to install Raspberry Pi Desktop on VirtualBox is mentioned below in this articles:

Step 1 : The first step towards the installation of Raspberry Pi is to download Virtualbox software on your machine.

Step 2 : After the installation of Virtualbox, the second step is to download the Raspberry Pi Desktop .iso file from the official website, which is approximately 2.9 GB in size. So, sit back and relax until the installation is complete.

Step 3 : When the downloading of the .iso file is complete, you are now ready to run Virtualbox software on your machine. Run the Virtualbox software and you will see an empty list on the left side of the window right below the tools:

Step 4 : In order to create a virtual machine, move your cursor to the “New” button and click on it.

Step 5 : When you click on “New”, you will see a new dialog box open on the screen. Make an appropriate name for your operating system. In this case, call it “Raspberry Pi.” Now you have to select your operating system’s type which you want to install. So, choose “Linux” as the type and “Debian 64 bit” as the version if you want to use the 64-bit version; otherwise, choose 32-bit. To proceed to the next installation step, click the “Next” button:

Step 6 : Select a suitable memory size and press the “Next” button. You can change the default memory size for your system, which Virtualbox will provide:

Step 7 : Follow the default instruction of Virtualbox to create a virtual hard disk for your Raspberry Pi operating system:

Step 8 : After clicking on the “Create” button, you will have to choose the type VDI (VirtualBox Disk Image) and click the “Next” button.

Step 9 : Click on “Next” button by accepting the default “Dynamically allocated” size for your hard disk:

Step 10 : In the next window, you will have to choose at which location your Raspberry Pi operating system will be installed and how much hard disk size you will need for your operating system. I use 40GB in that case, you can select more than that. It’s better to provide more hard disk size.

Step 11 : When you click the “Create” button, a new window will pop up and you will see your Raspberry Pi virtual machine on the left side of the window. To start the installation process, click on the “start” button:

Step 12: After clicking on the “Start” button, you will have to provide a path where your iso file is placed and then click the “Start” button again:

Step 13 : Select the “Graphical install” option in the BIOS mode window and press “Enter” within 10 seconds to avoid the selection of the “Run with persistence” option. If you do not select “Graphical install” as your option within the allotted time, you must restart the installation process from the beginning:

Step 14 : In the next window, select your language and click the “Continue” button to move towards the next step:

Step 15 : The next window will give you the options for disk partitions and it is recommended to go with the default option, which is “use the entire disk” option and continue the process.

Step 16 : Select the disk partition, move forward by clicking on the “Continue” button again:

Step 17 : In the next dialog box, select the “All files in one partition” option, which is recommended and moves towards the next step by clicking on the “Continue” button:

Step 18 : The next dialog box that appears on your screen will explain what will happen to your disk. So, take a review and click the “Continue” button after selecting the “Finish partitioning and write changes to disk” option:

Step 19 : Accept changes to your disk by selecting the “Yes” option in the next dialog box and click the ‘Continue” button:

Step 20 : The installation process now installs all of the files required to configure the Raspberry Pi desktop on Virtualbox. So, remain calm and wait for the process to complete, which may take some time depending on the performance of your system:

Step 21 : During the file installation, you will be asked to select GRUB boot loader, which I recommend you to accept it by selecting the “Yes” option and continue the process:

Step 22 : Select the second option by guiding the Virtualbox to install GRUB boot loader at the most suitable location. The installation process will start upon clicking the “Continue” button:

Step 23 : You’ll be relieved to see the next dialog box, which confirms the successful installation of your Raspberry Pi Desktop on Virtualbox. Click the “Continue” button and wait a few minutes for Virtualbox to prepare things for your new operating system:

Setting up Raspberry Pi Desktop

When the installation is finished, you will see a welcome message from Raspberry Pi, indicating that your desktop is ready to use. To move towards the next step, click the “Next” button.

When you click the “Next” button, you will be prompted to enter your location, language, and time zone. You can use any keyboard you want and then click the “Next” button after you’ve made your selection.

In the next dialog box, you will be asked to select a password, so you can type your password or you can select the default one “pi”.

Now the next dialog box will give you the option to install updates if available. You can skip this step, if your operating system is already updated:

Click ‘Done’ and you will see “Raspberry Pi” desktop on your Virtualbox:


The Raspberry Pi desktop installation is not as difficult as many people believe. If you follow the steps in this article step by step, you will be able to easily install the Raspberry Pi desktop on your machine. It really saves your time and effort and also allows you to create projects on the Raspberry Pi desktop.

About the author

Awais Khan

I'm an Engineer and an academic researcher by profession. My interest for Raspberry Pi, embedded systems and blogging has brought me here to share my knowledge with others.