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#1 2021-12-22 15:31

Midas
Member
Registered: 2017-12-15
Posts: 124

Setup Q4OS in a VHD with VirtualBox and Ventoy

Prompted by a message about dual booting elsewhere in the forum, I decided to share my recent recipe for setting up Q4OS in a virtual hard disk, which is nothing more than a file in your drive.

This setup might be suitable to few but is ideal for my purpose of not messing up with other OSes while allowing for freely testing with whatever wild experiences I may come up -- in case something goes seriously wrong (it did, already) and having kept the original untouched volume, reverting to a working system is a simple as copying back the VHD, overwriting the faulty one.

Some further notes before starting:

a) I used a Mint liveCD ISO because I am used to working with it and know everything just works, but nothing prevents you from using Q4OS liveCD itself;

b) This process is somewhat involved as it requires a lot of small steps but overall it is fairly easy and simple, as it's nothing more than an adaptation of the official procedure (as explained at https://ventoy.net/en/plugin_vtoyboot.html); and

c) I'm using an old version of Ventoy as the main bootloader because when setup in internal storage it doesn't throw any weird errors, which is something that changed in more recent versions.

What I used:

- Lenovo T460s with Kingstom NVMe with BIOS set to legacy mode
- Sandisk Bootable USB drive [see www.addictivetips.com/ubuntu-linux-tips/bootable-usb-ventoy-linux/]
- Mint Linux liveCD ISO [from https://linuxmint.com/download.php]
- Q4OS Gemini TDE install ISO [from https://www.q4os.org/downloads1.html]
- Ventoy v1.0.24 installed as bootloader [all versions at https://github.com/ventoy/Ventoy/releases]
- Ventoy Linux boot script ISO [from https://github.com/ventoy/vtoyboot/releases]
- VirtualBox from the official Mint repository

And here's what I did:

1. Boot the Mint liveCD from the USB drive -- tutorial on how to create it linked above and bear in mind that, as you are running a liveCD with no persistence, everything is volatile and will vanish upon rebooting, unless you take care to save it to external storage;

2. Open terminal and do; '$ sudo apt-get install virtualbox';

3. After installation finishes, press Alt+F2, type "virtualbox" and Enter;

4. Click the "New" toolbar button to create a new virtual machine (VM);

5. "Name" your VM (I chose "q4os-tde"), change "Type" to be "Linux" and "Version" to "Debian (64-bit)";

6. Set the VM folder path to a permanent location on the PC storage or a previously mounted external drive (I used '/media/mint/NVME_DATA/VM', which will be auto-mounted and resolves to my DATA partition on the PC's internal NVME; you can use CTRL+L in most system file managers to copy the path from the location field);

7. IMPORTANT: In the "Create Virtual Hard Disk" dialog, choose "VHD" and "Fixed size", optionally increase its "File size" (I went with 16GB for future proofing), and click "Create" -- You'll have to wait a couple of minutes for the virtual hard disk file to be created;

8. VirtualBox will select it by default afterwards so just click the "Settings" button to further configure it;

9. In the official Ventoy tutorial, linked above, you're instructed to check the "Enable EFI" option from the "System" tab so that your VM will be both UEFI and Legacy BIOS compatible -- DON'T! I tried it and it just made the VM unbootable in Legacy BIOS environment, so just apply what's suitable for your case;

10. In the "Storage" tab you'll find a list of devices, 'q4os-tde.vhd' in my case and an empty disk attached to the "Controller: IDE": select it, click the blue disk icon near the dialog right edge and then the option "Choose a disk file" to select your Q4OS ISO (I had 'q4os-4.7-x64-instcd.r1.iso' residing at '/media/mint/NVME_DATA/STORE/ISOS');

11. The empty disk will be replaced by your ISO file name and you can then click OK (don't check the liveCD option, as you want it to be auto-ejected when the VM reboots);

12. You can now run the newly created VM by clicking VirtualBox's "Start" button;

13. As I ran Q4OS install ISO, I was presented with install options right away (if you have the liveCD, it'll boot and allow for the installation to be launched from the Desktop), so I chose "Q4OS -- Classic install";

14. I will omit the Q4OS setup process that follows, except for noting that it should be allowed to use the entire disk <i.e., "SCSI2 (0,0,0,) (sda) [...] ATA VBOX HARDDISK">;

15. The VM should reboot at the end and enter the GUI setup part by itself -- if it doesn't, something went wrong -- so let that finish, too;

16. At the end you'll be asked to login into the Q4OS VM -- it will detect that it's virtualized and offer to install "Guest Additions", which you should dismiss, since the situation is temporary;

17. IMPORTANT: right-click the now empty virtual CD in VirtualBox status bar, choose "Choose a file from disk" and attach  'vtoyboot-1.0.xx.iso' you have downloaded form Ventoy.net; when it opens in Konqueror, copy the TAR.GZ file found inside it to you home folder, extract it (e.g., "$ tar -xf vtoyboot-1.0.xx.tar.gz") and run the script it contains as root ("sudo ./vtoyboot.sh", all of it inside the VM); you'll have to REPEAT THIS STEP EVERYTIME YOU UPDATE Linux kernels in your VM!

18. Turn off the Q4OS VM from the Desktop menu ("Turn off computer");

19. IMPORTANT: close down the Mint liveCD, but only after copying the VHD file to your main boot drive and renaming it as instructed ('q4os-tde.vhd.vtoy' in my case);

20. Reboot the PC and test it.

All of this is work in progress but, so far, everything is working pretty good without any major snags...

Should you try this, please let me know about any doubts or less clear instructions I might have written.

Last edited by Midas (2022-01-04 14:17)

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#2 2021-12-27 17:00

Tolkem
Member
Registered: 2019-10-06
Posts: 480

Re: Setup Q4OS in a VHD with VirtualBox and Ventoy

Nice stuff. But what does it do exactly?

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#3 2021-12-27 22:52

Midas
Member
Registered: 2017-12-15
Posts: 124

Re: Setup Q4OS in a VHD with VirtualBox and Ventoy

Pretty much what it says in the tin...

Midas wrote:

Recipe for setting up Q4OS in a virtual hard disk, which is nothing more than a file in your drive.

Put another way, it's a slightly more convoluted way of doing what the Windows setup option does (e.g., see https://www.q4os.org/dqa014.html) without having to mess with Windows -- or even any other OS, apart from the ones mentioned, since this can be applied to a "bare metal" situation.

The paramount advantage IMHO is easy backup and replacement, because there's only one (very large) file to take care of.

Last edited by Midas (2021-12-27 23:01)

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#4 2021-12-28 01:04

Tolkem
Member
Registered: 2019-10-06
Posts: 480

Re: Setup Q4OS in a VHD with VirtualBox and Ventoy

Midas wrote:

Pretty much what it says in the tin...

Midas wrote:

Recipe for setting up Q4OS in a virtual hard disk, which is nothing more than a file in your drive.

Put another way, it's a slightly more convoluted way of doing what the Windows setup option does (e.g., see https://www.q4os.org/dqa014.html) without having to mess with Windows -- or even any other OS, apart from the ones mentioned, since this can be applied to a "bare metal" situation.

The paramount advantage IMHO is easy backup and replacement, because there's only one (very large) file to take care of.

Yeah, that part I got it, but it seemed to me it was just a VM. Now, are you saying you can boot that in bare metal? Like, if it was installed in the HDD?

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#5 2021-12-28 16:30

Midas
Member
Registered: 2017-12-15
Posts: 124

Re: Setup Q4OS in a VHD with VirtualBox and Ventoy

Tolkem wrote:

It seemed to me it was just a VM. Now, are you saying you can boot that in bare metal? Like, if it was installed in the HDD?

Yes, exactly.

That's where Ventoy comes in: once it's installed to disk -- which must be done in bare metal, BTW -- booting any VM is simply a matter of dropping the VHD in the boot volume.

Ventoy is based on grub but is way easier to use for this purpose...

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#6 2021-12-28 20:06

Tolkem
Member
Registered: 2019-10-06
Posts: 480

Re: Setup Q4OS in a VHD with VirtualBox and Ventoy

Midas wrote:
Tolkem wrote:

It seemed to me it was just a VM. Now, are you saying you can boot that in bare metal? Like, if it was installed in the HDD?

Yes, exactly.

That's where Ventoy comes in: once it's installed to disk -- which must be done in bare metal, BTW -- booting any VM is simply a matter of dropping the VHD in the boot volume.

Ventoy is based on grub but is way easier to use for this purpose...

Cool! Thanks for your reply.

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