Run ISO from Windows using Virtualbox

Run ISO from Windows without rebooting. The following tutorial explains how to use Virtualbox to run Linux or any other bootable ISO from a portable USB flash device or elsewhere while still working within a running Windows. This process enables users to have both operating systems up and running at the same time eliminating the need to restart the PC and set your BIOS or UEFI options to boot Linux from USB.

Linux ISO running from Windows

Run ISO from Windows


  • PC with a Windows running as the Host
  • Your favorite Live Linux CD image (ISO)
  • Virtualbox Virtual Machine

VirtualBox is virtualization or emulation software. It can be used for Business or Personal purposes.  It is extremely feature packed and efficient. Not only that, but this virtualization tool is freely available as Open Source Software, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2.

How to Boot and Run ISO from Windows

  1. Download install, and then start VirtualBox.
  2. Next, 1.) Click New 2.) Type a Name for the ISO entry 3.) Click Next
    Setup Virtualbox to run ISO
  3. Then, Set your Memory size for the Virtual Machine, and Click Next
    Set Virtual Memory Size
  4. Next, 1.) Choose Do not add virtual hard disk 2.) and Click Create
    Running an ISO from Windows - Virtualbox Do not create Virtual Hard Disk
  5. Now, 1.) Click Settings 2.) Select Choose Disk File (browse and select your ISO), then 3.) Click Ok
    Run an ISO from Windows - choose ISO file to use
  6. Click Start.
    Start VirtualBox to Boot an ISO from Windows

If all went as planned, VirtualBox should now be up and running. With your chosen ISO booted up and running from within your Windows operating environment. Shown below is an Ubuntu ISO running from Windows 11 using this same process.

Ubuntu Running From Windows

If you enjoyed this tutorial on How to run ISO from Windows, you might also be interested in our tutorial on How to Boot from a USB flash drive in Virtualbox.