Run an ISO from Windows using Virtualbox

Run any 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 within Windows

ISO running from within Windows


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

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.

The Process – booting a Linux ISO from Windows:

  1. Download install, and run 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 your chosen Linux ISO Linux emulated from within the running Windows operating environment. Shown below is Ubuntu running from Windows 10 using this same tutorial and process.

Ubuntu Running From Windows


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