Are you planning to buy a Google's Chromebook? Want to experience how it looks like before you decide? Then this is the post worth looking into. Here we'll see how to setup, run and explore Chromium OS in Oracle VM VirtualBox.

Tools and Technologies used in this article

  1. Oracle VM VirtualBox
  2. Chromium OS Vanilla's virtual hard drive file

1. Download VirtualBox and Chromium OS Vanilla and install VirtualBox

Download and install Oracle VM VirtualBox in your operating system. Download hexxeh's VirtualBox image of Chromium OS Vanilla and extract the same in your local drive.

Chromium OS is a Linux-based operating system designed by Google to work exclusively with web applications. It is the open source development version of Google Chrome OS.
...With no official build of Chromium OS forthcoming from Google, Hexxeh's "vanilla" nightly builds of Chromium OS remain the principal resource for people wanting to try Chromium OS.

2. Run VirtualBox

Run the VirtualBox and click 'New' button to create a new virtual machine.
Run the VirtualBox and click 'New' button

3. Create Virtual Machine

Chromium OS option is not available in VirtualBox. But as it is a Linux-based operating system, Linux OS option will just work fine. As shown below select Linux as 'Type' and Ubuntu as 'Version'
create a new virtual machine

Click 'Next' button.

4. Allocate RAM

Based on the RAM size of your machine, allocate RAM to this Chrome OS virtual machine and click 'Next' button
allocate RAM to Chromium OS Vanilla

5. Select Virtual Hard Drive File

Select radio button 'Use an existing virtual hard drive file'.
Use an existing virtual hard drive file

Browse and select the extracted Chromium OS Vanilla's VirtualBox image (.vdi file). Click 'Open' button.
Chromium OS Vanilla VirtualBox image

Click 'Create' button.
Create Virtual Machine

6. Note Host Key

Select File --> Preferences --> Input. Note the Host key (Right Ctrl) already assigned or assign whatever you want to. Click 'Ok' button.
Host Key

7. Network settings

Default network setup works for most of the virtual box users. If it does not in your case, then go through Chapter 6, Virtual networking to configure.

8. Start Virtual Machine

Select 'ChromeOS' virtual machine and click 'Start' button as shown below
start virtual machine

Once Chromium OS is started, to use the cursor inside VM hold the Host Key (Right Ctrl for me) and press 'I'. And to release the cursor from VM, again hold Host Key and press 'I'.

9. Setup and Explore Chromium OS Vanilla

Chrome OS will take you through few setup screens and Google sign-in screen.
Chromium Welcome

Create a Google account if you don't have one already and use the same for exploring the Chromium OS in virtual machine.
Google sign-in

Choose picture for your account on the sign-in screen.
picture for your account on the sign-in screen

If you want, you can skip the following welcome page of chromebook to enter into the system directly.
introduction of Chrome book

Now the Chromium OS is ready for you to explore.
Explore Chromium OS