Thought I’d put out a couple of help requests here, which I’ve also posted at Ubuntu Forums. (If you want to find me there, the user name is ‘davefaulkner’.) But I thought I’d mention them here, in case any techie readers can help.

The back story is this. I’ve given up the idea of trying to get a dual-boot computer between Windows Vista and Ubuntu Linux. (Despite checking the MD5SUM, Ubuntu has never installed properly on the hard drive.)

So I decided that since I wanted to experiment with Linux, I’d run it inside Sun’s VirtualBox 2.0.4. Well, it installs fine, and runs fairly fast in much less memory than Vista – surprise, surprise. But there are a few problems:

1. I can’t get any sound – e.g., if watching a video on YouTube. Error messages tell me I might need a Gstreamer plugin. I’ve googled ‘Gstreamer’, but the results are not the sort that a newbie to these things can understand.

2. Ubuntu only shows up in a monitor resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. It won’t detect my monitor (a Dell 1907FP Digital, if you’re interested). The card is an NVidia GeForce 7900 GS. So I’m stuck with a ridiculously small window for a 19-inch monitor. It’s useless for looking at most websites, for example. I need 1280 x 1024 or at very least 1024 x 768. I also can’t change the refresh rate from 61 Hz. 

I dearly want to like Linux and have a usable alternative for the times when Vista increases my rate of hair loss. I understood Ubuntu was about the most user-friendly, but these are not the problems I’d even expect to encounter with badly behaved Microsoft products.

If anyone has any constructive ideas, please leave a comment, or email my ‘personal’ or ‘backup’ email addresses as listed on the Contact page of this blog.



  1. Dave, I would like to help as I use Ubuntu as my main operating system and have done so for 3.5 years.

    But I have hardly ever used dual boot and have not used virtualbox at all.

    My only suggestion is to look at a separate hard disk. eg could you boot ubuntu off a USB external drive.



  2. Thanks, Dave, no worries. I’ve had a couple of suggestions on the Ubuntu Forums suggesting I need to install the ‘guest additions’ in VirtualBox. If none of the advice there comes to nothing, then I may well postpone this until I can stretch to a decent-sized external drive.


  3. Dave,
    I duel boot with XP and Ubuntu. I’m disappointed that Vista and Ubuntu aren’t working as well together as XP and Ubuntu. I don’t have any real experience with Vista, and I think my wife might kill me if I were to try it on her new computer (lol!), but I will keep my eye out for some ideas as I have an Ubuntu user ID in the forums too.

    Dan Smith


  4. Thanks, Dan. We have a second PC that is XP – we retained it for the kids when we bought our new one last year. I’ve put VirtualBox on that, but haven’t yet installed the Guest Additions. I don’t think I dare go for a dual boot on that machine, as it will confuse the children, who use XP at school!


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