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I tried installing the 64bit ubuntu download to run on my mac book pro using Virtual Box.

But on first running and installing the os it said it requires a x86-64 CPU but I have a i686 CPU.

What distro should I download for it to work? (I'll use any distro it doesn't matter)

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Check whether the following conditions hold: virtualbox.org/manual/ch03.html#intro-64bitguests –  Andreas Jul 20 '10 at 13:12
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What version of Virtual Box are you using? According to Andreas' link, if you're using 2.1 or newer (current release is 3.2.6) you shouldn't have any problems.

Do you really need a 64-bit VM? Why not use the 32-bit version of Ubuntu?

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Version 3.2.6 I'll try the 32 bit –  user38008 Jul 20 '10 at 13:26
    
32 bit works...thanks –  user38008 Jul 20 '10 at 13:40
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In the VirtualBox manual it says

"You need a 64-bit processor with hardware virtualization support"

The error message is telling you that your CPU is an i686 compatible CPU, which means it is a 32 bit processor, not a 64 bit processor. So you'll have to use the 32-bit version of Ubuntu.

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i thought my processor was 64 guess I was wrong. –  user38008 Jul 20 '10 at 13:39
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@user38008 It's more likely that it is 64-bit, but lacks hardware virtualization (VT-x) or that feature is not turned on. The list of processors supporting VT-x is at ark.intel.com/VTList.aspx . On PCs, there's often a BIOS option to enable/disable VT-x on procs that support it... not sure if there's anything like that on the Mac. –  coneslayer Jul 20 '10 at 13:51
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