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I'm trying to install a 64 bit version of Linux in Virtual Box so I can do some development work. I tried the 64 bit version of Ubuntu 12.10, but it was causing the computer to restart randomly. I don't know if this is particular to Ubuntu or just a hazard of virtualizing a 64-bit OS in a 32-bit host. Anyone had better experience?

My computer is an Intel Core i5 running 32-bit Windows 7 and Virtual Box 4.2.6.

UPDATE: I have tried the 64 bit version of Fedora 18 and Mageia 2. Both seems to run stably. There appears to be something in the 3.5 kernel used by Ubuntu that was causing the hard resets. Mageia appears to be a quality distro so I think I'm going to ditch Ubuntu. Never liked Unity anyway.

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Have a look at my answer here. –  terdon Feb 3 '13 at 5:15
None... VB's guests run on the target CPU. –  vonbrand Feb 3 '13 at 5:38
@vonbrand And an i5 is 64-bit, so in fact any 64-bit distro should work. –  Marcus Chan Feb 3 '13 at 5:49
There are known issues with running 64-bit on a 32-bit host. I did, in fact, saw a bug report describing exactly the syndrome I'm encountering. It's supposed to have been fixed a few release back though. –  cleong Feb 3 '13 at 6:09
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2 Answers


Yes, you should definitely be able to run a 64-bit guest, as every i5 has VT-x support (off the top of my head). This article does mention some advice, though, namely that hardware virtualization, I/O APIC and the Intel virtual network should be enabled. Did you make sure to choose Ubuntu (64-bit) when you set up the VM? If so, VirtualBox should set everything up correctly.

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Yeah, I did all that and actually managed to install Ubuntu. Problem is, it'd randomly restart the computer. Not a good environment in which to program. –  cleong Feb 3 '13 at 5:09
That's gonna be tough to troubleshoot, but I'll throw out some guesses. Is your computer heating up significantly? Did you allocate too much of your RAM? (How much RAM do you have?) Do you have display acceleration on? Is your computer full of tiny demons? –  Marcus Chan Feb 3 '13 at 5:12
It's definitely not the computer. I use the 32-bit version of Ubuntu in Virtual Box on a daily basis with no problem at all. –  cleong Feb 3 '13 at 5:28
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You will need a 32 bit linux distrubution to work on a 32 bit Windnows host. A 64 bit virtual machine, however, can run on a 32 bit host, but sometimes there are problems, although not all the time.

Also, a friendly Google shows that this question has been asked on ServerFault before. According to that answer you will need the ability to use hardware virtualization., which is enabled in the BIOS. This should work with VirtualBox too (I think, same concept), but you can do this with VMware as well. If you decide to use VMware, there is a link to a hardware compatibility checker in this question on StackOverflow.

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Why's that? Not saying you're wrong, but can we have an explanation? –  Marcus Chan Feb 3 '13 at 5:38
I have no idea if that's worth a downvote, an upvote, or what. Eh, whatever, I'll just leave it –  Marcus Chan Feb 3 '13 at 5:57
That's actually incorrect: stackoverflow.com/questions/56124/… –  cpast Feb 3 '13 at 6:37
@cpast Stole my link :D No hard feelings, though. –  Marcus Chan Feb 3 '13 at 6:46
At least he has enough sense to stop posting while intoxicated... –  martineau Feb 3 '13 at 10:32
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