I found that this works fine on a laptop running 64-bit Windows 10.
First download file 2016-12-13-pixel-x86-jessie.iso to a known location. I
created a folder called C:\Download\Pixel for this.
Next, download file VirtualBox-5.1.12-112440-Win.exe if VirtualBox is not
already installed. The same folder can be used for both files, of course.
Now, using Explorer, navigate to the folder which contains the VirtualBox
download, and click on the file to run it. Accept the defaults during the
An icon representing Virtual Box should appear on the screen.
Start VirtualBox, and elect to create a new virtual machine.
Give a name to the machine (I called it Jessie). Set it as a Linux machine,
and set its version to 'Other Linux (32-bit)'. Give it a reasonable amount
of memory - at least 1024 KB - and in my case 2048 KB worked fine too.
Select 'Create a virtual hard disk now', and click Create.
Accept (initially) the default size of 8 GB, and the disk image type as VDI,
BUT change the 'Dynamically allocated' option to 'Fixed size'. Click Create,
and wait while VirtualBox allocates and initializes the fixed size disk image.
This may take several moments.
When the new virtual machine has been created, select it from the left panel,
and click the Start icon at the top of the VirtualBox window. Because no
operating system has been loaded, a dialog will appear that asks for an
optical drive from where to load one. Click the folder icon at the right side
of the window, and a file selection dialog appears. Navigate to the folder
where the ISO is located - i.e. C:\Download\Pixel in my case, and select the
ISO file. Click the Open button. This creates a 'virtual optical drive' with
the ISO loaded into it, and uses it to load Jessie.
THERE IS NO NEED TO CREATE A REAL OPTICAL DRIVE OR BOOTABLE USB DRIVE.
Also, the virtual machine will 'remember' this setting.
DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGES DURING THE BOOT PROCESS - ACCEPT THE DEFAULTS.
With Pixel running, open a console window by clicking on the black icon near
the top of the window - which has a hint of 'Terminal'.
The default font size is probably too small to read comfortably, so change it
by right-clicking in the console window. Select 'Preferences' from the
resulting menu, and select the 'Style' tab in the resulting dialog. Click on
the item labelled 'Terminal Font' which has a default of 10 points, and
increase it to, say, 14, points. Accept the changes. Note that the window can
be dragged to a new location if required by dragging its title bar.
If we close the terminal window (by typing 'exit' and pressing Enter), and
reopen it, we see that the font setting has been remembered. However, if we
shutdown the virtual machine (by clicking on the Raspberry icon near the top
left of the window, and selecting 'Shutdown' and 'Shutdown' again, when we
restart the virtual machine, the new font size will NOT be remembered.
Next, we should show that communication is working.
Open a console window again, and if necessary change to the font size again,
and enter the command:
sudo apt install gparted
This should download and install the 'graphical partition editor'. This may
also take a few moments - obviously depending on the speed of your Internet
connection - which Virtual Box will conveniently 'route through' the same
connection you used for the initial downloads.
When the command prompt appears again, enter the command:
This will run gparted as super-user and allow you to create and change the
partitions on the 8 GB virtual drive. Initially, the drive is unformatted,
and all its space in unallocated. Select 'Device' and then 'Create Partition
Table' from the gparted menu. Accept the default of an msdos type, and ignore
the warning about erasing all the data on the virtual drive.
Right-click on the item labelled 'unallocated', and select 'New' from the
resultant menu. Accept all the defaults to create an 'ext4' partition that
occupies the full size of the virtual disk. Click the 'Add' button.
The formatting will not take place immediately, though. So click the green
tick at the top of the gparted window - to execute the requested operation.
The exit gparted by selecting 'GParted' and 'Quit' from its menu.
Next, having gone to the trouble of formatting and partitioning our virtual
drive, we are going to overwrite it. Type in the following command:
sudo dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/dev/sda bs=1M
This will copy the whole operating system from the virtual optical drive to
the hard drive, and so will take several moments. It should report that about
1.4 GB has been copied.
Now the 'trick' ...
Exit the terminal session, and close down the virtual machine - again.
Now, from VirtualBox, create ANOTHER virtual machine, calling it, say, JessieP
and again declare it as a Linux and 'Other Linux (32-bit)' system. BUT...
select the option 'Use an existing virtual hard disk file'.
If several virtual drives exist, we can then select one from the list below
this option. In any case ensure file 'Jessie.vdi' is selected. Click Create.
A new virtual machine called JessieP should now appear in the left panel.
Start it, and after a few moments we should again see the Pixel desktop.
Now start a terminal session again, and once again change its font size.
Exit the terminal session, and shut down the virtual machine.
Next, restart it, and open a terminal session. And surprise - the enlarged
font size has been remembered !!
It will fail, because there is no such command, but after:
sudo get install gparted
it will work, and show that about 1.3 GB of our 8 GB virtual hard drive is
being used by the OS on a drive called /dev/sda1. But the remaining space has
been given over to a logical drive called /dev/sda2 with a label of
Further, this command:
will show a list of folders and files, but this command:
will 'pipe' (i.e. write) that list to a new file called denis.dat.
Now exit the terminal session, and shutdown again. Then restart JessieP, and
open a terminal session again. The command:
should now still 'see' file denis.dat, and the command
should still work !!
If we exit the terminal session, shutdown Jessie, and then close VrtualBox, we
see that we only have ONE 8 GB vdi file - stored (in my case) as a Windows
file named "C:\Users\denis\VirtualBox VMs\Jessie\Jessie.vdi". There IS also
a folder called "C:\Users\denisVirtualBox VMs\JessieP" - but it does NOT
contain a disk image.
P.S. Defragmenting the 'real' hard drive is a good thing to do at this point,
but that's a different story...
So, we now have what is, in effect, a hard drive install.