Run Ubuntu Seamlessly On a Dual Screen Setup with Virtualbox

VirtualBox dual screen setupWhy choose between Windows and Ubuntu when you can have the best of both worlds?  For the last few days I’ve been running both simultaneously on my dual screen desktop, and I have to say it is pretty darn groovy.  Using Virtualbox you can setup a virtual machine (VM) that will run on the 2nd screen.  With the right settings, the Ubuntu VM will be completely seamless.

To do this you need a few things:

  1. Virtualbox installed on your computer
  2. A Ubuntu VM running on Virtualbox
  3. Virtual Guest Additions installed on the VM

If you need help setting them up Click either link in the list above.  Note that this will work with other operating systems on a virtual machine as well, not just Ubuntu.

Let’s get the dual-screen setup going!

Step 1

In Virtualbox with the VM running, Click the Machine menu on the VM window.  From the menu Select Switch to Seamless mode.

virtualbox seamless mode

Step 2

A small info box will appear, Click Switch.

virtualbox info window

Step 3

Now most likely the virtual machine went full-screen and seamless, but on the wrong monitor.  To fix this Hover over the bottom edge of the screen and a small menu should slide up.  From the menu Select View > Virtual Screen 1 > Use Host Screen 2

virtualbox bottom menu


Now you have your Ubuntu (VM) running on your second screen and the background of it should be transparent.  The only downside to this is that lower end computers might have performance issues, but if you have enough RAM and CPU to go around this is quite the groovy setup.

virtual box on dual screen ubuntu windows



  1. groovinJackman

    April 25, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Awesome! I think I need a more powerful computer–I don’t think mine can handle this. Time to upgrade!

  2. Descendr

    May 12, 2011 at 8:26 am

    I LOVE that desktop background! Where can I get it?


  3. dw96

    May 28, 2011 at 7:05 am

    Wow Dex, that’s a really nice hardware PC setup you’ve got there!

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