Ubuntu running slowly on Oracle VirtualBox Virtual Machine

It is quite easy to get up and running with Ubuntu on Virtual Box, however a few tweaks will help you get the best out of your Linux installation. You might notice that your Ubuntu VM appears to run quite slowly, recent Ubuntu releases involve quite a lot of fancy visual effects on the desktop – these can really grind along very slowly on Virtual Box unless the ‘Enable 3D Acceleration’ setting is checked.


To enable this setting, first shut down your VM, then right-click on it and choose ‘settings…’, click ‘Display’ (on the left), and check the ‘Enable 3D Acceleration’ check box – The Ubuntu desktop should now be much snappier.


While you are at it it is probably a good idea to allow virtual box to use more Video Memory (why not 128Mb?!), also let it allocate it more base memory on the ‘System’ settings tab (set this to a few Gigs!).


To get the best out of your Ubuntu installation you will probably want to increase its screen resolution from the poky 1024×768, to do this you must first install the ‘Guest Additions’, once you have these installed you will be able to increase the screen resolution and also auto-mount directories on your host system for sharing files between the host and guest.


Here is a a short tutorial on installing Guest Additions. if you find that the guest additions don’t install or work properly with Ubuntu, it may be worth upgrading your installation of Open Box, I had problems getting them to work with v4.1.x, but they installed perfectly with v4.2.8.


Once they are installed you can drag the screen to the size you want and the choose the ‘View’ / ‘Auto-size Guest Display’ menu item, this will change your screens resolution to match the screen size.


Windows Installer – The Specified path is too long with subst.

I was testing an installation script (produced by a Visual Studio 2010 set-up project) on a open box virtual machine and was intermittently getting a lovely error message telling me that the ‘specified path is too long’, even though the path that the error message displayed as being incredibly short.


Anyway, I was installing to a subst’ed drive in an attempt to match the clients IT set-up and it seems that the windows installer just doesn’t work well with subst at all. So, to get around the problem I removed the subst’ed drive and instead added another virtual drive to the virtual box machine and everything worked ok.


So I know there are many many reasons for the ‘specified path is too long’ installer error message (most of which have nothing to do with long paths at all!) but one thing is for sure – installing to a subst’ed drive is one cause!