How to Install Pop!_OS on Windows 10 Through Hyper-V

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Pop!_OS desktop screenshotThough one can dual boot Windows and Linux, running the latter in a virtual machine is a much convenient option if you're looking to use it occasionally for casual browsing or testing purposes. Today, we're going to learn to install Pop!_OS on a Windows 10 PC with the help of a native Hyper-V virtual machine manager. This Linux distribution is built on top of Ubuntu and is actively developed by System76, a company famous for its custom-built Linux computers. No matter which Linux distribution you've used in the past, this one is going to be on your favorites list, right from day one. The user interface and features specific to this distro are quite good. Before you decide to go ahead with this, make sure you have a computer with enough power to smoothly run a virtual machine. A minimum of dual-core 64-bit processor and at least 8 GB RAM with 3 to 4 GB reserved for the virtual machine is what I recommend for a smooth experience. Anything less will result in a poor and sluggish experience.

Pop!_OS desktop screenshot
Though a virtual machine is never going to overwrite or corrupt your existing system, still it's a good practice to create a restore point before starting the installation process. It gives you peace of mind.

Read Also:
A Step-by-Step Guide to Adding a New Hard Disk to a Ubuntu Linux Desktop


Let's get started and learn to install Pop!_OS in a virtual machine on Windows 10 through this easy-to-follow guide. It may take anywhere between 15 minutes to half an hour for this process to complete.

First of all, download Pop!_OS on your PC. There are two different options for the users. If you're using NVIDIA graphics card, choose that one as indicated below else download the regular distro.

Pop!_OS download window
Make sure you have at least 16 GB of space reserved for your virtual machine. That should not be a problem at all as disk space is quite inexpensive nowadays. Depending on your network speed, the download should finish within minutes.

Next, open the Windows search box by pressing the Windows + S key and type hyper v in the text field. Select the Hyper-V Manager option as shown below.

Option to open Hyper-V Manager
Hyper-V Manager houses all the tools and options to create a custom virtual machine. Select the New → Virtual Machine option from the right side menu.

Option to create a new virtual machine in Hyper-V Manager
Clicking this option will start a multi-step wizard window to provide essential configuration data for your new virtual machine. On the very first screen simply click the Next button.

First step to create a virtual machine with Hyper-V
In case, you want to create a virtual machine with the default data, click the Finish button. But, this is not what we want in almost all of the cases.

So, make sure you do not accidentally click the finish button at this stage.

Name and location for the virtual machine on Hyper-V
The next step enables you to provide both the name and location of the virtual machine. If you're creating a virtual machine for Pop!_OS, naturally you'll want to name it the same.

But, feel free to name it something else. Similarly, the location where the virtual machine's files and data will be stored needs to be selected.

Make sure, the selected path/location has at least 20 GB of space available for the virtual machine.

Select virtual machine generation in Hyper-V
Here, you specify the generation of the virtual machine to use for your current setup. There are two options available at your disposal, viz., generation first and generation second.

Choose the first option (as shown above) as it is most likely to work flawlessly on older hardware too. If you have a modern computer with cutting-edge hardware configuration, selecting the second option will not harm you. But overall, I'll recommend the first option for maximum compatibility and stability.

Memory allocation for the virtual machine in Hyper-V
The amount of RAM you allocate for the virtual machine is important for its smooth functioning. The baseline for this resource is 2 GB RAM which in my opinion is not enough.

Give at least 3 GB RAM to your virtual machine. If you have a generous amount of RAM on your PC, feel free to allocate half of that for the virtual machine. The more the merrier.

Make sure to select the checkbox to enable dynamic memory allocation. It'll keep your virtual machine instance more responsive when running out of allocated memory.

Configure networking for a virtual machine in Hyper-V
Next comes the network configuration. Select the Default Switch option to ensure the internet works seamlessly on your Pop!_OS instance.

If the Internet option is available in the drop-down, you can select that too.

Virtual hard disk configuration in Hyper-V
The next screen is all about the hard disk configuration associated with your virtual machine. The path is created automatically through the location specified in an earlier step. Keep it, as it is.

But, feel free to change the space allocated for the hard disk. If you're just using this virtual machine instance for testing purposes, allocate anything between 20 GB to 40 GB of space.

Media installation options in Hyper-V
This screen enables you to provide the source of the operating system you want to install in a virtual machine. There are several options available for the same.

Since we are going to use the ISO image file we've downloaded earlier, choose the appropriate option and select the Pop!_OS disk image file from the location where you've saved it.

Finish virtual machine creation in Hyper-V
And, the last step tabulates all the configuration options. All you need to do is to click the Finish button to complete the virtual machine creation process.

Connect option to start a virtual machine in Hyper-V
Now that the initial configuration is complete, it's time to boot up our virtual machine to kickstart the installation process. To do that, right-click on the virtual machine and click the Connect... option.

Start booting virtual machine on Hyper-V
You'll get the virtual machine window on boot up. Click the Start button to trigger the Pop!_OS installation process.

Boot messages of Pop!_OS .iso image file
Clicking the start button will initiate the boot process for the Pop!_OS through its .iso image file.

Language selection for Pop!_OS install
Select your preferred language from the list. If you speak English, the default one should be left, as it is.

Select keyboard layout for Pop!_OS
Select the keyboard layout you're using. Once again, for English-speaking individuals, the default selection works like a charm.

Select keyboard language for Pop!_OS
Next, select the language for your keyboard. You can also change it later in the system settings after installation.

Clean install option for Pop!_OS
There are two installation options available for the users. To keep things simple, choose the Clean Install option.

Select the drive to install Pop!_OS on
Select the disk you've created earlier during the configuration process and click the Erase and Install button.

Select username and provide full name for Pop!_OS
Provide your full name as well as the username for your Pop!_OS installation. The username selected here will also be your home directory name.

Choose your Pop!_OS account password
Though it's a virtual machine install, I'll still advise you to create a strong password.

Enable drive encryption for Pop!_OS
Enable drive encryption by selecting the check box and clicking the Encrypt button.

Pop!_OS installation progress window
Now sit back and relax as the installation process will take some time. On a high-end computer, the process may complete within 15 minutes.

Eject media file on a Hyper-V virtual machine
Once the installation process has been completed, it's time to reboot the virtual machine. But first, you have to eject the .iso media file. Select the Media → DVD Drive option for the same.

Restart Pop!_OS boot media file
After ejecting the media file, click the Restart Device button to continue with the setup process.

In case, your virtual machine doesn't restart or gets stuck, switch it off and restart again using the connect option I've explained in one of the earlier steps.

Unlock disk encryption on Pop!_OS
Upon restart, you'll be prompted for a password to unlock disk encryption. Use the same password you've chosen during the setup process.

Pop!_OS user login screen
The next step is quite simple. Select your account and log in to the desktop using your credentials created earlier during the installation process.

Select keyboard layout within Pop!_OS
After the welcome screen, you'll be prompted to select the keyboard layout. If you've already chosen your preferred one during the installation process, simply proceed to the next screen.

Location service privacy on Pop!_OS
Depending on your preference, you can either switch the location services on or off. I recommend keeping it on to ensure certain services and applications work correctly.

Timezone setting in Pop!_OS
The next option enables you to configure the timezone for your desktop. If you've kept the location services switched on in the previous step, the correct timezone will be selected automatically.

Else, you can click the correct location on the map to configure it manually.

Online accounts config during Pop!_OS setup
Almost everyone skips this step without giving a second thought. Online accounts can be configured later at your convenience.

Finish screen of Pop!_OS setup
Finally, you get a screen that confirms the end of this long setup process. Click the button and start using your shiny new Pop!_OS desktop. But wait, there's more to pay attention to.

Update Linux packages through the terminal
The final step is to update your newly installed Pop!_OS instance. To do that, open the terminal and fire the following two commands one by one.


$ sudo apt update


$ sudo apt upgrade

The installation process may take some time depending on how many packages need to be updated and the speed of your internet connection. Once the system is updated, once reboot the virtual machine and start using it as you wish.