Successfully Install Windows XP on VirtualBox

A couple weeks ago I was complaining about how I got a Fatal error while starting VirtualBox in Ubuntu. About five days later I stumble upon claudio‘s page: VirtualBox: Install Windows XP using pbx boot. I followed his advice to install the binaries instead of the open source (OSE), which has failed me many times. Claudio has all the credits and without his tutorial, I will not be able to run Windows on my Ubuntu machine. Please, if you are reading this post, come by his page and give him some love…

Below is a tutorial based on Claudio’s tutorial, but I cut out the unnecessary stuff and add a section on how to assign user to group visually (for newbies and ultra-beginner like me).

Install VirtualBox in Ubuntu

  1. Download the .deb file here. Choose your appropriate OS and download. This is the binaries version and also a deb file so it would be very easy to install.
    Note: Do not use Synaptic to install OSE package. It did not work for me. The x86 version is for intel, and amd64 is for AMD chips.
  2. Double click on the .deb package to install. There will be several announcement makes during installation, but don’t worry, we will take care of it.
  3. We need to add users into vboxusers in order to use VirtualBox. Follow the instructions below. We can do it graphically.

Assigning Users to Group – Graphic

  1. System -> Administration -> Users and Groups
  2. Select Unlock.
  3. Enter your Password and click Authenticate.
  4. Select Manage Groups.
  5. Double click on vboxusers group or select it and click Properties to edit group.
  6. Check the members you would like to add to the group, make sure you are one of them.
  7. OK and close. You have added users into group.

You are now able to use VirtualBox. Below is a good youtube tutorial, check it out if you like.

How To Restore The Original Panel And Menu Bar in Ubuntu

New Solution

Note: The old solution no longer worked for me, I found a new solution and posted it here.

Open Terminal: Ctrl+Shift+T

Execute these three commands:

gconftool-2 --shutdown
rm -rf ~/.gconf/apps/panel
pkill gnome-panel

The panels should reappear without logging out.

Old Solution

Note: This no longer works for me, but I leave it here for those who would like to try. After all, this solution saved me once, and it once worked just fine.

Well, I deleted my top panel by accident today. When I create a new one, some of the original items such as wire network connection, PMC volume control, notification area, date and time… are not there any more. Some of them are no where to be found in the items listed for adding new items onto panels. Anyhow, a quick Google search let me to the solution, found here and quoted below.

Open Terminal: Ctrl+Shift+T

Execute these three commands:

gnome-session-remove gnome-panel
gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/panel
gnome-panel &

Then logout and log back in, or restart you X server with CTRL+ALT+BACKSPACE , everything should be fine.

Note: During this process, all panels, including the top and bottom, will be deleted and restore to the default settings. So, if you delete the bottom panel, this also restores it.

Fatal Error in VirtualBox

I just installed Virtual box a few days ago to run Windows inside Ubuntu. But after messing with group permission and upgrades, there was an error similar to the one below.

Could not load the settings file ‘/home/MyUsername/.VirtualBox/OpenSUSE 10.3.xml’ (VERR_OPEN_FAILED).

FATAL ERROR: Unknown element ‘PXEDebug’

Whatever it was, I kept getting it after multiple removals and reinstallations. Ubuntu forum did not have a solution, or at least not the one that worked for me. So, I decided to come up with a solution myself and it was incredibly simple. The goal is to remove the .xml file and then reinstall VirtualBox.


  1. Entering Synaptic.
  2. Search for “virtualbox” and uninstall all VirtualBox packages.
  3. Then open your home folder,
  4. On the menu bar, select View -> Show hidden files and folder.
  5. Delete the folder called “.VirtualBox“. This will erase the annoying .xml file.
  6. Reinstall VirtualBox like usual. For instruction on how to install, visit Ubuntu community.

Worked like a charm. Try it out. Cheers.

Uninstall Google Desktop in Ubuntu

Well, I’m bored of Google Desktop already since I upgraded to Hardy. The new Tracker in hardy is better integrated into the system. I got the instruction from Google Desktop Help Center.

To uninstall Google Desktop:

  1. Open Terminal: Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
  2. Enter:
  3. sudo dpkg -r google-desktop-linux

  4. Type in your password and hit Enter. You have uninstalled Google Desktop.

I am still trying to install Google Gadget. Check it out if you are interested. Pretty messy though.

Restart Your X…

I just learn about how to restart my X session today. To Restart your X session:


This will kill your current session, log you out and restart. It is much quicker than rebooting your computer – two seconds vs one minute, anyone? Also, restarting your X session will allows certain changes to take effect and it will sometimes compensate for rebooting your machine.

I love this. I wish Windows have this kind of option instead of asking me to restart my computer every ten minutes after an update. Honestly, if Windows allow some similar way without rebooting, I will have no problem with those annoying alerts and very happy to restart.

And, another benefit of this is it kills everything. Yes. Remember those times when you are trying to get the Task Manager or System Monitor to start so you can kill some applications but it takes forever? Yeah, with the almighty buttons, I can KILL everything, without any manager or monitor. Awesome. Buwahhaha.

Have fun.

Hardy and GeForce 7200

Note: Geforce and Hardy now work on my computer perfectly. See this post. All I did was downgrade to 7.10 and then upgrade back into 8.04. And everything was fine. I assume that the new upgrade has something to do with it. But no guarantee.

I finally upgraded to Hardy, thinking that it was finally my time to catch up to the rest of the world. As I suspected, the new driver for my GeForce 7200 did not work at all. After the installation and a reboot, no graphic card was detected and my display went back to low resolution. I was ticked off big time since I’m one of those people paying attention to details and appearance. This is almost as upsetting as the time when I found out about the memory leak problem with Compiz on nVIDIA graphic card.

There was no solution for this issue that worked for me. So I decided to uninstall the new driver package and to stick to 2D display, which was not too bad at all. The only loss is that I would not be able to run Compiz, which was already problematic by itself. Oh, there are many other “pretty” software that require 3D acceleration. But I guess I can live without them… Maybe.

Sorry that I failed to provide a solution and I did nothing but to whine about it. If you do get problems after installing the new driver, I offer a solution to roll back in Hardy. It’s 1 am. in the morning so there won’t be much graphic here because I’m too tired to edit those snapshots. Now, since I am not sure what is really going on, I can’t guarantee that my solution will work on all Ubuntu machines.

Problem: Install the new NVIDIA driver in Hardy – package nvidia-glx-new – but after reboot there was an error announces that no graphic card was detected and the display goes back to low resolution. The error persists after enabling the driver and reboot. Below is how to roll back.


  1. Enter Synaptic: System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager.
  2. Hit Ctrl+F to search or click on the binocular icon. Search for glx.
  3. Remove nvidia-glx and nvdia-glx-new by clicking on them and select “Mark for complete removal.” Note that this means you will not have any 3D acceleration at all.
  4. Restart the computer.
  5. Enter Recovery mode when Grub starts. This mode in Hardy will provide some basic options.
  6. Select Repair packages and then Repair X sever. I’m not sure why but it worked.
  7. Hit Esc or select Resume to boot back into Ubuntu.
  8. Everything should look fine now.

Well, I can live without 3D acceleration. How about you?

Failed To Initiate HAL – Solution: Reinstall Gutsy

When I was trying to install Google Gadget, which was a horrible failure, I encountered the “Fail to initiate HAL” error right after a reboot. It took five minutes to boot into the system, where the error message pop up. The damage was terrifying for me. It cut out the internet!! I felt like I was on an Island with no one around. I know Ubuntu screws up alot, but cutting out the internet leaves me clueless. I had no idea what to do…

I borrow a computer from a friend to look for the solution, it took me two hours and the problem was not solved still. Well, my rule of thumb is if any error takes me more than 2 hours to fix, a complete OS reinstallation is the best solution. (This applied to Windows too -> and I got the idea from Get it done Guy). It took me 20 minutes to be back online. Lovely. See, that was so much easier.

So, the lesson is, if you have a major error that took so much time to fix, a complete reinstallation may serve you better and ensure your productivity.