And now for something completely different

How to install the Amiga Replacement Operating System in VirtualBox. We'll be using the Icaros distribution of AROS and installing it in VirtualBox so we can play with it.



Step 1: Getting the ISO

Download the icaros Live DVD from

  1. http download -
  2. Rename it without the .exe extension ie. IcarosLive_1_5_1-1.7z
  3. Extract it by double clicking it. You should have a .iso file now.


Step 2: Creating the Virtual Machine

  1. Create a new VM with VirtualBox and call it icaros
  2. Change Operating System type to Other and Other/Unknown
  3. Give it however much ram you can spare but it doesn't need much - 256 MB is plenty.
  4. Just keep clicking Next or Finish until it's all done.
  5. Before running your VM let's add a custom screenmode to the choices for the guest OS

I chose 1366x768x24 because that's the native resolution of my Laptop Screen. Change this to the screenmode you want. Make sure you use the same name as your VM! If you change the name of your VM to something other than icaros then you need to change it here too.

VBoxManage setextradata "icaros" "CustomVideoMode1" "1366x768x24"

Step 3: Installing Icaros in our Virtual Machine

  1. Select the icaros VM and click Start which will start the First Time wizard.
  2. For installation media choose the .iso file you extracted earlier (for example IcarosLive_1_3_0.iso) and click finish.
  3. The Icaros Live DVD should boot now, be prepared to be amazed at how fast that happens.
  4. Double click the "InstallAROS" icon on the desktop.
  5. Click Proceed a couple of times and it will reboot. It does this to make the partitions on the drive.
  6. As it reboots you'll see a GRUB boot menu, you may want to select the 5th item down - "Legacy VESA resolution: 1024x768x32" until we get the display set up
  7. Once it's booted double click the "InstallAROS" icon again.
  8. Click Proceed 5 or 6 times until it's done.
  9. Close the VM window (yes, that's right, it won't hurt anything)
  10. Highlight the icaros VM, click Settings, Storage and remove the DVD disk.


Step 4: Configuring our Icaros Installation

  1. Now start the VM back up until you see the GRUB boot menu.
  2. Highlight the "Icaros Desktop (16M Colour VESA graphics)" entry with the cursor keys. Press the "e" key to edit.
  3. Move the cursor to the line that says "vesa=32bit" and change this to "vesa=1366x768x24" or whatever screenmode you set earlier with VBoxManage. Now press control x to boot.
  4. Once it boots it will ask you if you want to configure it now, choose YES. You could look through the settings but I wouldn't change much at this point unless the language or keymap wasn't right.
  5. Now that you're logged in let's fix the screen resolution so it survives a reboot. Click on the leftmost icon on the toolbar along the bottom of the screen. This will bring up a menu. Select "System Disk -> Boot -> Grub -> grub.cfg. This will open the grub.cfg file in a very simple editor. Move your cursor down to the "Icaros Desktop (16M Colour VESA graphics)" and edit the line below it so vesa=32bit is changed to vesa=1366x768x24 (or whatever resolution you chose). Move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen and right click to get the menu and select Save. Close the editor window. Press your Right Control key to get the VM menu and close the VM.

Step 5: Booting it up

Start the VM back up again and we're in business with the right screenmode. If the screenmode you chose is the native resolution for your monitor I recommend running your VM in Full Screen Mode. Choose this by going to the VM menu and checking the Full Screen box. This will act as if Icaros was your main OS. To get out of Full Screen Mode press the right control key and move your mouse to the bottom of the screen where you'll see gadgets to go back to Window mode and/or shutdown the VM.