I've been planning to switch to Ubuntu as my main OS and I'd like to do it now with Precise. I am a web developer and the only app I am tied to in Windows is Photoshop and IE. The grand plan is to install Windows 7 with Photoshop in Virtualbox. The question is, would it be wise to do so? I've never tried it before and I'd like to ask any professional advice.

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    I see no issues with what you are proposing to do. It's as easy as installing virtualbox, creating a new win7 vm and set up a shared folder in the vm settings, install win7 and install guest additions to be able to use the shared folder. You could also run in fullscreen for a better experience, or even use seamless mode which would make photoshop appear as if running on ubuntu. – duffydack Mar 3 '12 at 12:33
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    I agree that this is easy and effective. Per the answer below, WINE is a valid option and works very very well. If IE is important to you, then you really need to use a virtual machine. Once you get going with VirtualBox you will find lots of other uses for it. I have multiple special use ones that I use (XP, Windows 2003 Server, etc...). – Kendor Mar 3 '12 at 14:18
  • Caveat / Hint: As of Ubuntu 16.04, VirtualBox and PS 5.5 the only hassle I have is, that partial deselect (subtracting a box selection from a box selection) does not work. I wrongly suspected something with 3D accelaration. In fact, alt-<drag> was captured by Ubuntu (yes, even in full screen), so that shortcuts need to be turned off. – Frank Nocke Dec 12 '16 at 14:43

As I see 12.04 as a tag on your question, I assume you have a good machine box on your hand (some information about this will help to exactly answer your question).


I have a dual-2.3Hz box with 6 GB of RAM (I think at least 2 GB of RAM its important to run good virtualboxs) and:

  1. I made the transition Windows->Ubuntu 11.10 (12.04 not stable yet at this moment) very smoothly, so I really reccomend.
  2. Windows 7 inside a virtualbox runs like a devil. No problem to easy or hard tasks, everything done quickly, no bugs.
  3. You can have a dual-boot configuration if you insist in having Windows 7 at bare metal level(dumb option, IMHO)
  4. With Wine, many applications(including Photoshop) runs smoothly too.

I advice a Ubuntu 11.10 with virtualbox hanging your windows to avoid little bugs in Photoshop with Wine, but maybe doesn't worse the work to set up. Wine rules too. What you have to leave behind is Windows, without fear, and be happy. After 1st tasty(sooo tasty!-), you'll never come back.

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    Just to add to this great answer: in contrast to a VM Wine does not need a Windows licence. – Takkat Mar 3 '12 at 15:06
  • well pointed. Missed this in my answer, thanks Takkat. @Takkat – H_7 Mar 3 '12 at 15:14

im running Photoshop CS 4 with wine, i think it's better than youu use virtualbox...

See also this list of Photoshop versions that run with Wine.

  • WINE is a better route for saving memory and disk resources. Also if PS leverages some hardware acceleration, those get handled by WINE too (assuming your drivers are setup in Ubuntu). – invert Mar 3 '12 at 18:36

I think it is worth the hassle. Like yourself, I switched to Ubuntu from Windows and the only app I really missed was Photoshop. I tried installing Photoshop through Wine first, but it occasionally froze or crashed. Since you can loose hours of work, I think that is not an acceptable solution.

For me installing Photoshop through VirtualBox solved those problems, and after a little bit of tweaking the app feels as if it was a native Ubuntu app. I describe how to setup Photoshop on Ubuntu in my blog post How to use Photoshop in Ubuntu.


I use Ubuntu as my main OS and do pretty much what you are suggesting, except that I use VMWare Player rather than VirtualBox as I find it easier to configure and it works superbly well. i have been doing this for a couple of years now without any problems

  • Do you know of any up to date tutorial about how to set it up? Like the sharing of files, etc? – jilseego Mar 3 '12 at 12:16
  • VirtualBox has its internal sharing of folders -- once you've installed it and you poke around in the settings for the VM, you'll find it and it's a breeze to set up. Works independently of network, too. :-) – Lakritsbollar Mar 3 '12 at 15:32

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