I'm looking to install a few isolated applications that have a GUI onto multiple VirtualBox images. What is the smallest Ubuntu VirtualBox image file size with a GUI?

  • 1
    Very interesting question. Opening a Lubuntu guest in VirtualBox with installed Guest Additions, I get 320x80, not counting Status and Title Bars. Any size greater than this, you can do.
    – Redbob
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 4:13
  • @Redbob I believe the OP is asking as in smallest image size on disk, MB/GB etc.. Can the OP confirm?
    – nullmeta
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 13:30
  • Really, @nullmeta, otherwise he would have mentioned "resolution". it depends on what OP are proposed to run, specially talking about GUI. Lubuntu and Xubuntu are recommended, as they are lightweight.
    – Redbob
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 13:40
  • Yes I meant file size not resolution. Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 15:39
  • @Patoshiパトシ What kind of GUI, the dependencies of your programs and their GUI dependencies are important... can you name your programs?
    – Ravexina
    Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 20:27

2 Answers 2


Lubuntu 16.04 is probably best and needs 4 GB minimum

I asked a similar for the smallest footprint / fastest flavour of Ubuntu here: Is one distribution better for Virtualbox 5.1 inside Ubuntu 16.04? and the answer was Lubuntu.

I created my Lubuntu 16.04 Virtual Image at 7 GB:

Lubuntu allocated.png

With nothing of significance installed other than the base packages it's showing 3.9 GB used and 3.5 GB available:

Lubuntu used

So I would say the minimum you could get away with is 4 GB using Lubuntu 16.04.

That said, my Ubuntu Unity 16.04.5 LTS installation with reams of applications installed and 3 kernel chains only takes up 9.8 GB. Next time around I'll probably just go with this version and forgo the extra effort of learning new interfaces and applications such as File Manager and File Editor.

  • Huh? You got all the bounty even though it was awarded by the community and though I posted first? I thoughts it would be split evenly...
    – Fabby
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 9:07
  • @Fabby The OP appears to have accepted the answer based on the green checkmark but I don't remember that happening. Maybe the OP manually awarded the bounty? Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 10:33
  • Makes sense: OP accepted pretty pictures, Community user awarded bounty straight after! Congratulations! ;-)
    – Fabby
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 12:10

The smallest official (and on-topic here) Ubuntu flavour with a GUI is Lubuntu and the minimal disk size is 3GB and the minimum memory requirements are 512MB resulting in 3.5 GB for a VM. (theoretical minimum, anything more is better)


  • @dschinn1001 that's hard to have HDD/SSD that have a size under 4 GB, even the RAM have a higher size now (but old computer that have more than 20 years old can have a problem with that though)
    – damadam
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 8:56
  • @damadam the OP is asking about a Virtual Machine (A computer inside a computer), so it's just a file...
    – Fabby
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 8:58
  • @damadam - sorry, I have misread the infos after command free - also, lubuntu here on an antique laptop is only using 1 GB of 50 GB hard-disk - but would mean then, that less than 4 GB is required. Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 22:53
  • @dschinn1001 We're going by official numbers... Yes, it can be done with less, but then the instructions become much more eleborate
    – Fabby
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 22:55

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