coLinux is a wonderful tool for running Linux under Windows; it allows you to run a full-fledged Linux computer with no extra partitions, inside Windows. More information can be found at the home page.
- 1 Disclaimers
- 2 The most IMPORTANT thing to know First
- 3 Terminology
- 4 Overview
- 5 Download and Installation
- 6 Configuration
- 7 Running coLinux
- 8 Using Other Linux Distributions in coLinux
- 9 Adding Swap Space
- 10 Network
- 11 Graphical Interface (Xserver)
- 12 External Resources
coLinux is still under heavy development, and will likely change in the future. This page represents the contributions of various coLinux users. The information may not be tailored to your environment. Like many open source projects, there's no warranty, blah blah blah. There is no guarantee that this program will operate correctly, or indeed, at all.
The most IMPORTANT thing to know First
On Microsoft Vista the following actions in this article under the sub-heading above will not work or may not work because as far as I know Microsoft Vista does not have a ms-dos based command prompt program. (COMMENT - The current version of Vista on my desktop DOES have an MS DOS shell. It is still under cmd.exe as it was under XP).
If you are running any version of Microsoft Windows XP or any older Microsoft Windows operating system, clicking on colinux-daemon.exe to open colinux will not work (the program flashes and then disappears)
For those new to *NIX (Note: *NIX is often used to denote UNIX or UNIX-like operating systems) here is a definition of a "Command Shell". "Command shell" is the technical name for MS-DOS or other program that looks, acts and runs in a similar way to command prompt on Microsoft Windows. You will have to use a command shell program on your operating system (In Windows XP, the program file is called cmd.exe. On older versions of Microsoft Windows just use the command prompt program which is also known by the names of command prompt, MS-DOS or just dos to start colinux.
If you are not an experienced Microsoft Windows user, or do not know how to use Microsoft's command prompt program or cygwin, you must learn how to execute (start a program) with your command shell program to be able to open colinux. Or try one of the Installation out of the box.
- Hosting OS
- The system coLinux is installed on (usually Windows)
- coLinux OS
- A coLinux instance running an operating system like Debian, Ubuntu, or Gentoo
- Also called a "networking card". A piece of hardware which provides networking capabilites to a system
Generally, to use coLinux, one performs the following steps:
- Download coLinux and run installation
- Use the included terminal to log in
- Use the most foolproof method to get network connectivity (usually slirp)
- Update the system using apt-get or emerge
- Install xterm or a complete desktop like GNOME or KDE
- Install an X Server or VNC on the Host
- use telnet, ssh, or a VNC client to connect to the Guest and start xterm, etc.
- use scp, putty, cofs/smb, etc., to copy files between Host and Guest
Download and Installation
See also README on SourceForge.
Go to the Downloads on SourceForge. Download and run the most recent executable installer.
- Although the installer doesn't default to it, "c:\coLinux" is a good install location.
- During the install you are prompted to install WinPcap. This can be done with the coLinux installer open, or later.
- The TAP-Win32 Virtual Adapter device driver will be installed.
- There is harm in installing both WinPcap and TAP-Win32.
For the latest development binaries and source, see snapshots
- TAP-Win32 driver
- tapcontrol.exe can be used to test, install, upgrade and remove the tap driver from the command line.
If you uninstall coLinux from one location and install it to another, the following procedure will update the Windows driver accordingly:
colinux-daemon.exe --remove-driver colinux-daemon.exe --install-driver
From the main download site, also download a filesystem which includes an operating system. Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb.bz2 on SourceForge is a good choice. It expands to 1GB when decompressed. This has a basic Debian image on it with everything you need to get started. Save/extract this in the coLinux directory. Here is a partial list of programs which can extract the image, which is compressed using bzip2:
Run bzip2 on Windows command line:
bzip2-102-x86-win32.exe -d Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb.bz2
coLinux can be configured using parameters on the command line, or with a configuration file like default.conf. These are very similar in syntax. For command-line options, see colinux-daemon.txt on your installation directory.
Here are the contents on an example file called coLinux.bat ("^" is the line continuation character in Windows).:
Uses eth0 as SLiRP for simplest Internet connectivity and eth1 to talk to Hosting OS
colinux-daemon.exe kernel=vmlinux initrd=initrd.gz ^ cobd0="c:\coLinux\Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb" ^ cobd1="fs_768Mb" ^ mem=512 ^ eth0=slirp ^ eth1=tuntap ^ root=/dev/cobd0
Uses eth0 for bridged Internet connectivity and eth1 to talk to Hosting OS
colinux-daemon.exe kernel=vmlinux initrd=initrd.gz ^ cobd0="c:\coLinux\Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb" ^ cobd1="fs_768Mb" ^ mem=512 ^ eth0=pcap-bridge,"Local Area Connection",00:ff:75:39:D3:C1 ^ eth1=tuntap ^ root=/dev/cobd0
Use ssh (port 22) or VNC (port 5901) to connect to coLinux guest system via SLiRP port forwardings, eth1 is still usable on host only
colinux-daemon kernel=vmlinux ^ cobd0=Debian-"c:\coLinux\Debian-3.0r2.ext3-mit-backports.1gb" ^ cobd1="c:\coLinux\fs_768Mb" ^ mem=512 ^ eth0=slirp,,tcp:22:22/tcp:5901:5901 ^ eth1=tuntap ^ root=/dev/cobd0
The "cobd" options represent partitions. They are actually mounted under /dev/cobdn, where n is given by the index passed to it, and the path is fairly straightforward. Make sure that the first one (index="0") points to your root filesystem (e.g., the Debian image).
You may want to disable the swap device for now; it's not strictly necessary and will be described later.
Remove the line
cobd1="c:\coLinux\swap_device" from your batch file or config file.
The other options will work as-is.
You can take a quick look at the
line and adjust it to fit your system. This is the physical amount of RAM you are going to allocate to coLinux, and you need to keep some for Windows.
|System Memory||Suggested Memory Setting for coLinux|
|128MB RAM or less||Don't bother with coLinux. Well, OK, try 32MB...|
|160 to 256MB RAM||64MB|
|256 to 512MB RAM||128MB|
|512MB or more||256MB or more|
Those values are based on personal experience; your mileage may vary. Note: This is non-swappable memory, so using too much can do bad things to your computer (while coLinux is running; as soon as you reboot, everything will be fine). It used to default to 29MB which was sufficient for most things, now it seems to default to 64MB. If you have less than 256MB of RAM you probably want to make it smaller. Realistically, unless you want to use X Windows (described later) or use a very memory-intensive program, 32MB or even 16MB may be enough.
Then you have to configure the network. This is not strictly necessary to enjoy coLinux but you need it to:
- download new software: the image you downloaded contains only a basic system, much like a bare Windows installation
- use ssh and PuTTY, a nice terminal since you will find the console too uncomfortable
- launch X applications and run VNC and see the results on your Windows screen
ok I have so little experience with ms-dos that I need to know how to actually get colinux up and running specifically on cmd.exe from winxp that starts from the Windows 'Home' path.
C:\Documents and Settings\my user name> cd \coLinux C:\coLinux> colinux-daemon.exe @example.conf
or, to use a command shell as the terminal:
C:\Documents and Settings\my user name> cd \coLinux C:\coLinux> colinux-daemon.exe -t nt @example.conf
- Some errors can be disregarded. Currently, errors that will appear when running a correctly-installed coLinux:
Disabled Privacy Extensions on device c02bf040(lo) eth0: duplicate address detected!
- To enable a double-click start, create a short-cut to the daemon (right-click and select Create Shortcut), and then right-click on that new shortcut and select Properties. In the Target box (under the Shortcut tab), add the following to the end of the existing text (after the double-quote, and don't forget the space before the @):
@example.confand click OK. You can now double-click the shortcut (perhaps copy it to your desktop) to run CoLinux. If you would like to start the console minimised, select Minimized from the Run drop-down box.
- Alternatively, you can put the following into a bat file such as coLinux.bat which you can double click:
start "coLinux" /Dc:\colinux /min colinux-daemon.exe @example.conf
Remove /min if you want to see the boot messages.
Change the /D<path> to point to your coLinux dir.
- The login for the debian image is root/root, you should change this.
In another few seconds, a colinux-console should pop up. And after a few more seconds, it should stop and give you a login prompt. Since the Debian image by default has no other users, you must log in as root:
- 2.4 distros - blank password
- 2.6 distros - "root" as password
Now you can use adduser to add another user for normal use, or passwd to set the root password. And you have Linux!
Brushing the Dust off a Downloaded Root FS
The Debian Root filesystems are a little long in the tooth. DebianRootFsImages is a procedure to bring the system up-to-date so that it is actually usable.
coLinux doesn't start
- check the path to the uncompressed filesystem image
- in the line with
- and be ready to remove it if it doesn't help. You can keep it. It is harmless in most cases (some distributions need it)
- finally, take a close look at your text editor. It may have converted the text silently to UTF-8, adding an invisible marker at the beginning of your configuration file. Switch to hexadecimal mode or to another editor and check the top of the file. If you see the UTF-8 marker, erase it.
- in case of a error similar to
daemon: exit code 84a08401 daemon: error - CO_RC_ERROR_ERROR, line 33, file colinux/os/current/user/file.o
- Repeat the following dance:
colinux-daemon.exe --remove-driver colinux-daemon.exe --install-driver
If that doesn't work you can check your parameters in the config-file. Look for an incorrect or missing image filename, vmlinux path, or swapfile path. Comment out all unneeded config-file parameters to see which might be incorrect.
- If none of these things work, you can try Nitin Jain's install notes. Very good step-by-step directions
Using Other Linux Distributions in coLinux
The vanilla Debian may not be to your liking, or it may just seem a little hard to set up. You can find the instructions for configuring a specific distribution to use coLinux here: ConvertingDistributions. If you would like to use the Gentoo Deluxe 2 GB image look here: GentooDeluxHowto, or if you would like to use Topologi Linux look here: TopoHowTo. You can also download via BitTorrent a pre-configured coLinux setup based on coLinux-0.6.0 and the Debian filesystem - just download, extract, install, run.
More official image files can be find after selecting "View older releases in the Root FS Images - 2.6.x-based package" on SourceForge file releases page.
Adding Swap Space
To add swap for use in your coLinux environment you need a filesystem file with the correct size of swap you want. Here is a location of a number of sizes of empty partitions. Name the file you downloaded per the line below in your default.conf file. Be sure to set the path too.
- Boot into your coLinux system.
- Login as root
- Add the line below to /etc/fstab:
/dev/cobd1 none swap sw 0 0
- Run "mkswap /dev/cobd1"
- Run "swapon -a"
Alternative way to get swap file
You can create your own swap partition file if you have colinux installed - with the following command:
dd if=/dev/zero bs=1k count=512k of=swap_fs
The 512k will mean creating 512k blocks of 1k size - this is 512Mb of swap. Alter these numbers for more/less swap to suit your needs. It is recommended that it be at least twice the size of the memory you have configured colinux to use.
Important Note for Gentoo Users
Gentoo requires configuration of a swap file. Follow the instructions at AddSwapPartition
Graphical Interface (Xserver)
The article XCoLinux explains how to run an X server on the Host and xclient applications in coLinux
- Nitin Jain's install notes 2006-07
- Evan Danaher's notes 2005 or earlier.
- Cristian Popescu's install and configuration notes - debian from scratch from 2007
- - is for version 0.6.4 with changes for 0.7.1 and you can apply these notes to the latest version too.