Alpine Install: from a disc to a virtualbox machine single only

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Overall description: Installing Alpine from an official disc image into a VirtualBox machine.

This document guides you through installing Alpine on a VirtualBox VM - this is ideal if you only want to try Alpine out. For other ways to install (including dual-boot) see Alpine_newbie_install_manual.


  • Host machine: the machine you're running VirtualBox on. It will "host" the target virtual machine.
  • Guest machine: your target machine where Alpine will be installed, emulated using the VirtualBox software on the host machine.
  • Reserved RAM: the amount of host machine RAM that will be needed for exclusive use by the guest machine. The host machine cannot use this RAM while the guest machine is running.
  • Virtual disc: the emulated storage medium attached to the guest machine. Usually it is a file (or several files) which VirtualBox presents as a disk to the guest OS (Alpine).


On the host machine:

  • Qemu or VirtualBox using package manager! Do not promote Oracle's policy of overversiones without patches of security
  • At least 1GB of RAM, 2GB or above if you donjt want deadlocks in the computer if run something apart of the virtual software
  • The curl or wget programs to download the image to boot in the virtual software

On the guest machine:

  • Minimum 512Mb RAM, but recommended 1Gb or more if you're going to use a graphical interface, that obviouly must be in sync with the host machine.

Preparing the medium to install

Download the source medium to install and put into your home; there's more hardware medium sources to download, like the s390x and ppc64le, but due VirtualBox only emulates x86, x64 and arm hardware only, will list those here

The source medium to install will be as following format:<VERSION>/releases/<ARCH>/alpine-standard-<VERSION>.0-<ARCH>.iso where ARCH and VERSION could be the following for VirtualBox virtual machines:

  • <ARCH> can be
    • x86: The most and well know i386 to i686 of 32-bit machines.
    • x86_64: The popular AMD64 compatible 64-bit x86 based machines.
  • <VERSION> can be
    • latest-stable for a more up to date without taking care of numbered
    • 3.10 where the UEFI started to become a option supported
    • 3.8 the most recommended for machines between 2012 to 2016
    • 3.6 the most recommended for machines very older

The most common option to use in a virtual box obviously must be x86 due are more cheap to test and does not consumes lot of memory due the address bus are more small respect 64-bit flavor, so the downloaded iso can be a url as:

  • For "x86" <ARCH> and "3.10" <VERSION> will be:

Graphical download: Just point the web browser to that url and the download of the iso file will start. A file with .iso extension type, with name like "alpine-standard-3.10.0-x86.iso" (if i386/686); will be downloaded commonly into the Download directory of your home documents filesystem.

Command line method: just open a terminal and ejecuted: wget -c -t8 --no-check-certificate<VERSION>/releases/<ARCH>/alpine-standard-<VERSION>.0-<ARCH>.iso, so for example:

  • For "x86" <ARCH> and "3.10" <VERSION> will be:

wget -c -t8 --no-check-certificate

You must take care the place where you run the command, in that place will be downloaded the file.

Preparing the virtual machine to install

Start the VirtualBox software program.

  1. In the main window create a new virtual machine by clicking the blue spark New button. Will open a new window with the following questions:
    1. Will ask for a name for the virtual like "alpine-desktop-try1".
    2. The Type of the Operating system choose "linux"
    3. The version choose "other linux" and must match with the <ARCH> choosed (like x86)
    4. By push "Next" button to continue to create the machine
  2. Second are RAM of the virtual machine, choose memory as 512MB minimum amount of. and push "Next" button.
  3. A new windows with a Hard disk assistant will opened
    1. First choose the option "Create a virtual hard disk now" and push "Create" button.
    2. Next choose the option for hard disk type: VDI and push "Next" button.
    3. Choose the dynamically allocated and push the "Next" button.
    4. Next window will offer the size of virtual disk, not so much due 4GB are far enough, use as you desire
    5. By push on "Create" the virtual machine will be ready to use
  4. Now the main window show you the "alpine-desktop-try1" created virtual machine, select them
    1. By push on "Configuration" yellow button go to the storage part and push it over
    2. Select the disc drive icon for CD/DVD rom and push on the again CD/DVD drive icon at the right
    3. Mini menu will opened, choose to select and external file event the host CD/DVD drive
    4. A file open dialog will open.. search to the downloaded iso of Alpine and select it
    5. Once defined the iso file to boot, push on the "Ok" button and virtual machines are finished.
  5. Push on the green arrow that said "Start" to start the virtual machine and boot up the iso
Alpine configuration commonly used of a virtual machine on virtual box virtual machine

Booting the Alpine ISO disc

When the machine start, you must be sure to choose the Optical drive (commonly named CD/DVD Rom drive), so the disc/iso will boot and after a while a command line shell will show you:

Tip: If your system are not configure to boot from a CD/DVD drive must be configure in the BIOS, ask to your vendor or technical support, VirtualBox need to hit the F12 key to choose boot medium
Installation : setup-alpine : booting process until login prompt

Normal setup/install process

After boot up, you will see a command line shell of a complete ready to use Alpine

Note: This process WORKS BEST with recent versions of "STANDARD" file image downloads. Older alpine images (for Rpi, IBM etc) will have some issues, we recommend always use lasted

Login as root

Log in as root and press enter. No password will be asked for if you're running from the boot image.


Running setup alpine script

Run the setup-alpine script as shown in the image:

Select keyboard layout

Choose your keyboard layout. If you don't know your keyboard layout, choose us. Typically, for a Latin American environment, es is enough. For Russian (and maybe Cyrilic) ru is sufficient.


Select keyboard variant

Choose your keyboard variant. If you don't know your keyboard variant, choose the default from the list. For example, the typical Latin American keymap is es-winkeys.


Enter system hostname

Host name, which will be the name of your computer. using localhost is enough and recommended for testing purposes because permits apply mostly to how-tos and tutorials on the wiki pages.


Initialize network cards

Choose your network card. Typically, you can just go with the default (press enter), a second question will ask about any other configuration. Type "no" then press enter to bypass the step to property set up after installation finished property.


IMPORTANT NOTE: mostly in x86 and x64 ISO images we can let configurations for later, cos at the most modern the network card, the lest supported or still not well tested. Just type done and press enter. If you configured the wired interface, another question will be asked, use dhcp? Most people will use DHCP, so press enter again. If you have Internet connection from ISP, most settings are just DHCP, so all will be configured automatically.

Initialize network DNS

The DNS will be automatically detected, if not, you will be asked ask for the server addresses. Type "" (empty string) for domain, then press enter. Later you can change it to (or the DNS server address of your choice) as shown in the picture. Press enter to go to the next question:


Changing the root password

Next a root password must be defined. You'll need to type it twice for confirmation as the picture shows. If it's too short you will get a warning, but your password will still work. Just retype it and go.

Note: when you type, NO chars will be shown.


Which timezone to choose?

Select a timezone, just press enter to use UTC when perform a single installation.


Proxy chooser

Then setup script will ask for proxy chooser.. just type none and then press enter


Enter mirror number

Then setup script will ask for repository mirror chooser.. just type done and then press enter, this will be configure many times later during usage of the system. Almost any tutorial of newbie pages will explain detailed so lest bypass using "done".


Which ssh server?

Installing an SSH server enables you to manage your machine remotely. OpenSSH is what the big distros use. Dropbear is a tiny SSH replacement. Recommended to type openssh and then press enter, because you able to connect using command line from Unix-like systems also is the offline available in all alpine installer images. Installation-alpine-alpine-setup-9-setup-scripts-ssh.png

Which NTP client to run?

This is for time sync. Press enter to use the image offline. It can be changed after installation.


Setup Disk

This will setup the destination usage of the files

Witch disk choose to use?

To choose the disk destination .. commonly sda are the hard disk cos sdb the USB boot or CD/DVD image


How would be used?

Then choose type of installation .. those are described at Setup modes section at Alpine setup scripts wiki page. "sys" mode is the familiar install to disk well knowed for usage as main OS to computers.


After all a confirmation question will raised, type "y" if everything are ok and the setup will proceed to erase, format and copy the files to the destination disk choose!

Finishing the installation

After al the scripts setup ends, a "reboot" will be offered, just type "reboot" and press enter, remobe the boot media and new installed system will be booted.


You cannot see a graphical window system? take easy and get calm down.. in Alpine all are made by the right way.. so if user need a desktop.. user can install a desktop follow the next: Alpine newbie apk packages or bypass and go directly to Alpine newbie desktops

For others ways to install see at the Alpine_newbie_install_manual

Documents series

Previous required What's next to read
Alpine newbie install manual Alpine newbie apk packages

See Also

  1. Newbie_Alpine_Ecosystem
  2. Alpine newbie apk packages
  3. Alpine newbie desktops
  4. Alpine newbie developer
  5. Alpine newbie lammers