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How-To Install Ubuntu, Steam & TF2 under VirtualBox on Windows to get Linux Tux Promo

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Tux Linux promotional TF2 item

Tux Linux promotional TF2 item

So Steam is finally on Linux, Valve has announced that if you launch Team Fortress 2 between February 14th 2013 and March 1st 2013 on Linux you will receive a unique Linux Tux in-game TF2 item.

If you are interested in getting Tux but do not want to install a new operating system then here is a how-to guide for you. Using VirtualBox it is possible to safely install Ubuntu inside your current Windows install and run Ubuntu in a virtual environment. To save time we are going to install a pre-made image of Ubuntu 12.10. If you wish can also use VirtualBox to install Linux from an installation iso, it is good practice, but takes more time and is beyond the scope of this guide. After installing everything we will run TF2 to acquire the Linux Tux promotional item, unfortunately it appears that TF2 doesn’t appear work to under VirtualBox for the moment, however you can still obtain Tux by launching TF2 for a few minutes before it crashes.

Update: Excellent video tutorial of this guide has been created by failureandersenboi, big thanks to him for recording all the steps in an easy to follow video. A couple of notes before you watch, LXDE installation is optional and it maybe required to properly rename the .gcf files to make each first letter of each word capital. Refer to the text version of this manual for more information about each step, or check the comments if you run into problems. Thanks again to failureandersenboi for making this video.

Step 1: Get Ubuntu. Go to and download Ubuntu 12.10 x86 VirtualBox Image, the file should be called: ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.7z you will require 7zip or WinRAR to uncompress the 7z archive file. The VirtualBox image is 613 MB compressed and 3.0 GB uncompressed. After you have downloaded the file, uncompress it somewhere. It should contain 2 files: ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.vbox & ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.vdi, move them in to a folder somewhere on your hard drive and remember the location. You can also remove the compressed 7z archive, it is no longer required.

Step 2: Get VirtualBox. Go to and download VirtualBox, click [x86/amd64] under VirtualBox 4.2.6 for Windows hosts. In my case the file is “VirtualBox-4.2.6-82870-Win.exe”, after the download is complete simply start the install and follow the default install procedure. You do not need to change anything, just click next during the installation. At some point during the Network Interfaces install you will get a few pop-ups about certain devices that want to be installed, just click install on all of them.

Step 3: Configure VirtualBox. Click New, a Create Virtual Machine window will show up. Fill out the first screen based on the screenshot below and click Next.


I only have 3GB of RAM so I will only offer the virtual machine 1.5GB, but if you can spare more it would be beneficial, do not go past the red zone or your main operating system may run out of ram.


For Hard Drive, select Use an existing virtual hard drive file and locate the .vdi file you downloaded/ uncompressed earlier and click Create.


Right click on Ubuntu 12.10 and select settings. Under Display, Video Tab move the slider for Video Memory to as far as you can. In my case the max is 128 MB for an ATI HD4870 512MB video card. Also make sure to select Enable 3D Acceleration.


Recommended Step: If you have TF2 installed you can add the Steam Folder to Shared Folders Tab to avoid redownloading most of the major TF2 GCF files. Click OK to exit the settings.


Optional but Recommended Step: The 20GB limit on the VirtualBox .vdi image may not be enough space, so I recommend increasing the size of the partition first in Windows by issuing the following commands from command prompt (modify the paths if they are different). To access the cmd click start and in either run or inside the search field type cmd a terminal like application will open, after that type out the 2 commands below.

cd “C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\”

then issue the second command:

Scroll to Continue

VBoxManage modifyhd "C:\ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.vdi" --resize 40000

This will resize the vdi disk from 20GB to 40GB.

Then use a GParted LiveCD iso: which I mounted from within VirtualBox under the Settings > Storage > CD/DVD Drive. Then boot under the CD. You can click enter on any of the questions GParted will ask you during boot. Once the GParted boots use the graphical partition manger to resize the partitions.

Mount the GParted iso file as a CD/DVD.

Mount the GParted iso file as a CD/DVD.


resize extended to fill all of the unallocated space

resize linux-swap to go to the far right of the disk, but keep it 754 MB

resize extended to go to the far right as far as you can

resize ext4 to fill remaining unallocated space

You will have a couple of 1 MB unallocated clusters remaining, not much can be done about that, click Apply to finish. After the process is complete click Exit and choose Shutdown, the virtual GParted disk should unmount/eject automatically.

Step 4: Start Ubuntu, select Ubuntu 12.10 and click the Start arrow, this will start Ubuntu in a new window. It may take a while to load, so wait. When the system loads you will be in the login screen, login with (username/password): ubuntu/reverse

Congratulations you now have a working Ubuntu 12.10 system installed as a virtual machine under Windows. I noticed the keyboard layout is set to Italian under this virtual image, so you just click the top Ubuntu start launcher button and type keyboard, find keyboard settings and add English (US) instead. Here is a video in case you are stuck on changing the keyboard settings.

Optional Step: The default Ubuntu desktop under Unity is very slow for me, so I am going do a system update first and then install LXDE instead. You can keep Ubuntu as it is, if it works well under VirtualBox, but if the system is lagging like it is for me I recommend you switch to LXDE. To update the system open the terminal, by using the Ubuntu start launcher and searching for terminal.

The command to update the system is:

sudo apt-get update

The command to install LXDE is:

sudo apt-get install lxde

You can then logout and relogin under LXDE for a faster desktop experience.


Step 5: Install Steam, go to: and download steam.deb, by default it will be in /Home/Downloads folder if you are using Firefox, simply run and click install.

Recommended Step: If already have TF2 installed on your Windows install, and you did the automount option mentioned earlier you can access your VirtualBox shared folder. But before you can open it you need to run the following command: (if you don’t you will get access denied):

sudo usermod -G vboxsf -a ubuntu

Please not if you are using a different username other than ubuntu you need to change the last line of this command to your username > sudo usermod -G vboxsf -a yourusername

Now logout and relogin and you should find your Windows steam folder under /media/sf_Steam

Copy the following .gcf files to /home/ubuntu/.steam/steam/SteamApps/

Note: .steam folder is hidden, enable hidden folders to see it! (Press CTRL + H or Show Hidden Files under View)

Source 2007 Shared Materials.gcf

Source 2007 Shared Models.gcf

Source 2007 Shared Sounds.gcf


Source Materials.gcf

Source Models.gcf

Source Sounds.gcf

Team Fortress 2 Client Content.gcf

Team Fortress 2 Content.gcf

Team Fortress 2 Materials.gcf

Important: On Windows these files will all be lowercase, when you are done copying them you will need to rename them to have each first letter of the world to be uppercase as shown above. For example, Windows will have source materials.gcf, Linux should have it renamed to Source Materials.gcf


Start Steam and install TF2, if you copied the files like mentioned above your install will be minimal compared to a full install.

Step 6: Starting TF2

You can start TF2 now, the game will probably not work. You will get a black screen and possibly hear background music. However you should receive the Tux item regardless.

You can also try running TF2 from the terminal, by typing in the following command:

steam -applaunch 440 -novid -textmode -nosound -noipx -nopreload -nojoy -sw -maxplayers 2 +sv_lan 1 +map "itemtest"

Textmode doesn’t appear to work completely either after a few minutes it will hang, but both methods will work to acquire the promotional item. Good luck.

Scout with Tux attached to the misc slot.

Scout with Tux attached to the misc slot.

If this guide worked for you or if you managed to get Team Fortress 2 to work under Linux or VirtualBox please share your experience. Thank you for reading.


iyanriana on January 13, 2015:

Dear alexmk, thank you for your tutorial. It's very useful. And also I created my own tutorial in Bahasa, here we go:

nevelshute on November 05, 2013:

Sorry to be so pedantic, but just a correction to your English.

You wrote:

"If you are interested in getting Tux but do not want to install a new operating system then..."

The correct form is:

"If you are interested in getting Tux but do not want to install an operating system then..."

alexmk (author) from Canada on June 30, 2013:

Sorry for the late response, Tux is no longer obtainable. However it may become tradable at some point.

some guy on March 10, 2013:

is it still possible cuz its been 1st of march???

J~ on March 01, 2013:

Nvm It's because I run a 64 bit computer, is there anyway to still install linux through the VA and get the penguin?

J~ on March 01, 2013:

I hope someone can help me, I recently followed most of the guide (didn't do some of the optional) but aside form that I followed it to a T. Anyhow once I start up the machine and log in it seems to just sit there and refuse to load up the desktop icons and such and just show the (admittedly nice looking wallpaper) but nothing else.

Wolfeye on March 01, 2013:

Thank you very much for the guide and the help. It took me a few hours because of an old computer but I managed to get the tux.

alexmk (author) from Canada on March 01, 2013:

Looks to me like a steam update problem, I would try removing steam and re-installing.

You can remove steam with:

sudo apt-get remove steam

FireStarter101 on February 28, 2013:

this is what i am getting

ubuntu@ubuntu-VirtualBox:~$ steam

Running Steam on ubuntu 12.10 32-bit

STEAM_RUNTIME is enabled automatically

Installing breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(1361807486_client)

Looks like steam didn't shutdown cleanly, scheduling immediate update check

Installing breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(1361807486_client)

[2013-03-01 06:10:41] Checking for update on startup

[2013-03-01 06:10:41] Checking for available updates...


breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(1361807486_client)

[2013-03-01 06:10:41] Download complete.

[2013-03-01 06:10:41] Verifying installation...

unlinked 0 orphaned pipes

Gtk-Message: Failed to load module "overlay-scrollbar"

Installing breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(1361807486_client)

[0301/] PAC support disabled because there is no system implementation

Installing breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(1361807486_client)

Installing breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(1361807486_client)

Installing breakpad exception handler for appid(steam)/version(1361807486_client)

/home/ubuntu/.local/share/Steam/ line 700: 1989 Segmentation fault



dylan on February 28, 2013:


I just misspelled a bunch of times. thanks for help tho!

alexmk (author) from Canada on February 28, 2013:

@FireStarter101: If you open a terminal and type steam, it will try to start it up. If it fails it will provide an error inside of the terminal.

FireStarter101 on February 27, 2013:


cd C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox

VBoxManage modifyhd C:\........\ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386\ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.vdi --resize 40000

this is the line i used just put the rest of your path in the middle

dylan on February 27, 2013:

Great tut

Everything is good until I get to --resize40000. Cmd tells me it failed to create..... "Most likely, the VirtualBox COM server is not running or failed to start." Any solutions?

Also, I started Ubuntu without this step and tried to find the gcf files, but they are hidden and ctrl+H doesn't work. So if I install TF2 from scratch, will it still run?

FireStarter101 on February 27, 2013:

i can't get steam to start up i see it launch at the bottom and then it closes

alexmk (author) from Canada on February 27, 2013:

Never came across this issue, are you certain you have enough space?

I would recommend downloading the files on Windows and then moving the gcf files to the Virtual Machine.

//// on February 27, 2013:

Anybody else having Steam randomly shut down while installing? I got to about 85% downloading TF2, but periodically Steam shuts itself down. Wasn't much of a big deal because the download still kept going but once it hit 85% and shut down, when I reopened, it for some reason started again at 0%. I'm starting to think I'll run out of time.

Stranger on February 26, 2013:


alexmk (author) from Canada on February 25, 2013:

Like I mentioned earlier, you can try to do an update via sudo apt-get install.

I'm not really sure what is causing this problem, but I have a feeling you guys might be running a 64 bit system? Could be a bug.

Pauli on February 25, 2013:

Hi there, i also got some Problems like some other people :

All I see is the default background after I log in. I can still open up the terminal with Ctrl+Alt+F1 and carry out commands.

alexmk (author) from Canada on February 25, 2013:

@Marx: After you enter the command it should ask you for your password and then begin updating. If it's not working I'm not sure, perhaps the virtual machine is damaged in some way. Sorry couldn't help more, but it's rather difficult without having access to the machine myself.

@JonWhoa: I would try restarting, seems like you might have steam running already because another process is locked on to it.

JonWhoa on February 24, 2013:

Ok, I have that done, now when I try to run steam, it gives me an error and it says to install jockey-common. However, when I try to install it, it gives me the message: "Could not get lock "whateverlockitis" Resource temporarily unavailable" and it says "is another process using it?"

Marx on February 24, 2013:

The sudo apt-get update command does nothing for me. Just sits there.

alexmk (author) from Canada on February 24, 2013:

@JonWhoa: Disabling network booting up the vm and shutdowning, enabling it again appears to be the solution based on this post:

JonWhoa on February 23, 2013:

Ok, so now when I do it, when I try to open VirtualBox, it gives me this error: Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Ubuntu 12.10.

No error info.

Result Code: E_FAIL (0x80004005)

Component: ProgressProxy

Interface: IProgress {c20238e4-3221-4d3f-8891-81ce92d9f913}

FamusJamus on February 23, 2013:

A note for multi-HD users:

When using cmd.exe to change the size of the partition, you must identify the drive you installed VirtualBox on before using the cd command (e.g. Type "E:" without quotes and pressed enter before you use cd "E:\blahdeblah\").

At least, that's what Google told me to do.

alexmk (author) from Canada on February 23, 2013:

Yeah that should be more then enough. It's an odd problem, I would start from scratch or try installing a default install using ISO and then install Virtual Guest Tools 4.2.2. Sorry not sure how to help you otherwise, but good luck.

David on February 23, 2013:

@alexmk It says I have 1541 MB of RAM used for this Virtual Machine and for video card memory I have used 128 MB. If it helps, I can show you a few screenshots if needed.

alexmk (author) from Canada on February 22, 2013:

@David: If you right click on the Ubuntu virtual machine inside of VirtualBox you can click settings. Look through all the tabs and let me know, how much RAM and Video Card Memory you have allocated to Ubuntu. I haven't been able to replicate your problem, I tried a couple of times not sure. It's possible it's a bug or a setting or something went wrong like you missed a step or messed up a command.

@JohnWhoa: Perhaps try this:

@MattieG: I read that it may have something to do with a feature inside your PC inside your BIOS. You may have Hardware Virtualization either disabled or unavalible. Some people suggest that Dell computers are prone to having Hardware Virtualization disabled by default. In some cases you may need to update your BIOS or figure out how to enable this feature. This is sort of complicated not sure if it's worth it, but maybe look into it. At least let us know which system you use, like a model number of the computer if it's not custom built. Without Hardware Virtualization enabled, you would not be able to use VirtualBox or VMware.

David on February 22, 2013:

I think I used the same amount of MB in the guide. I tried to use the reconfigure option but it didn't work. I don't know how to check over the settings of the virtual machine so... yea... And the Operating System I use is Windows 7.

MattiieG on February 22, 2013:

i get this error when i try starting ubuntu, any help? (Failed to open a session for the virtual machine Ubuntu.

VT-x features locked or unavailable in MSR. (VERR_VMX_MSR_LOCKED_OR_DISABLED).

Result Code: E_FAIL (0x80004005)

Component: Console

Interface: IConsole {db7ab4ca-2a3f-4183-9243-c1208da92392}

JonWhoa on February 22, 2013:

OK, so now it says "Cannot register the hard disk 'C:\whateverpath\ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386.vdi' because [that hard disk] already exists

alexmk (author) from Canada on February 22, 2013:

If you are using VirtualBox take a look at Step 3 of this guide, or check the video guide.

Milshake on February 22, 2013:

"@Milshake: Make sure you have enough space."

I'm sorry but can you tell me how get more space in my ubuntu, thank u !

alexmk (author) from Canada on February 22, 2013:

@Andersen: Good catch.

@Collin: Sorry I have no idea about Windows 8, it could be. I have tried this under Windows XP and Windows 7, and people have told me this guide works under OSX. If you get a specific error let me know I will take a look into it.

@David: This is an odd issue, something is wrong. Are you sure you allocated enough MB for the video card under VirtualBox? If you can get to a terminal or use the reconfigure option you can try:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

followed by:

sudo reboot

However if it's a setting issue this will not work, I would check over the virtual machine settings first. Also which OS are you using to run VirtualBox?

Andersen on February 22, 2013:

@Robin: It's "ubuntu-12.10-desktop-i386" and not "ubuntu-12.10-desktop-1386". I hope you found my video useful. :)