So I've got Linux running in a VM window on Windows.
Now to fix a few things, something that Normand Chamberland of the CAD on Linux blog helped me with. For instance, the maximum resolution in the VM window is 800x600 -- fine on a cell phone, but a pain on the desktop, especially taking into consideration my main monitor's resolution of 2018x1162.
Mr Chamberland answered my query with this advice: "That's because you need to install the Guest Additions" on VM VirtualBox He suggested some steps, and then I found that the following worked for my system:
First, in the Ubuntu operating system, ensure that the dkms package is installed. You can use the Synaptic package manager and its dialog box (System | Administration), but I find the easiest way to install it is by entering the following in terminal (Applications | Accessories | Terminal):
sudo apt-get install dkms
Enter your login password when prompted, and then wait while the package is installed. You will also need to enter Y when prompted. When the installation is finished, you can close the terminal window.
Next you have to mount the Guest Additions CD-ROM image: go to the Devices menu in the VM menu bar, and then select Install Guest Additions. The name of this menu item is somewhat misleading, in that it does not install the additions; it only mounts the image. ("Mount the image" means to attach a file or other device to make it look like a drive to the operating system; while Windows can only mount drives, Linux and OS X can also mount files as drives.)
Now you need to launch the install script. I found this was easiest through File Browser (like Windows Explorer or Finder). Notice that a "drive" named VBOXADDITIONS_3.2.8_64453 is mounted.
Double-click (or single-click, depending on how your system is set up) the drive to open it, and then double-click autorun.sh. Wait for it to finish installing the additional software.
Reboot (restart) Ubuntu to effect the change.
After restarting, choose System | Preferences | Monitors, and then specify a higher resolution. On my system, the max is a kind of funky 1360x780; maximizing the VM window increases the resolution to my monitor's maximum.