How to watch Netflix instant on Ubuntu

UPDATE 2012-12-09
I wrote a new post on a better way to do this. I’m going to leave this up because it’s still a good resource on getting a copy of Windows running for IE testing and the like.

…or any Linux distro, for that matter, 100% legally (i.e. no cracked copies of anything, no drm cracking, etc.).

Go here and follow the instructions to install just IE9: (the command I used was

curl -s | IEVMS_VERSIONS="9" bash


At home (where I had an average dl speed of 340Kb/s) this took 4 hours. It was something like 10 minutes at work where I was downloading at 4Mb/s.

The VM will expire in 30 days, but you can easily reset to a clean snapshot of the VM from before its deactivation counter started. It comes with Firefox already installed, so you don’t even have to install a new browser!

One thing to watch out for: by default there are no audio drivers installed. In VitualBox, open up the audio options for the VM and turn audio on, then select the correct drivers and hardware. For me, this was the ALSA drivers and the Intel HD hardware. You’ll just have to figure this one out by trial and error.

To do so, change the audio settings, start the VM, and see if windows automatically finds and installs the drivers for audio. If it doesn’t, close and keep trying different combinations until it does. Once the VM has the drivers installed, you need to make sure the audio works well 1. Just go to youtube and play any video. If the sound quality isn’t where you’d want it to be for watching a whole movie or tv show, repeat the previous steps until you find a combination that gives you the desired results.

And now we have oh so sweet Netflix instant on Ubuntu without needing to give Windows the two partitions it demands of our hard drives.


  1. Nobody wants to watch Doctor Who with choppy sound!

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