Sometimes a small, simple Linux VM is all you need. It's nice to have a simple desktop. The basic GNOME desktop does the trick. This is the basic set of packages required for a GNOME desktop:

$ sudo apt install xorg gnome-core gnome-system-tools gnome-app-install

Since you are probably at a command line prompt on the console, you'll need to reboot to get to the desktop:

$ sudo reboot