Have ended up settling on VirtualBox for this. In the past I had some problems with the free version of VMware regarding the quality and scheduling of their Linux support. Maybe they are OK these days, but VirtualBox is doing everything well.
I had it back then, where you're in the middle of a game or code or something important, and it just suddenly start shutting down to update. Without any warning or choice. Don't know how aggressive it is these days.
The title specifically states VM though and not a container? Reading through the posts, at no point do I see where using docker fulfills his use case?
That's why I'm asking, curious as to why you suggest it.
Just set your network connection in Windows as a metered connection, and it won't auto download all the updates.
Also, when I started to learn Ubuntu I just used the shell on Windows to install Ubuntu. With the last update you just get it from the Windows Store. Much easier for people that want to learn Unix and still stay in Windows.