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The Dummies Guide to Virtualbox

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Who
This Guide is a no-brainer resource for the person who needs windows software. And want the easiest way to get it to run in Linux. Their are other options for virtualization, but Virtualbox is free, and for many if not most users sufficient

What is It
Virtualization is basically a piece of software that allows you to run almost any operating system as if it where any other application. This means no partitioning, multiple hard drives. or any of that hassle.

Why Should You Virtualize.
1. If You need to run Certain Windows application not compatible with Wine.
2. If you want to test out a Operating system especially new ones like windows 7
3. If you only need a operating system temporary.
4. If you have a USB device that only works in windows virtualbox might be of help
5. If you want to tryout software

Why Should you not Virtualize

1. IF you have limited ram you'll need enough for the host and the guest.
2. If your a Gamer and want to play games like fallout3, far cry,and crysis.
3. If you want to use Internet explorer
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Before we Start
IF you fall in the first category this is the guide for you. This will guide you through all the steps of starting a virtual machine, and not only that I'll show you ways to improve your VirtualBox experience.

Operating System
Today I will be using Ubuntu 9.04 for the host

Guest
And for the guest OS I will be Using Windows XP
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The Guide

Part 1 Getting Virtualbox

For Ubuntu users the is a open source version of virtualbox in the Ubuntu repository, but it is slightly crippled and does not have many of the features seen in the closed source version. For most users getting the closed source version will be the best way to go.

The closed source version is only available to home personal or testing use and it is limited by
VirtualBox Personal Use and Evaluation License.

Some features limited to the closed source version are

  • Remote Display Protocol (RDP) Server
This component implements a complete RDP server on top of the virtual hardware and allows users to connect to a virtual machine remotely using any RDP compatible client.
  • USB support
VirtualBox implements a virtual USB controller and supports passing through USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 devices to virtual machines.
  • USB over RDP
This is a combination of the RDP server and USB support allowing users to make USB devices available to virtual machines running remotely.
  • Serial ATA controller
Like a real SATA controller, VirtualBox’s virtual SATA controller operates faster and also consumes less CPU resources than the virtual IDE controller. Also, this allows you to connect more than three virtual hard disks to the machine.

Once your get on the virtualbox website click on downloads on the right.





After that you'll want to Click on Linux Host. Because you'll be installing your guest host from a linux machine.


After that You'll be presented with a long list of downloads for different version of Linux. If your using Ubuntu click on the Ubuntu one. If your using Redhat click on the Redhat one. Just use the one that matches your distribution


Okay now all you have to do is download virtualbox. Install it, and then run it.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Part 2 Installing virtualbox

When you first start up virtualbox your be presented with this screen. You'll want to click on the blue new button. To start up the virtual machine making process


The first thing virtualbox will ask you to do is to name your virtual machine. This is just for identification and is not something you should spend too much time on. If your just going to have one virtual machine just give it your name or a pet name. If your testing out a operating system give it a name like xp test, and if you have multiple virtual machines name them in a way that will allow you recognise the different systems. xxy3 and xxy4 is probably not the best way to go. I'm just sticking to one operating system so I chose to use my real name for it


Next Step is to determine how much memory your virtual machine will use. This is not set in stone and if you want to change it for different situations you can. Just remember you'll need enough ram for the guest operating system and the host one. Also consider what kind of applications you'll be running in the guest OS and the host.



Next you'll need to make a virtual hard drive for your virtual machine to use.



For most users dynamic expanding disk will be the best option. Basically it starts out very small, and as your virtual machine gets bigger so does the hard disk. Until it gets to your specified limit. At that point the operating system and the virtual machine will no longer be able to add more data.



For this step you'll just want to consider what you'll be using the virtual machine for. If you just need Microsoft office you might get away with just 10 or less GB. If you doing something that requires more hard drive space you'll want to give your virtual machine more space to



After your done making your virtual disk. You'll want to click on your newly made virtual machine, and the start arrow to start up the guest OS install process



Next you should be presented with this screen just keep on pressing next



Next you'll need a copy of your operating system it can either be from a download in the form of a ISO image. Or it can be a CD. Where ever it is just click on the appropriate option and then click next once your shown virtualbox where the install files are.




After this if all goes well you'll see the virtual machine start to install the operating system.




I'm going to assume that most members on this site will know how to install a OS. So that's the end of that part of the guide

If Your using Ubuntu you may want to install the dkms Package to ensure that the VirtualBox host kernel modules (vboxdrv and vboxnetflt) are properly updated if the linux kernel version changes during the next apt-get upgrade. Just go to system and then synaptic package manager and then search for dkms. And then click on the check and apply to install it.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Part 3 Improving your Virtualization experience

First I will show you how to install guest addition addon. Its very easy all you have to do is click on your virtual machine start it up, and then go to the machine menu drop all the way down, and just click on install guest addition addon.




It should start up automatically if it does not. Just click on my computer and your OS should have it as a drive. Just click on the drive and the install process will start



If all goes well you'll see this screen in your guest OS



After the install you'll be ask to restart your guest OS


After you install guest addition addon your mouse should automatically integrate with your OS. So you no longer will have to capture and uncapture it. I also recommend enabling seamless mode.




Next on the agenda setting up a shared folder.

First Highlight your system and then click on settings the blue button at the way top.



Next you'll have to make a folder in your host for it to share with your guest.

After that in the shared menu of virtualbox click on add shared folder, and specify where the folder you just made is. And if you want windows to be able to write to the folder and its files. Do not click on read only.


Next it is probably best to go to users and groups and then to manage groups. To add yourself to the vboxusers group





After that you should just start up your Guest OS. You have to have the guest addition addon installed for this to work. After that just go to my computer



Then go to network places if nothing shows up you might have to click on add network places, and start the wizard. Just allow it to do its thing and then when you get to this screen. Click on choose a network location


After that can just click on browse and then network places, entire net
work,vbox, and then the shared folder you made before



After you complete the wizard your shared folder should be setup. If for some reason your shared folder is be stupid and refuses to show up like mine did. Maybe this will help

First off to make sure everything was setup right

go to folders at the top. And using the side menu go to your newly made network place like you did before.



And then what worked for me was putting a random file into the folder. For some reason after that the shared folder showed up
without me having to go to folders and then specify the location on the tree. After all of that you should be able to just click on network places, your shared folder, and see all the files in your shared folder




------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




Glossary

A least of Virtualization terms and how the are used in the guide

Virtualization- Running a Operating system within another Operating system as a application

Guest OS- The operating system that is running within the host

Host OS- The primary Os that runs the guest OS, and where virtualbox should be install from

Virtual Disk- A virtual hard drive your operating system will be able to use. It can be used just like any other hard disk, and can be disposed of when ever it is not needed.

Virtual Machine- The machine where your Guest OS will run from. It includes the virtual disk and the install guest OS.

Note: I just remember something you can run Virtualbox from Mac OSX
But you can not run Mac OSX as a Virtual Machine

Edited by Apinchof - 6/24/09 at 10:54am
post #2 of 7
One suggestion: Cover the "guest additions" which allow better video rendering (full screen, 3D support, etc.).

Nice guide, though.
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
already got it covered
I also plan on

explaining how to set-up a shared folders
and how to instal virtualbox to its own hard drive
post #4 of 7
Thanks for the great guide! This is what make Linux so great; the awesome community.
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post #5 of 7
This is a very nice in-depth guide.

Of course, not even the perfect guide will pass our scrutiny, lol...
Suggestions:
  • More detail the differences between the binary version and the OSE version (In short: the closed source version is only available to home personal or testing use).
  • What to do after a kernel update.
    The vboxdrv module will not start correctly after a kernel update. I forgot all about this when I upgraded to the 2.6.30 kernel yesterday. I ended up completely reinstalling virtualbox when all I needed to do was a simple command to update the module...
  • To avoid confusion, change "add yourself to the virtualbox group" to "add yourself to the vboxusers group".

Above all, great guide!
post #6 of 7
Anyone ever hacked your VB (unpatched) install of XP with Backtrack just for lulz?
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post #7 of 7
Nice guide for Virtualbox.

You might want to change the title to "Dummies Guide to Virtualbox" to avoid confusion. A proper guide to Virtualization would take a dozen pages or more to do it any justice. If you want to do that, then go read Anantech's 4 virtualization guides, they are very informative and in depth.
    
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