Oracle©R VM VirtualBox©R User Manual
Version 6.0.0 ©c 2004-2018 Oracle Corporation http://www.virtualbox.org,
Prefacei1First Steps 1 1.1 Why is Virtualization Useful? .2 1.2 Some Terminology .2 1.3 Features Overview .3 1.4 Supported Host Operating Systems .5 1.5 Host CPU Requirements .6 1.6 Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs .6 1.7 Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox .7 1.8 Creating Your First Virtual Machine .8 1.9 Running Your Virtual Machine .11 1.9.1 Starting a New VM for the First Time .12 1.9.2 Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse .12 1.9.3 Typing Special Characters .13 1.9.4 Changing Removable Media .14 1.9.5 Resizing the Machine’s Window .14 1.9.6 Saving the State of the Machine .15 1.10 Using VM Groups .16 1.11 Snapshots .17 1.11.1 Taking, Restoring, and Deleting Snapshots .17 1.11.2 Snapshot Contents .19 1.12 Virtual Machine Configuration .19 1.13 Removing and Moving Virtual Machines .20 1.14 Cloning Virtual Machines .20 1.15 Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines .22 1.15.1 About the OVF Format .22 1.15.2 Importing an Appliance in OVF Format .22 1.15.3 Exporting an Appliance in OVF Format .24 1.15.4 Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure .24 1.15.5 The Cloud Profile Manager .26 1.16 Global Settings .27 1.17 Alternative Front-Ends .28 2 Installation Details 29 2.1 Installing on Windows Hosts .29 2.1.1 Prerequisites .29 2.1.2 Performing the Installation .29 2.1.3 Uninstallation .31 2.1.4 Unattended Installation .31 2.1.5 Public Properties .31 2.2 Installing on Mac OS X Hosts .32 2.2.1 Performing the Installation .32 2.2.2 Uninstallation .32 2.2.3 Unattended Installation .32 2.3 Installing on Linux Hosts .32, Contents 2.3.1 Prerequisites .32 2.3.2 The Oracle VM VirtualBox Driver Modules .33 2.3.3 Performing the Installation .33 2.3.4 The vboxusers Group .37 2.3.5 Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux .37 2.4 Installing on Oracle Solaris Hosts .37 2.4.1 Performing the Installation .37 2.4.2 The vboxuser Group .38 2.4.3 Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Oracle Solaris .38 2.4.4 Uninstallation .38 2.4.5 Unattended Installation .38 2.4.6 Configuring a Zone for Running Oracle VM VirtualBox .39 3 Configuring Virtual Machines 40 3.1 Supported Guest Operating Systems .40 3.1.1 Mac OS X Guests .41 3.1.2 64-bit Guests .42 3.2 Unattended Guest Installation .43 3.2.1 An Example of Unattended Guest Installation .43 3.3 Emulated Hardware .45 3.4 General Settings .45 3.4.1 Basic Tab .45 3.4.2 Advanced Tab .46 3.4.3 Description Tab .46 3.4.4 Disk Encryption Tab .46 3.5 System Settings .47 3.5.1 Motherboard Tab .47 3.5.2 Processor Tab .48 3.5.3 Acceleration Tab .49 3.6 Display Settings .50 3.6.1 Screen Tab .50 3.6.2 Remote Display Tab .51 3.6.3 Recording Tab .51 3.7 Storage Settings .51 3.8 Audio Settings .53 3.9 Network Settings .54 3.10 Serial Ports .54 3.11 USB Support .56 3.11.1 USB Settings .56 3.11.2 Implementation Notes for Windows and Linux Hosts .57 3.12 Shared Folders .58 3.13 User Interface .58 3.14 Alternative Firmware (EFI) .58 3.14.1 Video Modes in EFI .59 3.14.2 Specifying Boot Arguments .61 4 Guest Additions 62 4.1 Introduction to Guest Additions .62 4.2 Installing and Maintaining Guest Additions .63 4.2.1 Guest Additions for Windows .63 4.2.2 Guest Additions for Linux .66 4.2.3 Guest Additions for Oracle Solaris .68 4.2.4 Guest Additions for OS/2 .69 4.3 Shared Folders .69, Contents 4.3.1 Manual Mounting .70 4.3.2 Automatic Mounting .71 4.4 Drag and Drop .72 4.4.1 Supported Formats .73 4.4.2 Known Limitations .74 4.5 Hardware-Accelerated Graphics .74 4.5.1 Hardware 3D Acceleration (OpenGL and Direct3D 8/9) .74 4.5.2 Hardware 2D Video Acceleration for Windows Guests .75 4.6 Seamless Windows .75 4.7 Guest Properties .76 4.7.1 Using Guest Properties to Wait on VM Events .78 4.8 Guest Control File Manager .78 4.8.1 Using the Guest Control File Manager .79 4.9 Guest Control of Applications .79 4.10 Memory Overcommitment .80 4.10.1 Memory Ballooning .80 4.10.2 Page Fusion .81 5 Virtual Storage 83 5.1 Hard Disk Controllers: IDE, SATA (AHCI), SCSI, SAS, USB MSD, NVMe .83 5.2 Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD) .86 5.3 The Virtual Media Manager .87 5.4 Special Image Write Modes .89 5.5 Differencing Images .90 5.6 Cloning Disk Images .92 5.7 Host Input/Output Caching .93 5.8 Limiting Bandwidth for Disk Images .93 5.9 CD/DVD Support .94 5.10 iSCSI Servers .95 6 Virtual Networking 96 6.1 Virtual Networking Hardware .96 6.2 Introduction to Networking Modes .97 6.3 Network Address Translation (NAT) .98 6.3.1 Configuring Port Forwarding with NAT .98 6.3.2 PXE Booting with NAT .99 6.3.3 NAT Limitations .100 6.4 Network Address Translation Service .100 6.5 Bridged Networking .101 6.6 Internal Networking .102 6.7 Host-Only Networking .103 6.8 UDP Tunnel Networking .104 6.9 VDE Networking .105 6.10 Limiting Bandwidth for Network Input/Output .106 6.11 Improving Network Performance .107 7 Remote Virtual Machines 108 7.1 Remote Display (VRDP Support) .108 7.1.1 Common Third-Party RDP Viewers .108 7.1.2 VBoxHeadless, the Remote Desktop Server .110 7.1.3 Step by Step: Creating a Virtual Machine on a Headless Server .111 7.1.4 Remote USB .112 7.1.5 RDP Authentication .113 7.1.6 RDP Encryption .114, Contents 7.1.7 Multiple Connections to the VRDP Server .115 7.1.8 Multiple Remote Monitors .115 7.1.9 VRDP Video Redirection .115 7.1.10 VRDP Customization .116 7.2 Teleporting .116 8 VBoxManage 118 8.1 Introduction .118 8.2 Commands Overview .119 8.3 General Options .130 8.4 VBoxManage list .130 8.5 VBoxManage showvminfo .131 8.6 VBoxManage registervm/unregistervm .132 8.7 VBoxManage createvm .132 8.8 VBoxManage modifyvm .133 8.8.1 General Settings .133 8.8.2 Networking Settings .137 8.8.3 Miscellaneous Settings .139 8.8.4 Recording Settings .141 8.8.5 Remote Machine Settings .141 8.8.6 Teleporting Settings .144 8.8.7 Debugging Settings .144 8.8.8 USB Card Reader Settings .145 8.8.9 Autostarting VMs During Host System Boot .145 8.9 VBoxManage clonevm .145 8.10 VBoxManage movevm .146 8.11 VBoxManage import .146 8.12 VBoxManage export .148 8.12.1 Export to OVF .148 8.12.2 Export to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure .148 8.13 VBoxManage startvm .149 8.14 VBoxManage controlvm .150 8.15 VBoxManage discardstate .156 8.16 VBoxManage adoptstate .156 8.17 VBoxManage snapshot .157 8.18 VBoxManage closemedium .157 8.19 VBoxManage storageattach .158 8.20 VBoxManage storagectl .162 8.21 VBoxManage bandwidthctl .163 8.22 VBoxManage showmediuminfo .164 8.23 VBoxManage createmedium .164 8.24 VBoxManage modifymedium .165 8.25 VBoxManage clonemedium .166 8.26 VBoxManage mediumproperty .167 8.27 VBoxManage encryptmedium .168 8.28 VBoxManage checkmediumpwd .168 8.29 VBoxManage convertfromraw .169 8.30 VBoxManage getextradata/setextradata .169 8.31 VBoxManage setproperty .170 8.32 VBoxManage usbfilter add/modify/remove .171 8.33 VBoxManage sharedfolder add/remove .173 8.34 VBoxManage guestproperty .174 8.35 VBoxManage guestcontrol .175 8.36 VBoxManage metrics .186, Contents 8.37 VBoxManage natnetwork .187 8.38 VBoxManage hostonlyif .190 8.39 VBoxManage dhcpserver .191 8.40 VBoxManage usbdevsource .191 8.41 VBoxManage mediumio .192 8.42 VBoxManage debugvm .193 8.43 VBoxManage extpack .199 8.44 VBoxManage unattended .201 9 Advanced Topics 204 9.1 Automated Guest Logins .204 9.1.1 Automated Windows Guest Logins .204 9.1.2 Automated Linux and UNIX Guest Logins .205 9.2 Advanced Configuration for Windows Guests .208 9.2.1 Automated Windows System Preparation .208 9.3 Advanced Configuration for Linux and Oracle Solaris Guests .209 9.3.1 Manual Setup of Selected Guest Services on Linux .209 9.3.2 Guest Graphics and Mouse Driver Setup in Depth .209 9.4 CPU Hot-Plugging .210 9.5 PCI Passthrough .211 9.6 Webcam Passthrough .213 9.6.1 Using a Host Webcam in the Guest .213 9.6.2 Windows Hosts .214 9.6.3 Mac OS X Hosts .214 9.6.4 Linux and Oracle Solaris Hosts .214 9.7 Advanced Display Configuration .214 9.7.1 Custom VESA Resolutions .214 9.7.2 Configuring the Maximum Resolution of Guests When Using the Graphical Frontend .214 9.8 Advanced Storage Configuration .215 9.8.1 Using a Raw Host Hard Disk From a Guest .215 9.8.2 Configuring the Hard Disk Vendor Product Data (VPD) .217 9.8.3 Access iSCSI Targets Using Internal Networking .218 9.9 Legacy Commands for Using Serial Ports .218 9.10 Fine Tuning the Oracle VM VirtualBox NAT Engine .219 9.10.1 Configuring the Address of a NAT Network Interface .219 9.10.2 Configuring the Boot Server (Next Server) of a NAT Network Interface . 219 9.10.3 Tuning TCP/IP Buffers for NAT .219 9.10.4 Binding NAT Sockets to a Specific Interface .220 9.10.5 Enabling DNS Proxy in NAT Mode .220 9.10.6 Using the Host’s Resolver as a DNS Proxy in NAT Mode .220 9.10.7 Configuring Aliasing of the NAT Engine .221 9.11 Configuring the BIOS DMI Information .221 9.12 Configuring Custom ACPI Tables .223 9.13 Fine Tuning Timers and Time Synchronization .223 9.13.1 Configuring the Guest Time Stamp Counter (TSC) to Reflect Guest Execution .223 9.13.2 Accelerate or Slow Down the Guest Clock .223 9.13.3 Tuning the Guest Additions Time Synchronization Parameters .224 9.13.4 Disabling the Guest Additions Time Synchronization .225 9.14 Installing the Alternate Bridged Networking Driver on Oracle Solaris 11 hosts . 225 9.15 Oracle VM VirtualBox VNIC Templates for VLANs on Oracle Solaris 11 Hosts .225 9.16 Configuring Multiple Host-Only Network Interfaces on Oracle Solaris Hosts .226 9.17 Configuring the Oracle VM VirtualBox CoreDumper on Oracle Solaris Hosts .227, Contents 9.18 Oracle VM VirtualBox and Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones .228 9.19 Locking Down the Oracle VM VirtualBox GUI .228 9.19.1 Customizing the VirtualBox Manager .228 9.19.2 VM Selector Customization .228 9.19.3 Configure VM Selector Menu Entries .229 9.19.4 Configure VM Window Menu Entries .230 9.19.5 Configure VM Window Status Bar Entries .235 9.19.6 Configure VM Window Visual Modes .236 9.19.7 Host Key Customization .237 9.19.8 Action when Terminating the VM .238 9.19.9 Default Action when Terminating the VM .238 9.19.10 Action for Handling a Guru Meditation .239 9.19.11 Configuring Automatic Mouse Capturing .239 9.19.12 Requesting Legacy Full-Screen Mode .240 9.20 Starting the Oracle VM VirtualBox Web Service Automatically .240 9.20.1 Linux: Starting the Web Service With init .240 9.20.2 Oracle Solaris: Starting the Web Service With SMF .241 9.20.3 Mac OS X: Starting the Web Service With launchd .242 9.21 Oracle VM VirtualBox Watchdog .242 9.21.1 Memory Ballooning Control .242 9.21.2 Host Isolation Detection .243 9.21.3 More Information .244 9.21.4 Linux: Starting the Watchdog Service With init .244 9.21.5 Oracle Solaris: Starting the Watchdog Service With SMF .245 9.22 Other Extension Packs .245 9.23 Starting Virtual Machines During System Boot .246 9.23.1 Linux: Starting the Autostart Service With init .246 9.23.2 Oracle Solaris: Starting the Autostart Service With SMF .246 9.23.3 Mac OS X: Starting the Autostart Service With launchd .247 9.24 Oracle VM VirtualBox Expert Storage Management .247 9.25 Handling of Host Power Management Events .247 9.26 Passing Through SSE4.1/SSE4.2 Instructions .248 9.27 Support for Keyboard Indicator Synchronization .248 9.28 Capturing USB Traffic for Selected Devices .248 9.29 Configuring the Heartbeat Service .249 9.30 Encryption of Disk Images .249 9.30.1 Limitations of Disk Encryption .249 9.30.2 Encrypting Disk Images .250 9.30.3 Starting a VM with Encrypted Images .250 9.30.4 Decrypting Encrypted Images .250 9.31 Paravirtualized Debugging .251 9.31.1 Hyper-V Debug Options .251 9.32 PC Speaker Passthrough .253 9.33 Accessing USB devices Exposed Over the Network with USB/IP .254 9.33.1 Setting up USB/IP Support on a Linux System .255 9.33.2 Security Considerations .255 9.34 Using Hyper-V with Oracle VM VirtualBox .256 9.35 Nested Virtualization .256 9.36 VISO file format / RTIsoMaker .256 10 Technical Background 263 10.1 Where Oracle VM VirtualBox Stores its Files .263 10.1.1 Machines Created by Oracle VM VirtualBox Version 4.0 or Later .263 10.1.2 Machines Created by Oracle VM VirtualBox Versions Before 4.0 .264, Contents 10.1.3 Global Configuration Data .264 10.1.4 Summary of 4.0 Configuration Changes .265 10.1.5 Oracle VM VirtualBox XML Files .265 10.2 Oracle VM VirtualBox Executables and Components .266 10.3 Hardware vs. Software Virtualization .268 10.4 Paravirtualization Providers .269 10.5 Details About Software Virtualization .270 10.6 Details About Hardware Virtualization .272 10.7 Nested Paging and VPIDs .273 11 Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces 274 12 Troubleshooting 275 12.1 Procedures and Tools .275 12.1.1 Categorizing and Isolating Problems .275 12.1.2 Collecting Debugging Information .276 12.1.3 The Built-In VM Debugger .276 12.1.4 VM Core Format .278 12.2 General Troubleshooting .279 12.2.1 Guest Shows IDE/SATA Errors for File-Based Images on Slow Host File System .279 12.2.2 Responding to Guest IDE/SATA Flush Requests .280 12.2.3 Performance Variation with Frequency Boosting .280 12.2.4 Frequency Scaling Effect on CPU Usage .280 12.2.5 Inaccurate Windows CPU Usage Reporting .281 12.2.6 Poor Performance Caused by Host Power Management .281 12.2.7 GUI: 2D Video Acceleration Option is Grayed Out .281 12.3 Windows Guests .281 12.3.1 No USB 3.0 Support in Windows 7 Guests .281 12.3.2 Windows Bluescreens After Changing VM Configuration .282 12.3.3 Windows 0x101 Bluescreens with SMP Enabled (IPI Timeout) .282 12.3.4 Windows 2000 Installation Failures .282 12.3.5 How to Record Bluescreen Information from Windows Guests .283 12.3.6 PCnet Driver Failure in 32-bit Windows Server 2003 Guests .283 12.3.7 No Networking in Windows Vista Guests .283 12.3.8 Windows Guests may Cause a High CPU Load .283 12.3.9 Long Delays When Accessing Shared Folders .283 12.3.10 USB Tablet Coordinates Wrong in Windows 98 Guests .283 12.3.11 Windows Guests are Removed From an Active Directory Domain After Restoring a Snapshot .284 12.3.12 Restoring d3d8.dll and d3d9.dll .284 12.3.13 Windows 3.x Limited to 64 MB RAM .285 12.4 Linux and X11 Guests .286 12.4.1 Linux Guests May Cause a High CPU load .286 12.4.2 AMD Barcelona CPUs .286 12.4.3 Buggy Linux 2.6 Kernel Versions .286 12.4.4 Shared Clipboard, Auto-Resizing, and Seamless Desktop in X11 Guests 286 12.5 Oracle Solaris Guests .287 12.5.1 Older Oracle Solaris 10 Releases Crash in 64-bit Mode .287 12.5.2 Certain Oracle Solaris 10 Releases May Take a Long Time to Boot with SMP .287 12.5.3 Solaris 8 5/01 and Earlier May Crash on Startup .287 12.6 FreeBSD Guests .287 12.6.1 FreeBSD 10.0 May Hang with xHCI .287, Contents 12.7 Windows Hosts .288 12.7.1 VBoxSVC Out-of-Process COM Server Issues .288 12.7.2 CD/DVD Changes Not Recognized .288 12.7.3 Sluggish Response When Using Microsoft RDP Client .288 12.7.4 Running an iSCSI Initiator and Target on a Single System .288 12.7.5 Bridged Networking Adapters Missing .289 12.7.6 Host-Only Networking Adapters Cannot be Created .289 12.8 Linux Hosts .289 12.8.1 Linux Kernel Module Refuses to Load .289 12.8.2 Linux Host CD/DVD Drive Not Found .290 12.8.3 Linux Host CD/DVD Drive Not Found (Older Distributions) .290 12.8.4 Linux Host Floppy Not Found .290 12.8.5 Strange Guest IDE Error Messages When Writing to CD/DVD .290 12.8.6 VBoxSVC IPC Issues .291 12.8.7 USB Not Working .291 12.8.8 PAX/grsec Kernels .291 12.8.9 Linux Kernel vmalloc Pool Exhausted .291 12.9 Oracle Solaris Hosts .291 12.9.1 Cannot Start VM, Not Enough Contiguous Memory .291 12.9.2 VM Aborts With Out of Memory Errors on Oracle Solaris 10 Hosts .292 13 Security Guide 293 13.1 General Security Principles .293 13.2 Secure Installation and Configuration .293 13.2.1 Installation Overview .293 13.2.2 Post Installation Configuration .294 13.3 Security Features .294 13.3.1 The Security Model .294 13.3.2 Secure Configuration of Virtual Machines .294 13.3.3 Configuring and Using Authentication .295 13.3.4 Potentially Insecure Operations .296 13.3.5 Encryption .296 14 Known Limitations 297 14.1 Experimental Features .297 14.2 Known Issues .297 15 Change Log 301 15.1 Version 6.0.0 (2018-12-18) .301 15.2 Change Logs for Legacy Versions .302 16 Third-Party Materials and Licenses 303 16.1 Third-Party Materials .303 16.2 Third-Party Licenses .306 16.2.1 GNU General Public License (GPL) .306 16.2.2 GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) .310 16.2.3 Mozilla Public License (MPL) .315 16.2.4 MIT License .321 16.2.5 X Consortium License (X11) .321 16.2.6 zlib License .321 16.2.7 OpenSSL License .322 16.2.8 Slirp License .323 16.2.9 liblzf License .323 16.2.10 libpng License .323, Contents 16.2.11 lwIP License .324 16.2.12 libxml License .324 16.2.13 libxslt Licenses .325 16.2.14 gSOAP Public License Version 1.3a .325 16.2.15 Chromium Licenses .330 16.2.16 curl License .332 16.2.17 libgd License .333 16.2.18 BSD License from Intel .333 16.2.19 libjpeg License .334 16.2.20 x86 SIMD Extension for IJG JPEG Library License .334 16.2.21 FreeBSD License .335 16.2.22 NetBSD License .335 16.2.23 PCRE License .336 16.2.24 libffi License .337 16.2.25 FLTK License .337 16.2.26 Expat License .337 16.2.27 Fontconfig License .338 16.2.28 Freetype License .338 16.2.29 VPX License .340 16.2.30 Opus License .340 16.2.31 FUSE for macOS License .341 17 Oracle VM VirtualBox Privacy Information 342 Glossary 343,
The Oracle VM VirtualBox User Manual provides an introduction to using Oracle VM VirtualBox. The manual provides information on how to install Oracle VM VirtualBox and use it to create and configure virtual machines.
This document is intended for both new and existing users of Oracle VM VirtualBox. It is assumed that readers are familiar with Web technologies and have a general understanding of Windows and UNIX platforms.
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For information about Oracle’s commitment to accessibility, visit the Oracle Accessibility Program website at http://www.oracle.com/pls/topic/lookup?ctx=acc&id=docacc.
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Oracle customers that have purchased support have access to electronic support through My Oracle Support. For information, visit http://www.oracle.com/pls/topic/lookup?ctx=acc&id=info or visit http://www. oracle.com/pls/topic/lookup?ctx=acc&id=trs if you are hearing impaired. i, 1 First Steps Welcome to Oracle VM VirtualBox. Oracle VM VirtualBox is a cross-platform virtualization application. What does that mean? For one thing, it installs on your existing Intel or AMD-based computers, whether they are running Windows, Mac, Linux or Oracle Solaris operating systems. Secondly, it extends the capabilities of your existing computer so that it can run multiple operating systems, inside multiple virtual machines, at the same time. So, for example, you can run Windows and Linux on your Mac, run Windows Server 2008 on your Linux server, run Linux on your Windows PC, and so on, all alongside your existing applications. You can install and run as many virtual machines as you like. The only practical limits are disk space and memory. Oracle VM VirtualBox is deceptively simple yet also very powerful. It can run everywhere from small embedded systems or desktop class machines all the way up to datacenter deployments and even Cloud environments. The following screenshot shows how Oracle VM VirtualBox, installed on a Mac computer, is running Windows 8 in a virtual machine window: In this User Manual, we will begin simply with a quick introduction to virtualization and how to get your first virtual machine running with the easy-to-use Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interface. Subsequent chapters will go into much more detail covering more powerful tools and features, but fortunately, it is not necessary to read the entire User Manual before you can use Oracle VM VirtualBox. You can find a summary of Oracle VM VirtualBox’s capabilities in chapter 1.3, Features Overview, page 3. For existing Oracle VM VirtualBox users who just want to find out what is new in this release, see the Oracle VM VirtualBox Release Notes., 1 First Steps 1.1 Why is Virtualization Useful? The techniques and features that Oracle VM VirtualBox provides are useful in the following scenarios: • Running multiple operating systems simultaneously. Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to run more than one operating system at a time. This way, you can run software written for one operating system on another, such as Windows software on Linux or a Mac, without having to reboot to use it. Since you can configure what kinds of virtual hardware should be presented to each such operating system, you can install an old operating system such as DOS or OS/2 even if your real computer’s hardware is no longer supported by that operating system. • Easier software installations. Software vendors can use virtual machines to ship entire software configurations. For example, installing a complete mail server solution on a real machine can be a tedious task. With Oracle VM VirtualBox, such a complex setup, often called an appliance, can be packed into a virtual machine. Installing and running a mail server becomes as easy as importing such an appliance into Oracle VM VirtualBox. • Testing and disaster recovery. Once installed, a virtual machine and its virtual hard disks can be considered a container that can be arbitrarily frozen, woken up, copied, backed up, and transported between hosts. On top of that, with the use of another Oracle VM VirtualBox feature called snapshots, one can save a particular state of a virtual machine and revert back to that state, if necessary. This way, one can freely experiment with a computing environment. If something goes wrong, such as prolems after installing software or infecting the guest with a virus, you can easily switch back to a previous snapshot and avoid the need of frequent backups and restores. Any number of snapshots can be created, allowing you to travel back and forward in virtual machine time. You can delete snapshots while a VM is running to reclaim disk space. • Infrastructure consolidation. Virtualization can significantly reduce hardware and elec- tricity costs. Most of the time, computers today only use a fraction of their potential power and run with low average system loads. A lot of hardware resources as well as electricity is thereby wasted. So, instead of running many such physical computers that are only par- tially used, one can pack many virtual machines onto a few powerful hosts and balance the loads between them. 1.2 Some Terminology When dealing with virtualization, and also for understanding the following chapters of this doc- umentation, it helps to acquaint oneself with a bit of crucial terminology, especially the following terms: • Host operating system (host OS). This is the operating system of the physical computer on which Oracle VM VirtualBox was installed. There are versions of Oracle VM VirtualBox for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Oracle Solaris hosts. See chapter 1.4, Supported Host Operating Systems, page 5. Most of the time, this manual discusses all Oracle VM VirtualBox versions together. There may be platform-specific differences which we will point out where appropriate. • Guest operating system (guest OS). This is the operating system that is running inside the virtual machine. Theoretically, Oracle VM VirtualBox can run any x86 operating system., 1 First Steps such as DOS, Windows, OS/2, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD. But to achieve near-native perfor- mance of the guest code on your machine, we had to go through a lot of optimizations that are specific to certain operating systems. So while your favorite operating system may run as a guest, we officially support and optimize for a select few, which include the most common operating systems. See chapter 3.1, Supported Guest Operating Systems, page 40. • Virtual machine (VM). This is the special environment that Oracle VM VirtualBox creates for your guest operating system while it is running. In other words, you run your guest operating system in a VM. Normally, a VM will be shown as a window on your computer’s desktop, but depending on which of the various frontends of Oracle VM VirtualBox you use, it can be displayed in full screen mode or remotely on another computer. In a more abstract way, internally, Oracle VM VirtualBox thinks of a VM as a set of parame- ters that determine its behavior. They include hardware settings, such as: how much mem- ory the VM should have, what hard disks Oracle VM VirtualBox should virtualize through which container files, what CDs are mounted. They also include state information, such as: whether the VM is currently running, saved, if the VM has snapshots. These settings are mirrored in the VirtualBox Manager window, as well as the VBoxManage command. See chapter 8, VBoxManage, page 118. In other words, a VM is also what you can see in its Settings dialog. • Guest Additions. This refers to special software packages which are shipped with Oracle VM VirtualBox but designed to be installed inside a VM to improve performance of the guest OS and to add extra features. See chapter 4, Guest Additions, page 62. 1.3 Features Overview The following is a brief outline of Oracle VM VirtualBox’s main features: • Portability. Oracle VM VirtualBox runs on a large number of 32-bit and 64-bit host oper- ating systems See chapter 1.4, Supported Host Operating Systems, page 5. Oracle VM VirtualBox is a so-called hosted hypervisor, sometimes referred to as a type 2 hypervisor. Whereas a bare-metal or type 1 hypervisor would run directly on the hardware, Oracle VM VirtualBox requires an existing operating system to be installed. It can thus run alongside existing applications on that host. To a very large degree, Oracle VM VirtualBox is functionally identical on all of the host platforms, and the same file and image formats are used. This enables you to run virtual machines created on one host on another host with a different host operating system. For example, you can create a virtual machine on Windows and then run it under Linux. In addition, virtual machines can easily be imported and exported using the Open Vir- tualization Format (OVF), an industry standard created for this purpose. You can even import OVFs that were created with a different virtualization software. See chapter 1.15, Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines, page 22. • No hardware virtualization required. For many scenarios, Oracle VM VirtualBox does not require the processor features built into newer hardware like Intel VT-x or AMD-V. As opposed to many other virtualization solutions, you can therefore use Oracle VM VirtualBox even on older hardware where these features are not present. See chapter 10.3, Hardware vs. Software Virtualization, page 268. • Guest Additions: shared folders, seamless windows, 3D virtualization. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions are software packages which can be installed inside of sup- ported guest systems to improve their performance and to provide additional integration, 1 First Steps and communication with the host system. After installing the Guest Additions, a virtual machine will support automatic adjustment of video resolutions, seamless windows, accel- erated 3D graphics and more. See chapter 4, Guest Additions, page 62. In particular, Guest Additions provide for “shared folders”, which let you access files from the host system from within a guest machine. See chapter 4.3, Shared Folders, page 69. • Great hardware support. Among others, Oracle VM VirtualBox supports the following: – Guest multiprocessing (SMP). Oracle VM VirtualBox can present up to 32 virtual CPUs to each virtual machine, irrespective of how many CPU cores are physically present on your host. – USB device support. Oracle VM VirtualBox implements a virtual USB controller and enables you to connect arbitrary USB devices to your virtual machines without having to install device-specific drivers on the host. USB support is not limited to certain device categories. See chapter 3.11.1, USB Settings, page 56. – Hardware compatibility. Oracle VM VirtualBox virtualizes a vast array of virtual de- vices, among them many devices that are typically provided by other virtualization platforms. That includes IDE, SCSI and SATA hard disk controllers, several virtual network cards and sound cards, virtual serial and parallel ports and an Input/Output Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (I/O APIC), which is found in many modern PC systems. This eases cloning of PC images from real machines and import- ing of third-party virtual machines into Oracle VM VirtualBox. – Full ACPI support. The Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is fully supported by Oracle VM VirtualBox. This eases cloning of PC images from real ma- chines or third-party virtual machines into Oracle VM VirtualBox. With its unique ACPI power status support, Oracle VM VirtualBox can even report to ACPI-aware guest operating systems the power status of the host. For mobile systems running on battery, the guest can thus enable energy saving and notify the user of the remaining power, for example in full screen modes. – Multiscreen resolutions. Oracle VM VirtualBox virtual machines support screen res- olutions many times that of a physical screen, allowing them to be spread over a large number of screens attached to the host system. – Built-in iSCSI support. This unique feature enables you to connect a virtual ma- chine directly to an iSCSI storage server without going through the host system. The VM accesses the iSCSI target directly without the extra overhead that is required for virtualizing hard disks in container files. See chapter 5.10, iSCSI Servers, page 95. – PXE Network boot. The integrated virtual network cards of Oracle VM VirtualBox fully support remote booting using the Preboot Execution Environment (PXE). • Multigeneration branched snapshots. Oracle VM VirtualBox can save arbitrary snapshots of the state of the virtual machine. You can go back in time and revert the virtual machine to any such snapshot and start an alternative VM configuration from there, effectively creating a whole snapshot tree. See chapter 1.11, Snapshots, page 17. You can create and delete snapshots while the virtual machine is running. • VM groups. Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a groups feature that enables the user to organize and control virtual machines collectively, as well as individually. In addition to basic groups, it is also possible for any VM to be in more than one group, and for groups to be nested in a hierarchy. This means you can have groups of groups. In general, the operations that can be performed on groups are the same as those that can be applied to individual VMs: Start, Pause, Reset, Close (Save state, Send Shutdown, Poweroff), Discard Saved State, Show in File System, Sort., 1 First Steps • Clean architecture and unprecedented modularity. Oracle VM VirtualBox has an ex- tremely modular design with well-defined internal programming interfaces and a clean separation of client and server code. This makes it easy to control it from several interfaces at once. For example, you can start a VM simply by clicking on a button in the Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interface and then control that machine from the command line, or even remotely. See chapter 1.17, Alternative Front-Ends, page 28. Due to its modular architecture, Oracle VM VirtualBox can also expose its full functionality and configurability through a comprehensive software development kit (SDK), which enables integration of Oracle VM VirtualBox with other software systems. See chapter 11, Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces, page 274. • Remote machine display. The VirtualBox Remote Desktop Extension (VRDE) enables high-performance remote access to any running virtual machine. This extension supports the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) originally built into Microsoft Windows, with special additions for full client USB support. The VRDE does not rely on the RDP server that is built into Microsoft Windows. Instead, the VRDE is plugged directly into the virtualization layer. As a result, it works with guest operating systems other than Windows, even in text mode, and does not require application support in the virtual machine either. The VRDE is described in detail in chapter 7.1, Remote Display (VRDP Support), page 108. On top of this special capacity, Oracle VM VirtualBox offers you more unique features: – Extensible RDP authentication. Oracle VM VirtualBox already supports Winlogon on Windows and PAM on Linux for RDP authentication. In addition, it includes an easy-to-use SDK which enables you to create arbitrary interfaces for other methods of authentication. See chapter 7.1.5, RDP Authentication, page 113. – USB over RDP. Using RDP virtual channel support, Oracle VM VirtualBox also enables you to connect arbitrary USB devices locally to a virtual machine which is running remotely on a Oracle VM VirtualBox RDP server. See chapter 7.1.4, Remote USB, page 112. 1.4 Supported Host Operating Systems Currently, Oracle VM VirtualBox runs on the following host operating systems: • Windows hosts (64-bit): – Windows 7 – Windows 8 – Windows 8.1 – Windows 10 RTM (1507) build 10240 – Windows 10 November Update (1511) build 10586 – Windows 10 Anniversary Update (1607) build 14393 – Windows 10 Creators Update (1703) build 15063 – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (1709) build 16299 – Windows 10 April 2018 Update (1803) build 17134 – Windows 10 October 2018 Update (1809) build 17763 – Windows Server 2008 R2 – Windows Server 2012, 1 First Steps – Windows Server 2012 R2 – Windows Server 2016 – Windows Server 2019 • Mac OS X hosts (64-bit): – 10.12 (Sierra) – 10.13 (High Sierra) – 10.14 (Mojave) Intel hardware is required. See also chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297. • Linux hosts (64-bit). Includes the following: – Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, 18.04 LTS and 18.10 – Debian GNU/Linux 9 (“Stretch”) – Oracle Linux 6 and 7 – Redhat Enterprise Linux 6 and 7 – Fedora 28 and 29 – Gentoo Linux – SUSE Linux Enterprise server 12 and 15 – openSUSE Leap 42.3 and 15.0 It should be possible to use Oracle VM VirtualBox on most systems based on Linux kernel 2.6 or 3.x using either the Oracle VM VirtualBox installer or by doing a manual installation. See chapter 2.3, Installing on Linux Hosts, page 32. However, the formally tested and supported Linux distributions are those for which we offer a dedicated package. Note that Linux 2.4-based host operating systems are no longer supported. • Oracle Solaris hosts (64-bit only). The following versions are supported with the restric- tions listed in chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297: – Oracle Solaris 11 Note that the above list is informal. Oracle support for customers who have a support contract is limited to a subset of the listed host operating systems. Also, any feature which is marked as experimental is not supported. Feedback and suggestions about such features are welcome. 1.5 Host CPU Requirements SSE2 is required, starting with Oracle VM VirtualBox version 5.2.10 and version 5.1.24. 1.6 Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs Oracle VM VirtualBox comes in many different packages, and installation depends on your host operating system. If you have installed software before, installation should be straightforward. On each host platform, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses the installation method that is most common and easy to use. If you run into trouble or have special requirements, see chapter 2, Installation Details, page 29 for details about the various installation methods. Oracle VM VirtualBox is split into the following components: • Base package. The base package consists of all open source components and is licensed under the GNU General Public License V2., 1 First Steps • Extension packs. Additional extension packs can be downloaded which extend the func- tionality of the Oracle VM VirtualBox base package. Currently, Oracle provides a single extension pack, available from: http://www.virtualbox.org. The extension pack pro- vides the following added functionality: 1. The virtual USB 2.0 (EHCI) device. See chapter 3.11.1, USB Settings, page 56. 2. The virtual USB 3.0 (xHCI) device. See chapter 3.11.1, USB Settings, page 56. 3. VirtualBox Remote Desktop Protocol (VRDP) support. See chapter 7.1, Remote Display (VRDP Support), page 108. 4. Host webcam passthrough. See chapter 9.6, Webcam Passthrough, page 213. 5. Intel PXE boot ROM. 6. Experimental support for PCI passthrough on Linux hosts. See chapter 9.5, PCI Passthrough, page 211. 7. Disk image encryption with AES algorithm. See chapter 9.30, Encryption of Disk Im- ages, page 249. Oracle VM VirtualBox extension packages have a .vbox-extpack file name extension. To install an extension, simply double-click on the package file and a Network Operations Manager window is shown to guide you through the required steps. To view the extension packs that are currently installed, start the VirtualBox Manager, as shown in chapter 1.7, Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox, page 7. From the File menu, select Preferences. In the window that displays, go to the Extensions category. This shows you the extensions which are currently installed, and enables you to remove a package or add a new package. Alternatively, you can use the VBoxManage command line. See chapter 8.43, VBoxManage extpack, page 199. 1.7 Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox After installation, you can start Oracle VM VirtualBox as follows: • On a Windows host, in the Programs menu, click on the item in the VirtualBox group. On Vista or Windows 7, you can also enter VirtualBox in the search box of the Start menu. • On a Mac OS X host, in the Finder, double-click on the VirtualBox item in the Applications folder. You may want to drag this item onto your Dock. • On a Linux or Oracle Solaris host, depending on your desktop environment, an Oracle VM VirtualBox item may have been placed in either the System or System Tools group of your Applications menu. Alternatively, you can enter VirtualBox in a terminal window. When you start Oracle VM VirtualBox for the first time, a window like the following is dis- played:, 1 First Steps This window is called the VirtualBox Manager. On the left, you can see a pane that will later list all your virtual machines. Since you have not created any, the list is empty. A row of buttons above it enables you to create new VMs and work on existing VMs, once you have some. The pane on the right displays the properties of the virtual machine currently selected, if any. Again, since you do not have any machines yet, the pane displays a welcome message. To give you an idea what Oracle VM VirtualBox might look like later, after you have created many machines, here is another example: 1.8 Creating Your First Virtual Machine Click the New button at the top of the VirtualBox Manager window. A wizard is shown, to guide you through setting up a new virtual machine (VM):, 1 First Steps On the following pages, the wizard will ask you for the bare minimum of information that is needed to create a VM, in particular: 1. The Name of the VM will later be shown in the machine list of the VirtualBox Manager window, and it will be used for the VM’s files on disk. Even though any name can be used, bear in mind that if you create a few VMs, you will appreciate if you have given your VMs rather informative names.“My VM” would thus be less useful than “Windows XP SP2 with OpenOffice”, for example. 2. For Operating System Type select the operating system that you want to install later. The supported operating systems are grouped. If you want to install something very unusual that is not listed, select Other. Depending on your selection, Oracle VM VirtualBox will enable or disable certain VM settings that your guest operating system may require. This is particularly important for 64-bit guests. See chapter 3.1.2, 64-bit Guests, page 42. It is therefore recommended to always set it to the correct value. 3. On the next page, select the Memory (RAM) that Oracle VM VirtualBox should allocate every time the virtual machine is started. The amount of memory given here will be taken away from your host machine and presented to the guest operating system, which will report this size as the virtual computer’s installed RAM. Choose this setting carefully. The memory you give to the VM will not be available to your host OS while the VM is running, so do not specify more than you can spare. For example, if your host machine has 1 GB of RAM and you enter 512 MB as the amount of RAM for a particular virtual machine, while that VM is running, you will only have 512 MB left for all the other software on your host. If you run two VMs at the same time, even more memory will be allocated for the second VM, which may not even be able to start if that memory is not available. On the other hand, you should specify as much as your guest OS and your applications will require to run properly. A Windows XP guest will require at least a few hundred MB of RAM to run properly, and Windows Vista will not install with less than 512 MB. If you want to run graphics-intensive applications in your VM, you may require even more RAM. As a rule of thumb, if you have 1 GB of RAM or more in your host computer, it is usually safe to allocate 512 MB to each VM. In any case, make sure you always have at least 256 to 512 MB of RAM left on your host operating system. Otherwise you may cause your host OS to excessively swap out memory to your hard disk, effectively bringing your host system to a standstill. As with the other settings, you can change this setting later, after you have created the VM., 1 First Steps 4. Next, you must specify a Virtual Hard Disk for your VM. There are many and potentially complicated ways in which Oracle VM VirtualBox can provide hard disk space to a VM, see chapter 5, Virtual Storage, page 83, but the most common way is to use a large image file on your “real” hard disk, whose contents Oracle VM VirtualBox presents to your VM as if it were a complete hard disk. This file represents an entire hard disk then, so you can even copy it to another host and use it with another Oracle VM VirtualBox installation. The wizard displays the following window: At this screen, you have the following options: • To create a new, empty virtual hard disk, click the Create button. • You can pick an existing disk image file. The drop-down list presented in the window lists all disk images which are currently remembered by Oracle VM VirtualBox. These disk images are currently attached to a virtual machine, or have been attached to a virtual machine. Alternatively, click on the small folder icon next to the drop-down list. In the dis- played file dialog, you can click Add to select any disk image file on your host disk. If you are using Oracle VM VirtualBox for the first time, you will want to create a new disk image. Click the Create button. This displays another window, the Create Virtual Hard Disk Wizard wizard. This wizard helps you to create a new disk image file in the new virtual machine’s folder. Oracle VM VirtualBox supports the following types of image files: • A dynamically allocated file will only grow in size when the guest actually stores data on its virtual hard disk. It will therefore initially be small on the host hard drive and only later grow to the size specified as it is filled with data. • A fixed-size file will immediately occupy the file specified, even if only a fraction of the virtual hard disk space is actually in use. While occupying much more space, a fixed-size file incurs less overhead and is therefore slightly faster than a dynamically allocated file. For details about the differences, see chapter 5.2, Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD), page 86. To prevent your physical hard disk from running full, Oracle VM VirtualBox limits the size of the image file. Still, it needs to be large enough to hold the contents of your operating, 1 First Steps system and the applications you want to install. For a modern Windows or Linux guest, you will probably need several gigabytes for any serious use. The limit of the image file size can be changed later, see chapter 8.24, VBoxManage modifymedium, page 165. After having selected or created your image file, click Next to go to the next page. 5. Click Create, to create your new virtual machine. The virtual machine is displayed in the list on the left side of the VirtualBox Manager window, with the name that you entered initially. Note: After becoming familiar with the use of wizards, consider using the Expert Mode available in some wizards. Where available, this is selectable using a button, and speeds up the process of using wizards. 1.9 Running Your Virtual Machine To start a virtual machine, you have several options: • Double-click on the VM’s entry in the list in the VirtualBox Manager window. • Select the VM’s entry in the list in the VirtualBox Manager window, and click Start at the top of the window. • Go to the VirtualBox VMs folder in your system user’s home directory. Find the subdirec- tory of the machine you want to start and double-click on the machine settings file. This file has a .vbox file extension. Starting a virtual machine displays a new window, and the virtual machine which you selected will boot up. Everything which would normally be seen on the virtual system’s monitor is shown in the window. See the screenshot image in chapter 1, First Steps, page 1. In general, you can use the virtual machine as you would use a real computer. There are couple of points worth mentioning however., 1 First Steps 1.9.1 Starting a New VM for the First Time When a VM is started for the first time, the First Start Wizard, is displayed. This wizard helps you to select an installation medium. Since the VM is created empty, it would otherwise behave just like a real computer with no operating system installed. It will do nothing and display an error message that no bootable operating system was found. For this reason, the wizard helps you to select a medium to install an operating system from. • If you have physical CD or DVD media from which you want to install your guest operating system, such as a Windows installation CD or DVD, put the media into your host’s CD or DVD drive. In the wizard’s drop-down list of installation media, select Host Drive with the correct drive letter. In the case of a Linux host, choose a device file. This will allow your VM to access the media in your host drive, and you can proceed to install from there. • If you have downloaded installation media from the Internet in the form of an ISO image file such as with a Linux distribution, you would normally burn this file to an empty CD or DVD and proceed as described above. With Oracle VM VirtualBox however, you can skip this step and mount the ISO file directly. Oracle VM VirtualBox will then present this file as a CD or DVD-ROM drive to the virtual machine, much like it does with virtual hard disk images. In this case, the wizard’s drop-down list contains a list of installation media that were previously used with Oracle VM VirtualBox. If your medium is not in the list, especially if you are using Oracle VM VirtualBox for the first time, click the small folder icon next to the drop-down list to display a standard file dialog. Here you can pick an image file on your host disks. After completing the choices in the wizard, you will be able to install your operating system. 1.9.2 Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a virtual USB tablet device to new virtual machines through which mouse events are communicated to the guest operating system. If you are running a modern guest operating system that can handle such devices, mouse support may work out of the box without the mouse being captured as described below. See chapter 3.5.1, Motherboard Tab, page 47. Otherwise, if the virtual machine only sees standard PS/2 mouse and keyboard devices, since the operating system in the virtual machine does not know that it is not running on a real computer, it expects to have exclusive control over your keyboard and mouse. But unless you are running the VM in full screen mode, your VM needs to share keyboard and mouse with other applications and possibly other VMs on your host. After installing a guest operating system and before you install the Guest Additions, described later, either your VM or the rest of your computer can “own” the keyboard and the mouse. Both cannot own the keyboard and mouse at the same time. You will see a second mouse pointer which is always confined to the limits of the VM window. You activate the VM by clicking inside it. To return ownership of keyboard and mouse to your host operating system, Oracle VM VirtualBox reserves a special key on your keyboard: the Host key. By default, this is the right Ctrl key on your keyboard. On a Mac host, the default Host key is the left Command key. You can change this default in the Oracle VM VirtualBox Global Settings. See chapter 1.16, Global Settings, page 27. The current setting for the Host key is always displayed at the bottom right of your VM window., 1 First Steps This means the following: • Your keyboard is owned by the VM if the VM window on your host desktop has the key- board focus. If you have many windows open in your guest operating system, the window that has the focus in your VM is used. This means that if you want to enter text within your VM, click on the title bar of your VM window first. To release keyboard ownership, press the Host key. As explained above, this is typically the right Ctrl key. Note that while the VM owns the keyboard, some key sequences, such as Alt-Tab, will no longer be seen by the host, but will go to the guest instead. After you press the Host key to reenable the host keyboard, all key presses will go through the host again, so that sequences such as Alt-Tab will no longer reach the guest. For technical reasons it may not be possible for the VM to get all keyboard input even when it does own the keyboard. Examples of this are the Ctrl-Alt-Del sequence on Windows hosts or single keys grabbed by other applications on X11 hosts like the GNOME desktop’s “Control key highlights mouse pointer” functionality. • Your mouse is owned by the VM only after you have clicked in the VM window. The host mouse pointer will disappear, and your mouse will drive the guest’s pointer instead of your normal mouse pointer. Note that mouse ownership is independent of that of the keyboard. Even after you have clicked on a titlebar to be able to enter text into the VM window, your mouse is not neces- sarily owned by the VM yet. To release ownership of your mouse by the VM, press the Host key. As this behavior can be inconvenient, Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a set of tools and device drivers for guest systems called the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions which make VM key- board and mouse operation a lot more seamless. Most importantly, the Additions will get rid of the second “guest” mouse pointer and make your host mouse pointer work directly in the guest. See chapter 4, Guest Additions, page 62. 1.9.3 Typing Special Characters Operating systems expect certain key combinations to initiate certain procedures. Some of these key combinations may be difficult to enter into a virtual machine, as there are three candidates as to who receives keyboard input: the host operating system, Oracle VM VirtualBox, or the guest operating system. Which of these three receives keypresses depends on a number of factors, including the key itself. • Host operating systems reserve certain key combinations for themselves. For example, it is impossible to enter the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combination if you want to reboot the guest operating system in your virtual machine, because this key combination is usually hard- wired into the host OS, both Windows and Linux intercept this, and pressing this key combination will therefore reboot your host. On Linux and Oracle Solaris hosts, which use the X Window System, the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Backspace normally resets the X server and restarts the entire graphical user interface. As the X server intercepts this combination, pressing it will usually restart your, 1 First Steps host graphical user interface and kill all running programs, including Oracle VM VirtualBox, in the process. On Linux hosts supporting virtual terminals, the key combination Ctrl+Alt+Fx, where Fx is one of the function keys from F1 to F12, normally enables you to switch between virtual terminals. As with Ctrl+Alt+Delete, these combinations are intercepted by the host operating system and therefore always switch terminals on the host. If, instead, you want to send these key combinations to the guest operating system in the virtual machine, you will need to use one of the following methods: – Use the items in the Input, Keyboard menu of the virtual machine window. This menu includes the settings Insert Ctrl+Alt+Delete and Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. The latter will only have an effect with Linux or Oracle Solaris guests, however. This menu also includes an option for inserting the Host key combination. – Use special key combinations with the Host key, normally the right Control key. Oracle VM VirtualBox will then translate these key combinations for the virtual machine: ∗ Host key + Del to send Ctrl+Alt+Del to reboot the guest. ∗ Host key + Backspace to send Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to restart the graphical user interface of a Linux or Oracle Solaris guest. ∗ Host key + Function key. For example, to simulate Ctrl+Alt+Fx to switch be- tween virtual terminals in a Linux guest. • For some other keyboard combinations such as Alt-Tab to switch between open windows, Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to configure whether these combinations will affect the host or the guest, if a virtual machine currently has the focus. This is a global setting for all virtual machines and can be found under File, Preferences, Input. 1.9.4 Changing Removable Media While a virtual machine is running, you can change removable media in the Devices menu of the VM’s window. Here you can select in detail what Oracle VM VirtualBox presents to your VM as a CD, DVD, or floppy. The settings are the same as would be available for the VM in the Settings dialog of the Oracle VM VirtualBox main window. But as the Settings dialog is disabled while the VM is in the Running or Saved state, this extra menu saves you from having to shut down and restart the VM every time you want to change media. Hence, in the Devices menu, Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to attach the host drive to the guest or select a floppy or DVD image using the Disk Image Manager, as described in chapter 1.12, Virtual Machine Configuration, page 19. 1.9.5 Resizing the Machine’s Window You can resize the virtual machine’s window when it is running. In that case, one of the following things will happen: 1. If you have scale mode enabled, then the virtual machine’s screen will be scaled to the size of the window. This can be useful if you have many machines running and want to have a look at one of them while it is running in the background. Alternatively, it might be useful to enlarge a window if the VM’s output screen is very small, for example because you are running an old operating system in it. To enable scale mode, press the Host key + C, or select Scale mode from the Machine menu in the VM window. To leave scale mode, press the Host key + C again., 1 First Steps The aspect ratio of the guest screen is preserved when resizing the window. To ignore the aspect ratio, press Shift during the resize operation. See chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297 for additional remarks. 2. If you have the Guest Additions installed and they support automatic resizing, the Guest Additions will automatically adjust the screen resolution of the guest operating system. For example, if you are running a Windows guest with a resolution of 1024x768 pixels and you then resize the VM window to make it 100 pixels wider, the Guest Additions will change the Windows display resolution to 1124x768. See chapter 4, Guest Additions, page 62. 3. Otherwise, if the window is bigger than the VM’s screen, the screen will be centered. If it is smaller, then scroll bars will be added to the machine window. 1.9.6 Saving the State of the Machine When you click on the Close button of your virtual machine window, at the top right of the window, just like you would close any other window on your system, Oracle VM VirtualBox asks you whether you want to save or power off the VM. As a shortcut, you can also press Host key + Q. The difference between the three options is crucial. They mean the following: • Save the machine state: With this option, Oracle VM VirtualBox freezes the virtual ma- chine by completely saving its state to your local disk. When you start the VM again later, you will find that the VM continues exactly where it was left off. All your programs will still be open, and your computer resumes operation. Saving the state of a virtual machine is thus in some ways similar to suspending a laptop computer by closing its lid. • Send the shutdown signal. This will send an ACPI shutdown signal to the virtual machine, which has the same effect as if you had pressed the power button on a real computer. So long as the VM is running a fairly modern operating system, this should trigger a proper shutdown mechanism from within the VM. • Power off the machine: With this option, Oracle VM VirtualBox also stops running the virtual machine, but without saving its state., 1 First Steps Warning: This is equivalent to pulling the power plug on a real computer without shutting it down properly. If you start the machine again after powering it off, your operating system will have to reboot completely and may begin a lengthy check of its virtual system disks. As a result, this should not normally be done, since it can potentially cause data loss or an inconsistent state of the guest system on disk. As an exception, if your virtual machine has any snapshots, see chapter 1.11, Snapshots, page 17, you can use this option to quickly restore the current snapshot of the virtual machine. In that case, powering off the machine will not disrupt its state, but any changes made since that snapshot was taken will be lost. The Discard button in the VirtualBox Manager window discards a virtual machine’s saved state. This has the same effect as powering it off, and the same warnings apply. 1.10 Using VM Groups VM groups enable the user to create ad hoc groups of VMs, and to manage and perform functions on them collectively, as well as individually. There are a number of features relating to groups. 1. Create a group using the GUI. Do one of the following: • Drag one VM on top of another VM. • Select multiple VMs and select Group from the right-click menu, as shown in the following image. 2. Create and manage a group using the command line. Do one of the following: • Create a group and assign a VM. For example: VBoxManage modifyvm "Fred" -groups "/TestGroup" This command creates a group “TestGroup” and attaches the VM “Fred” to that group. • Detach a VM from the group, and delete the group if empty. For example: VBoxManage modifyvm "Fred" -groups "" This command detaches all groups from the VM “Fred” and deletes the empty group. 3. Create multiple groups. For example: VBoxManage modifyvm "Fred" -groups "/TestGroup,/TestGroup2", 1 First Steps This command creates the groups “TestGroup” and “TestGroup2”, if they do not exist, and attaches the VM “Fred” to both of them. 4. Create nested groups, having a group hierarchy. For example: VBoxManage modifyvm "Fred" -groups "/TestGroup/TestGroup2" This command attaches the VM “Fred” to the subgroup “TestGroup2” of the “TestGroup” group. 5. The following is a summary of group commands: Start, Pause, Reset, Close (save state, send shutdown signal, poweroff), Discard Saved State, Show in File System, Sort. 1.11 Snapshots With snapshots, you can save a particular state of a virtual machine for later use. At any later time, you can revert to that state, even though you may have changed the VM considerably since then. A snapshot of a virtual machine is thus similar to a machine in Saved state, but there can be many of them, and these saved states are preserved. You can see the snapshots of a virtual machine by first selecting a machine in the VirtualBox Manager and then clicking Snapshots at the top right. Until you take a snapshot of the machine, the list of snapshots will be empty except for the Current State item, which represents the “now” point in the lifetime of the virtual machine. 1.11.1 Taking, Restoring, and Deleting Snapshots There are three operations related to snapshots, as follows: 1. Take a snapshot. This makes a copy of the machine’s current state, to which you can go back at any given time later. • If your VM is currently running, select Take Snapshot from the Machine pull-down menu of the VM window. • If your VM is currently in either the Saved or the Powered Off state, as displayed next to the VM in the Oracle VM VirtualBox main window, click on the Snapshots tab on the top right of the main window. Do one of the following: – Click on the small camera icon. – Right-click on the Current State item in the list and select Take Snapshot from the menu. In either case, a window is displayed prompting you for a snapshot name. This name is purely for reference purposes to help you remember the state of the snapshot. For example, a useful name would be “Fresh installation from scratch, no Guest Additions”, or “Service Pack 3 just installed”. You can also add a longer text in the Description field. Your new snapshot will then appear in the snapshots list. Underneath your new snapshot, you will see an item called Current State, signifying that the current state of your VM is a variation based on the snapshot you took earlier. If you later take another snapshot, you will see that they will be displayed in sequence, and each subsequent snapshot is derived from an earlier one., 1 First Steps Oracle VM VirtualBox imposes no limits on the number of snapshots you can take. The only practical limitation is disk space on your host. Each snapshot stores the state of the virtual machine and thus occupies some disk space. See chapter 1.11.2, Snapshot Contents, page 19 for details on what is stored in a snapshot. 2. Restore a snapshot. You do this by right-clicking on any snapshot you have taken in the list of snapshots. By restoring a snapshot, you go back or forward in time. The current state of the machine is lost, and the machine is restored to the exact state it was in when the snapshot was taken. Note: Restoring a snapshot will affect the virtual hard drives that are connected to your VM, as the entire state of the virtual hard drive will be reverted as well. This means also that all files that have been created since the snapshot and all other file changes will be lost. In order to prevent such data loss while still making use of the snapshot feature, it is possible to add a second hard drive in write-through mode using the VBoxManage interface and use it to store your data. As write-through hard drives are not included in snapshots, they remain unaltered when a machine is reverted. See chapter 5.4, Special Image Write Modes, page 89. To avoid losing the current state when restoring a snapshot, you can create a new snapshot before the restore. By restoring an earlier snapshot and taking more snapshots from there, it is even possible to create a kind of alternate reality and to switch between these different histories of the virtual machine. This can result in a whole tree of virtual machine snapshots, as shown in the screenshot above. 3. Delete a snapshot. This does not affect the state of the virtual machine, but only releases the files on disk that Oracle VM VirtualBox used to store the snapshot data, thus freeing disk space. To delete a snapshot, right-click on it in the snapshots tree and select Delete. Snapshots can be deleted even while a machine is running., 1 First Steps Note: Whereas taking and restoring snapshots are fairly quick operations, deleting a snapshot can take a considerable amount of time since large amounts of data may need to be copied between several disk image files. Temporary disk files may also need large amounts of disk space while the operation is in progress. There are some situations which cannot be handled while a VM is running, and you will get an appropriate message that you need to perform this snapshot deletion when the VM is shut down. 1.11.2 Snapshot Contents Think of a snapshot as a point in time that you have preserved. More formally, a snapshot consists of the following three things: • The snapshot contains a complete copy of the VM settings, including the hardware con- figuration, so that when you restore a snapshot, the VM settings are restored as well. For example, if you changed the hard disk configuration or the VM’s system settings, that change is undone when you restore the snapshot. The copy of the settings is stored in the machine configuration, an XML text file, and thus occupies very little space. • The complete state of all the virtual disks attached to the machine is preserved. Going back to a snapshot means that all changes that had been made to the machine’s disks, file by file and bit by bit, will be undone as well. Files that were since created will disappear, files that were deleted will be restored, changes to files will be reverted. Strictly speaking, this is only true for virtual hard disks in “normal” mode. You can config- ure disks to behave differently with snapshots, see chapter 5.4, Special Image Write Modes, page 89. Even more formally and technically correct, it is not the virtual disk itself that is restored when a snapshot is restored. Instead, when a snapshot is taken, Oracle VM VirtualBox creates differencing images which contain only the changes since the snapshot were taken, and when the snapshot is restored, Oracle VM VirtualBox throws away that differencing image, thus going back to the previous state. This is both faster and uses less disk space. For the details, which can be complex, see chapter 5.5, Differencing Images, page 90. Creating the differencing image as such does not occupy much space on the host disk initially, since the differencing image will initially be empty and grow dynamically later with each write operation to the disk. The longer you use the machine after having created the snapshot, however, the more the differencing image will grow in size. • If you took a snapshot while the machine was running, the memory state of the machine is also saved in the snapshot. This is in the same way that memory can be saved when you close a VM window. When you restore such a snapshot, execution resumes at exactly the point when the snapshot was taken. The memory state file can be as large as the memory size of the virtual machine and will therefore occupy quite some disk space as well. 1.12 Virtual Machine Configuration When you select a virtual machine from the list in the VirtualBox Manager window, you will see a summary of that machine’s settings on the right. Clicking on the Settings button in the toolbar at the top brings up a detailed window where you can configure many of the properties of the selected VM. But be careful. Even though it, 1 First Steps is possible to change all VM settings after installing a guest operating system, certain changes might prevent a guest operating system from functioning correctly if done after installation. Note: The Settings button is disabled while a VM is either in the Running or Saved state. This is because the Settings dialog enables you to change fundamental charac- teristics of the virtual computer that is created for your guest operating system, and this operating system may perform well when, for example, half of its memory is taken away. As a result, if the Settings button is disabled, shut down the current VM first. Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a wide range of parameters that can be changed for a virtual machine. The various settings that can be changed in the Settings window are described in detail in chapter 3, Configuring Virtual Machines, page 40. Even more parameters are available with the Oracle VM VirtualBox command line interface. See chapter 8, VBoxManage, page 118. 1.13 Removing and Moving Virtual Machines You can easily remove a virtual machine from Oracle VM VirtualBox. Alternatively, you can move the virtual machine and associated files, such as a disk image, to another location on the host. • Removing a VM. To remove a virtual machine which you no longer need, right-click on the VM in the VirtualBox Manager’s machine list and select Remove. A confirmation dialog is displayed that enables you to select whether the virtual machine should only be removed from the list of machines, or whether the files associated with it should also be deleted. The Remove menu item is disabled while a VM is running. • Moving a VM. To move a virtual machine to a new location on the host, right-click on the VM in the VirtualBox Manager’s machine list and select Move. A file dialog prompts you to select a new location for the virtual machine. When you move a VM, Oracle VM VirtualBox configuration files are updated automatically to use the new location on the host. The Move menu item is disabled while a VM is running. You can also use the VBoxManage command to move a VM. See chapter 8.10, VBoxManage movevm, page 146. For details of removing or moving a disk image file from Oracle VM VirtualBox, see chapter 5.3, The Virtual Media Manager, page 87. 1.14 Cloning Virtual Machines To experiment with a VM configuration, test different guest OS levels or to simply backup a VM, Oracle VM VirtualBox can create a full or a linked copy of an existing VM. This is called cloning a virtual machine. The Clone Virtual Machine wizard guides you through the cloning process., 1 First Steps Start the wizard by clicking Clone in the right-click menu of the VirtualBox Manager’s machine list, or in the Snapshots view of the selected VM. Enter a new Name for the clone. You can choose a Path for the cloned virtual machine, otherwise the default machines folder is used. The Clone Type option is used to specify if the clone should be linked to the source VM, or if a fully independent clone should be created, as follows: • Full Clone: In this mode, all dependent disk images are copied to the new VM folder. The clone can fully operate without the source VM. • Linked Clone: In this mode, new differencing disk images are created where the parent disk images are the source disk images. If you selected the current state of the source VM as clone point, a new snapshot will be created implicitly. The Snapshots option determines what should be cloned. You can create a clone of the Cur- rent Machine State only or Everything. When you select Everything, the current machine state and additionally all snapshots are cloned. If you started from a snapshot which has additional children, you can also clone the Current Machine State and All Children. This creates a clone starting with this snapshot and includes all child snapshots. The following clone options are available: • MAC Address Policy: Select an option for retaining network card MAC addresses when cloning the VM. For example, when you select Generate New MAC Addresses For All Network Adapters every network card is assigned a new MAC address during cloning. This is the default setting, and is useful when both the source VM and the cloned VM have to operate on the same network. Other options enable you to retain existing MAC addresses in the cloned VM. • Keep Disk Names: The names of disk images are retained when cloning the VM. • Keep Hardware UUIDs: Hardware UUIDs are retained when cloning the VM. The clone operation itself can be a lengthy operation depending on the size and count of the attached disk images. Also keep in mind that every snapshot has differencing disk images attached, which need to be cloned as well. The Clone menu item is disabled while a machine is running. To clone a VM from the command line, see chapter 8.9, VBoxManage clonevm, page 145., 1 First Steps 1.15 Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines Oracle VM VirtualBox can import and export virtual machines in the following formats: • Open Virtualization Format (OVF). This is the industry-standard format. See chapter 1.15.1, About the OVF Format, page 22. • Cloud service formats. Export to cloud services such as Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is supported. Import is not supported. See chapter 1.15.4, Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, page 24. 1.15.1 About the OVF Format OVF is a cross-platform standard supported by many virtualization products which enables the creation of ready-made virtual machines that can then be imported into a hypervisor such as Oracle VM VirtualBox. Oracle VM VirtualBox makes OVF import and export easy to do, using the VirtualBox Manager window or the command-line interface. Using OVF enables packaging of virtual appliances. These are disk images, together with con- figuration settings that can be distributed easily. This way one can offer complete ready-to-use software packages, including operating systems with applications, that need no configuration or installation except for importing into Oracle VM VirtualBox. Note: The OVF standard is complex, and support in Oracle VM VirtualBox is an ongoing process. In particular, no guarantee is made that Oracle VM VirtualBox supports all appliances created by other virtualization software. For a list of known limitations, see chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297. Appliances in OVF format can appear in the following variants: • They can come in several files, as one or several disk images, typically in the widely-used VMDK format. See chapter 5.2, Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD), page 86. They also include a textual description file in an XML dialect with an .ovf extension. These files must then reside in the same directory for Oracle VM VirtualBox to be able to import them. • Alternatively, the above files can be packed together into a single archive file, typically with an .ova extension. Such archive files use a variant of the TAR archive format and can therefore be unpacked outside of Oracle VM VirtualBox with any utility that can unpack standard TAR files. Note: OVF cannot describe snapshots that were taken for a virtual machine. As a result, when you export a virtual machine that has snapshots, only the current state of the machine will be exported. The disk images in the export will have a flattened state identical to the current state of the virtual machine. 1.15.2 Importing an Appliance in OVF Format To import an appliance in OVF format, use the following steps. 1. Double-click on the OVF or OVA file. Oracle VM VirtualBox creates file type associations automatically for any OVF and OVA files on your host operating system., 1 First Steps 2. Select File, Import Appliance in the VirtualBox Manager window. In the displayed file dialog, navigate to the file with either the .ovf or the .ova file extension. Click Import. The Appliance Settings screen is shown. This screen shows the virtual machines described in the OVF or OVA file and enables you to change the virtual machine settings. By default, membership of VM groups is preserved on import for VMs that were initially exported from Oracle VM VirtualBox. This can be changed using the Primary Group setting for the VM. The following global settings apply for all of the VMs that you are importing: • Base Folder: The directory on the host where the imported VMs are stored. If there are multiple VMs in an appliance, you can specify a different directory for each VM by editing the Base Folder setting for the VM. • MAC Address Policy: By default, MAC addresses of network cards on your VMs are reinitialized before import. You can choose to preserve MAC addresses on import. • Import Hard Drives as VDI: By default, hard drives are imported in VMDK format. This option enables import in VDI format. 3. Click Import to import the appliance. Oracle VM VirtualBox copies the disk images and creates local virtual machines with the settings described in the Appliance Settings screen. The imported VMs are shown in the list of virtual machines in VirtualBox Manager. Note that since disk images tend to be big, and VMDK images that come with virtual appliances are typically shipped in a special compressed format that is unsuitable for being used by virtual machines directly, the images are unpacked and copied first, which can take a few minutes. To import an appliance using the command line, see chapter 8.11, VBoxManage import, page 146., 1 First Steps 1.15.3 Exporting an Appliance in OVF Format To export an appliance in OVF format, use the following steps. 1. Select File, Export Appliance. The Export Virtual Appliance wizard is shown. The initial window enables you to combine several virtual machines into an OVF appliance. Select one or more VMs to export and click Next. 2. The Appliance Settings screen is shown, where you can choose the following settings: • Format: Select an Open Virtualization Format option for the output files. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure option is used for export to Oracle Cloud Infrastruc- ture. See chapter 1.15.4, Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, page 24. • File: Select the location where the exported files are to be stored. • MAC Address Policy: Select an option for retaining network card MAC addresses on export. • Write Manifest File: Enables you to include a manifest file in the exported archive file. • Include ISO Image Files: Enables you to include ISO image files in the exported archive file. 3. Click Next to display the Virtual System Settings screen. You can edit settings for the virtual appliance. For example, you can change the name and add product information such as vendor details or license text. To change a setting, double-click on the required field. 4. Click Export and the export process begins. Note that this can take a while. To export an appliance using the command line, see chapter 8.12, VBoxManage export, page 148. 1.15.4 Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Oracle VM VirtualBox supports the export of VMs to an Oracle Cloud Infrastructure service. Before you export a VM to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, you need to do the following: • Generate an API signing key pair. This is used for API requests to Oracle Cloud Infrastruc- ture. – The key pair is usually installed in the .oci folder in your home directory. For exam- ple, ~/.oci on a Linux system. – The public key of the key pair must be uploaded to the cloud service. Instructions for creating and uploading an API signing key for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure are at: https://docs.cloud.oracle.com/iaas/Content/API/Concepts/apisigningkey. htm#How • Create a profile for your cloud account. The cloud profile contains resource identifiers for your cloud account, such as your user OCID, and the fingerprint for your public key. You can create a cloud profile in the following ways:, 1 First Steps – Automatically, using the Cloud Profile Manager. See chapter 1.15.5, The Cloud Profile Manager, page 26. – Manually, by creating an oci_config file in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global config- uration directory. For example, this is $HOME/.config/VirtualBox/oci_config on a Linux host. – Manually, by creating a config file in your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure configuration directory. For example, this is $HOME/.oci/config on a Linux host. This is the same file that is used by the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Command Line Interface. Oracle VM VirtualBox uses this file automatically if a cloud profile file is not present in your global configuration directory. Alternatively, you can import this file manually into the Cloud Profile Manager. For information on cloud profile settings used by Oracle Cloud Infrastructure see the fol- lowing: https://docs.cloud.oracle.com/iaas/Content/API/Concepts/sdkconfig.htm • Ensure that the subnet used by source VMs are available in the target compartment on the cloud service. To export a VM to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, use the following steps. 1. Select File, Export Appliance. The Export Virtual Appliance wizard is shown. Select a VM to export and click Next. 2. The Appliance Settings screen is shown. In the Format drop-down list, select Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. In the Account drop-down list, select your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure account. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure accounts can be set up using the Cloud Profile Manager. The window below the Account field displays the profile settings for your cloud account., 1 First Steps Click Next. Oracle VM VirtualBox makes an API request to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure service. 3. The Virtual System Settings screen is shown. You can edit settings used for the virtual machine on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. For example, you can edit the Disk Size and Shape used for the VM instance. Click Export to export the virtual machines to the cloud service. 4. The VMs are uploaded to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. Instances are created for the uploaded VMs. If the Launch Instance setting was enabled on the Virtual System Settings screen, the VM instance is started. You can monitor the export process using the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console. 1.15.5 The Cloud Profile Manager The Cloud Profile Manager is a component of Oracle VM VirtualBox that enables you to create, edit, and manage cloud profiles for your cloud service accounts. To display the Cloud Profile Manager select File, Cloud Profile Manager in the VirtualBox Manager window. You can use the Cloud Profile Manager to create a new cloud profile automatically, or you can create a cloud profile by importing settings from your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure configuration file into the Cloud Profile Manager. To create a new cloud profile, do the following:, 1 First Steps 1. Click the Add icon and specify a Name for the profile. 2. Click Properties and enter the following settings for the profile: • Compartment OCID • Fingerprint of the public key • Location of the private key on the client device • (Optional) Passphrase for the private key, if the key is encrypted • Region OCID • Tenancy OCID • User OCID Some of these are settings for your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure account. They can be viewed using the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console. 3. Click Apply to save your changes. Settings for your cloud profile are added to the oci_config file in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global settings directory. To import an existing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure configuration file, do the following: 1. Ensure that a config file is present in your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure configuration di- rectory. For example, this is $HOME/.oci/config on a Linux host. 2. Click the Import icon. A dialog prompting you to import cloud profiles from external files is shown. Warning: The dialog warns you that any cloud profiles in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global settings directory will be overwritten. 3. Click Import. Settings for your cloud profile are added to the oci_config file in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global settings directory. 4. Click Properties to display settings for the cloud profile. To change a setting, double-click on the required field. 5. Click Apply to save your changes. 1.16 Global Settings The Global Settings dialog can be displayed using the File menu, by clicking the Preferences item. This dialog offers a selection of settings, most of which apply to all virtual machines of the current user. The Extensions option applies to the entire system. The following settings are available: • General. Enables the user to specify the default folder/directory for VM files, and the VRDP Authentication Library. • Input. Enables the user to specify the Host key. It identifies the key that toggles whether the cursor is in the focus of the VM or the Host operating system windows, see chapter 1.9.2, Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse, page 12, and which is also used to trigger certain VM actions, see chapter 1.9.3, Typing Special Characters, page 13., 1 First Steps • Update. Enables the user to specify various settings for Automatic Updates. • Language. Enables the user to specify the GUI language. • Display. Enables the user to specify the screen resolution, and its width and height. A default scale factor can be specified for all guest screens. • Network. Enables the user to configure the details of Host Only Networks. • Extensions. Enables the user to list and manage the installed extension packages. • Proxy. Enables the user to configure a HTTP Proxy Server. 1.17 Alternative Front-Ends As briefly mentioned in chapter 1.3, Features Overview, page 3, Oracle VM VirtualBox has a very flexible internal design that enables you to use multiple interfaces to control the same virtual machines. For example, you can start a virtual machine with the VirtualBox Manager window and then stop it from the command line. With Oracle VM VirtualBox’s support for the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), you can even run virtual machines remotely on a headless server and have all the graphical output redirected over the network. The following front-ends are shipped in the standard Oracle VM VirtualBox package: • VirtualBox. This is the VirtualBox Manager, a graphical user interface that uses the Qt toolkit. This interface is described throughout this manual. While this is the simplest and easiest front-end to use, some of the more advanced Oracle VM VirtualBox features are not included. • VBoxManage. A command-line interface for automated and detailed control of every as- pect of Oracle VM VirtualBox. See chapter 8, VBoxManage, page 118. • VBoxHeadless. A front-end that produces no visible output on the host at all, but can act as a RDP server if the VirtualBox Remote Desktop Extension (VRDE) is installed and enabled for the VM. As opposed to the other graphical interfaces, the headless front-end requires no graphics support. This is useful, for example, if you want to host your virtual machines on a headless Linux server that has no X Window system installed. See chapter 7.1.2, VBoxHeadless, the Remote Desktop Server, page 110. If the above front-ends still do not satisfy your particular needs, it is possible to create yet another front-end to the complex virtualization engine that is the core of Oracle VM VirtualBox, as the Oracle VM VirtualBox core neatly exposes all of its features in a clean API. See chapter 11, Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces, page 274., 2 Installation Details As installation of Oracle VM VirtualBox varies depending on your host operating system, the following sections provide installation instructions for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Oracle Solaris. 2.1 Installing on Windows Hosts 2.1.1 Prerequisites For the various versions of Windows that are supported as host operating systems, please refer to chapter 1.4, Supported Host Operating Systems, page 5. In addition, Windows Installer 1.1 or later must be present on your system. This should be the case if you have all recent Windows updates installed. 2.1.2 Performing the Installation The Oracle VM VirtualBox installation can be started in either of the following ways: • By double-clicking on the executable file, which contains both 32-bit and 64-bit architec- tures. • By entering the following command: VirtualBox---Win.exe -extract This will extract both installers into a temporary directory, along with .MSI files. Run the following command to to perform the installation: msiexec /i VirtualBox---MultiArch_.msi Using either way displays the installation Welcome dialog and enables you to choose where to install Oracle VM VirtualBox, and which components to install. In addition to the Oracle VM VirtualBox application, the following components are available: • USB support. This package contains special drivers for your Windows host that Oracle VM VirtualBox requires to fully support USB devices inside your virtual machines. • Networking. This package contains extra networking drivers for your Windows host that Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to support Bridged Networking. This enables your VM’s virtual network cards to be accessed from other machines on your physical network. • Python support. This package contains Python scripting support for the Oracle VM VirtualBox API, see chapter 11, Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces, page 274. For this to work, an already working Windows Python installation on the system is re- quired. See, for example: http://www.python.org/download/windows/., 2 Installation Details Note: Python version at least 2.6 is required. Since Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.1, Python 3 is also supported. Depending on your Windows configuration, you may see warnings about unsigned drivers, or similar. Click Continue for these warnings, as otherwise Oracle VM VirtualBox might not function correctly after installation. The installer will create a Oracle VM VirtualBox group in the Windows Start menu, which enables you to launch the application and access its documentation. With standard settings, Oracle VM VirtualBox will be installed for all users on the local system. If this is not wanted, you must invoke the installer by first extracting as follows: VirtualBox.exe -extract Then, run either of the following commands on the extracted .MSI files. This will install Oracle VM VirtualBox only for the current user. VirtualBox.exe -msiparams ALLUSERS=2 msiexec /i VirtualBox--MultiArch_.msi ALLUSERS=2 If you do not want to install all features of Oracle VM VirtualBox, you can set the optional ADDLOCAL parameter to explicitly name the features to be installed. The following features are available: VBoxApplication Main binaries of Oracle VM VirtualBox. Note: This feature must not be absent, since it contains the minimum set of files to have working Oracle VM VirtualBox installation. VBoxUSB USB support. VBoxNetwork All networking support. This includes the VBoxNetworkFlt and VBoxNetworkAdp features. VBoxNetworkFlt Bridged networking support. VBoxNetworkAdp Host-only networking support VBoxPython Python support, 2 Installation Details Note: Python version at least 2.6 is required. Since Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.1, Python 3 is also supported. For example, to only install USB support along with the main binaries, run either of the fol- lowing commands: VirtualBox.exe -msiparams ADDLOCAL=VBoxApplication,VBoxUSB msiexec /i VirtualBox--MultiArch_.msi ADDLOCAL=VBoxApplication,VBoxUSB The user is able to choose between NDIS5 and NDIS6 host network filter drivers during the installation. This is done using a command line parameter, NETWORKTYPE. The NDIS6 driver is default for Windows Vista and later. For older Windows versions, the installer will automatically select the NDIS5 driver and this cannot be changed. For Windows Vista and later the user can force an install of the legacy NDIS5 host network filter driver by using NETWORKTYPE=NDIS5. For example, to install the NDIS5 driver on Windows 7 use either of the following commands: VirtualBox.exe -msiparams NETWORKTYPE=NDIS5 msiexec /i VirtualBox--MultiArch_.msi NETWORKTYPE=NDIS5 2.1.3 Uninstallation As Oracle VM VirtualBox uses the standard Microsoft Windows installer, Oracle VM VirtualBox can be safely uninstalled at any time. Click the program entry in the Add/Remove Programs list in the Windows Control Panel. 2.1.4 Unattended Installation Unattended installations can be performed using the standard MSI support. 2.1.5 Public Properties Public properties can be specified with the MSI API, to control additional behavior and features of the Windows host installer. Use either of the following commands: VirtualBox.exe -msiparams NAME=VALUE [...] msiexec /i VirtualBox--MultiArch_.msi NAME=VALUE [...] The following public properties are available. • VBOX_INSTALLDESKTOPSHORTCUT Specifies whether or not an Oracle VM VirtualBox icon on the desktop should be created. Set to 1 to enable, 0 to disable. Default is 1. • VBOX_INSTALLQUICKLAUNCHSHORTCUT Specifies whether or not an Oracle VM VirtualBox icon in the Quick Launch Bar should be created. Set to 1 to enable, 0 to disable. Default is 1. • VBOX_REGISTERFILEEXTENSIONS Specifies whether or not the file extensions .vbox, .vbox-extpack, .ovf, .ova, .vdi, .vmdk, .vhd and .vdd should be associated with Oracle VM VirtualBox. Files of these types then will be opened with Oracle VM VirtualBox. Set to 1 to enable, 0 to disable. Default is 1., 2 Installation Details • VBOX_START Specifies whether to start Oracle VM VirtualBox right after successful installation. Set to 1 to enable, 0 to disable. Default is 1. 2.2 Installing on Mac OS X Hosts 2.2.1 Performing the Installation For Mac OS X hosts, Oracle VM VirtualBox ships in a dmg disk image file. Perform the following steps to install on a Mac OS X host: 1. Double-click on the dmg file, to mount the contents. 2. A window opens, prompting you to double-click on the VirtualBox.pkg installer file dis- played in that window. 3. This will start the installer, which enables you to select where to install Oracle VM VirtualBox. After installation, you can find an Oracle VM VirtualBox icon in the “Applications” folder in the Finder. 2.2.2 Uninstallation To uninstall Oracle VM VirtualBox, open the disk image dmg file and double-click on the uninstall icon shown. 2.2.3 Unattended Installation To perform a non-interactive installation of Oracle VM VirtualBox you can use the command line version of the installer application. Mount the dmg disk image file, as described in the installation procedure, or use the following command line: hdiutil attach /path/to/VirtualBox-xyz.dmg Open a terminal session and run the following command: sudo installer -pkg /Volumes/VirtualBox/VirtualBox.pkg -target /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD 2.3 Installing on Linux Hosts 2.3.1 Prerequisites For the various versions of Linux that are supported as host operating systems, see chapter 1.4, Supported Host Operating Systems, page 5. You will need to install the following packages on your Linux system before starting the instal- lation. Some systems will do this for you automatically when you install Oracle VM VirtualBox. • Qt 5.3.2 or later. Qt 5.6.2 or later is recommended. • SDL 1.2.7 or later. This graphics library is typically called libsdl or similar., 2 Installation Details Note: These packages are only required if you want to run the Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interfaces. In particular, VirtualBox, the graphical VirtualBox Manager, requires both Qt and SDL. If you only want to run VBoxHeadless, neither Qt nor SDL are required. 2.3.2 The Oracle VM VirtualBox Driver Modules In order to run other operating systems in virtual machines alongside your main operating sys- tem, Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to integrate very tightly into the system. To do this it installs a driver module called vboxdrv which does a lot of that work into the system kernel, which is the part of the operating system which controls your processor and physical hardware. Without this kernel module, you can still use the VirtualBox Manager to configure virtual machines, but they will not start. It also installs network drivers called vboxnetflt and vboxnetadp which enable virtual machines to make more use of your computer’s network capabilities and are needed for any virtual machine networking beyond the basic NAT mode. Since distributing driver modules separately from the kernel is not something which Linux supports well, the install process creates the modules on the system where they will be used. This usually means first installing software packages from the distribution which are needed for the build process. Normally, these will be the GNU compiler (GCC), GNU Make (make) and packages containing header files for your kernel, as well as making sure that all system updates are installed and that the system is running the most up-to-date kernel included in the distribution. The running kernel and the header files must be updated to matching versions. The following list includes some instructions for common distributions. For most of them you may want to start by finding the version name of your kernel, using the command uname -r in a terminal. The instructions assume that you have not changed too much from the original installation, particularly not installed a different kernel type. If you have, then you will need to determine yourself what to set up. • With Debian and Ubuntu-based distributions, you must install the correct version of the linux-headers, usually whichever of linux-headers-generic, linux-headers-amd64, linux-headers-i686 or linux-headers-i686-pae best matches the kernel version name. Also, the linux-kbuild package if it exists. Basic Ubuntu releases should have the correct packages installed by default. • On Fedora, Redhat, Oracle Linux and many other RPM-based systems, the kernel version sometimes has a code of letters or a word close to the end of the version name. For example “uek” for the Oracle Enterprise kernel or “default” or “desktop” for the standard SUSE kernels. In this case, the package name is kernel-uek-devel or equivalent. If there is no such code, it is usually kernel-devel. • On older SUSE and openSUSE Linux, you must install the kernel-source and kernel-syms packages. If you suspect that something has gone wrong with module installation, check that your system is set up as described above and try running the following command, as root: rcvboxdrv setup 2.3.3 Performing the Installation Oracle VM VirtualBox is available in a number of package formats native to various common Linux distributions. See chapter 1.4, Supported Host Operating Systems, page 5. In addition, there is an alternative generic installer (.run) which should work on most Linux distributions. The generic installer packages are built on EL5 systems and thus require reasonably old versions of glibc, such as version 2.5, and other system libraries., 2 Installation Details 126.96.36.199 Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox from a Debian/Ubuntu Package Download the appropriate package for your distribution. The following examples assume that you are installing to a 32-bit Ubuntu Wily system. Use dpkg to install the Debian package,as follows: sudo dpkg -i virtualbox-5.0__Ubuntu_wily_i386.deb The installer will also try to build kernel modules suitable for the current running kernel. If the build process is not successful you will be shown a warning and the package will be left unconfigured. Look at /var/log/vbox-install.log to find out why the compilation failed. You may have to install the appropriate Linux kernel headers, see chapter 2.3.2, The Oracle VM VirtualBox Driver Modules, page 33. After correcting any problems, run the following command: sudo rcvboxdrv setup This will start a second attempt to build the module. If a suitable kernel module was found in the package or the module was successfully built, the installation script will attempt to load that module. If this fails, please see chapter 12.8.1, Linux Kernel Module Refuses to Load, page 289 for further information. Once Oracle VM VirtualBox has been successfully installed and configured, you can start it by clicking VirtualBox in your Start menu or from the command line. See chapter 2.3.5, Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux, page 37. 188.8.131.52 Using the Alternative Generic Installer (VirtualBox.run) The alternative generic installer performs the following steps: • Unpacks the application files to the target directory /opt/VirtualBox/, which cannot be changed. • Builds and installs the Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel modules: vboxdrv, vboxnetflt, and vboxnetadp. • Creates /sbin/rcvboxdrv, an init script to start the Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel module. • Creates a new system group called vboxusers. • Creates symbolic links in /usr/bin to a shell script /opt/VirtualBox/VBox which does some sanity checks and dispatches to the actual executables: VirtualBox, VBoxVRDP, VBoxHeadless and VBoxManage. • Creates /etc/udev/rules.d/60-vboxdrv.rules, a description file for udev, if that is present, which makes the USB devices accessible to all users in the vboxusers group. • Writes the installation directory to /etc/vbox/vbox.cfg. The installer must be executed as root with either install or uninstall as the first parame- ter. For example: sudo ./VirtualBox.run install Or if you do not have the sudo command available, run the following as root instead: ./VirtualBox.run install Add every user who needs to access USB devices from a VirtualBox guests to the group vboxusers. Either use the GUI user management tools or run the following command as root: sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers username, 2 Installation Details Note: The usermod command of some older Linux distributions does not support the -a option, which adds the user to the given group without affecting membership of other groups. In this case, find out the current group memberships with the groups command and add all these groups in a comma-separated list to the command line after the -G option. For example: usermod -G group1,group2,vboxusers username. 184.108.40.206 Performing a Manual Installation If you cannot use the shell script installer described in chapter 220.127.116.11, Using the Alternative Generic Installer (VirtualBox.run), page 34, you can perform a manual installation. Run the installer as follows: ./VirtualBox.run -keep -noexec This will unpack all the files needed for installation in the directory install under the current directory. The Oracle VM VirtualBox application files are contained in VirtualBox.tar.bz2 which you can unpack to any directory on your system. For example: sudo mkdir /opt/VirtualBox sudo tar jxf ./install/VirtualBox.tar.bz2 -C /opt/VirtualBox To run the same example as root, use the following commands: mkdir /opt/VirtualBox tar jxf ./install/VirtualBox.tar.bz2 -C /opt/VirtualBox The sources for Oracle VM VirtualBox’s kernel module are provided in the src directory. To build the module, change to the directory and use the following command: make If everything builds correctly, run the following command to install the module to the appro- priate module directory: sudo make install In case you do not have sudo, switch the user account to root and run the following command: make install The Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel module needs a device node to operate. The above make command will tell you how to create the device node, depending on your Linux system. The procedure is slightly different for a classical Linux setup with a /dev directory, a system with the now deprecated devfs and a modern Linux system with udev. On certain Linux distributions, you might experience difficulties building the module. You will have to analyze the error messages from the build system to diagnose the cause of the problems. In general, make sure that the correct Linux kernel sources are used for the build process. Note that the /dev/vboxdrv kernel module device node must be owned by root:root and must be read/writable only for the user. Next, you install the system initialization script for the kernel module and activate the initial- ization script using the right method for your distribution, as follows: cp /opt/VirtualBox/vboxdrv.sh /sbin/rcvboxdrv This example assumes you installed Oracle VM VirtualBox to the /opt/VirtualBox directory. Create a configuration file for Oracle VM VirtualBox, as follows: mkdir /etc/vbox echo INSTALL_DIR=/opt/VirtualBox > /etc/vbox/vbox.cfg Create the following symbolic links: ln -sf /opt/VirtualBox/VBox.sh /usr/bin/VirtualBox ln -sf /opt/VirtualBox/VBox.sh /usr/bin/VBoxManage ln -sf /opt/VirtualBox/VBox.sh /usr/bin/VBoxHeadless, 2 Installation Details 18.104.22.168 Updating and Uninstalling Oracle VM VirtualBox Before updating or uninstalling Oracle VM VirtualBox, you must terminate any virtual machines which are currently running and exit the Oracle VM VirtualBox or VBoxSVC applications. To update Oracle VM VirtualBox, simply run the installer of the updated version. To uninstall Oracle VM VirtualBox, run the installer as follows: sudo ./VirtualBox.run uninstall As root, you can use the following command: ./VirtualBox.run uninstall You can uninstall the .run package as follows: /opt/VirtualBox/uninstall.sh To manually uninstall Oracle VM VirtualBox, perform the manual installation steps in reverse order. 22.214.171.124 Automatic Installation of Debian Packages The Debian packages will request some user feedback when installed for the first time. The debconf system is used to perform this task. To prevent any user interaction during installation, default values can be defined. A file vboxconf can contain the following debconf settings: virtualbox virtualbox/module-compilation-allowed boolean true virtualbox virtualbox/delete-old-modules boolean true The first line enables compilation of the vboxdrv kernel module if no module was found for the current kernel. The second line enables the package to delete any old vboxdrv kernel modules compiled by previous installations. These default settings can be applied prior to the installation of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Debian package, as follows: debconf-set-selections vboxconf In addition there are some common configuration options that can be set prior to the installa- tion. See chapter 126.96.36.199, Automatic Installation Options, page 36. 188.8.131.52 Automatic Installation of RPM Packages The RPM format does not provide a configuration system comparable to the debconf system. See chapter 184.108.40.206, Automatic Installation Options, page 36 for how to set some common installation options provided by Oracle VM VirtualBox. 220.127.116.11 Automatic Installation Options To configure the installation process for .deb and .rpm packages, you can create a response file named /etc/default/virtualbox. The automatic generation of the udev rule can be pre- vented with the following setting: INSTALL_NO_UDEV=1 The creation of the group vboxusers can be prevented as follows: INSTALL_NO_GROUP=1 If the following line is specified, the package installer will not try to build the vboxdrv kernel module if no module fitting the current kernel was found. INSTALL_NO_VBOXDRV=1, 2 Installation Details 2.3.4 The vboxusers Group The Linux installers create the system user group vboxusers during installation. Any system user who is going to use USB devices from Oracle VM VirtualBox guests must be a member of that group. A user can be made a member of the group vboxusers through the GUI user/group management or using the following command: sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers username 2.3.5 Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux The easiest way to start a Oracle VM VirtualBox program is by running the program of your choice (VirtualBox, VBoxManage, or VBoxHeadless) from a terminal. These are symbolic links to VBox.sh that start the required program for you. The following detailed instructions should only be of interest if you wish to execute Oracle VM VirtualBox without installing it first. You should start by compiling the vboxdrv kernel module and inserting it into the Linux kernel. Oracle VM VirtualBox consists of a service daemon, VBoxSVC, and several application programs. The daemon is automatically started if necessary. All Oracle VM VirtualBox applications will communicate with the daemon through UNIX local domain sockets. There can be multiple daemon instances under different user accounts and applications can only communicate with the daemon running under the user account as the application. The local domain socket resides in a subdirectory of your system’s directory for temporary files called .vbox--ipc. In case of communication problems or server startup problems, you may try to remove this directory. All Oracle VM VirtualBox applications (VirtualBox, VBoxManage, and VBoxHeadless) require the Oracle VM VirtualBox directory to be in the library path, as follows: LD_LIBRARY_PATH=. ./VBoxManage showvminfo "Windows XP" 2.4 Installing on Oracle Solaris Hosts For the specific versions of Oracle Solaris that are supported as host operating systems, see chapter 1.4, Supported Host Operating Systems, page 5. If you have a previously installed instance of Oracle VM VirtualBox on your Oracle Solaris host, please uninstall it first before installing a new instance. See chapter 2.4.4, Uninstallation, page 38 for uninstall instructions. 2.4.1 Performing the Installation Oracle VM VirtualBox is available as a standard Oracle Solaris package. Download the Oracle VM VirtualBox SunOS package which includes the 64-bit versions of Oracle VM VirtualBox. The installation must be performed as root and from the global zone as the Oracle VM VirtualBox installer loads kernel drivers which cannot be done from non-global zones. To verify which zone you are currently in, execute the zonename command. Execute the following commands: gunzip -cd VirtualBox--SunOS.tar.gz | tar xvf - The Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel package is no longer a separate package and has been inte- grated into the main package. Install the Oracle VM VirtualBox package as follows: pkgadd -d VirtualBox--SunOS.pkg The installer will then prompt you to enter the package you wish to install. Choose 1 or all and proceed. Next the installer will ask you if you want to allow the postinstall script to be executed. Choose y and proceed, as it is essential to execute this script which installs the Oracle, 2 Installation Details VM VirtualBox kernel module. Following this confirmation the installer will install Oracle VM VirtualBox and execute the postinstall setup script. Once the postinstall script has been executed your installation is now complete. You may now safely delete the uncompressed package and autoresponse files from your system. Oracle VM VirtualBox is installed in /opt/VirtualBox. Note: If you need to use Oracle VM VirtualBox from non-global zones, see chapter 2.4.6, Configuring a Zone for Running Oracle VM VirtualBox, page 39. 2.4.2 The vboxuser Group The installer creates the system user group vboxuser during installation for Oracle Solaris hosts that support the USB features required by Oracle VM VirtualBox. Any system user who is going to use USB devices from Oracle VM VirtualBox guests must be a member of this group. A user can be made a member of this group through the GUI user/group management or at the command line by executing as root: usermod -G vboxuser username Note that adding an active user to that group will require that user to log out and back in again. This should be done manually after successful installation of the package. 2.4.3 Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Oracle Solaris The easiest way to start a Oracle VM VirtualBox program is by running the program of your choice (VirtualBox, VBoxManage, or VBoxHeadless) from a terminal. These are symbolic links to VBox.sh that start the required program for you. Alternatively, you can directly invoke the required programs from /opt/VirtualBox. Using the links provided is easier as you do not have to enter the full path. You can configure some elements of the VirtualBox Qt GUI, such as fonts and colours, by running VBoxQtconfig from the terminal. 2.4.4 Uninstallation Uninstallation of Oracle VM VirtualBox on Oracle Solaris requires root permissions. To perform the uninstallation, start a root terminal session and run the following command: pkgrm SUNWvbox After confirmation, this will remove Oracle VM VirtualBox from your system. If you are uninstalling Oracle VM VirtualBox version 3.0 or lower, you need to remove the Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel interface package, as follows: pkgrm SUNWvboxkern 2.4.5 Unattended Installation To perform a non-interactive installation of Oracle VM VirtualBox there is a response file named autoresponse, that the installer will use for responses to inputs rather than ask them from you. Extract the tar.gz package as described in the normal installation instructions. Then open a root terminal session and run the following command: pkgadd -d VirtualBox--SunOS-x86 -n -a autoresponse SUNWvbox To perform a non-interactive uninstallation, open a root terminal session and run the following command: pkgrm -n -a /opt/VirtualBox/autoresponse SUNWvbox, 2 Installation Details 2.4.6 Configuring a Zone for Running Oracle VM VirtualBox Assuming that Oracle VM VirtualBox has already been installed into your zone, you need to give the zone access to Oracle VM VirtualBox’s device node. This is done by performing the following steps. Start a root terminal and run the following command: zonecfg -z vboxzone Replace “vboxzone” with the name of the zone where you intend to run Oracle VM VirtualBox. Usezonecfg to add the device resource and match properties to the zone, as follows: zonecfg:vboxzone>add device zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set match=/dev/vboxdrv zonecfg:vboxzone:device>end zonecfg:vboxzone>add device zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set match=/dev/vboxdrvu zonecfg:vboxzone:device>end zonecfg:vboxzone>exit If you are running Oracle VM VirtualBox 2.2.0 or above on Oracle Solaris 11 or above, you may also add a device for /dev/vboxusbmon, similar to that shown above. This does not apply to Oracle Solaris 10 hosts, due to lack of USB support. If you are not using sparse root zones, you will need to loopback mount /opt/VirtualBox from the global zone into the non-global zone at the same path. This is specified below using the dir attribute and the special attribute. For example: zonecfg:vboxzone>add fs zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set dir=/opt/VirtualBox zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set special=/opt/VirtualBox zonecfg:vboxzone:device>set type=lofs zonecfg:vboxzone:device>end zonecfg:vboxzone>exit Reboot the zone using zoneadm and you should be able to run Oracle VM VirtualBox from within the configured zone., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines This chapter provides detailed steps for configuring an Oracle VM VirtualBox virtual machine (VM). For an introduction to Oracle VM VirtualBox and steps to get your first virtual machine running, see chapter 1, First Steps, page 1. You have considerable latitude when deciding what virtual hardware to provide to the guest. Use virtual hardware to communicate with the host system or with other guests. For example, you can use virtual hardware in the following ways: • Have Oracle VM VirtualBox present an ISO CD-ROM image to a guest system as if it were a physical CD-ROM. • Provide a guest system access to the physical network through its virtual network card. • Provide the host system, other guests, and computers on the Internet access to the guest system. 3.1 Supported Guest Operating Systems Because Oracle VM VirtualBox is designed to provide a generic virtualization environment for x86 systems, it can run operating systems (OSes) of any kind. However, Oracle VM VirtualBox focuses on the following guest systems: • Windows NT 4.0: – Fully supports all versions, editions, and service packs. Note that you might encounter issues with some older service packs, so install at least service pack 6a. – Guest Additions are available with a limited feature set. • Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Win- dows 8.1, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10 (non-Insider Preview releases), Win- dows Server 2016, Windows server 2019: – Fully supports all versions, editions, and service packs, including 64-bit versions. – Note that you must enable hardware virtualization when running at least Windows 8. – Guest Additions are available. • MS-DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME: – Limited testing has been performed. – Use beyond legacy installation mechanisms is not recommended. – Guest Additions are not available. • Linux 2.4: Limited support. • Linux 2.6: – Fully supports all versions and editions, both 32-bit and 64-bit., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines – For best performance, use at least Linux kernel version 2.6.13. – Guest Additions are available. Note: Certain Linux kernel releases have bugs that prevent them from executing in a virtual environment. See chapter 12.4.3, Buggy Linux 2.6 Kernel Versions, page 286. • Linux 3.x and later: – Fully supports all versions and editions, both 32-bit and 64-bit. – Guest Additions are available. • Oracle Solaris 10 and Oracle Solaris 11: – Fully supports all versions starting with Oracle Solaris 10 8/08 and Oracle Solaris 11. – Supports 64-bit prior to Oracle Solaris 11 11/11, and 32-bit. – Guest Additions are available. • FreeBSD: – Limited support. – Note that you must enable hardware virtualization when running FreeBSD. – Guest Additions are not available. • OpenBSD: – Supports at least version 3.7. – Note that you must enable hardware virtualization when running OpenBSD. – Guest Additions are not available. • OS/2 Warp 4.5: – Only MCP2 is supported. Other OS/2 versions might not work. – Note that you must enable hardware virtualization when running OS/2 Warp 4.5. – Guest Additions are available with a limited feature set. See chapter 14, Known Limi- tations, page 297. • Mac OS X: – Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2 added experimental support for Mac OS X guests, with restrictions. See chapter 3.1.1, Mac OS X Guests, page 41 and chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297. – Guest Additions are not available. 3.1.1 Mac OS X Guests Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to install and execute unmodified versions of Mac OS X guests on supported host hardware. Note that this feature is experimental and thus unsupported. Oracle VM VirtualBox is the first product to provide the modern PC architecture expected by OS X without requiring any of the modifications used by competing virtualization solutions. For example, some competing solutions perform modifications to the Mac OS X install DVDs, such as a different boot loader and replaced files. Be aware of the following important issues before you attempt to install a Mac OS X guest:, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines • Mac OS X is commercial, licensed software and contains both license and technical re- strictions that limit its use to certain hardware and usage scenarios. You must understand and comply with these restrictions. In particular, Apple prohibits the installation of most versions of Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware. These license restrictions are also enforced on a technical level. Mac OS X verifies that it is running on Apple hardware. Most DVDs that accompany Apple hardware check for the exact model. These restrictions are not circumvented by Oracle VM VirtualBox and continue to apply. • Only CPUs that are known and tested by Apple are supported. As a result, if your Intel CPU is newer than the Mac OS X build, or if you have a non-Intel CPU, you will likely encounter a panic during bootup with an “Unsupported CPU” exception. Ensure that you use the Mac OS X DVD that comes with your Apple hardware. • The Mac OS X installer expects the hard disk to be partitioned. So, the installer will not offer a partition selection to you. Before you can install the software successfully, start the Disk Utility from the Tools menu and partition the hard disk. Close the Disk Utility and proceed with the installation. • In addition, Mac OS X support in Oracle VM VirtualBox is an experimental feature. See chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297. 3.1.2 64-bit Guests Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to run 64-bit guest OSes even on a 32-bit host OS. To run a 64-bit guest OS on a 32-bit host system, ensure that you meet the following conditions: • You need a 64-bit processor that has hardware virtualization support. See chapter 10.3, Hardware vs. Software Virtualization, page 268. • You must enable hardware virtualization for the particular VM that requires 64-bit support. Software virtualization is not supported for 64-bit VMs. • To use 64-bit guest support on a 32-bit host OS, you must select a 64-bit OS for the par- ticular VM. Since supporting 64 bits on 32-bit hosts incurs additional overhead, Oracle VM VirtualBox only enables this support only upon explicit request. 64-bit hosts typically come with hardware virtualization support. So, you can install a 64-bit guest OS in the guest regardless of the settings. Warning: Be sure to enable I/O APIC for virtual machines that you intend to use in 64-bit mode. This is especially true for 64-bit Windows VMs. See chapter 3.4.2, Advanced Tab, page 46. For 64-bit Windows guests, ensure that the VM uses the Intel networking device because there is no 64-bit driver support for the AMD PCNet card. See chapter 6.1, Virtual Networking Hardware, page 96. If you use the Create VM wizard of the Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interface (GUI), Oracle VM VirtualBox automatically uses the correct settings for each selected 64-bit OS type. See chapter 1.8, Creating Your First Virtual Machine, page 8., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines 3.2 Unattended Guest Installation Oracle VM VirtualBox is able to install a guest operating system automatically. You only need to provide the installation medium and a few other parameters, such as the name of the default user. Performing an unattended guest installation involves the following steps: • Create a new VM. You can use either of the following to do this: – The VirtualBox Manager, see chapter 1.8, Creating Your First Virtual Machine, page 8. – The VBoxManage command, see chapter 8.7, VBoxManage createvm, page 132. For the new VM, you can usually just choose the type of the guest operating system and accept the default settings for that operating system. The following sections in this chapter describe how to change the settings for a VM. • Prepare the VM for unattended guest installation. Use the VBoxManage unattended command, see chapter 8.44, VBoxManage unattended, page 201. During this step, Oracle VM VirtualBox scans the installation medium and changes certain parameters to ensure a seamless installation as a guest running on Oracle VM VirtualBox. • Start the VM. You can use the VirtualBox Manager or the VBoxManage startvm command. When you start the VM, the unattended installation is performed automatically. Note that the boot order is changed during the preparation step, giving the virtual hard disk the highest priority. As this disk is normally empty before an automatic installation is started, the VM will instead boot from the virtual DVD drive as next available boot medium and the installation will start. If the virtual hard disk contains a bootable operating system, then the installation will not start. The boot order must be manually changed, by pressing F12 during the BIOS splash screen. chapter 3.2.1, An Example of Unattended Guest Installation, page 43 describes how to perform an unattended guest installation for an Oracle Linux guest. 3.2.1 An Example of Unattended Guest Installation The following example shows how to perform an unattended guest installation for an Oracle Linux virtual machine. The example uses various VBoxManage commands to prepare the guest VM. The VBoxManage unattended install command is then used to install and configure the guest operating system. 1. Create the virtual machine. # VM="ol7-autoinstall" # VBoxManage list ostypes # VBoxManage createvm -name $VM -ostype "Oracle_64" -register Note the following: • The variable $VM represents the name of the VM. • The VBoxManage list ostypes command lists the guest operating systems sup- ported by Oracle VM VirtualBox, including the name used for each operating system in the VBoxManage commands. • A 64-bit Oracle Linux 7 VM is created and registered with Oracle VM VirtualBox. • The VM has a unique UUID., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines • An XML settings file is generated. 2. Create a virtual hard disk and storage devices for the VM. # VBoxManage createhd -filename /VirtualBox/$VM/$VM.vdi -size 32768 # VBoxManage storagectl $VM -name "SATA Controller" -add sata -controller IntelAHCI # VBoxManage storageattach $VM -storagectl "SATA Controller" -port 0 -device 0 \ -type hdd -medium /VirtualBox/$VM/$VM.vdi # VBoxManage storagectl $VM -name "IDE Controller" -add ide # VBoxManage storageattach $VM -storagectl "IDE Controller" -port 0 -device 0 \ -type dvddrive -medium /u01/Software/OL/OracleLinux-R7-U6-Server-x86_64-dvd.iso Note the following: • A 32768 MB virtual hard disk is created. • A SATA storage controller is created and the virtual hard disk is attached. • An IDE storage controller for a virtual DVD drive is created and an Oracle Linux installation ISO is attached. 3. (Optional) Configure some settings for the VM. # VBoxManage modifyvm $VM -ioapic on # VBoxManage modifyvm $VM -boot1 dvd -boot2 disk -boot3 none -boot4 none # VBoxManage modifyvm $VM -memory 8192 -vram 128 Note the following: • I/O APIC is enabled for the motherboard of the VM. • The boot order for the VM is configured. • 8192 MB of RAM and 128 MB of video RAM are allocated to the VM. 4. Perform an unattended install of the operating system. # VBoxManage unattended install $VM \ -iso=/u01/Software/OL/OracleLinux-R7-U6-Server-x86_64-dvd.iso \ -user= -full-user-name= -password \ -install-additions -time-zone=CET Note the following: • An Oracle Linux ISO is specified as the installation ISO. • Specify a login name, full name, and login password for a default user on the guest operating system. The specified password is also used for the root user account on the guest. • The Guest Additions are installed on the VM. • The time zone for the guest operating system is set to Central European Time (CET). 5. Start the virtual machine. This step completes the unattended install process. # VBoxManage startvm $VM -type headless The VM is started in headless mode. The VirtualBox Manager window is not displayed. 6. (Optional) Update the guest operating system to use the latest Oracle Linux packages. On the guest VM, run the following command: # yum update, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines 3.3 Emulated Hardware Oracle VM VirtualBox virtualizes nearly all hardware of the host. Depending on a VM’s configu- ration, the guest will see the following virtual hardware: • Input devices. By default, Oracle VM VirtualBox emulates a standard PS/2 keyboard and mouse. These devices are supported by almost all past and present operating systems. In addition, Oracle VM VirtualBox can provide virtual USB input devices to avoid having to capture mouse and keyboard, as described in chapter 1.9.2, Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse, page 12. • Graphics. The Oracle VM VirtualBox graphics device, sometimes referred to as a VGA device, is not based on any physical counterpart. This is unlike nearly all other emulated devices. It is a simple, synthetic device which provides compatibility with standard VGA and several extended registers used by the VESA BIOS Extensions (VBE). • Storage. Oracle VM VirtualBox currently emulates the standard ATA interface found on Intel PIIX3/PIIX4 chips, the SATA (AHCI) interface, and two SCSI adapters (LSI Logic and BusLogic). See chapter 5.1, Hard Disk Controllers: IDE, SATA (AHCI), SCSI, SAS, USB MSD, NVMe, page 83 for details. Whereas providing one of these would be enough for Oracle VM VirtualBox by itself, this multitude of storage adapters is required for compatibility with other hypervisors. Windows is particularly picky about its boot devices, and migrating VMs between hypervisors is very difficult or impossible if the storage controllers are different. • Networking. See chapter 6.1, Virtual Networking Hardware, page 96. • USB. Oracle VM VirtualBox emulates three USB host controllers: xHCI, EHCI, and OHCI. While xHCI handles all USB transfer speeds, only guest operating systems released approx- imately after 2011 support xHCI. Note that for Windows 7 guests, 3rd party drivers must be installed for xHCI support. Older operating systems typically support OHCI and EHCI. The two controllers are needed because OHCI only handles USB low-speed and full-speed devices (both USB 1.x and 2.0), while EHCI only handles high-speed devices (USB 2.0 only). The emulated USB controllers do not communicate directly with devices on the host but rather with a virtual USB layer which abstracts the USB protocol and enables the use of remote USB devices. • Audio. See chapter 3.8, Audio Settings, page 53. 3.4 General Settings In the Settings window, under General, you can configure the most fundamental aspects of the virtual machine such as memory and essential hardware. The following tabs are available. 3.4.1 Basic Tab In the Basic tab of the General settings category, you can find these settings: • Name: The name under which the VM is shown in the list of VMs in the main window. Under this name, Oracle VM VirtualBox also saves the VM’s configuration files. By changing the name, Oracle VM VirtualBox renames these files as well. As a result, you can only use characters which are allowed in your host operating system’s file names. Note that internally, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses unique identifiers (UUIDs) to identify vir- tual machines. You can display these with VBoxManage., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines • Type: The type of the guest operating system for the VM. This is the same setting that is specified in the New Virtual Machine wizard. See chapter 1.8, Creating Your First Virtual Machine, page 8. Whereas the default settings of a newly created VM depend on the selected operating system type, changing the type later has no effect on VM settings. This value is purely informational and decorative. • Version: The version of the guest operating system for the VM. This is the same setting that is specified in the New Virtual Machine wizard. See chapter 1.8, Creating Your First Virtual Machine, page 8. 3.4.2 Advanced Tab The following settings are available in the Advanced tab: • Snapshot Folder: By default, Oracle VM VirtualBox saves snapshot data together with your other Oracle VM VirtualBox configuration data. See chapter 10.1, Where Oracle VM VirtualBox Stores its Files, page 263. With this setting, you can specify any other folder for each VM. • Shared Clipboard: You can select here whether the clipboard of the guest operating system should be shared with that of your host. If you select Bidirectional, then Oracle VM VirtualBox will always make sure that both clipboards contain the same data. If you select Host to Guest or Guest to Host, then Oracle VM VirtualBox will only ever copy clipboard data in one direction. Clipboard sharing requires that the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions be installed. In such a case, this setting has no effect. See chapter 4, Guest Additions, page 62. For security reasons, the shared clipboard is disabled by default. This setting can be changed at any time using the Shared Clipboard menu item in the Devices menu of the virtual machine. • Drag and Drop: This setting enables support for drag and drop. Select an object, such as a file, from the host or guest and directly copy or open it on the guest or host. Multiple per-VM drag and drop modes allow restricting access in either direction. For drag and drop to work the Guest Additions need to be installed on the guest. Note: Drag and drop is disabled by default. This setting can be changed at any time using the Drag and Drop menu item in the Devices menu of the virtual machine. See chapter 4.4, Drag and Drop, page 72. 3.4.3 Description Tab On the Description tab you can enter a description for your virtual machine. This has no effect on the functionality of the machine, but you may find this space useful to note down things such as the configuration of a virtual machine and the software that has been installed into it. To insert a line break into the Description text field, press Shift+Enter. 3.4.4 Disk Encryption Tab The Disk Encryption tab enables you to encrypt disks that are attached to the virtual machine. To enable disk encryption, select the Enable Disk Encryption check box. Settings are available to configure the cipher used for encryption and the encryption password., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines 3.5 System Settings The System category groups various settings that are related to the basic hardware that is pre- sented to the virtual machine. Note: As the activation mechanism of Microsoft Windows is sensitive to hardware changes, if you are changing hardware settings for a Windows guest, some of these changes may trigger a request for another activation with Microsoft. The following tabs are available. 3.5.1 Motherboard Tab On the Motherboard tab, you can configure virtual hardware that would normally be on the motherboard of a real computer. • Base Memory: Sets the amount of RAM that is allocated and given to the VM when it is running. The specified amount of memory will be requested from the host operating sys- tem, so it must be available or made available as free memory on the host when attempting to start the VM and will not be available to the host while the VM is running. This is the same setting that was specified in the New Virtual Machine wizard, as described in chapter 1.8, Creating Your First Virtual Machine, page 8. Generally, it is possible to change the memory size after installing the guest operating system. But you must not reduce the memory to an amount where the operating system would no longer boot. • Boot Order: Determines the order in which the guest operating system will attempt to boot from the various virtual boot devices. Analogous to a real PC’s BIOS setting, Oracle VM VirtualBox can tell a guest OS to start from the virtual floppy, the virtual CD/DVD drive, the virtual hard drive (each of these as defined by the other VM settings), the network, or none of these. If you select Network, the VM will attempt to boot from a network using the PXE mecha- nism. This needs to be configured in detail on the command line. See chapter 8.8, VBox- Manage modifyvm, page 133. • Chipset: You can select which chipset will be presented to the virtual machine. In legacy versions of Oracle VM VirtualBox, PIIX3 was the only available option. For modern guest operating systems such as Mac OS X, that old chipset is no longer well supported. As a result, Oracle VM VirtualBox supports an emulation of the more modern ICH9 chipset, which supports PCI express, three PCI buses, PCI-to-PCI bridges and Message Signaled Interrupts (MSI). This enables modern operating systems to address more PCI devices and no longer requires IRQ sharing. Using the ICH9 chipset it is also possible to configure up to 36 network cards, up to 8 network adapters with PIIX3. Note that the ICH9 support is experimental and not recommended for guest operating systems which do not require it. • Pointing Device: The default virtual pointing devices for older guests is the traditional PS/2 mouse. If set to USB tablet, Oracle VM VirtualBox reports to the virtual machine that a USB tablet device is present and communicates mouse events to the virtual machine through this device. The third setting is a USB Multi-Touch Tablet which is suited for recent Windows guests. Using the virtual USB tablet has the advantage that movements are reported in absolute coordinates, instead of as relative position changes. This enables Oracle VM VirtualBox to translate mouse events over the VM window into tablet events without having to “capture”, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines the mouse in the guest as described in chapter 1.9.2, Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse, page 12. This makes using the VM less tedious even if Guest Additions are not installed. • Enable I/O APIC: Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controllers (APICs) are a newer x86 hardware feature that have replaced old-style Programmable Interrupt Controllers (PICs) in recent years. With an I/O APIC, operating systems can use more than 16 interrupt requests (IRQs) and therefore avoid IRQ sharing for improved reliability. Note: Enabling the I/O APIC is required for 64-bit guest operating systems, especially Windows Vista. It is also required if you want to use more than one virtual CPU in a virtual machine. However, software support for I/O APICs has been unreliable with some operating sys- tems other than Windows. Also, the use of an I/O APIC slightly increases the overhead of virtualization and therefore slows down the guest OS a little. Warning: All Windows operating systems starting with Windows 2000 install different kernels, depending on whether an I/O APIC is available. As with ACPI, the I/O APIC therefore must not be turned off after installation of a Windows guest OS. Turning it on after installation will have no effect however. • Enable EFI: Enables Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), which replaces the legacy BIOS and may be useful for certain advanced use cases. See chapter 3.14, Alternative Firmware (EFI), page 58. • Hardware Clock in UTC Time: If selected, Oracle VM VirtualBox will report the system time in UTC format to the guest instead of the local (host) time. This affects how the virtual real-time clock (RTC) operates and may be useful for UNIX-like guest operating systems, which typically expect the hardware clock to be set to UTC. In addition, you can turn off the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) which Oracle VM VirtualBox presents to the guest operating system by default. ACPI is the current industry standard to allow operating systems to recognize hardware, con- figure motherboards and other devices and manage power. As all modern PCs contain this fea- ture and Windows and Linux have been supporting it for years, it is also enabled by default in Oracle VM VirtualBox. ACPI can only be turned off using the command line. See chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133. Warning: All Windows operating systems starting with Windows 2000 install differ- ent kernels, depending on whether ACPI is available. This means that ACPI must not be turned off after installation of a Windows guest OS. However, turning it on after installation will have no effect. 3.5.2 Processor Tab On the Processor tab, you can configure settings for the CPU used by the virtual machine., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines • Processor(s): Sets the number of virtual CPU cores the guest operating systems can see. Oracle VM VirtualBox supports symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP) and can present up to 32 virtual CPU cores to each virtual machine. You should not configure virtual machines to use more CPU cores than are available physi- cally. This includes real cores, with no hyperthreads. • Execution Cap: Configures the CPU execution cap. This limits the amount of time a host CPU spends to emulate a virtual CPU. The default setting is 100%, meaning that there is no limitation. A setting of 50% implies a single virtual CPU can use up to 50% of a single host CPU. Note that limiting the execution time of the virtual CPUs may cause guest timing problems. A warning is displayed at the bottom of the Processor tab if an Execution Cap setting is made that may affect system performance. • Enable PAE/NX: Determines whether the PAE and NX capabilities of the host CPU will be exposed to the virtual machine. To enable this feature, select the Extended Features check box. PAE stands for Physical Address Extension. Normally, if enabled and supported by the operating system, then even a 32-bit x86 CPU can access more than 4 GB of RAM. This is made possible by adding another 4 bits to memory addresses, so that with 36 bits, up to 64 GB can be addressed. Some operating systems, such as Ubuntu Server, require PAE support from the CPU and cannot be run in a virtual machine without it. With virtual machines running modern server operating systems, Oracle VM VirtualBox also supports CPU hot-plugging. For details, see chapter 9.4, CPU Hot-Plugging, page 210. 3.5.3 Acceleration Tab On this tab, you can configure Oracle VM VirtualBox to use hardware virtualization extensions that your host CPU supports. • Paravirtualization Interface: Oracle VM VirtualBox provides paravirtualization interfaces to improve time-keeping accuracy and performance of guest operating systems. The op- tions available are documented under the paravirtprovider option in chapter 8.8, VBox- Manage modifyvm, page 133. For further details on the paravirtualization providers, see chapter 10.4, Paravirtualization Providers, page 269. • Hardware Virtualization: You can select for each virtual machine individually whether Oracle VM VirtualBox should use software or hardware virtualization. – Enable VT-x/AMD-V: Enables Intel VT-x and AMD-V hardware extensions if the host CPU supports them. – Enable Nested Paging: If the host CPU supports the nested paging (AMD-V) or EPT (Intel VT-x) features, then you can expect a significant performance increase by en- abling nested paging in addition to hardware virtualization. For technical details, see chapter 10.7, Nested Paging and VPIDs, page 273. Advanced users may be interested in technical details about software versus hardware virtualization. See chapter 10.3, Hardware vs. Software Virtualization, page 268. In most cases, the default settings on the Acceleration tab will work well. Oracle VM VirtualBox selects sensible defaults, depending on the operating system that you selected when you created the virtual machine. In certain situations, however, you may want to change the preconfigured defaults., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines 3.6 Display Settings The following tabs are available for configuring the display for a virtual machine. 3.6.1 Screen Tab • Video Memory: Sets the size of the memory provided by the virtual graphics card available to the guest, in MB. As with the main memory, the specified amount will be allocated from the host’s resident memory. Based on the amount of video memory, higher resolutions and color depths may be available. The GUI will show a warning if the amount of video memory is too small to be able to switch the VM into full screen mode. The minimum value depends on the number of virtual monitors, the screen resolution and the color depth of the host display as well as on the use of 3D acceleration and 2D video acceleration. A rough estimate is (color depth / 8) x vertical pixels x horizontal pixels x number of screens = number of bytes. Extra memory may be required if display acceleration is used. • Monitor Count: With this setting, Oracle VM VirtualBox can provide more than one vir- tual monitor to a virtual machine. If a guest operating system supports multiple attached monitors, Oracle VM VirtualBox can pretend that multiple virtual monitors are present. Up to eight such virtual monitors are supported. The output of the multiple monitors are displayed on the host in multiple VM windows which are running side by side. However, in full screen and seamless mode, they use the available physical monitors attached to the host. As a result, for full screen and seamless modes to work with multiple monitors, you will need at least as many physical monitors as you have virtual monitors configured, or Oracle VM VirtualBox will report an error. You can configure the relationship between guest and host monitors using the View menu by pressing Host key + Home when you are in full screen or seamless mode. See also chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297. • Scale Factor: Enables scaling of the display size. For multiple monitor displays, you can set the scale factor for individual monitors, or globally for all of the monitors. Use the slider to select a scaling factor up to 200%. You can set a default scale factor for all VMs. Use the Display tab in the Global Settings dialogs. • Enable 3D Acceleration: If a virtual machine has Guest Additions installed, you can se- lect here whether the guest should support accelerated 3D graphics. See chapter 4.5.1, Hardware 3D Acceleration (OpenGL and Direct3D 8/9), page 74. • Enable 2D Video Acceleration: If a virtual machine with Microsoft Windows has Guest Additions installed, you can select here whether the guest should support accelerated 2D video graphics. See chapter 4.5.2, Hardware 2D Video Acceleration for Windows Guests, page 75. • Graphics Controller: Specifies the graphics adapter type used by the VM. The following options are available: – VBoxSVGA: The default graphics controller for new VMs that use Linux or Windows 7 or later. Requires the Guest Additions. – VBoxVGA: Used for legacy guest operating systems. This was the default graphics controller in previous releases. For Windows versions before Windows 7, this is the default option. Does not require the Guest Additions., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines – VMSVGA: Used to emulate a VMware SVGA graphic device. Requires the Guest Addi- tions. – None: Do not emulate a graphics adapter type. 3.6.2 Remote Display Tab On the Remote Display tab, if the VirtualBox Remote Display Extension (VRDE) is installed, you can enable the VRDP server that is built into Oracle VM VirtualBox. This enables you to connect to the console of the virtual machine remotely with any standard RDP viewer, such as mstsc.exe that comes with Microsoft Windows. On Linux and Oracle Solaris systems you can use the standard open source rdesktop program. These features are described in chapter 7.1, Remote Display (VRDP Support), page 108. • Enable Server: Select this check box and configure settings for the remote display connec- tion. 3.6.3 Recording Tab Renamed to Recording tab? Check against RC version. On the Recording tab you can enable video and audio recording for a virtual machine and change related settings. Note that these features can be enabled and disabled while a VM is running. • Enable Capture: Select this check box and select a Capture Mode option. • Capture Mode: You can choose to record video, audio, or both video and audio. Some settings on the Recording tab may be grayed out, depending on the Capture Mode setting. • File Path: The file where the recording is saved. • Frame Size: The video resolution of the recorded video, in pixels. The drop-down list enables you to select from common frame sizes. • Frame Rate: Use the slider to set the maximum number of video frames per second (FPS) to record. Frames that have a higher frequency are skipped. Increasing this value reduces the number of skipped frames and increases the file size. • Quality: Use the slider to set the the bit rate of the video in kilobits per second. Increasing this value improves the appearance of the video at the cost of an increased file size. • Audio Quality: Use the slider to set the quality of the audio recording. Increasing this value improves the audio quality at the cost of an increased file size. • Screens: For a multiple monitor display, you can select which screens to record video from. As you adjust the video and audio recording settings, the approximate output file size for a five minute video is shown. 3.7 Storage Settings The Storage category in the VM settings enables you to connect virtual hard disk, CD/DVD, and floppy images and drives to your virtual machine. In a real PC, so-called storage controllers connect physical disk drives to the rest of the com- puter. Similarly, Oracle VM VirtualBox presents virtual storage controllers to a virtual machine., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines Under each controller, the virtual devices, such as hard disks, CD/DVD or floppy drives, attached to the controller are shown. Note: This section gives a quick introduction to the Oracle VM VirtualBox storage settings. See chapter 5, Virtual Storage, page 83 for a full description of the available storage settings in Oracle VM VirtualBox. If you have used the Create VM wizard to create a machine, you will normally see something like the following: Depending on the guest operating system type that you selected when you created the VM, a new VM includes the following storage devices: • IDE controller. A virtual CD/DVD drive is attached to the secondary master port of the IDE controller. • SATA controller. This is a modern type of storage controller for higher hard disk data throughput, to which the virtual hard disks are attached. Initially you will normally have one such virtual disk, but as shown in the previous screenshot, you can have more than one. Each is represented by a disk image file, such as a VDI file in this example. If you created your VM with an older version of Oracle VM VirtualBox, the default storage layout may differ. You might then only have an IDE controller to which both the CD/DVD drive and the hard disks have been attached. This might also apply if you selected an older operat- ing system type when you created the VM. Since older operating systems do not support SATA without additional drivers, Oracle VM VirtualBox will make sure that no such devices are present initially. See chapter 5.1, Hard Disk Controllers: IDE, SATA (AHCI), SCSI, SAS, USB MSD, NVMe, page 83. Oracle VM VirtualBox also provides a floppy controller. You cannot add devices other than floppy drives to this controller. Virtual floppy drives, like virtual CD/DVD drives, can be con- nected to either a host floppy drive, if you have one, or a disk image, which in this case must be in RAW format. You can modify these media attachments freely. For example, if you wish to copy some files from another virtual disk that you created, you can connect that disk as a second hard disk, as in the above screenshot. You could also add a second virtual CD/DVD drive, or change where these items are attached. The following options are available:, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines • To add another virtual hard disk, or a CD/DVD or floppy drive, select the storage con- troller to which it should be added (IDE, SATA, SCSI, SAS, floppy controller) and then click the Add Disk button below the tree. You can then either select Add CD/DVD Device or Add Hard Disk. If you clicked on a floppy controller, you can add a floppy drive instead. Alternatively, right-click on the storage controller and select a menu item there. On the right part of the window, you can then set the following: 1. You can then select to which device slot of the controller the virtual disk should be connected to. IDE controllers have four slots which have traditionally been called primary master, primary slave, secondary master, and secondary slave. By contrast, SATA and SCSI controllers offer you up to 30 slots for attaching virtual devices. 2. You can select which image file to use. – For virtual hard disks, a button with a drop-down list appears on the right, offer- ing you to either select a virtual hard disk file using a standard file dialog or to create a new hard disk (image file). The latter option displays the Create New Disk wizard, described in chapter 1.8, Creating Your First Virtual Machine, page 8. For virtual floppy drives, a dialog enables you to create and format a new floppy disk image automatically. For details on the image file types that are supported, see chapter 5.2, Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD), page 86. – For virtual CD/DVD drives, the image files will typically be in the standard ISO format instead. Most commonly, you will select this option when installing an operating system from an ISO file that you have obtained from the Internet. For example, most Linux distributions are available in this way. For virtual CD/DVD drives, the following additional options are available: ∗ If you select Host Drive from the list, then the physical device of the host computer is connected to the VM, so that the guest operating system can read from and write to your physical device. This is, for instance, useful if you want to install Windows from a real installation CD. In this case, select your host drive from the drop-down list presented. If you want to write, or burn, CDs or DVDs using the host drive, you need to also enable the Passthrough option. See chapter 5.9, CD/DVD Support, page 94. ∗ If you select Remove Disk from Virtual Drive, Oracle VM VirtualBox will present an empty CD/DVD drive to the guest into which no media has been inserted. • To remove an attachment, either select it and click on the Remove icon at the bottom, or right-click on it and select the menu item. Removable media, such as CD/DVDs and floppies, can be changed while the guest is running. Since the Settings dialog is not available at that time, you can also access these settings from the Devices menu of your virtual machine window. 3.8 Audio Settings The Audio section in a virtual machine’s Settings window determines whether the VM will detect a connected sound card, and if the audio output should be played on the host system. To enable audio for a guest, select the Enable Audio check box. The following settings are available:, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines • Host Audio Driver: The audio driver that Oracle VM VirtualBox uses on the host. On a Linux host, depending on your host configuration, you can select between the OSS, ALSA, or the PulseAudio subsystem. On newer Linux distributions, the PulseAudio subsystem is preferred. Only OSS is supported on Oracle Solaris hosts. The Oracle Solaris Audio audio backend is no longer supported on Oracle Solaris hosts. • Audio Controller: You can choose between the emulation of an Intel AC’97 controller, an Intel HD Audio controller, or a SoundBlaster 16 card. • Enable Audio Output: Enables audio output only for the VM. • Enable Audio Input: Enables audio input only for the VM. 3.9 Network Settings The Network section in a virtual machine’s Settings window enables you to configure how Oracle VM VirtualBox presents virtual network cards to your VM, and how they operate. When you first create a virtual machine, Oracle VM VirtualBox by default enables one virtual network card and selects the Network Address Translation (NAT) mode for it. This way the guest can connect to the outside world using the host’s networking and the outside world can connect to services on the guest which you choose to make visible outside of the virtual machine. This default setup is good for the majority of Oracle VM VirtualBox users. However, Oracle VM VirtualBox is extremely flexible in how it can virtualize networking. It supports many virtual network cards per virtual machine. The first four virtual network cards can be configured in detail in the VirtualBox Manager window. Additional network cards can be configured using the VBoxManage command. Many networking options are available. See chapter 6, Virtual Networking, page 96 for more information. 3.10 Serial Ports Oracle VM VirtualBox supports the use of virtual serial ports in a virtual machine. Ever since the original IBM PC, personal computers have been equipped with one or two serial ports, also called COM ports by DOS and Windows. Serial ports were commonly used with modems, and some computer mice used to be connected to serial ports before USB became commonplace. While serial ports are no longer as common as they used to be, there are still some important uses left for them. For example, serial ports can be used to set up a primitive network over a null-modem cable, in case Ethernet is not available. Also, serial ports are indispensable for system programmers needing to do kernel debugging, since kernel debugging software usually interacts with developers over a serial port. With virtual serial ports, system programmers can do kernel debugging on a virtual machine instead of needing a real computer to connect to. If a virtual serial port is enabled, the guest operating system sees a standard 16550A com- patible UART device. Other UART types can be configured using the VBoxManage modifyvm command. Both receiving and transmitting data is supported. How this virtual serial port is then connected to the host is configurable, and the details depend on your host operating system. You can use either the Settings tabs or the VBoxManage command to set up virtual serial ports. For the latter, see chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133 for information on the -uart, -uartmode and -uarttype options. You can configure up to four virtual serial ports per virtual machine. For each device, you must set the following:, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines 1. Port Number: This determines the serial port that the virtual machine should see. For best results, use the traditional values as follows: • COM1: I/O base 0x3F8, IRQ 4 • COM2: I/O base 0x2F8, IRQ 3 • COM3: I/O base 0x3E8, IRQ 4 • COM4: I/O base 0x2E8, IRQ 3 You can also configure a user-defined serial port. Enter an I/O base address and interrupt (IRQ). See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COM_(hardware_interface). 2. Port Mode: What the virtual port is connected to. For each virtual serial port, you have the following options: • Disconnected: The guest will see the device, but it will behave as if no cable had been connected to it. • Host Device: Connects the virtual serial port to a physical serial port on your host. On a Windows host, this will be a name like COM1. On Linux or Oracle Solaris hosts, it will be a device node like /dev/ttyS0. Oracle VM VirtualBox will then simply redirect all data received from and sent to the virtual serial port to the physical device. • Host Pipe: Configure Oracle VM VirtualBox to connect the virtual serial port to a software pipe on the host. This depends on your host operating system, as follows: – On a Windows host, data will be sent and received through a named pipe. The pipe name must be in the format \\.\pipe\ where should iden- tify the virtual machine but may be freely chosen. – On a Mac, Linux, or Oracle Solaris host, a local domain socket is used instead. The socket filename must be chosen such that the user running Oracle VM VirtualBox has sufficient privileges to create and write to it. The /tmp directory is often a good candidate. On Linux there are various tools which can connect to a local domain socket or create one in server mode. The most flexible tool is socat and is available as part of many distributions. In this case, you can configure whether Oracle VM VirtualBox should create the named pipe, or the local domain socket non-Windows hosts, itself or whether Oracle VM VirtualBox should assume that the pipe or socket exists already. With the VBoxManage command-line options, this is referred to as server mode or client mode, respectively. For a direct connection between two virtual machines, corresponding to a null-modem cable, simply configure one VM to create a pipe or socket and another to attach to it. • Raw File: Send the virtual serial port output to a file. This option is very useful for capturing diagnostic output from a guest. Any file may be used for this purpose, as long as the user running Oracle VM VirtualBox has sufficient privileges to create and write to the file. • TCP Socket: Useful for forwarding serial traffic over TCP/IP, acting as a server, or it can act as a TCP client connecting to other servers. This option enables a remote machine to directly connect to the guest’s serial port using TCP. – TCP Server: Deselect the Connect to Existing Pipe/Socket check box and spec- ify the port number in the Path/Address field. This is typically 23 or 2023. Note that on UNIX-like systems you will have to use a port a number greater than 1024 for regular users. The client can use software such as PuTTY or the telnet command line tool to access the TCP Server., 3 Configuring Virtual Machines – TCP Client: To create a virtual null-modem cable over the Internet or LAN, the other side can connect using TCP by specifying hostname:port in the Path/Address field. The TCP socket will act in client mode if you select the Connect to Existing Pipe/Socket check box. Up to four serial ports can be configured per virtual machine, but you can pick any port numbers out of the above. However, serial ports cannot reliably share interrupts. If both ports are to be used at the same time, they must use different interrupt levels, for example COM1 and COM2, but not COM1 and COM3. 3.11 USB Support 3.11.1 USB Settings The USB section in a virtual machine’s Settings window enables you to configure Oracle VM VirtualBox’s sophisticated USB support. Oracle VM VirtualBox can enable virtual machines to access the USB devices on your host directly. To achieve this, Oracle VM VirtualBox presents the guest operating system with a vir- tual USB controller. As soon as the guest system starts using a USB device, it will appear as unavailable on the host. Note: • Be careful with USB devices that are currently in use on the host. For example, if you allow your guest to connect to your USB hard disk that is currently mounted on the host, when the guest is activated, it will be disconnected from the host without a proper shutdown. This may cause data loss. • Oracle Solaris hosts have a few known limitations regarding USB support. See chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297. In addition to allowing a guest access to your local USB devices, Oracle VM VirtualBox even enables your guests to connect to remote USB devices by use of the VirtualBox Remote Desktop Extension (VRDE). See chapter 7.1.4, Remote USB, page 112. To enable USB for a VM, select the Enable USB Controller check box. The following settings are available: • USB Controller: Selects a controller with the specified level of USB support, as follows: – OHCI for USB 1.1 – EHCI for USB 2.0. This also enables OHCI. – xHCI for USB 3.0. This supports all USB speeds. Note: The xHCI and EHCI controllers are shipped as an Oracle VM VirtualBox extension package, which must be installed separately. See chapter 1.6, Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs, page 6. • USB Device Filters: When USB support is enabled for a VM, you can determine in detail which devices will be automatically attached to the guest. For this, you can create filters by specifying certain properties of the USB device. USB devices with a matching filter will be automatically passed to the guest once they are attached to the host. USB devices without, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines a matching filter can be passed manually to the guest, for example by using the Devices, USB menu. Clicking on the + button to the right of the USB Device Filters window creates a new filter. You can give the filter a name, for later reference, and specify the filter criteria. The more criteria you specify, the more precisely devices will be selected. For instance, if you specify only a vendor ID of 046d, all devices produced by Logitech will be available to the guest. If you fill in all fields, on the other hand, the filter will only apply to a particular device model from a particular vendor, and not even to other devices of the same type with a different revision and serial number. In detail, the following criteria are available: – Vendor and Product ID. With USB, each vendor of USB products carries an identi- fication number that is unique world-wide, called the vendor ID. Similarly, each line of products is assigned a product ID number. Both numbers are commonly written in hexadecimal, and a colon separates the vendor from the product ID. For example, 046d:c016 stands for Logitech as a vendor, and the M-UV69a Optical Wheel Mouse product. Alternatively, you can also specify Manufacturer and Product by name. To list all the USB devices that are connected to your host machine with their respec- tive vendor IDs and product IDs, use the following command: VBoxManage list usbhost On Windows, you can also see all USB devices that are attached to your system in the Device Manager. On Linux, you can use the lsusb command. – Serial Number. While vendor ID and product ID are quite specific to identify USB devices, if you have two identical devices of the same brand and product line, you will also need their serial numbers to filter them out correctly. – Remote. This setting specifies whether the device will be local only, remote only, such as over VRDP, or either. On a Windows host, you will need to unplug and reconnect a USB device to use it after creating a filter for it. As an example, you could create a new USB filter and specify a vendor ID of 046d for Logitech, Inc, a manufacturer index of 1, and “not remote”. Then any USB devices on the host system produced by Logitech, Inc with a manufacturer index of 1 will be visible to the guest system. Several filters can select a single device. For example, a filter which selects all Logitech devices, and one which selects a particular webcam. You can deactivate filters without deleting them by deselecting the check box next to the filter name. 3.11.2 Implementation Notes for Windows and Linux Hosts On Windows hosts, a kernel mode device driver provides USB proxy support. It implements both a USB monitor, which enables Oracle VM VirtualBox to capture devices when they are plugged in, and a USB device driver to claim USB devices for a particular virtual machine. As opposed to Oracle VM VirtualBox versions before 1.4.0, system reboots are no longer necessary after installing the driver. Also, you no longer need to replug devices for Oracle VM VirtualBox to claim them. On newer Linux hosts, Oracle VM VirtualBox accesses USB devices through special files in the file system. When Oracle VM VirtualBox is installed, these are made available to all users in the, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines vboxusers system group. In order to be able to access USB from guest systems, make sure that you are a member of this group. On older Linux hosts, USB devices are accessed using the usbfs file system. Therefore, the user executing Oracle VM VirtualBox needs read and write permission to the USB file system. Most distributions provide a group, such as usbusers, which the Oracle VM VirtualBox user needs to be added to. Also, Oracle VM VirtualBox can only proxy to virtual machines USB devices which are not claimed by a Linux host USB driver. The Driver= entry in /proc/bus/usb/devices will show you which devices are currently claimed. See also chapter 12.8.7, USB Not Working, page 291 for details about usbfs. 3.12 Shared Folders Shared folders enable you to easily exchange data between a virtual machine and your host. This feature requires that the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions be installed in a virtual machine and is described in detail in chapter 4.3, Shared Folders, page 69. 3.13 User Interface The User Interface section enables you to change certain aspects of the user interface of this VM. • Menu Bar: This widget enables you to disable menus by clicking on the menu to release it, menu entries by deselecting the check box of the entry to disable it and the complete menu bar by deselecting the rightmost check box. • Mini ToolBar: In full screen or seamless mode, Oracle VM VirtualBox can display a small toolbar that contains some of the items that are normally available from the virtual ma- chine’s menu bar. This toolbar reduces itself to a small gray line unless you move the mouse over it. With the toolbar, you can return from full screen or seamless mode, control machine execution or enable certain devices. If you do not want to see the toolbar, disable this setting. The second setting enables you to show the toolbar at the top of the screen, instead of showing it at the bottom. • Status Bar: This widget enables you to disable icons on the status bar by deselecting the check box of an icon to disable it, to rearrange icons by dragging and dropping the icon, and to disable the complete status bar by deselecting the leftmost check box. 3.14 Alternative Firmware (EFI) Oracle VM VirtualBox includes experimental support for the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), which is a new industry standard intended to eventually replace the legacy BIOS as the primary interface for bootstrapping computers and certain system services later. By default, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses the BIOS firmware for virtual machines. To use EFI for a given virtual machine, you can enable EFI in the machine’s Settings dialog. See chapter 3.5.1, Motherboard Tab, page 47. Alternatively, use the VBoxManage command line interface as follows: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -firmware efi To switch back to using the BIOS: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -firmware bios, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines One notable user of EFI is Apple Mac OS X. More recent Linux versions and Windows releases, starting with Vista, also offer special versions that can be booted using EFI. Another possible use of EFI in Oracle VM VirtualBox is development and testing of EFI appli- cations, without booting any OS. Note that the Oracle VM VirtualBox EFI support is experimental and will be enhanced as EFI matures and becomes more widespread. Mac OS X, Linux, and newer Windows guests are known to work fine. Windows 7 guests are unable to boot with the Oracle VM VirtualBox EFI implementation. 3.14.1 Video Modes in EFI EFI provides two distinct video interfaces: GOP (Graphics Output Protocol) and UGA (Universal Graphics Adapter). Modern operating systems, such as Mac OS X, generally use GOP, while some older ones still use UGA. Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a configuration option to control the graphics resolution for both interfaces, making the difference mostly irrelevant for users. The default resolution is 1024x768. To select a graphics resolution for EFI, use the following VBoxManage command: VBoxManage setextradata "VM name" VBoxInternal2/EfiGraphicsResolution HxV Determine the horizontal resolution H and the vertical resolution V from the following list of default resolutions:
VGA 640x480, 32bpp, 4:3
SVGA 800x600, 32bpp, 4:3
XGA 1024x768, 32bpp, 4:3 XGA+ 1152x864, 32bpp, 4:3
HD 1280x720, 32bpp, 16:9
WXGA 1280x800, 32bpp, 16:10
SXGA 1280x1024, 32bpp, 5:4 SXGA+ 1400x1050, 32bpp, 4:3, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines WXGA+ 1440x900, 32bpp, 16:10 HD+ 1600x900, 32bpp, 16:9
UXGA 1600x1200, 32bpp, 4:3 WSXGA+ 1680x1050, 32bpp, 16:10 Full HD 1920x1080, 32bpp, 16:9
WUXGA 1920x1200, 32bpp, 16:10 DCI 2K 2048x1080, 32bpp, 19:10 Full HD+ 2160x1440, 32bpp, 3:2 Unnamed 2304x1440, 32bpp, 16:10
QHD 2560x1440, 32bpp, 16:9
WQXGA 2560x1600, 32bpp, 16:10 QWXGA+ 2880x1800, 32bpp, 16:10 QHD+ 3200x1800, 32bpp, 16:9
WQSXGA 3200x2048, 32bpp, 16:10, 3 Configuring Virtual Machines 4K UHD 3840x2160, 32bpp, 16:9
WQUXGA 3840x2400, 32bpp, 16:10 DCI 4K 4096x2160, 32bpp, 19:10
HXGA 4096x3072, 32bpp, 4:3 UHD+ 5120x2880, 32bpp, 16:9
WHXGA 5120x3200, 32bpp, 16:10
WHSXGA 6400x4096, 32bpp, 16:10
HUXGA 6400x4800, 32bpp, 4:3 8K UHD2 7680x4320, 32bpp, 16:9 If this list of default resolution does not cover your needs, see chapter 9.7.1, Custom VESA Resolutions, page 214. Note that the color depth value specified in a custom video mode must be specified. Color depths of 8, 16, 24, and 32 are accepted. EFI assumes a color depth of 32 by default. The EFI default video resolution settings can only be changed when the VM is powered off. 3.14.2 Specifying Boot Arguments It is currently not possible to manipulate EFI variables from within a running guest. For example, setting the “boot-args” variable by running the nvram tool in a Mac OS X guest will not work. As an alternative way, “VBoxInternal2/EfiBootArgs” extradata can be passed to a VM in order to set the “boot-args” variable. To change the “boot-args” EFI variable, use the following command: VBoxManage setextradata "VM name" VBoxInternal2/EfiBootArgs , 4 Guest Additions The previous chapter covered getting started with Oracle VM VirtualBox and installing operating systems in a virtual machine. For any serious and interactive use, the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions will make your life much easier by providing closer integration between host and guest and improving the interactive performance of guest systems. This chapter describes the Guest Additions in detail. 4.1 Introduction to Guest Additions As mentioned in chapter 1.2, Some Terminology, page 2, the Guest Additions are designed to be installed inside a virtual machine after the guest operating system has been installed. They consist of device drivers and system applications that optimize the guest operating system for better performance and usability. See chapter 3.1, Supported Guest Operating Systems, page 40 for details on what guest operating systems are fully supported with Guest Additions by Oracle VM VirtualBox. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions for all supported guest operating systems are pro- vided as a single CD-ROM image file which is called VBoxGuestAdditions.iso. This image file is located in the installation directory of Oracle VM VirtualBox. To install the Guest Additions for a particular VM, you mount this ISO file in your VM as a virtual CD-ROM and install from there. The Guest Additions offer the following features: • Mouse pointer integration. To overcome the limitations for mouse support described in chapter 1.9.2, Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse, page 12, this feature provides you with seamless mouse support. You will only have one mouse pointer and pressing the Host key is no longer required to “free” the mouse from being captured by the guest OS. To make this work, a special mouse driver is installed in the guest that communicates with the “real” mouse driver on your host and moves the guest mouse pointer accordingly. • Shared folders. These provide an easy way to exchange files between the host and the guest. Much like ordinary Windows network shares, you can tell Oracle VM VirtualBox to treat a certain host directory as a shared folder, and Oracle VM VirtualBox will make it available to the guest operating system as a network share, irrespective of whether guest actually has a network. See chapter 4.3, Shared Folders, page 69. • Better video support. While the virtual graphics card which Oracle VM VirtualBox emu- lates for any guest operating system provides all the basic features, the custom video drivers that are installed with the Guest Additions provide you with extra high and non-standard video modes, as well as accelerated video performance. In addition, with Windows, Linux, and Oracle Solaris guests, you can resize the virtual machine’s window if the Guest Additions are installed. The video resolution in the guest will be automatically adjusted, as if you had manually entered an arbitrary resolution in the guest’s Display settings. See chapter 1.9.5, Resizing the Machine’s Window, page 14. If the Guest Additions are installed, 3D graphics and 2D video for guest applications can be accelerated. See chapter 4.5, Hardware-Accelerated Graphics, page 74. • Seamless windows. With this feature, the individual windows that are displayed on the desktop of the virtual machine can be mapped on the host’s desktop, as if the underlying application was actually running on the host. See chapter 4.6, Seamless Windows, page 75., 4 Guest Additions • Generic host/guest communication channels. The Guest Additions enable you to con- trol and monitor guest execution. The “guest properties” provide a generic string-based mechanism to exchange data bits between a guest and a host, some of which have special meanings for controlling and monitoring the guest. See chapter 4.7, Guest Properties, page 76. Additionally, applications can be started in a guest from the host. See chapter 4.9, Guest Control of Applications, page 79. • Time synchronization. With the Guest Additions installed, Oracle VM VirtualBox can ensure that the guest’s system time is better synchronized with that of the host. For various reasons, the time in the guest might run at a slightly different rate than the time on the host. The host could be receiving updates through NTP and its own time might not run linearly. A VM could also be paused, which stops the flow of time in the guest for a shorter or longer period of time. When the wall clock time between the guest and host only differs slightly, the time synchronization service attempts to gradually and smoothly adjust the guest time in small increments to either “catch up” or “lose” time. When the difference is too great, for example if a VM paused for hours or restored from saved state, the guest time is changed immediately, without a gradual adjustment. The Guest Additions will resynchronize the time regularly. See chapter 9.13.3, Tuning the Guest Additions Time Synchronization Parameters, page 224 for how to configure the parameters of the time synchronization mechanism. • Shared clipboard. With the Guest Additions installed, the clipboard of the guest operating system can optionally be shared with your host operating system. See chapter 3.4, General Settings, page 45. • Automated logins. Also called credentials passing. See chapter 9.1, Automated Guest Logins, page 204. Each version of Oracle VM VirtualBox, even minor releases, ship with their own version of the Guest Additions. While the interfaces through which the Oracle VM VirtualBox core communi- cates with the Guest Additions are kept stable so that Guest Additions already installed in a VM should continue to work when Oracle VM VirtualBox is upgraded on the host, for best results, it is recommended to keep the Guest Additions at the same version. The Windows and Linux Guest Additions therefore check automatically whether they have to be updated. If the host is running a newer Oracle VM VirtualBox version than the Guest Additions, a notification with further instructions is displayed in the guest. To disable this update check for the Guest Additions of a given virtual machine, set the value of its /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/CheckHostVersion guest property to 0. See chapter 4.7, Guest Properties, page 76. 4.2 Installing and Maintaining Guest Additions Guest Additions are available for virtual machines running Windows, Linux, Oracle Solaris, or OS/2. The following sections describe the specifics of each variant in detail. 4.2.1 Guest Additions for Windows The Oracle VM VirtualBox Windows Guest Additions are designed to be installed in a virtual machine running a Windows operating system. The following versions of Windows guests are supported: • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 (any service pack), 4 Guest Additions • Microsoft Windows 2000 (any service pack) • Microsoft Windows XP (any service pack) • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 (any service pack) • Microsoft Windows Server 2008 • Microsoft Windows Vista (all editions) • Microsoft Windows 7 (all editions) • Microsoft Windows 8 (all editions) • Microsoft Windows 10 RTM build 10240 • Microsoft Windows Server 2012 18.104.22.168 Installing the Windows Guest Additions In the Devices menu in the virtual machine’s menu bar, Oracle VM VirtualBox has a menu item Insert Guest Additions CD Image, which mounts the Guest Additions ISO file inside your virtual machine. A Windows guest should then automatically start the Guest Additions installer, which installs the Guest Additions on your Windows guest. For other guest operating systems, or if automatic start of software on a CD is disabled, you need to do a manual start of the installer. Note: For the basic Direct3D acceleration to work in a Windows guest, you have to install the WDDM video driver available for Windows Vista or later. For Windows 8 and later, only the WDDM Direct3D video driver is available. For basic Direct3D acceleration to work in Windows XP guests, you have to install the Guest Additions in Safe Mode. See chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297 for details. If you prefer to mount the Guest Additions manually, you can perform the following steps: 1. Start the virtual machine in which you have installed Windows. 2. Select Mount CD/DVD-ROM from the Devices menu in the virtual machine’s menu bar and then CD/DVD-ROM Image. This displays the Virtual Media Manager, described in chapter 5.3, The Virtual Media Manager, page 87. 3. In the Virtual Media Manager, click Add and browse your host file system for the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso file. • On a Windows host, this file is in the Oracle VM VirtualBox installation directory, usually in C:\Program files\Oracle\VirtualBox. • On Mac OS X hosts, this file is in the application bundle of Oracle VM VirtualBox. Right-click on the Oracle VM VirtualBox icon in Finder and choose Show Package Contents. The file is located in the Contents/MacOS folder. • On a Linux host, this file is in the additions folder where you installed Oracle VM VirtualBox, usually /opt/VirtualBox/. • On Oracle Solaris hosts, this file is in the additions folder where you installed Oracle VM VirtualBox, usually /opt/VirtualBox. 4. In the Virtual Media Manager, select the ISO file and click Select button. This mounts the ISO file and presents it to your Windows guest as a CD-ROM., 4 Guest Additions Unless you have the Autostart feature disabled in your Windows guest, Windows will now autostart the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions installation program from the Additions ISO. If the Autostart feature has been turned off, choose VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe from the CD/DVD drive inside the guest to start the installer. The installer will add several device drivers to the Windows driver database and then invoke the hardware detection wizard. Depending on your configuration, it might display warnings that the drivers are not digitally signed. You must confirm these in order to continue the installation and properly install the Additions. After installation, reboot your guest operating system to activate the Additions. 22.214.171.124 Updating the Windows Guest Additions Windows Guest Additions can be updated by running the installation program again. This re- places the previous Additions drivers with updated versions. Alternatively, you can also open the Windows Device Manager and select Update Driver... for the following devices: 1. Oracle VM VirtualBox Graphics Adapter 2. Oracle VM VirtualBox System Device For each, choose the option to provide your own driver, click Have Disk and navigate to the CD-ROM drive with the Guest Additions. 126.96.36.199 Unattended Installation To avoid popups when performing an unattended installation of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions, the code signing certificates used to sign the drivers needs to be installed in the correct certificate stores on the guest operating system. Failure to do this will cause a typical Windows installation to display multiple dialogs asking whether you want to install a particular driver. Note: On some Windows versions, such as Windows 2000 and Windows XP, the user intervention popups mentioned above are always displayed, even after importing the Oracle certificates. Installing the code signing certificates on a Windows guest can be done automatically. Use the VBoxCertUtil.exe utility from the cert folder on the Guest Additions installation CD. Use the following steps: 1. Log in as Administrator on the guest. 2. Mount the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions .ISO. 3. Open a command line window on the guest and change to the cert folder on the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions CD. 4. Run the following command: VBoxCertUtil.exe add-trusted-publisher vbox*.cer -root vbox*.cer This command installs the certificates to the certificate store. When installing the same certificate more than once, an appropriate error will be displayed. To allow for completely unattended guest installations, you can specify a command line pa- rameter to the install launcher:, 4 Guest Additions VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe /S This automatically installs the right files and drivers for the corresponding platform, either 32-bit or 64-bit. Note: By default on an unattended installation on a Vista or Windows 7 guest, there will be the XPDM graphics driver installed. This graphics driver does not support Win- dows Aero / Direct3D on the guest. Instead, the WDDM graphics driver needs to be installed. To select this driver by default, add the command line parameter /with_wddm when invoking the Windows Guest Additions installer. This is only required for Vista and Windows 7. Note: For Windows Aero to run correctly on a guest, the guest’s VRAM size needs to be configured to at least 128 MB. For more options regarding unattended guest installations, consult the command line help by using the command: VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe /? 188.8.131.52 Manual File Extraction If you would like to install the files and drivers manually, you can extract the files from the Windows Guest Additions setup as follows: VBoxWindowsAdditions.exe /extract To explicitly extract the Windows Guest Additions for another platform than the current run- ning one, such as 64-bit files on a 32-bit system, you must use the appropriate platform in- staller. Use VBoxWindowsAdditions-x86.exe or VBoxWindowsAdditions-amd64.exe with the /extract parameter. 4.2.2 Guest Additions for Linux Like the Windows Guest Additions, the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions for Linux are a set of device drivers and system applications which may be installed in the guest operating system. The following Linux distributions are officially supported: • Oracle Linux as of version 5, including UEK kernels • Fedora as of Fedora Core 4 • Redhat Enterprise Linux as of version 3 • SUSE and openSUSE Linux as of version 9 • Ubuntu as of version 5.10 Many other distributions are known to work with the Guest Additions. The version of the Linux kernel supplied by default in SUSE and openSUSE 10.2, Ubuntu 6.10 (all versions) and Ubuntu 6.06 (server edition) contains a bug which can cause it to crash during startup when it is run in a virtual machine. The Guest Additions work in those distributions. Note that some Linux distributions already come with all or part of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions. You may choose to keep the distribution’s version of the Guest Additions but, 4 Guest Additions these are often not up to date and limited in functionality, so we recommend replacing them with the Guest Additions that come with Oracle VM VirtualBox. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Linux Guest Additions installer tries to detect an existing installation and replace them but depending on how the distribution integrates the Guest Additions, this may require some manual interaction. It is highly recommended to take a snapshot of the virtual machine before replacing preinstalled Guest Additions. 184.108.40.206 Installing the Linux Guest Additions The Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions for Linux are provided on the same virtual CD-ROM file as the Guest Additions for Windows. See chapter 220.127.116.11, Installing the Windows Guest Addi- tions, page 64. They also come with an installation program that guides you through the setup process. However, due to the significant differences between Linux distributions, installation may be slightly more complex when compared to Windows. Installation generally involves the following steps: 1. Before installing the Guest Additions, you prepare your guest system for building external kernel modules. This works as described in chapter 2.3.2, The Oracle VM VirtualBox Driver Modules, page 33, except that this step must be performed in your Linux guest instead of on a Linux host system. If you suspect that something has gone wrong, check that your guest is set up correctly and run the following command as root: rcvboxadd setup 2. Insert the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso CD file into your Linux guest’s virtual CD-ROM drive, as described for a Windows guest in chapter 18.104.22.168, Installing the Windows Guest Additions, page 64. 3. Change to the directory where your CD-ROM drive is mounted and run the following com- mand as root: sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run 22.214.171.124 Graphics and Mouse Integration In Linux and Oracle Solaris guests, Oracle VM VirtualBox graphics and mouse integration goes through the X Window System. Oracle VM VirtualBox can use the X.Org variant of the system, or XFree86 version 4.3 which is identical to the first X.Org release. During the installation process, the X.Org display server will be set up to use the graphics and mouse drivers which come with the Guest Additions. After installing the Guest Additions into a fresh installation of a supported Linux distribution or Oracle Solaris system, many unsupported systems will work correctly too, the guest’s graphics mode will change to fit the size of the Oracle VM VirtualBox window on the host when it is resized. You can also ask the guest system to switch to a particular resolution by sending a video mode hint using the VBoxManage tool. Multiple guest monitors are supported in guests using the X.Org server version 1.3, which is part of release 7.3 of the X Window System version 11, or a later version. The layout of the guest screens can be adjusted as needed using the tools which come with the guest operating system. If you want to understand more about the details of how the X.Org drivers are set up, in particular if you wish to use them in a setting which our installer does not handle correctly, see chapter 9.3.2, Guest Graphics and Mouse Driver Setup in Depth, page 209., 4 Guest Additions 126.96.36.199 Updating the Linux Guest Additions The Guest Additions can simply be updated by going through the installation procedure again with an updated CD-ROM image. This will replace the drivers with updated versions. You should reboot after updating the Guest Additions. 188.8.131.52 Uninstalling the Linux Guest Additions If you have a version of the Guest Additions installed on your virtual machine and wish to remove it without installing new ones, you can do so by inserting the Guest Additions CD image into the virtual CD-ROM drive as described above. Then run the installer for the current Guest Additions with the uninstall parameter from the path that the CD image is mounted on in the guest, as follows: sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run uninstall While this will normally work without issues, you may need to do some manual cleanup of the guest in some cases, especially of the XFree86Config or xorg.conf file. In particular, if the Additions version installed or the guest operating system were very old, or if you made your own changes to the Guest Additions setup after you installed them. You can uninstall the Additions as follows: /opt/VBoxGuestAdditions-/uninstall.sh Replace /opt/VBoxGuestAdditions-version with the correct Guest Additions installation directory. 4.2.3 Guest Additions for Oracle Solaris Like the Windows Guest Additions, the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions for Oracle Solaris take the form of a set of device drivers and system applications which may be installed in the guest operating system. The following Oracle Solaris distributions are officially supported: • Oracle Solaris 11, including Oracle Solaris 11 Express • Oracle Solaris 10 4/08 and later Other distributions may work if they are based on comparable software releases. 184.108.40.206 Installing the Oracle Solaris Guest Additions The Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions for Oracle Solaris are provided on the same ISO CD- ROM as the Additions for Windows and Linux. They come with an installation program that guides you through the setup process. Installation involves the following steps: 1. Mount the VBoxGuestAdditions.iso file as your Oracle Solaris guest’s virtual CD-ROM drive, exactly the same way as described for a Windows guest in chapter 220.127.116.11, Installing the Windows Guest Additions, page 64. If the CD-ROM drive on the guest does not get mounted, as seen with some versions of Oracle Solaris 10, run the following command as root: svcadm restart volfs 2. Change to the directory where your CD-ROM drive is mounted and run the following com- mand as root:, 4 Guest Additions pkgadd -G -d ./VBoxSolarisAdditions.pkg 3. Choose 1 and confirm installation of the Guest Additions package. After the installation is complete, log out and log in to X server on your guest, to activate the X11 Guest Additions. 18.104.22.168 Uninstalling the Oracle Solaris Guest Additions The Oracle Solaris Guest Additions can be safely removed by removing the package from the guest. Open a root terminal session and run the following command: pkgrm SUNWvboxguest 22.214.171.124 Updating the Oracle Solaris Guest Additions The Guest Additions should be updated by first uninstalling the existing Guest Additions and then installing the new ones. Attempting to install new Guest Additions without removing the existing ones is not possible. 4.2.4 Guest Additions for OS/2 Oracle VM VirtualBox also ships with a set of drivers that improve running OS/2 in a virtual machine. Due to restrictions of OS/2 itself, this variant of the Guest Additions has a limited feature set. See chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297 for details. The OS/2 Guest Additions are provided on the same ISO CD-ROM as those for the other platforms. Mount the ISO in OS/2 as described previously. The OS/2 Guest Additions are located in the directory \OS2. We do not provide an automatic installer at this time. See the readme.txt file in the CD-ROM directory, which describes how to install the OS/2 Guest Additions manually. 4.3 Shared Folders With the shared folders feature of Oracle VM VirtualBox, you can access files of your host system from within the guest system. This is similar to how you would use network shares in Windows networks, except that shared folders do not require networking, only the Guest Additions. Shared folders are supported with Windows 2000 or later, Linux, and Oracle Solaris guests. Oracle VM VirtualBox release 6.0 includes experimental support for Mac OS X and OS/2 guests. Shared folders physically reside on the host and are then shared with the guest, which uses a special file system driver in the Guest Additions to talk to the host. For Windows guests, shared folders are implemented as a pseudo-network redirector. For Linux and Oracle Solaris guests, the Guest Additions provide a virtual file system. To share a host folder with a virtual machine in Oracle VM VirtualBox, you must specify the path of the folder and choose a share name that the guest can use to access the shared folder. This happens on the host. In the guest you can then use the share name to connect to it and access files. There are several ways in which shared folders can be set up for a virtual machine: • In the window of a running VM, you select Shared Folders from the Devices menu, or click on the folder icon on the status bar in the bottom right corner. • If a VM is not currently running, you can configure shared folders in the virtual machine’s Settings dialog. • From the command line, you can create shared folders using VBoxManage, as follows: VBoxManage sharedfolder add "VM name" -name "sharename" -hostpath "C:\test", 4 Guest Additions See chapter 8.33, VBoxManage sharedfolder add/remove, page 173. There are two types of shares: • Permanent shares, that are saved with the VM settings. • Transient shares, that are added at runtime and disappear when the VM is powered off. These can be created using a checkbox in the VirtualBox Manager, or by using the -transient option of the VBoxManage sharedfolder add command. Shared folders can either be read-write or read-only. This means that the guest is either allowed to both read and write, or just read files on the host. By default, shared folders are read-write. Read-only folders can be created using a checkbox in the VirtualBox Manager, or with the -readonly option of the VBoxManage sharedfolder add command. Oracle VM VirtualBox shared folders also support symbolic links, also called symlinks, under the following conditions: • The host operating system must support symlinks. For example, a Mac OS X, Linux, or Oracle Solaris host is required. • Currently only Linux and Oracle Solaris Guest Additions support symlinks. • For security reasons the guest OS is not allowed to create symlinks by default. If you trust the guest OS to not abuse the functionality, you can enable creation of symlinks for a shared folder as follows: VBoxManage setextradata "VM name" VBoxInternal2/SharedFoldersEnableSymlinksCreate/ 1 4.3.1 Manual Mounting You can mount the shared folder from inside a VM, in the same way as you would mount an ordinary network share: • In a Windows guest, shared folders are browseable and therefore visible in Windows Ex- plorer. To attach the host’s shared folder to your Windows guest, open Windows Explorer and look for the folder in My Networking Places, Entire Network, Oracle VM VirtualBox Shared Folders. By right-clicking on a shared folder and selecting Map Network Drive from the menu that pops up, you can assign a drive letter to that shared folder. Alternatively, on the Windows command line, use the following command: net use x: \\vboxsvr\sharename While vboxsvr is a fixed name, note that vboxsrv would also work, replace x: with the drive letter that you want to use for the share, and sharename with the share name specified with VBoxManage. • In a Linux guest, use the following command: mount -t vboxsf [-o OPTIONS] sharename mountpoint To mount a shared folder during boot, add the following entry to /etc/fstab: sharename mountpoint vboxsf defaults00• In a Oracle Solaris guest, use the following command:, 4 Guest Additions mount -F vboxfs [-o OPTIONS] sharename mountpoint Replace sharename, use a lowercase string, with the share name specified with VBoxManage or the GUI. Replace mountpoint with the path where you want the share to be mounted on the guest, such as /mnt/share. The usual mount rules apply. For example, create this directory first if it does not exist yet. Here is an example of mounting the shared folder for the user jack on Oracle Solaris: $ id uid=5000(jack) gid=1(other) $ mkdir /export/home/jack/mount $ pfexec mount -F vboxfs -o uid=5000,gid=1 jackshare /export/home/jack/mount $ cd ~/mount $ ls sharedfile1.mp3 sharedfile2.txt $ Beyond the standard options supplied by the mount command, the following are available: iocharset CHARSET This option sets the character set used for I/O operations. Note that on Linux guests, if the iocharset option is not specified, then the Guest Additions driver will attempt to use the character set specified by the CONFIG_NLS_DEFAULT kernel option. If this option is not set either, then UTF-8 is used. convertcp CHARSET This option specifies the character set used for the shared folder name. This is UTF-8 by default. The generic mount options, documented in the mount manual page, apply also. Especially useful are the options uid, gid and mode, as they can allow access by normal users in read/write mode, depending on the settings, even if root has mounted the filesystem. • In an OS/2 guest, use the VBoxControl command to manage shared folders. For example: VBoxControl sharedfolder use D: MyShareName VBoxControl sharedfolder unuse D: VBoxControl sharedfolder list As with Windows guests, shared folders can also be accessed via UNC using \\VBoxSF\, \\VBoxSvr\ or \\VBoxSrv\ as the server name and the shared folder name as sharename. 4.3.2 Automatic Mounting Oracle VM VirtualBox provides the option to mount shared folders automatically. When auto- matic mounting is enabled for a shared folder, the Guest Additions service will mount it for you automatically. For Windows or OS/2, a preferred drive letter can also be specified. For Linux or Oracle Solaris, a mount point directory can also be specified. If a drive letter or mount point is not specified, or is in use already, an alternative location is found by the Guest Additions service. The service searches for an alternative location depending on the guest OS, as follows: • Windows and OS/2 guests. Search for a free drive letter, starting at Z:. If all drive letters are assigned, the folder is not mounted., 4 Guest Additions • Linux and Oracle Solaris guests. Folders are mounted under the /media directory. The folder name is normalized (no spaces, slashes or colons) and is prefixed with sf_. For example, if you have a shared folder called myfiles, it will appear as /media/sf_myfiles in the guest. The guest properties /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/SharedFolders/MountDir and (more generic) /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/SharedFolders/MountPrefix can be used to over- ride the automatic mount directory and prefix. See chapter 4.7, Guest Properties, page 76. Access to an automatically mounted shared folder is granted to everyone in a Windows guest, including the guest user. For Linux and Oracle Solaris guests, access is restricted to members of the group vboxsf and the root user. 4.4 Drag and Drop Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to drag and drop content from the host to the guest, and vice versa. For this to work the latest Guest Additions must be installed on the guest. Drag and drop transparently allows copying or opening files, directories, and even certain clipboard formats from one end to the other. For example, from the host to the guest or from the guest to the host. You then can perform drag and drop operations between the host and a VM, as it would be a native drag and drop operation on the host OS. At the moment drag and drop is implemented for Windows-based and X-Windows-based sys- tems, both on the host and guest side. As X-Windows supports many different drag and drop protocols only the most common one, XDND, is supported for now. Applications using other protocols, such as Motif or OffiX, will not be recognized by Oracle VM VirtualBox. In the context of using drag and drop, the origin of the data is called the source. That is, where the actual data comes from and is specified. The target specifies where the data from the source should go to. Transferring data from the source to the target can be done in various ways, such as copying, moving, or linking. Note: At the moment only copying of data is supported. Moving or linking is not yet implemented. When transferring data from the host to the guest OS, the host in this case is the source, whereas the guest OS is the target. However, when transferring data from the guest OS to the host, the guest OS this time became the source and the host is the target. For security reasons drag and drop can be configured at runtime on a per-VM basis either using the Drag and Drop menu item in the Devices menu of the virtual machine, as shown below, or the VBoxManage., 4 Guest Additions The following drag and drop modes are available: • Disabled. Disables the drag and drop feature entirely. This is the default when creating a new VM. • Host To Guest. Enables drag and drop operations from the host to the guest only. • Guest To Host. Enables drag and drop operations from the guest to the host only. • Bidirectional. Enables drag and drop operations in both directions: from the host to the guest, and from the guest to the host. Note: Drag and drop support depends on the frontend being used. At the moment, only the VirtualBox Manager frontend provides this functionality. To use the VBoxManage command to control the current drag and drop mode, see chapter 8, VBoxManage, page 118. The modifyvm and controlvm commands enable setting of a VM’s current drag and drop mode from the command line. 4.4.1 Supported Formats As Oracle VM VirtualBox can run on a variety of host operating systems and also supports a wide range of guests, certain data formats must be translated after transfer. This is so that the target operating system, which receiving the data, is able to handle them in an appropriate manner. Note: When dragging files no data conversion is done in any way. For example, when transferring a file from a Linux guest to a Windows host the Linux-specific line endings are not converted to Windows line endings. The following formats are handled by the Oracle VM VirtualBox drag and drop service: • Plain text: From applications such as text editors, internet browsers and terminal win- dows. • Files: From file managers such as Windows Explorer, Nautilus, and Finder. • Directories: For directories, the same formats apply as for files., 4 Guest Additions 4.4.2 Known Limitations The following limitations are known for drag and drop: On Windows hosts, dragging and dropping content between UAC-elevated (User Account Con- trol) programs and non-UAC-elevated programs is not allowed. If you start Oracle VM VirtualBox with Administrator privileges then drag and drop will not work with Windows Explorer, which runs with regular user privileges by default. 4.5 Hardware-Accelerated Graphics 4.5.1 Hardware 3D Acceleration (OpenGL and Direct3D 8/9) The Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions contain experimental hardware 3D support for Win- dows, Linux, and Oracle Solaris guests. With this feature, if an application inside your virtual machine uses 3D features through the OpenGL or Direct3D 8/9 programming interfaces, instead of emulating them in software, which would be slow, Oracle VM VirtualBox will attempt to use your host’s 3D hardware. This works for all supported host platforms, provided that your host operating system can make use of your accelerated 3D hardware in the first place. The 3D acceleration feature currently has the following preconditions: 1. It is only available for certain Windows, Linux, and Oracle Solaris guests. In particular: • 3D acceleration with Windows guests requires Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7. Apart from on Windows 2000 guests, both OpenGL and Direct3D 8/9 are supported on an experimental basis. • OpenGL on Linux requires kernel 2.6.27 or later, as well as X.org server version 1.5 or later. Ubuntu 10.10 and Fedora 14 have been tested and confirmed as working. • OpenGL on Oracle Solaris guests requires X.org server version 1.5 or later. 2. The Guest Additions must be installed. Note: For the basic Direct3D acceleration to work in a Windows Guest, Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to replace Windows system files in the virtual machine. As a result, the Guest Additions installation program offers Direct3D acceleration as an option that must be explicitly enabled. Also, you must install the Guest Additions in Safe Mode. This does not apply to the WDDM Direct3D video driver available for Windows Vista and later. See chapter 14, Known Limitations, page 297 for details. 3. Because 3D support is still experimental at this time, it is disabled by default and must be manually enabled in the VM settings. See chapter 3.4, General Settings, page 45. Note: Untrusted guest systems should not be allowed to use Oracle VM VirtualBox’s 3D acceleration features, just as untrusted host software should not be allowed to use 3D acceleration. Drivers for 3D hardware are generally too complex to be made properly secure and any software which is allowed to access them may be able to compromise the operating system running them. In addition, enabling 3D acceleration gives the guest direct access to a large body of additional program code in the Oracle VM VirtualBox host process which it might conceivably be able to use to crash the virtual machine., 4 Guest Additions To enable Aero theme support, the Oracle VM VirtualBox WDDM video driver must be in- stalled, which is available with the Guest Additions installation. The WDDM driver is not in- stalled by default for Vista and Windows 7 guest and must be manually selected in the Guest Additions installer by clicking No in the Would You Like to Install Basic Direct3D Support dialog displayed when the Direct3D feature is selected. The Aero theme is not enabled by default. To enable it, do the following: • Windows Vista guests: Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize, then select Windows Color and Appearance in the Personalization window. In the Appearance Settings dialog, select Windows Aero and click OK. • Windows 7 guests: Right-click on the desktop and select Personalize. Select any Aero theme in the Personalization window. Technically, Oracle VM VirtualBox implements this by installing an additional hardware 3D driver inside your guest when the Guest Additions are installed. This driver acts as a hardware 3D driver and reports to the guest operating system that the virtual hardware is capable of 3D hardware acceleration. When an application in the guest then requests hardware acceleration through the OpenGL or Direct3D programming interfaces, these are sent to the host through a special communication tunnel implemented by Oracle VM VirtualBox, and then the host performs the requested 3D operation using the host’s programming interfaces. 4.5.2 Hardware 2D Video Acceleration for Windows Guests The Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions contain experimental hardware 2D video acceleration support for Windows guests. With this feature, if an application such as a video player inside your Windows VM uses 2D video overlays to play a movie clip, then Oracle VM VirtualBox will attempt to use your host’s video acceleration hardware instead of performing overlay stretching and color conversion in software, which would be slow. This currently works for Windows, Linux and Mac host platforms, provided that your host operating system can make use of 2D video acceleration in the first place. Hardware 2D video acceleration currently has the following preconditions: 1. Only available for Windows guests, running Windows XP or later. 2. Guest Additions must be installed. 3. Because 2D support is still experimental at this time, it is disabled by default and must be manually enabled in the VM settings. See chapter 3.4, General Settings, page 45. Technically, Oracle VM VirtualBox implements this by exposing video overlay DirectDraw ca- pabilities in the Guest Additions video driver. The driver sends all overlay commands to the host through a special communication tunnel implemented by Oracle VM VirtualBox. On the host side, OpenGL is then used to implement color space transformation and scaling 4.6 Seamless Windows With the seamless windows feature of Oracle VM VirtualBox, you can have the windows that are displayed within a virtual machine appear side by side next to the windows of your host. This feature is supported for the following guest operating systems, provided that the Guest Additions are installed: • Windows guests. Support was added in Oracle VM VirtualBox 1.5. • Supported Linux or Oracle Solaris guests running the X Window System. Support was added with Oracle VM VirtualBox 1.6., 4 Guest Additions After seamless windows are enabled, Oracle VM VirtualBox suppresses the display of the desk- top background of your guest, allowing you to run the windows of your guest operating system seamlessly next to the windows of your host. To enable seamless mode, after starting the virtual machine, press the Host key + L. The Host key is normally the right control key. This will enlarge the size of the VM’s display to the size of your host screen and mask out the guest operating system’s background. To disable seamless windows and go back to the normal VM display, press the Host key + L again. 4.7 Guest Properties Oracle VM VirtualBox enables requests of some properties from a running guest, provided that the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions are installed and the VM is running. This provides the following advantages: • A number of predefined VM characteristics are automatically maintained by Oracle VM VirtualBox and can be retrieved on the host. For example, to monitor VM performance and statistics. • Arbitrary string data can be exchanged between guest and host. This works in both direc- tions. To accomplish this, Oracle VM VirtualBox establishes a private communication channel be- tween the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions and the host, and software on both sides can use this channel to exchange string data for arbitrary purposes. Guest properties are simply string keys to which a value is attached. They can be set, or written to, by either the host and the guest. They can also be read from both sides. In addition to establishing the general mechanism of reading and writing values, a set of prede- fined guest properties is automatically maintained by the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions to allow for retrieving interesting guest data such as the guest’s exact operating system and ser- vice pack level, the installed version of the Guest Additions, users that are currently logged into the guest OS, network statistics and more. These predefined properties are all prefixed with /VirtualBox/ and organized into a hierarchical tree of keys., 4 Guest Additions
Some of this runtime information is shown when you select Session Information Dialog from a virtual machine’s Machine menu.
A more flexible way to use this channel is with the VBoxManage guestproperty command. See chapter 8.34, VBoxManage guestproperty, page 174. For example, to have all the available guest properties for a given running VM listed with their respective values, use this command: $ VBoxManage guestproperty enumerate "Windows Vista III" VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version (C) 2005-2018 Oracle Corporation All rights reserved. Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Product, value: Windows Vista Business Edition, timestamp: 1229098278843087000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Release, value: 6.0.6001, timestamp: 1229098278950553000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/ServicePack, value: 1, timestamp: 1229098279122627000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/InstallDir, value: C:/Program Files/Oracle/VirtualBox Guest Additions, timestamp: 1229098279269739000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Revision, value: 40720, timestamp: 1229098279345664000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Version, value: , timestamp: 1229098279479515000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxControl.exe, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279651731000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxHook.dll, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279804835000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxDisp.dll, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279880611000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxMRXNP.dll, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279882618000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxService.exe, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279883195000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxTray.exe, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279885027000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxGuest.sys, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279886838000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxMouse.sys, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279890600000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxSF.sys, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279893056000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxVideo.sys, value: r40720, timestamp: 1229098279895767000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/LoggedInUsers, value: 1, timestamp: 1229099826317660000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/NoLoggedInUsers, value: false, timestamp: 1229098455580553000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/Count, value: 1, timestamp: 1229099826299785000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/HostInfo/GUI/LanguageID, value: C, timestamp: 1229098151272771000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/V4/IP, value: 192.168.2.102, timestamp: 1229099826300088000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/V4/Broadcast, value: 255.255.255.255, timestamp: 1229099826300220000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/V4/Netmask, value: 255.255.255.0, timestamp: 1229099826300350000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/Net/0/Status, value: Up, timestamp: 1229099826300524000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/LoggedInUsersList, value: username, timestamp: 1229099826317386000, flags:
To query the value of a single property, use the get subcommand as follows: $ VBoxManage guestproperty get "Windows Vista III" "/VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Product", 4 Guest Additions VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version (C) 2005-2018 Oracle Corporation All rights reserved. Value: Windows Vista Business Edition To add or change guest properties from the guest, use the tool VBoxControl. This tool is included in the Guest Additions of Oracle VM VirtualBox 2.2 or later. When started from a Linux guest, this tool requires root privileges for security reasons: $ sudo VBoxControl guestproperty enumerate VirtualBox Guest Additions Command Line Management Interface Version (C) 2005-2018 Oracle Corporation All rights reserved. Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Release, value: 2.6.28-18-generic, timestamp: 1265813265835667000, flags: Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Version, value: #59-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jan 28 01:23:03 UTC 2010, timestamp: 1265813265836305000, flags: ... For more complex needs, you can use the Oracle VM VirtualBox programming interfaces. See chapter 11, Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces, page 274. 4.7.1 Using Guest Properties to Wait on VM Events The properties /VirtualBox/HostInfo/VBoxVer, /VirtualBox/HostInfo/VBoxVerExt or /VirtualBox/HostInfo/VBoxRev can be waited on to detect that the VM state was restored from saved state or snapshot: $ VBoxControl guestproperty wait /VirtualBox/HostInfo/VBoxVer Similarly the /VirtualBox/HostInfo/ResumeCounter can be used to detect that a VM was resumed from the paused state or saved state. 4.8 Guest Control File Manager The Guest Control File Manager is a feature of the Guest Additions that enables easy copying and moving of files between a guest and the host system. Other file management operations are supported, such as creating new folders and renaming files or deleting files., 4 Guest Additions The Guest Control File Manager works by mounting the host file system. Guest users must authenticate and create a guest session before they can transfer files. 4.8.1 Using the Guest Control File Manager The following steps describe how to use the Guest Control File Manager. 1. Display the Guest Control File Manager. In the guest VM, select Machine, File Manager. The Guest Control File Manager is displayed. Files on the host system are shown in the left pane. 2. Create a guest session. In the panel at the bottom of the Guest Control File Manager, enter authentication creden- tials for a user on the guest system. Click Create Session. The guest VM file system is shown in the right pane of the Guest Control File Manager. 3. Transfer files between the guest and the host. Use the file transfer icons to copy or move files between the guest and host. You can copy and move files from guest to host, or from host to guest. 4. Close down the Guest Control File Manager. Click Close. The guest session is ended and the Guest Control File Manager is closed down. 4.9 Guest Control of Applications The Guest Additions enable starting of applications inside a VM from the host system. For this to work, the application needs to be installed inside the guest. No additional software needs to be installed on the host. Additionally, text mode output to stdout and stderr can be shown on the host for further processing. There are options to specify user credentials and a timeout value, in milliseconds, to limit the time the application is able to run. This feature can be used to automate deployment of software within the guest., 4 Guest Additions The Guest Additions for Windows allow for automatic updating. This applies for already installed Guest Additions version 4.0 or later. Also, copying files from host to the guest as well as remotely creating guest directories is available. To use these features, use the Oracle VM VirtualBox command line. See chapter 8.35, VBox- Manage guestcontrol, page 175. 4.10 Memory Overcommitment In server environments with many VMs, the Guest Additions can be used to share physical host memory between several VMs. This reduces the total amount of memory in use by the VMs. If memory usage is the limiting factor and CPU resources are still available, this can help with running more VMs on each host. 4.10.1 Memory Ballooning The Guest Additions can change the amount of host memory that a VM uses, while the machine is running. Because of how this is implemented, this feature is called memory ballooning. Note: • Oracle VM VirtualBox supports memory ballooning only on 64-bit hosts. It is not supported on Mac OS X hosts. • Memory ballooning does not work with large pages enabled. To turn off large pages support for a VM, run VBoxManage modifyvm -largepages off Normally, to change the amount of memory allocated to a virtual machine, you have to shut down the virtual machine entirely and modify its settings. With memory ballooning, memory that was allocated for a virtual machine can be given to another virtual machine without having to shut the machine down. When memory ballooning is requested, the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions, which run inside the guest, allocate physical memory from the guest operating system on the kernel level and lock this memory down in the guest. This ensures that the guest will not use that memory any longer. No guest applications can allocate it, and the guest kernel will not use it either. Oracle VM VirtualBox can then reuse this memory and give it to another virtual machine. The memory made available through the ballooning mechanism is only available for reuse by Oracle VM VirtualBox. It is not returned as free memory to the host. Requesting balloon memory from a running guest will therefore not increase the amount of free, unallocated memory on the host. Effectively, memory ballooning is therefore a memory overcommitment mechanism for multiple virtual machines while they are running. This can be useful to temporarily start another machine, or in more complicated environments, for sophisticated memory management of many virtual machines that may be running in parallel depending on how memory is used by the guests. At this time, memory ballooning is only supported through VBoxManage. Use the following command to increase or decrease the size of the memory balloon within a running virtual ma- chine that has Guest Additions installed: VBoxManage controlvm "VM name" guestmemoryballoon n where VM name is the name or UUID of the virtual machine in question and n is the amount of memory to allocate from the guest in megabytes. See chapter 8.14, VBoxManage controlvm, page 150., 4 Guest Additions You can also set a default balloon that will automatically be requested from the VM every time after it has started up with the following command: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -guestmemoryballoon n By default, no balloon memory is allocated. This is a VM setting, like other modifyvm settings, and therefore can only be set while the machine is shut down. See chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133. 4.10.2 Page Fusion Whereas memory ballooning simply reduces the amount of RAM that is available to a VM, Page Fusion works differently. It avoids memory duplication between several similar running VMs. In a server environment running several similar VMs on the same host, lots of memory pages are identical. For example, if the VMs are using identical operating systems. Oracle VM VirtualBox’s Page Fusion technology can efficiently identify these identical memory pages and share them between multiple VMs. Note: Oracle VM VirtualBox supports Page Fusion only on 64-bit hosts, and it is not supported on Mac OS X hosts. Page Fusion currently works only with Windows 2000 and later guests. The more similar the VMs on a given host are, the more efficiently Page Fusion can reduce the amount of host memory that is in use. It therefore works best if all VMs on a host run identical operating systems, such as Windows XP Service Pack 2. Instead of having a complete copy of each operating system in each VM, Page Fusion identifies the identical memory pages in use by these operating systems and eliminates the duplicates, sharing host memory between several machines. This is called deduplication. If a VM tries to modify a page that has been shared with other VMs, a new page is allocated again for that VM with a copy of the shared page. This is called copy on write. All this is fully transparent to the virtual machine. You may be familiar with this kind of memory overcommitment from other hypervisor prod- ucts, which call this feature page sharing or same page merging. However, Page Fusion differs significantly from those other solutions, whose approaches have several drawbacks: • Traditional hypervisors scan all guest memory and compute checksums, also called hashes, for every single memory page. Then, they look for pages with identical hashes and compare the entire content of those pages. If two pages produce the same hash, it is very likely that the pages are identical in content. This process can take rather long, especially if the system is not idling. As a result, the additional memory only becomes available after a significant amount of time, such as hours or sometimes days. Even worse, this kind of page sharing algorithm generally consumes significant CPU resources and increases the virtualization overhead by 10 to 20%. Page Fusion in Oracle VM VirtualBox uses logic in the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Ad- ditions to quickly identify memory cells that are most likely identical across VMs. It can therefore achieve most of the possible savings of page sharing almost immediately and with almost no overhead. • Page Fusion is also much less likely to be confused by identical memory that it will elimi- nate, just to learn seconds later that the memory will now change and having to perform a highly expensive and often service-disrupting reallocation. At this time, Page Fusion can only be controlled with VBoxManage, and only while a VM is shut down. To enable Page Fusion for a VM, use the following command: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -pagefusion on, 4 Guest Additions You can observe Page Fusion operation using some metrics. RAM/VMM/Shared shows the total amount of fused pages, whereas the per-VM metric Guest/RAM/Usage/Shared will return the amount of fused memory for a given VM. See chapter 8.36, VBoxManage metrics, page 186 for information on how to query metrics. Note: Enabling Page Fusion might indirectly increase the chances for malicious guests to successfully attack other VMs running on the same host., 5 Virtual Storage As the virtual machine will most probably expect to see a hard disk built into its virtual computer, Oracle VM VirtualBox must be able to present real storage to the guest as a virtual hard disk. There are presently three methods by which to achieve this: • Oracle VM VirtualBox can use large image files on a real hard disk and present them to a guest as a virtual hard disk. This is the most common method, described in chapter 5.2, Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD), page 86. • iSCSI storage servers can be attached to Oracle VM VirtualBox. This is described in chapter 5.10, iSCSI Servers, page 95. • You can allow a virtual machine to access one of your host disks directly. This is an ad- vanced feature, described in chapter 9.8.1, Using a Raw Host Hard Disk From a Guest, page 215. Each such virtual storage device, such as an image file, iSCSI target, or physical hard disk, needs to be connected to the virtual hard disk controller that Oracle VM VirtualBox presents to a virtual machine. This is explained in the next section. 5.1 Hard Disk Controllers: IDE, SATA (AHCI), SCSI, SAS, USB
MSD, NVMe In a real PC, hard disks and CD/DVD drives are connected to a device called hard disk controller which drives hard disk operation and data transfers. Oracle VM VirtualBox can emulate the five most common types of hard disk controllers typically found in today’s PCs: IDE, SATA (AHCI), SCSI, SAS, USB-based, and NVMe mass storage devices. • IDE (ATA) controllers are a backwards compatible yet very advanced extension of the disk controller in the IBM PC/AT (1984). Initially, this interface worked only with hard disks, but was later extended to also support CD-ROM drives and other types of removable media. In physical PCs, this standard uses flat ribbon parallel cables with 40 or 80 wires. Each such cable can connect two devices to a controller, which have traditionally been called master and slave. Typical PCs had two connectors for such cables. As a result, support for up to four IDE devices was most common. In Oracle VM VirtualBox, each virtual machine may have one IDE controller enabled, which gives you up to four virtual storage devices that you can attach to the machine. By default, one of these virtual storage devices, the secondary master, is preconfigured to be the virtual machine’s virtual CD/DVD drive. However, you can change the default setting. Even if your guest operating system has no support for SCSI or SATA devices, it should always be able to see an IDE controller. You can also select which exact type of IDE controller hardware Oracle VM VirtualBox should present to the virtual machine: PIIX3, PIIX4, or ICH6. This makes no difference in terms of performance, but if you import a virtual machine from another virtualization product, the operating system in that machine may expect a particular controller type and crash if it is not found., 5 Virtual Storage After you have created a new virtual machine with the New Virtual Machine wizard of the graphical user interface, you will typically see one IDE controller in the machine’s Storage settings. The virtual CD/DVD drive will be attached to one of the four ports of this controller. • Serial ATA (SATA) is a newer standard introduced in 2003. Compared to IDE, it supports both much higher speeds and more devices per controller. Also, with physical hardware, devices can be added and removed while the system is running. The standard interface for SATA controllers is called Advanced Host Controller Interface (AHCI). Like a real SATA controller, Oracle VM VirtualBox’s virtual SATA controller operates faster and also consumes fewer CPU resources than the virtual IDE controller. Also, this enables you to connect up to 30 virtual hard disks to one machine instead of just three, when compared to the Oracle VM VirtualBox IDE controller with a DVD drive attached. For this reason, depending on the selected guest operating system, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses SATA as the default for newly created virtual machines. One virtual SATA controller is created by default, and the default disk that is created with a new VM is attached to this controller. Warning: The entire SATA controller and the virtual disks attached to it, including those in IDE compatibility mode, will not be seen by operating systems that do not have device support for AHCI. In particular, there is no support for AHCI in Windows before Windows Vista. So Windows XP, even SP3, will not see such disks unless you install additional drivers. It is possible to switch from IDE to SATA after installation by installing the SATA drivers and changing the controller type in the VM Settings dialog. Oracle VM VirtualBox recommends the Intel Matrix Storage drivers, which can be downloaded from http://downloadcenter.intel.com/Product_Filter.aspx? ProductID=2101. To add a SATA controller to a machine for which it has not been enabled by default, either because it was created by an earlier version of Oracle VM VirtualBox, or because SATA is not supported by default by the selected guest operating system, do the following. Go to the Storage page of the machine’s Settings dialog, click Add Controller under the Storage Tree box and then select Add SATA Controller. The new controller appears as a separate PCI device in the virtual machine, and you can add virtual disks to it. To change the IDE compatibility mode settings for the SATA controller, see chapter 8.20, VBoxManage storagectl, page 162. • SCSI is another established industry standard, standing for Small Computer System Inter- face. SCSI was standardized as early as 1986 as a generic interface for data transfer be- tween all kinds of devices, including storage devices. Today SCSI is still used for connecting hard disks and tape devices, but it has mostly been displaced in commodity hardware. It is still in common use in high-performance workstations and servers. Primarily for compatibility with other virtualization software, Oracle VM VirtualBox op- tionally supports LSI Logic and BusLogic SCSI controllers, to each of which up to 15 virtual hard disks can be attached. To enable a SCSI controller, on the Storage page of a virtual machine’s Settings dialog, click Add Controller under the Storage Tree box and then select Add SCSI Controller. The new controller appears as a separate PCI device in the virtual machine. Warning: As with the other controller types, a SCSI controller will only be seen by operating systems with device support for it. Windows 2003 and later ships with drivers for the LSI Logic controller, while Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 ships with drivers for the BusLogic controller. Windows XP ships with drivers for neither., 5 Virtual Storage • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is another bus standard which uses the SCSI command set. As opposed to SCSI, however, with physical devices, serial cables are used instead of parallel ones, which simplifies physical device connections. In some ways, therefore, SAS is to SCSI what SATA is to IDE: it enables more reliable and faster connections. To support high-end guests which require SAS controllers, Oracle VM VirtualBox emulates a LSI Logic SAS controller, which can be enabled much the same way as a SCSI controller. At this time, up to eight devices can be connected to the SAS controller. Warning: As with SATA, the SAS controller will only be seen by operating systems with device support for it. In particular, there is no support for SAS in Windows before Windows Vista. So Windows XP, even SP3, will not see such disks unless you install additional drivers. • The USB mass storage device class is a standard to connect external storage devices like hard disks or flash drives to a host through USB. All major operating systems support these devices for a long time and ship generic drivers making third-party drivers superfluous. In particular, legacy operating systems without support for SATA controllers may benefit from USB mass storage devices. The virtual USB storage controller offered by Oracle VM VirtualBox works differently to the other storage controller types. While most storage controllers appear as a single PCI device to the guest with multiple disks attached to it, the USB-based storage controller does not appear as virtual storage controller. Each disk attached to the controller appears as a dedicated USB device to the guest. Warning: Booting from drives attached using USB is only supported when EFI is used as the BIOS lacks USB support. • Non volatile memory express (NVMe) is a very recent standard which emerged in 2011 connecting non volatile memory (NVM) directly over PCI express to lift the bandwidth limitation of the previously used SATA protocol for SSDs. Unlike other standards the com- mand set is very simple to achieve maximum throughput and is not compatible with ATA or SCSI. Operating systems need to support NVMe devices to make use of them. For example, Windows 8.1 added native NVMe support. For Windows 7, native support was added with an update. The NVMe controller is part of the extension pack. Warning: Booting from drives attached using NVMe is only supported when EFI is used as the BIOS lacks the appropriate driver. In summary, Oracle VM VirtualBox gives you the following categories of virtual storage slots: • Four slots attached to the traditional IDE controller, which are always present. One of these is typically a virtual CD/DVD drive. • 30 slots attached to the SATA controller, if enabled and supported by the guest operating system. • 15 slots attached to the SCSI controller, if enabled and supported by the guest operating system., 5 Virtual Storage • Eight slots attached to the SAS controller, if enabled and supported by the guest operating system. • Eight slots attached to the virtual USB controller, if enabled and supported by the guest operating system. • Up to 255 slots attached to the NVMe controller, if enabled and supported by the guest operating system. Given this large choice of storage controllers, you may not know which one to choose. In general, you should avoid IDE unless it is the only controller supported by your guest. Whether you use SATA, SCSI, or SAS does not make any real difference. The variety of controllers is only supplied by Oracle VM VirtualBox for compatibility with existing hardware and other hypervisors. 5.2 Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD) Disk image files reside on the host system and are seen by the guest systems as hard disks of a certain geometry. When a guest operating system reads from or writes to a hard disk, Oracle VM VirtualBox redirects the request to the image file. Like a physical disk, a virtual disk has a size, or capacity, which must be specified when the image file is created. As opposed to a physical disk however, Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to expand an image file after creation, even if it has data already. See chapter 8.24, VBoxManage modifymedium, page 165. Oracle VM VirtualBox supports the following types of disk image files: • VDI. Normally, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses its own container format for guest hard disks. This is called a Virtual Disk Image (VDI) file. This format is used when you create a new virtual machine with a new disk. • VMDK. Oracle VM VirtualBox also fully supports the popular and open VMDK container format that is used by many other virtualization products, such as VMware. • VHD. Oracle VM VirtualBox also fully supports the VHD format used by Microsoft. • HDD. Image files of Parallels version 2 (HDD format) are also supported. Due to lack of documentation of the format, newer versions such as 3 and 4 are not sup- ported. You can however convert such image files to version 2 format using tools provided by Parallels. Irrespective of the disk capacity and format, as mentioned in chapter 1.8, Creating Your First Virtual Machine, page 8, there are two options for creating a disk image: fixed-size or dynamically allocated. • Fixed-size. If you create a fixed-size image, an image file will be created on your host system which has roughly the same size as the virtual disk’s capacity. So, for a 10 GB disk, you will have a 10 GB file. Note that the creation of a fixed-size image can take a long time depending on the size of the image and the write performance of your hard disk. • Dynamically allocated. For more flexible storage management, use a dynamically allo- cated image. This will initially be very small and not occupy any space for unused virtual disk sectors, but will grow every time a disk sector is written to for the first time, until the drive reaches the maximum capacity chosen when the drive was created. While this format takes less space initially, the fact that Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to expand the image file consumes additional computing resources, so until the disk file size has stabilized, write operations may be slower than with fixed size disks. However, after a time the rate of growth will slow and the average penalty for write operations will be negligible., 5 Virtual Storage 5.3 The Virtual Media Manager Oracle VM VirtualBox keeps track of all the hard disk, CD/DVD-ROM, and floppy disk images which are in use by virtual machines. These are often referred to as known media and come from two sources: • All media currently attached to virtual machines. • Registered media, for compatibility with Oracle VM VirtualBox versions older than version 4.0. For details about how media registration has changed with version 4.0, see chapter 10.1, Where Oracle VM VirtualBox Stores its Files, page 263. The known media can be viewed and changed using the Virtual Media Manager, which you can access from the File menu in the VirtualBox Manager window. The known media are conveniently grouped in separate tabs for the supported formats. These formats are: • Hard disk images, either in Oracle VM VirtualBox’s own Virtual Disk Image (VDI) format, or in the third-party formats listed in chapter 5.2, Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD), page 86. • CD/DVD images in standard ISO format. • Floppy images in standard RAW format. For each image, the Virtual Media Manager shows you the full path of the image file and other information, such as the virtual machine the image is currently attached to. The Virtual Media Manager enables you to do the following: • Add an image to the registry. • Copy a virtual hard disk, to create another one. The target type can be different. Available options are: VDI, VHD, or VMDK. • Move an image that is currently in the registry. A file dialog prompts you for the new image file location. When you move a disk image using the Virtual Media Manager, any related Oracle VM VirtualBox configuration files are updated automatically., 5 Virtual Storage Note: If possible, always use the Virtual Media Manager or the VBoxManage modifymedium command to move a disk image. If you move a disk image to a new location by using a file management feature of the host operating system, use the -setlocation option of the VBoxManage modifymedium command to configure the new path of the disk image on the host file system. This updates the Oracle VM VirtualBox configuration automat- ically. • Remove an image from the registry. You can optionally delete the image file when doing so. • Release an image. Detach it from a virtual machine, if it is currently attached to one as a virtual hard disk. • Display and edit the Properties of a disk image. Available properties include the following: – Type: Defines the snapshot behavior of the disk. See chapter 5.4, Special Image Write Modes, page 89. – Location: The location of the disk image file on the host system. A file dialog selector is available. – Description: A short description of the disk image. – Size: The size of the disk image. Use the slider to increase or decrease the disk image size. – Information: Further details about the disk image can be added on the Information tab. • Refresh the values for the displayed attributes of the currently-selected disk image. To perform these actions, highlight the medium in the Virtual Media Manager. Then do either of the following: • Click an icon in the Virtual Media Manager task bar. • Right-click the medium and select an option. To create a new disk image, you use the Storage page in a virtual machine’s Settings dialog. This is because disk images are by default stored in each machine’s own folder. Hard disk image files can be copied to other host systems and imported into virtual machines there. However, certain guest operating systems, such as Windows 2000 and Windows XP, re- quire that the new virtual machine be set up in a similar way to the old one. Note: Do not simply make copies of virtual disk images. If you import such a second copy into a virtual machine, Oracle VM VirtualBox will complain with an error, since Oracle VM VirtualBox assigns a unique identifier (UUID) to each disk image to make sure it is only used once. See chapter 5.6, Cloning Disk Images, page 92. Also, if you want to copy a virtual machine to another system, Oracle VM VirtualBox has import and export features that might be better suited for your needs. See chapter 1.15, Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines, page 22., 5 Virtual Storage 5.4 Special Image Write Modes For each virtual disk image supported by Oracle VM VirtualBox, you can determine separately how it should be affected by write operations from a virtual machine and snapshot operations. This applies to all of the aforementioned image formats (VDI, VMDK, VHD, or HDD) and irre- spective of whether an image is fixed-size or dynamically allocated. By default, images are in normal mode. To mark an existing image with one of the non- standard modes listed below, use VBoxManage modifyhd. See chapter 8.24, VBoxManage mod- ifymedium, page 165. Alternatively, use VBoxManage to attach the image to a VM and use the -mtype argument. See chapter 8.19, VBoxManage storageattach, page 158. The available virtual disk image modes are as follows: • Normal images have no restrictions on how guests can read from and write to the disk. This is the default image mode. When you take a snapshot of your virtual machine as described in chapter 1.11, Snapshots, page 17, the state of a normal hard disk is recorded together with the snapshot, and when reverting to the snapshot, its state will be fully reset. The image file itself is not reset. Instead, when a snapshot is taken, Oracle VM VirtualBox “freezes” the image file and no longer writes to it. For the write operations from the VM, a second, differencing image file is created which receives only the changes to the original image. See chapter 5.5, Differencing Images, page 90. While you can attach the same normal image to more than one virtual machine, only one of these virtual machines attached to the same image file can be executed simultaneously, as otherwise there would be conflicts if several machines write to the same image file. • Write-through hard disks are completely unaffected by snapshots. Their state is not saved when a snapshot is taken, and not restored when a snapshot is restored. • Shareable hard disks are a variant of write-through hard disks. In principle they behave exactly the same. Their state is not saved when a snapshot is taken, and not restored when a snapshot is restored. The difference only shows if you attach such disks to several VMs. Shareable disks may be attached to several VMs which may run concurrently. This makes them suitable for use by cluster filesystems between VMs and similar applications which are explicitly prepared to access a disk concurrently. Only fixed size images can be used in this way, and dynamically allocated images are rejected. Warning: This is an expert feature, and misuse can lead to data loss, as regular filesys- tems are not prepared to handle simultaneous changes by several parties. • Immutable images only remember write accesses temporarily while the virtual machine is running. All changes are lost when the virtual machine is powered on the next time. As a result, as opposed to Normal images, the same immutable image can be used with several virtual machines without restrictions. Creating an immutable image makes little sense since it would be initially empty and lose its contents with every machine restart. You would have a disk that is always unformatted when the machine starts up. Instead, you can first create a normal image and then later mark it as immutable when you decide that the contents are useful. If you take a snapshot of a machine with immutable images, then on every machine power- up, those images are reset to the state of the last (current) snapshot, instead of the state of the original immutable image., 5 Virtual Storage Note: As a special exception, immutable images are not reset if they are attached to a machine in a saved state or whose last snapshot was taken while the machine was running. This is called an online snapshot. As a result, if the machine’s current snapshot is an online snapshot, its immutable images behave exactly like the a normal image. To reenable the automatic resetting of such images, delete the current snapshot of the machine. Oracle VM VirtualBox never writes to an immutable image directly at all. All write oper- ations from the machine are directed to a differencing image. The next time the VM is powered on, the differencing image is reset so that every time the VM starts, its immutable images have exactly the same content. The differencing image is only reset when the machine is powered on from within Oracle VM VirtualBox, not when you reboot by requesting a reboot from within the machine. This is also why immutable images behave as described above when snapshots are also present, which use differencing images as well. If the automatic discarding of the differencing image on VM startup does not fit your needs, you can turn it off using the autoreset parameter of VBoxManage modifyhd. See chapter 8.24, VBoxManage modifymedium, page 165. • Multiattach mode images can be attached to more than one virtual machine at the same time, even if these machines are running simultaneously. For each virtual machine to which such an image is attached, a differencing image is created. As a result, data that is written to such a virtual disk by one machine is not seen by the other machines to which the image is attached. Each machine creates its own write history of the multiattach image. Technically, a multiattach image behaves identically to an immutable image except the differencing image is not reset every time the machine starts. This mode is useful for sharing files which are almost never written, for instance picture galleries, where every guest changes only a small amount of data and the majority of the disk content remains unchanged. The modified blocks are stored in differencing images which remain relatively small and the shared content is stored only once at the host. • Read-only images are used automatically for CD/DVD images, since CDs/DVDs can never be written to. The following scenario illustrates the differences between the various image modes, with re- spect to snapshots. Assume you have installed your guest operating system in your VM, and you have taken a snapshot. Later, your VM is infected with a virus and you would like to go back to the snapshot. With a normal hard disk image, you simply restore the snapshot, and the earlier state of your hard disk image will be restored as well and your virus infection will be undone. With an immutable hard disk, all it takes is to shut down and power on your VM, and the virus infection will be discarded. With a write-through image however, you cannot easily undo the virus infection by means of virtualization, but will have to disinfect your virtual machine like a real computer. You might find write-through images useful if you want to preserve critical data irrespective of snapshots. As you can attach more than one image to a VM, you may want to have one immutable image for the operating system and one write-through image for your data files. 5.5 Differencing Images The previous section mentioned differencing images and how they are used with snapshots, immutable images, and multiple disk attachments. This section describes in more detail how differencing images work., 5 Virtual Storage A differencing image is a special disk image that only holds the differences to another image. A differencing image by itself is useless, it must always refer to another image. The differencing image is then typically referred to as a child, which holds the differences to its parent. When a differencing image is active, it receives all write operations from the virtual machine instead of its parent. The differencing image only contains the sectors of the virtual hard disk that have changed since the differencing image was created. When the machine reads a sector from such a virtual hard disk, it looks into the differencing image first. If the sector is present, it is returned from there. If not, Oracle VM VirtualBox looks into the parent. In other words, the parent becomes read-only. It is never written to again, but it is read from if a sector has not changed. Differencing images can be chained. If another differencing image is created for a virtual disk that already has a differencing image, then it becomes a grandchild of the original parent. The first differencing image then becomes read-only as well, and write operations only go to the second-level differencing image. When reading from the virtual disk, Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to look into the second differencing image first, then into the first if the sector was not found, and then into the original image. There can be an unlimited number of differencing images, and each image can have more than one child. As a result, the differencing images can form a complex tree with parents, siblings, and children, depending on how complex your machine configuration is. Write operations always go to the one active differencing image that is attached to the machine, and for read operations, Oracle VM VirtualBox may need to look up all the parents in the chain until the sector in question is found. You can view such a tree in the Virtual Media Manager. In all of these situations, from the point of view of the virtual machine, the virtual hard disk behaves like any other disk. While the virtual machine is running, there is a slight run-time I/O overhead because Oracle VM VirtualBox might need to look up sectors several times. This is not noticeable however since the tables with sector information are always kept in memory and can be looked up quickly. Differencing images are used in the following situations: • Snapshots. When you create a snapshot, as explained in the previous section, Oracle VM VirtualBox “freezes” the images attached to the virtual machine and creates differencing images for each image that is not in “write-through” mode. From the point of view of the virtual machine, the virtual disks continue to operate before, but all write operations go into the differencing images. Each time you create another snapshot, for each hard disk attachment, another differencing image is created and attached, forming a chain or tree. In the above screenshot, you see that the original disk image is now attached to a snapshot, representing the state of the disk when the snapshot was taken., 5 Virtual Storage If you restore a snapshot, and want to go back to the exact machine state that was stored in the snapshot, the following happens: 1. Oracle VM VirtualBox copies the virtual machine settings that were copied into the snapshot back to the virtual machine. As a result, if you have made changes to the machine configuration since taking the snapshot, they are undone. 2. If the snapshot was taken while the machine was running, it contains a saved machine state, and that state is restored as well. After restoring the snapshot, the machine will then be in Saved state and resume execution from there when it is next started. Otherwise the machine will be in Powered Off state and do a full boot. 3. For each disk image attached to the machine, the differencing image holding all the write operations since the current snapshot was taken is thrown away, and the original parent image is made active again. If you restored the root snapshot, then this will be the root disk image for each attachment. Otherwise, some other differencing image descended from it. This effectively restores the old machine state. If you later delete a snapshot in order to free disk space, for each disk attachment, one of the differencing images becomes obsolete. In this case, the differencing image of the disk attachment cannot simply be deleted. Instead, Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to look at each sector of the differencing image and needs to copy it back into its parent. This is called “merging” images and can be a potentially lengthy process, depending on how large the differencing image is. It can also temporarily need a considerable amount of extra disk space, before the differencing image obsoleted by the merge operation is deleted. • Immutable images. When an image is switched to immutable mode, a differencing im- age is created as well. As with snapshots, the parent image then becomes read-only, and the differencing image receives all the write operations. Every time the virtual machine is started, all the immutable images which are attached to it have their respective differenc- ing image thrown away, effectively resetting the virtual machine’s virtual disk with every restart. 5.6 Cloning Disk Images You can duplicate hard disk image files on the same host to quickly produce a second virtual machine with the same operating system setup. However, you should only make copies of virtual disk images using the utility supplied with Oracle VM VirtualBox. See chapter 8.25, VBoxManage clonemedium, page 166. This is because Oracle VM VirtualBox assigns a unique identity number (UUID) to each disk image, which is also stored inside the image, and Oracle VM VirtualBox will refuse to work with two images that use the same number. If you do accidentally try to reimport a disk image which you copied normally, you can make a second copy using Oracle VM VirtualBox’s utility and import that instead. Note that newer Linux distributions identify the boot hard disk from the ID of the drive. The ID Oracle VM VirtualBox reports for a drive is determined from the UUID of the virtual disk image. So if you clone a disk image and try to boot the copied image the guest might not be able to determine its own boot disk as the UUID changed. In this case you have to adapt the disk ID in your boot loader script, for example /boot/grub/menu.lst. The disk ID looks like this: scsi-SATA_VBOX_HARDDISK_VB5cfdb1e2-c251e503 The ID for the copied image can be determined with: hdparm -i /dev/sda, 5 Virtual Storage 5.7 Host Input/Output Caching Oracle VM VirtualBox can optionally disable the I/O caching that the host operating system would otherwise perform on disk image files. Traditionally, Oracle VM VirtualBox has opened disk image files as normal files, which results in them being cached by the host operating system like any other file. The main advantage of this is speed: when the guest OS writes to disk and the host OS cache uses delayed writing, the write operation can be reported as completed to the guest OS quickly while the host OS can perform the operation asynchronously. Also, when you start a VM a second time and have enough memory available for the OS to use for caching, large parts of the virtual disk may be in system memory, and the VM can access the data much faster. Note that this applies only to image files. Buffering does not occur for virtual disks residing on remote iSCSI storage, which is the more common scenario in enterprise-class setups. See chapter 5.10, iSCSI Servers, page 95. While buffering is a useful default setting for virtualizing a few machines on a desktop com- puter, there are some disadvantages to this approach: • Delayed writing through the host OS cache is less secure. When the guest OS writes data, it considers the data written even though it has not yet arrived on a physical disk. If for some reason the write does not happen, such as power failure or host crash, the likelihood of data loss increases. • Disk image files tend to be very large. Caching them can therefore quickly use up the entire host OS cache. Depending on the efficiency of the host OS caching, this may slow down the host immensely, especially if several VMs run at the same time. For example, on Linux hosts, host caching may result in Linux delaying all writes until the host cache is nearly full and then writing out all these changes at once, possibly stalling VM execution for minutes. This can result in I/O errors in the guest as I/O requests time out there. • Physical memory is often wasted as guest operating systems typically have their own I/O caches, which may result in the data being cached twice, in both the guest and the host caches, for little effect. If you decide to disable host I/O caching for the above reasons, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses its own small cache to buffer writes, but no read caching since this is typically already performed by the guest OS. In addition, Oracle VM VirtualBox fully supports asynchronous I/O for its virtual SATA, SCSI and SAS controllers through multiple I/O threads. Since asynchronous I/O is not supported by IDE controllers, for performance reasons, you may want to leave host caching enabled for your VM’s virtual IDE controllers. For this reason, Oracle VM VirtualBox enables you to configure whether the host I/O cache is used for each I/O controller separately. Either select the Use Host I/O Cache check box in the Storage settings for a given virtual storage controller, or use the following VBoxManage command to disable the host I/O cache for a virtual storage controller: VBoxManage storagectl "VM name" -name -hostiocache off See chapter 8.20, VBoxManage storagectl, page 162. For the above reasons, Oracle VM VirtualBox now uses SATA controllers by default for new virtual machines. 5.8 Limiting Bandwidth for Disk Images Oracle VM VirtualBox supports limiting of the maximum bandwidth used for asynchronous I/O. Additionally it supports sharing limits through bandwidth groups for several images. It is possible to have more than one such limit., 5 Virtual Storage Limits are configured using VBoxManage. The example below creates a bandwidth group named Limit, sets the limit to 20 MB per second, and assigns the group to the attached disks of the VM: VBoxManage bandwidthctl "VM name" add Limit -type disk -limit 20M VBoxManage storageattach "VM name" -storagectl "SATA" -port 0 -device 0 -type hdd -medium disk1.vdi -bandwidthgroup Limit VBoxManage storageattach "VM name" -storagectl "SATA" -port 1 -device 0 -type hdd -medium disk2.vdi -bandwidthgroup Limit All disks in a group share the bandwidth limit, meaning that in the example above the band- width of both images combined can never exceed 20 MBps. However, if one disk does not require bandwidth the other can use the remaining bandwidth of its group. The limits for each group can be changed while the VM is running, with changes being picked up immediately. The example below changes the limit for the group created in the example above to 10 MBps: VBoxManage bandwidthctl "VM name" set Limit -limit 10M 5.9 CD/DVD Support Virtual CD/DVD drives by default support only reading. The medium configuration is changeable at runtime. You can select between the following options to provide the medium data: • Host Drive defines that the guest can read from the medium in the host drive. • Image file gives the guest read-only access to the data in the image. This is typically an ISO file. • Empty means a drive without an inserted medium. Changing between the above, or changing a medium in the host drive that is accessed by a machine, or changing an image file will signal a medium change to the guest operating system. The guest OS can then react to the change, for example by starting an installation program. Medium changes can be prevented by the guest, and Oracle VM VirtualBox reflects that by locking the host drive if appropriate. You can force a medium removal in such situations by using the Oracle VM VirtualBox GUI or the VBoxManage command line tool. Effectively this is the equivalent of the emergency eject which many CD/DVD drives provide, with all associated side effects. The guest OS can issue error messages, just like on real hardware, and guest applications may misbehave. Use this with caution. Note: The identification string of the drive provided to the guest, displayed by con- figuration tools such as the Windows Device Manager, is always VBOX CD-ROM, irre- spective of the current configuration of the virtual drive. This is to prevent hardware detection from being triggered in the guest operating system every time the configura- tion is changed. The standard CD/DVD emulation enables reading of standard data CD and DVD formats only. As an experimental feature, for additional capabilities, it is possible to give the guest direct access to the CD/DVD host drive by enabling passthrough mode. Depending on the host hardware, this may potentially enable the following things to work: • CD/DVD writing from within the guest, if the host DVD drive is a CD/DVD writer • Playing audio CDs, 5 Virtual Storage • Playing encrypted DVDs There is a Passthrough check box in the GUI dialog for configuring the media attached to a storage controller, or you can use the -passthrough option with VBoxManage storageattach. See chapter 8.19, VBoxManage storageattach, page 158. Even if passthrough is enabled, unsafe commands, such as updating the drive firmware, will be blocked. Video CD formats are never supported, not even in passthrough mode, and cannot be played from a virtual machine. On Oracle Solaris hosts, passthrough requires running Oracle VM VirtualBox with real root permissions due to security measures enforced by the host. 5.10 iSCSI Servers iSCSI stands for “Internet SCSI” and is a standard that supports use of the SCSI protocol over Internet (TCP/IP) connections. Especially with the advent of Gigabit Ethernet, it has become affordable to attach iSCSI storage servers simply as remote hard disks to a computer network. In iSCSI terminology, the server providing storage resources is called an iSCSI target, while the client connecting to the server and accessing its resources is called an iSCSI initiator. Oracle VM VirtualBox can transparently present iSCSI remote storage to a virtual machine as a virtual hard disk. The guest operating system will not see any difference between a virtual disk image (VDI file) and an iSCSI target. To achieve this, Oracle VM VirtualBox has an integrated iSCSI initiator. Oracle VM VirtualBox’s iSCSI support has been developed according to the iSCSI standard and should work with all standard-conforming iSCSI targets. To use an iSCSI target with Oracle VM VirtualBox, you must use the command line. See chapter 8.19, VBoxManage storageattach, page 158., 6 Virtual Networking As mentioned in chapter 3.9, Network Settings, page 54, Oracle VM VirtualBox provides up to eight virtual PCI Ethernet cards for each virtual machine. For each such card, you can individually select the following: • The hardware that will be virtualized. • The virtualization mode that the virtual card operates in, with respect to your physical networking hardware on the host. Four of the network cards can be configured in the Network section of the Settings dialog in the graphical user interface of Oracle VM VirtualBox. You can configure all eight network cards on the command line using VBoxManage modifyvm. See chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133. This chapter explains the various networking settings in more detail. 6.1 Virtual Networking Hardware For each card, you can individually select what kind of hardware will be presented to the virtual machine. Oracle VM VirtualBox can virtualize the following types of networking hardware: • AMD PCNet PCI II (Am79C970A) • AMD PCNet FAST III (Am79C973), the default setting • Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop (82540EM) • Intel PRO/1000 T Server (82543GC) • Intel PRO/1000 MT Server (82545EM) • Paravirtualized network adapter (virtio-net) The PCNet FAST III is the default because it is supported by nearly all operating systems, as well as by the GNU GRUB boot manager. As an exception, the Intel PRO/1000 family adapters are chosen for some guest operating system types that no longer ship with drivers for the PCNet card, such as Windows Vista. The Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop type works with Windows Vista and later versions. The T Server variant of the Intel PRO/1000 card is recognized by Windows XP guests without additional driver installation. The MT Server variant facilitates OVF imports from other platforms. The Paravirtualized network adapter (virtio-net) is special. If you select this adapter, then Oracle VM VirtualBox does not virtualize common networking hardware that is supported by common guest operating systems. Instead, Oracle VM VirtualBox expects a special software interface for virtualized environments to be provided by the guest, thus avoiding the complexity of emulating networking hardware and improving network performance. Oracle VM VirtualBox provides support for the industry-standard virtio networking drivers, which are part of the open source KVM project. The virtio networking drivers are available for the following guest operating systems:, 6 Virtual Networking • Linux kernels version 2.6.25 or later can be configured to provide virtio support. Some distributions have also back-ported virtio to older kernels. • For Windows 2000, XP, and Vista, virtio drivers can be downloaded and installed from the KVM project web page: http://www.linux-kvm.org/page/WindowsGuestDrivers. Oracle VM VirtualBox also has limited support for jumbo frames. These are networking packets with more than 1500 bytes of data, provided that you use the Intel card virtualization and bridged networking. Jumbo frames are not supported with the AMD networking devices. In those cases, jumbo packets will silently be dropped for both the transmit and the receive direction. Guest operating systems trying to use this feature will observe this as a packet loss, which may lead to unexpected application behavior in the guest. This does not cause problems with guest operating systems in their default configuration, as jumbo frames need to be explicitly enabled. 6.2 Introduction to Networking Modes Each of the networking adapters can be separately configured to operate in one of the following modes: • Not attached. In this mode, Oracle VM VirtualBox reports to the guest that a network card is present, but that there is no connection. This is as if no Ethernet cable was plugged into the card. Using this mode, it is possible to “pull” the virtual Ethernet cable and disrupt the connection, which can be useful to inform a guest operating system that no network connection is available and enforce a reconfiguration. • Network Address Translation (NAT). If all you want is to browse the Web, download files, and view email inside the guest, then this default mode should be sufficient for you, and you can skip the rest of this section. Please note that there are certain limitations when using Windows file sharing. See chapter 6.3.3, NAT Limitations, page 100. • NAT Network. A NAT network is a type of internal network that allows outbound connec- tions. See chapter 6.4, Network Address Translation Service, page 100. • Bridged networking. This is for more advanced networking needs, such as network sim- ulations and running servers in a guest. When enabled, Oracle VM VirtualBox connects to one of your installed network cards and exchanges network packets directly, circumventing your host operating system’s network stack. • Internal networking. This can be used to create a different kind of software-based net- work which is visible to selected virtual machines, but not to applications running on the host or to the outside world. • Host-only networking. This can be used to create a network containing the host and a set of virtual machines, without the need for the host’s physical network interface. Instead, a virtual network interface, similar to a loopback interface, is created on the host, providing connectivity among virtual machines and the host. • Generic networking. Rarely used modes which share the same generic network interface, by allowing the user to select a driver which can be included with Oracle VM VirtualBox or be distributed in an extension pack. The following sub-modes are available: – UDP Tunnel: Used to interconnect virtual machines running on different hosts di- rectly, easily, and transparently, over an existing network infrastructure., 6 Virtual Networking – VDE (Virtual Distributed Ethernet) networking: Used to connect to a Virtual Dis- tributed Ethernet switch on a Linux or a FreeBSD host. At the moment this option requires compilation of Oracle VM VirtualBox from sources, as the Oracle packages do not include it. chapter 6.2, Introduction to Networking Modes, page 98 provides a quick overview of the most important networking modes. VM→Host VM←Host VM1↔VM2 VM→Net/LAN VM←Net/LAN Host-only + + + – – Internal – – + – – Bridged + + + + + NAT + Port forward – + Port forward NATservice + Port forward + + Port forward The following sections describe the available network modes in more detail. 6.3 Network Address Translation (NAT) Network Address Translation (NAT) is the simplest way of accessing an external network from a virtual machine. Usually, it does not require any configuration on the host network and guest system. For this reason, it is the default networking mode in Oracle VM VirtualBox. A virtual machine with NAT enabled acts much like a real computer that connects to the In- ternet through a router. The router, in this case, is the Oracle VM VirtualBox networking engine, which maps traffic from and to the virtual machine transparently. In Oracle VM VirtualBox this router is placed between each virtual machine and the host. This separation maximizes security since by default virtual machines cannot talk to each other. The disadvantage of NAT mode is that, much like a private network behind a router, the virtual machine is invisible and unreachable from the outside internet. You cannot run a server this way unless you set up port forwarding. See chapter 6.3.1, Configuring Port Forwarding with NAT, page 98. The network frames sent out by the guest operating system are received by Oracle VM VirtualBox’s NAT engine, which extracts the TCP/IP data and resends it using the host oper- ating system. To an application on the host, or to another computer on the same network as the host, it looks like the data was sent by the Oracle VM VirtualBox application on the host, using an IP address belonging to the host. Oracle VM VirtualBox listens for replies to the packages sent, and repacks and resends them to the guest machine on its private network. The virtual machine receives its network address and configuration on the private network from a DHCP server integrated into Oracle VM VirtualBox. The IP address thus assigned to the virtual machine is usually on a completely different network than the host. As more than one card of a virtual machine can be set up to use NAT, the first card is connected to the private network 10.0.2.0, the second card to the network 10.0.3.0 and so on. If you need to change the guest-assigned IP range, see chapter 9.10, Fine Tuning the Oracle VM VirtualBox NAT Engine, page 219. 6.3.1 Configuring Port Forwarding with NAT As the virtual machine is connected to a private network internal to Oracle VM VirtualBox and invisible to the host, network services on the guest are not accessible to the host machine or to, 6 Virtual Networking other computers on the same network. However, like a physical router, Oracle VM VirtualBox can make selected services available to the world outside the guest through port forwarding. This means that Oracle VM VirtualBox listens to certain ports on the host and resends all packets which arrive there to the guest, on the same or a different port. To an application on the host or other physical or virtual machines on the network, it looks as though the service being proxied is actually running on the host. This also means that you cannot run the same service on the same ports on the host. However, you still gain the advantages of running the service in a virtual machine. For example, services on the host machine or on other virtual machines cannot be compromised or crashed by a vulnerability or a bug in the service, and the service can run in a different operating system than the host system. To configure port forwarding you can use the graphical Port Forwarding editor which can be found in the Network Settings dialog for network adaptors configured to use NAT. Here, you can map host ports to guest ports to allow network traffic to be routed to a specific port in the guest. Alternatively, the command line tool VBoxManage can be used. See chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133. You will need to know which ports on the guest the service uses and to decide which ports to use on the host. You may want to use the same ports on the guest and on the host. You can use any ports on the host which are not already in use by a service. For example, to set up incoming NAT connections to an ssh server in the guest, use the following command: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -natpf1 "guestssh,tcp,,2222,,22" In the above example, all TCP traffic arriving on port 2222 on any host interface will be forwarded to port 22 in the guest. The protocol name tcp is a mandatory attribute defining which protocol should be used for forwarding, udp could also be used. The name guestssh is purely descriptive and will be auto-generated if omitted. The number after -natpf denotes the network card, as with other VBoxManage commands. To remove this forwarding rule, use the following command: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -natpf1 delete "guestssh" If for some reason the guest uses a static assigned IP address not leased from the built-in DHCP server, it is required to specify the guest IP when registering the forwarding rule, as follows: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -natpf1 "guestssh,tcp,,2222,10.0.2.19,22" This example is identical to the previous one, except that the NAT engine is being told that the guest can be found at the 10.0.2.19 address. To forward all incoming traffic from a specific host interface to the guest, specify the IP of that host interface as follows: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -natpf1 "guestssh,tcp,127.0.0.1,2222,,22" This example forwards all TCP traffic arriving on the localhost interface at 127.0.0.1 through port 2222 to port 22 in the guest. It is possible to configure incoming NAT connections while the VM is running, see chapter 8.14, VBoxManage controlvm, page 150. 6.3.2 PXE Booting with NAT PXE booting is now supported in NAT mode. The NAT DHCP server provides a boot file name of the form vmname.pxe if the directory TFTP exists in the directory where the user’s VirtualBox.xml file is kept. It is the responsibility of the user to provide vmname.pxe., 6 Virtual Networking 6.3.3 NAT Limitations There are some limitations of NAT mode which users should be aware of, as follows: • ICMP protocol limitations. Some frequently used network debugging tools, such as ping or tracerouting, rely on the ICMP protocol for sending and receiving messages. While ICMP support has been improved with Oracle VM VirtualBox 2.1, meaning ping should now work, some other tools may not work reliably. • Receiving of UDP broadcasts. The guest does not reliably receive UDP broadcasts. In order to save resources, it only listens for a certain amount of time after the guest has sent UDP data on a particular port. As a consequence, NetBios name resolution based on broadcasts does not always work, but WINS always works. As a workaround, you can use the numeric IP of the desired server in the \\server\share notation. • Some protocols are not supported. Protocols other than TCP and UDP are not supported. GRE is not supported. This means some VPN products, such as PPTP from Microsoft, cannot be used. There are other VPN products which use only TCP and UDP. • Forwarding host ports below 1024. On UNIX-based hosts, such as Linux, Oracle Solaris, and Mac OS X, it is not possible to bind to ports below 1024 from applications that are not run by root. As a result, if you try to configure such a port forwarding, the VM will refuse to start. These limitations normally do not affect standard network use. But the presence of NAT has also subtle effects that may interfere with protocols that are normally working. One example is NFS, where the server is often configured to refuse connections from non-privileged ports, which are those ports not below 1024. 6.4 Network Address Translation Service The Network Address Translation (NAT) service works in a similar way to a home router, group- ing the systems using it into a network and preventing systems outside of this network from directly accessing systems inside it, but letting systems inside communicate with each other and with systems outside using TCP and UDP over IPv4 and IPv6. A NAT service is attached to an internal network. Virtual machines which are to make use of it should be attached to that internal network. The name of internal network is chosen when the NAT service is created and the internal network will be created if it does not already exist. The following is an example command to create a NAT network: VBoxManage natnetwork add -netname natnet1 -network "192.168.15.0/24" -enable Here, natnet1 is the name of the internal network to be used and 192.168.15.0/24 is the network address and mask of the NAT service interface. By default in this static configuration the gateway will be assigned the address 192.168.15.1, the address following the interface address, though this is subject to change. To attach a DHCP server to the internal network, modify the example command as follows: VBoxManage natnetwork add -netname natnet1 -network "192.168.15.0/24" -enable -dhcp on To add a DHCP server to an existing network, use the following command: VBoxManage natnetwork modify -netname natnet1 -dhcp on To disable the DHCP server, use the following command: VBoxManage natnetwork modify -netname natnet1 -dhcp off, 6 Virtual Networking A DHCP server provides a list of registered nameservers, but does not map servers from the 127/8 network. To start the NAT service, use the following command: VBoxManage natnetwork start -netname natnet1 If the network has a DHCP server attached then it will start together with the NAT network service. To stop the NAT network service, together with any DHCP server: VBoxManage natnetwork stop -netname natnet1 To delete the NAT network service: VBoxManage natnetwork remove -netname natnet1 This command does not remove the DHCP server if one is enabled on the internal network. Port-forwarding is supported, using the -port-forward-4 switch for IPv4 and -port-forward-6 for IPv6. For example: VBoxManage natnetwork modify \ -netname natnet1 -port-forward-4 "ssh:tcp::1022:[192.168.15.5]:22" This adds a port-forwarding rule from the host’s TCP 1022 port to the port 22 on the guest with IP address 192.168.15.5. Host port, guest port and guest IP are mandatory. To delete the rule, use the following command: VBoxManage natnetwork modify -netname natnet1 -port-forward-4 delete ssh It is possible to bind a NAT service to specified interface. For example: VBoxManage setextradata global "NAT/win-nat-test-0/SourceIp4" 192.168.1.185 To see the list of registered NAT networks, use the following command: VBoxManage list natnetworks 6.5 Bridged Networking With bridged networking, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses a device driver on your host system that filters data from your physical network adapter. This driver is therefore called a net filter driver. This enables Oracle VM VirtualBox to intercept data from the physical network and inject data into it, effectively creating a new network interface in software. When a guest is using such a new software interface, it looks to the host system as though the guest were physically connected to the interface using a network cable. The host can send data to the guest through that interface and receive data from it. This means that you can set up routing or bridging between the guest and the rest of your network. Note: Even though TAP interfaces are no longer necessary on Linux for bridged net- working, you can still use TAP interfaces for certain advanced setups, since you can connect a VM to any host interface. To enable bridged networking, open the Settings dialog of a virtual machine, go to the Net- work page and select Bridged Network in the drop-down list for the Attached To field. Select a host interface from the list at the bottom of the page, which contains the physical network inter- faces of your systems. On a typical MacBook, for example, this will allow you to select between en1: AirPort, which is the wireless interface, and en0: Ethernet, which represents the interface with a network cable., 6 Virtual Networking Note: Bridging to a wireless interface is done differently from bridging to a wired in- terface, because most wireless adapters do not support promiscuous mode. All traffic has to use the MAC address of the host’s wireless adapter, and therefore Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to replace the source MAC address in the Ethernet header of an out- going packet to make sure the reply will be sent to the host interface. When Oracle VM VirtualBox sees an incoming packet with a destination IP address that belongs to one of the virtual machine adapters it replaces the destination MAC address in the Ether- net header with the VM adapter’s MAC address and passes it on. Oracle VM VirtualBox examines ARP and DHCP packets in order to learn the IP addresses of virtual machines. Depending on your host operating system, the following limitations apply: • Mac OS X hosts. Functionality is limited when using AirPort, the Mac’s wireless networking system, for bridged networking. Currently, Oracle VM VirtualBox supports only IPv4 and IPv6 over AirPort. For other protocols, such as IPX, you must choose a wired interface. • Linux hosts. Functionality is limited when using wireless interfaces for bridged network- ing. Currently, Oracle VM VirtualBox supports only IPv4 and IPv6 over wireless. For other protocols, such as IPX, you must choose a wired interface. Also, setting the MTU to less than 1500 bytes on wired interfaces provided by the sky2 driver on the Marvell Yukon II EC Ultra Ethernet NIC is known to cause packet losses under certain conditions. Some adapters strip VLAN tags in hardware. This does not allow you to use VLAN trunking between VM and the external network with pre-2.6.27 Linux kernels, or with host operating systems other than Linux. • Oracle Solaris hosts. There is no support for using wireless interfaces. Filtering guest traffic using IPFilter is also not completely supported due to technical restrictions of the Oracle Solaris networking subsystem. These issues may be addressed in later releases of Oracle Solaris 11. On Oracle Solaris 11 hosts build 159 and above, it is possible to use Oracle Solaris Cross- bow Virtual Network Interfaces (VNICs) directly with Oracle VM VirtualBox without any additional configuration other than each VNIC must be exclusive for every guest network interface. When using VLAN interfaces with Oracle VM VirtualBox, they must be named according to the PPA-hack naming scheme, such as e1000g513001. Otherwise, the guest may receive packets in an unexpected format. 6.6 Internal Networking Internal Networking is similar to bridged networking in that the VM can directly communicate with the outside world. However, the outside world is limited to other VMs on the same host which connect to the same internal network. Even though technically, everything that can be done using internal networking can also be done using bridged networking, there are security advantages with internal networking. In bridged networking mode, all traffic goes through a physical interface of the host system. It is therefore possible to attach a packet sniffer such as Wireshark to the host interface and log all traffic that goes over it. If, for any reason, you prefer two or more VMs on the same machine to communicate privately, hiding their data from both the host system and the user, bridged networking therefore is not an option. Internal networks are created automatically as needed. There is no central configuration. Every internal network is identified simply by its name. Once there is more than one active, 6 Virtual Networking virtual network card with the same internal network ID, the Oracle VM VirtualBox support driver will automatically wire the cards and act as a network switch. The Oracle VM VirtualBox support driver implements a complete Ethernet switch and supports both broadcast/multicast frames and promiscuous mode. In order to attach a VM’s network card to an internal network, set its networking mode to Internal Networking. There are two ways to accomplish this: • Use the VM’s Settings dialog in the Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interface. In the Networking category of the settings dialog, select Internal Networking from the drop- down list of networking modes. Select the name of an existing internal network from the drop-down list below, or enter a new name into the Name field. • Use the command line, for example: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nic intnet Optionally, you can specify a network name with the command: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -intnet "network name" If you do not specify a network name, the network card will be attached to the network intnet by default. Unless you configure the virtual network cards in the guest operating systems that are partici- pating in the internal network to use static IP addresses, you may want to use the DHCP server that is built into Oracle VM VirtualBox to manage IP addresses for the internal network. See chapter 8.39, VBoxManage dhcpserver, page 191. As a security measure, by default, the Linux implementation of internal networking only allows VMs running under the same user ID to establish an internal network. However, it is possible to create a shared internal networking interface, accessible by users with different user IDs. 6.7 Host-Only Networking Host-only networking is another networking mode that was added with version 2.2 of Oracle VM VirtualBox. It can be thought of as a hybrid between the bridged and internal networking modes. As with bridged networking, the virtual machines can talk to each other and the host as if they were connected through a physical Ethernet switch. As with internal networking, a physical networking interface need not be present, and the virtual machines cannot talk to the world outside the host since they are not connected to a physical networking interface. When host-only networking is used, Oracle VM VirtualBox creates a new software interface on the host which then appears next to your existing network interfaces. In other words, whereas with bridged networking an existing physical interface is used to attach virtual machines to, with host-only networking a new loopback interface is created on the host. And whereas with internal networking, the traffic between the virtual machines cannot be seen, the traffic on the loopback interface on the host can be intercepted. Host-only networking is particularly useful for preconfigured virtual appliances, where multi- ple virtual machines are shipped together and designed to cooperate. For example, one virtual machine may contain a web server and a second one a database, and since they are intended to talk to each other, the appliance can instruct Oracle VM VirtualBox to set up a host-only network for the two. A second, bridged, network would then connect the web server to the outside world to serve data to, but the outside world cannot connect to the database. To change a virtual machine’s virtual network interface to Host Only mode, do either of the following:, 6 Virtual Networking • Go to the Network page in the virtual machine’s Settings dialog and select Host-Only Networking. • On the command line, enter VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nic hostonly. See chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133. Before you can attach a VM to a host-only network you have to create at least one host-only interface. You can use the GUI for this. Choose File, Preferences, Network, Host-Only Network, (+)Add Host-Only Network. Alternatively, you can use the command line: VBoxManage hostonlyif create See chapter 8.38, VBoxManage hostonlyif, page 190. For host-only networking, as with internal networking, you may find the DHCP server useful that is built into Oracle VM VirtualBox. This can be enabled to then manage the IP addresses in the host-only network since otherwise you would need to configure all IP addresses statically. • In the Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interface, you can configure all these items in the global settings by choosing File, Preferences, Network. This lists all host-only networks which are presently in use. Click on the network name and then on Edit. You can then modify the adapter and DHCP settings. • Alternatively, you can use VBoxManage dhcpserver on the command line. See chapter 8.39, VBoxManage dhcpserver, page 191. Note: On Linux and Mac OS X hosts the number of host-only interfaces is limited to 128. There is no such limit for Oracle Solaris and Windows hosts. 6.8 UDP Tunnel Networking This networking mode enables you to interconnect virtual machines running on different hosts. Technically this is done by encapsulating Ethernet frames sent or received by the guest network card into UDP/IP datagrams, and sending them over any network available to the host. UDP Tunnel mode has the following parameters: • Source UDP port: The port on which the host listens. Datagrams arriving on this port from any source address will be forwarded to the receiving part of the guest network card. • Destination address: IP address of the target host of the transmitted data. • Destination UDP port: Port number to which the transmitted data is sent. When interconnecting two virtual machines on two different hosts, their IP addresses must be swapped. On a single host, source and destination UDP ports must be swapped. In the following example, host 1 uses the IP address 10.0.0.1 and host 2 uses IP address 10.0.0.2. To configure using the command-line: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" -nic generic VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" -nicgenericdrv UDPTunnel VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" -nicproperty dest=10.0.0.2 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" -nicproperty sport=10001 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" -nicproperty dport=10002, 6 Virtual Networking VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" -nic generic VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" -nicgenericdrv UDPTunnel VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" -nicproperty dest=10.0.0.1 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" -nicproperty sport=10002 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" -nicproperty dport=10001 Of course, you can always interconnect two virtual machines on the same host, by setting the destination address parameter to 127.0.0.1 on both. It will act similarly to an internal network in this case. However, the host can see the network traffic which it could not in the normal internal network case. Note: On UNIX-based hosts, such as Linux, Oracle Solaris, and Mac OS X, it is not possible to bind to ports below 1024 from applications that are not run by root. As a result, if you try to configure such a source UDP port, the VM will refuse to start. 6.9 VDE Networking Virtual Distributed Ethernet (VDE) is a flexible, virtual network infrastructure system, spanning across multiple hosts in a secure way. It enables L2/L3 switching, including spanning-tree pro- tocol, VLANs, and WAN emulation. It is an optional part of Oracle VM VirtualBox which is only included in the source code. VDE is a project developed by Renzo Davoli, Associate Professor at the University of Bologna, Italy. The basic building blocks of the infrastructure are VDE switches, VDE plugs, and VDE wires which interconnect the switches. The Oracle VM VirtualBox VDE driver has a single parameter: VDE network. This is the name of the VDE network switch socket to which the VM will be connected. The following basic example shows how to connect a virtual machine to a VDE switch. 1. Create a VDE switch: vde_switch -s /tmp/switch1 2. Configure VMs using the command-line: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nic generic VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nicgenericdrv VDE To connect to an automatically allocated switch port: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nicproperty network=/tmp/switch1 To connect to a specific switch port n: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nicproperty network=/tmp/switch1 This command can be useful for VLANs. 3. (Optional) Map between a VDE switch port and a VLAN. Using the switch command line: vde$ vlan/create , 6 Virtual Networking vde$ port/setvlan VDE is available on Linux and FreeBSD hosts only. It is only available if the VDE software and the VDE plugin library from the VirtualSquare project are installed on the host system. Note: For Linux hosts, the shared library libvdeplug.so must be available in the search path for shared libraries. For more information on setting up VDE networks, please see the documentation accompany- ing the software. See also http://wiki.virtualsquare.org/wiki/index.php/VDE_Basic_ Networking. 6.10 Limiting Bandwidth for Network Input/Output Oracle VM VirtualBox supports limiting of the maximum bandwidth used for network transmis- sion. Several network adapters of one VM may share limits through bandwidth groups. It is possible to have more than one such limit. Note: Oracle VM VirtualBox shapes VM traffic only in the transmit direction, delaying the packets being sent by virtual machines. It does not limit the traffic being received by virtual machines. Limits are configured through VBoxManage. The following example creates a bandwidth group named Limit, sets the limit to 20 Mbps and assigns the group to the first and second adapters of the VM: VBoxManage bandwidthctl "VM name" add Limit -type network -limit 20m VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nicbandwidthgroup1 Limit VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nicbandwidthgroup2 Limit All adapters in a group share the bandwidth limit, meaning that in the example above the bandwidth of both adapters combined can never exceed 20 Mbps. However, if one adapter does not require bandwidth the other can use the remaining bandwidth of its group. The limits for each group can be changed while the VM is running, with changes being picked up immediately. The following example changes the limit for the group created in the previous example to 100 Kbps: VBoxManage bandwidthctl "VM name" set Limit -limit 100k To completely disable shaping for the first adapter of VM use the following command: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -nicbandwidthgroup1 none It is also possible to disable shaping for all adapters assigned to a bandwidth group while VM is running, by specifying the zero limit for the group. For example, for the bandwidth group named Limit: VBoxManage bandwidthctl "VM name" set Limit -limit 0, 6 Virtual Networking 6.11 Improving Network Performance Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a variety of virtual network adapters that can be attached to the host’s network in a number of ways. Depending on which types of adapters and attachments are used the network performance will be different. Performance-wise the virtio network adapter is preferable over Intel PRO/1000 emulated adapters, which are preferred over the PCNet family of adapters. Both virtio and Intel PRO/1000 adapters enjoy the benefit of segmentation and checksum offloading. Segmentation offloading is essential for high performance as it allows for less context switches, dramatically increasing the sizes of packets that cross the VM/host boundary. Note: Neither virtio nor Intel PRO/1000 drivers for Windows XP support segmentation offloading. Therefore Windows XP guests never reach the same transmission rates as other guest types. Refer to MS Knowledge base article 842264 for additional informa- tion. Three attachment types: Internal, Bridged, and Host-Only, have nearly identical performance. The Internal type is a little bit faster and uses less CPU cycles as the packets never reach the host’s network stack. The NAT attachment type is the slowest and most secure of all attachment types, as it provides network address translation. The generic driver attachment is special and cannot be considered as an alternative to other attachment types. The number of CPUs assigned to VM does not improve network performance and in some cases may hurt it due to increased concurrency in the guest. Here is a short summary of things to check in order to improve network performance: 1. Whenever possible use the virtio network adapter. Otherwise, use one of the Intel PRO/1000 adapters. 2. Use a Bridged attachment instead of NAT. 3. Make sure segmentation offloading is enabled in the guest OS. Usually it will be enabled by default. You can check and modify offloading settings using the ethtool command on Linux guests. 4. Perform a full, detailed analysis of network traffic on the VM’s network adaptor using a third party tool such as Wireshark. To do this, a promiscuous mode policy needs to be used on the VM’s network adaptor. Use of this mode is only possible on the following network types: NAT Network, Bridged Adapter, Internal Network, and Host-Only Adapter. To setup a promiscuous mode policy, either select from the drop down list located in the Network Settings dialog for the network adaptor or use the command line tool VBoxManage. See chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133. Promiscuous mode policies are as follows: • deny, which hides any traffic not intended for the VM’s network adaptor. This is the default setting. • allow-vms, which hides all host traffic from the VM’s network adaptor, but allows it to see traffic from and to other VMs. • allow-all, which removes all restrictions. The VM’s network adaptor sees all traffic., 7 Remote Virtual Machines 7.1 Remote Display (VRDP Support) Oracle VM VirtualBox can display virtual machines remotely, meaning that a virtual machine can execute on one computer even though the machine will be displayed on a second computer, and the machine will be controlled from there as well, as if the virtual machine was running on that second computer. For maximum flexibility, Oracle VM VirtualBox implements remote machine display through a generic extension interface called the VirtualBox Remote Desktop Extension (VRDE). The base open source Oracle VM VirtualBox package only provides this interface, while implementations can be supplied by third parties with Oracle VM VirtualBox extension packages, which must be installed separately from the base package. See chapter 1.6, Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs, page 6. Oracle provides support for the VirtualBox Remote Display Protocol (VRDP) in such an Oracle VM VirtualBox extension package. When this package is installed, Oracle VM VirtualBox versions 4.0 and later support VRDP the same way as binary, non-open source, versions of Oracle VM VirtualBox before 4.0 did. VRDP is a backwards-compatible extension to Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). As a result, you can use any standard RDP client to control the remote VM. Even when the extension is installed, the VRDP server is disabled by default. It can easily be enabled on a per-VM basis either in the VirtualBox Manager in the Display settings, see chapter 3.6, Display Settings, page 50, or with the VBoxManage command, as follows: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrde on By default, the VRDP server uses TCP port 3389. You will need to change the default port if you run more than one VRDP server, since the port can only be used by one server at a time. You might also need to change it on Windows hosts since the default port might already be used by the RDP server that is built into Windows itself. Ports 5000 through 5050 are typically not used and might be a good choice. The port can be changed either in the Display settings of the graphical user interface or with the -vrdeport option of the VBoxManage modifyvm command. You can specify a comma- separated list of ports or ranges of ports. Use a dash between two port numbers to specify a range. The VRDP server will bind to one of the available ports from the specified list. For example, VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeport 5000,5010-5012 will configure the server to bind to one of the ports 5000, 5010, 5011, or 5012. See chapter 8.8.5, Remote Machine Settings, page 141. The actual port used by a running VM can be either queried with the VBoxManage showvminfo command or seen in the GUI on the Runtime tab of the Session Information dialog, which is accessible from the Machine menu of the VM window. Support for IPv6 has been implemented in Oracle VM VirtualBox 4.3. If the host OS supports IPv6 the VRDP server will automatically listen for IPv6 connections in addition to IPv4. 7.1.1 Common Third-Party RDP Viewers Since VRDP is backwards-compatible to RDP, you can use any standard RDP viewer to connect to such a remote virtual machine. For this to work, you must specify the IP address of your host, 7 Remote Virtual Machines system, not of the virtual machine, as the server address to connect to. You must also specify the port number that the VRDP server is using. The following examples are for the most common RDP viewers: • On Windows, you can use the Microsoft Terminal Services Connector, mstsc.exe, that is included with Windows. Press the Windows key + R, to display the Run dialog. Enter mstsc to start the program. You can also find the program in Start, All Programs, Acces- sories, Remote Desktop Connection. If you use the Run dialog, you can enter options directly. For example: mstsc 126.96.36.199:3389 Replace 188.8.131.52 with the host IP address, and 3389 with a different port, if necessary. Note: – IPv6 addresses must be enclosed in square brackets to specify a port. For example: mstsc [fe80::1:2:3:4]:3389 – When connecting to localhost in order to test the connection, the addresses localhost and 127.0.0.1 might not work using mstsc.exe. Instead, the ad- dress 127.0.0.2[:3389] has to be used. • On other systems, you can use the standard open source rdesktop program. This ships with most Linux distributions, but Oracle VM VirtualBox also comes with a modified variant of rdesktop for remote USB support. See chapter 7.1.4, Remote USB, page 112. With rdesktop, use a command line such as the following: rdesktop -a 16 -N 184.108.40.206:3389 Replace 220.127.116.11 with the host IP address, and 3389 with a different port, if necessary. The -a 16 option requests a color depth of 16 bits per pixel, which we recommend. For best performance, after installation of the guest operating system, you should set its display color depth to the same value. The -N option enables use of the NumPad keys. • The Remmina remote desktop client can be used with VRDP. This application is included with some Linux distributions, such as Debian and Ubuntu. • If you run the KDE desktop, you can use krdc, the KDE RDP viewer. A typical command line is as follows: krdc rdp://18.104.22.168:3389 Replace 22.214.171.124 with the host IP address, and 3389 with a different port, if necessary. The “rdp://“ prefix is required with krdc to switch it into RDP mode. • With Sun Ray thin clients you can use uttsc, which is part of the Sun Ray Windows Connector package. See the Sun Ray documentation for details., 7 Remote Virtual Machines 7.1.2 VBoxHeadless, the Remote Desktop Server While any VM started from the VirtualBox Manager is capable of running virtual machines re- motely, it is not convenient to have to run the full-fledged GUI if you never want to have VMs displayed locally in the first place. In particular, if you are running server hardware whose only purpose is to host VMs, and all your VMs are supposed to run remotely over VRDP, then it is pointless to have a graphical user interface on the server at all. This is especially true for Linux or Oracle Solaris hosts, as the VirtualBox Manager comes with dependencies on the Qt and SDL libraries. This is inconvenient if you would rather not have the X Window system on your server at all. Oracle VM VirtualBox therefore comes with a front-end called VBoxHeadless, which produces no visible output on the host at all, but still can deliver VRDP data. This front-end has no dependencies on the X Window system on Linux and Oracle Solaris hosts. Note: Before Oracle VM VirtualBox 1.6, the headless server was called VBoxVRDP. For the sake of backwards compatibility, the Oracle VM VirtualBox installation still installs an executable with that name as well. To start a virtual machine with VBoxHeadless, you have the following options: • Use the VBoxManage command, as follows: VBoxManage startvm "VM name" -type headless The -type option causes Oracle VM VirtualBox to use VBoxHeadless as the front-end to the internal virtualization engine, instead of the Qt front-end. • Use the VBoxHeadless command, as follows: VBoxHeadless -startvm This way of starting the VM helps troubleshooting problems reported by VBoxManage startvm, because you can sometimes see more detailed error messages, especially for early failures before the VM execution is started. In normal situations VBoxManage startvm is preferred, since it runs the VM directly as a background process which has to be done explicitly when directly starting with VBoxHeadless. • Start VBoxHeadless from the VirtualBox Manager GUI, by pressing the Shift key when starting a virtual machine or by selecting Headless Start from the Machine menu. When you use the VBoxHeadless command to start a VM, the VRDP server will be enabled according to the VM configuration. You can override the VM’s setting using -vrde command line parameter. To enable the VRDP server, start the VM as follows: VBoxHeadless -startvm -vrde on To disable the VRDP server: VBoxHeadless -startvm -vrde off To have the VRDP server enabled depending on the VM configuration, as for other front-ends: VBoxHeadless -startvm -vrde config This command is the same as the following: VBoxHeadless -startvm If you start the VM with VBoxManage startvm then the configuration settings of the VM are always used., 7 Remote Virtual Machines 7.1.3 Step by Step: Creating a Virtual Machine on a Headless Server The following instructions describe how to create a virtual machine on a headless server over a network connection. This example creates a virtual machine, establishes an RDP connection and installs a guest operating system. All of these tasks are done without having to touch the headless server. You need the following prerequisites: • Oracle VM VirtualBox on a server machine with a supported host operating system. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack for the VRDP server must be installed, see chapter 7.1, Remote Display (VRDP Support), page 108. The procedures assume a Linux server is used. • An ISO file accessible from the server, containing the installation data for the guest operat- ing system to install. Windows XP is used in the example. • A terminal connection to that host through which you can access a command line, such as ssh. • An RDP viewer on the remote client. See chapter 7.1.1, Common Third-Party RDP Viewers, page 108 for examples. Note that on the server machine, since we will only use the headless server, Qt and the X Window system are not required. 1. On the headless server, create a new virtual machine. For example: VBoxManage createvm -name "Windows XP" -ostype WindowsXP -register If you do not specify -register, you will have to manually use the registervm command later. You do not need to specify -ostype, but doing so selects some sensible default values for certain VM parameters. For example, the RAM size and the type of the virtual network device. To get a complete list of supported operating systems you can use the following command: VBoxManage list ostypes 2. Make sure the settings for the VM are appropriate for the guest operating system that we will install. For example: VBoxManage modifyvm "Windows XP" -memory 256 -acpi on -boot1 dvd -nic1 nat 3. Create a virtual hard disk for the VM. For example, to create a 10 GB virtual hard disk: VBoxManage createhd -filename "WinXP.vdi" -size 10000 4. Add an IDE Controller to the new VM. For example: VBoxManage storagectl "Windows XP" -name "IDE Controller" -add ide -controller PIIX4 5. Set the VDI file you created as the first virtual hard disk of the new VM. For example: VBoxManage storageattach "Windows XP" -storagectl "IDE Controller" -port 0 -device 0 -type hdd -medium "WinXP.vdi", 7 Remote Virtual Machines 6. Attach the ISO file that contains the operating system installation that you want to install later to the virtual machine. This is done so that the VM can boot from it. VBoxManage storageattach "Windows XP" -storagectl "IDE Controller" -port 0 -device 1 -type dvddrive -medium /full/path/to/iso.iso 7. Enable the VirtualBox Remote Desktop Extension, the VRDP server, as follows: VBoxManage modifyvm "Windows XP" -vrde on 8. Start the virtual machine using the VBoxHeadless command: VBoxHeadless -startvm "Windows XP" If the configuration steps worked, you should see a copyright notice. If you are returned to the command line, then something did not work correctly. 9. On the client machine, start the RDP viewer and connect to the server. See chapter 7.1.1, Common Third-Party RDP Viewers, page 108 for details of how to use various common RDP viewers. The installation routine of your guest operating system should be displayed in the RDP viewer. 7.1.4 Remote USB As a special feature additional to the VRDP support, Oracle VM VirtualBox also supports remote USB devices over the wire. That is, an Oracle VM VirtualBox guest that runs on one computer can access the USB devices of the remote computer on which the VRDP data is being displayed the same way as USB devices that are connected to the actual host. This enables running of virtual machines on an Oracle VM VirtualBox host that acts as a server, where a client can connect from elsewhere that needs only a network adapter and a display capable of running an RDP viewer. When USB devices are plugged into the client, the remote Oracle VM VirtualBox server can access them. For these remote USB devices, the same filter rules apply as for other USB devices. See chapter 3.11.1, USB Settings, page 56. All you have to do is specify Remote, or Any, when setting up these rules. Accessing remote USB devices is only possible if the RDP client supports this extension. On Linux and Oracle Solaris hosts, the Oracle VM VirtualBox installation provides a suitable VRDP client called rdesktop-vrdp. Recent versions of uttsc, a client tailored for the use with Sun Ray thin clients, also support accessing remote USB devices. RDP clients for other platforms will be provided in future Oracle VM VirtualBox versions. To make a remote USB device available to a VM, rdesktop-vrdp should be started as follows: rdesktop-vrdp -r usb -a 16 -N my.host.address See chapter 12.8.7, USB Not Working, page 291 for further details on how to properly set up the permissions for USB devices. Furthermore it is advisable to disable automatic loading of any host driver on the remote host which might work on USB devices to ensure that the devices are accessible by the RDP client. If the setup was properly done on the remote host, plug and unplug events are visible in the VBox.log file of the VM., 7 Remote Virtual Machines 7.1.5 RDP Authentication For each virtual machine that is remotely accessible using RDP, you can individually determine if and how client connections are authenticated. For this, use the VBoxManage modifyvm com- mand with the -vrdeauthtype option. See chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133. The following methods of authentication are available: • The null method means that there is no authentication at all. Any client can connect to the VRDP server and thus the virtual machine. This is very insecure and only to be recommended for private networks. • The external method provides external authentication through a special authentication library. Oracle VM VirtualBox ships with two special authentication libraries: 1. The default authentication library, VBoxAuth, authenticates against user credentials of the hosts. Depending on the host platform, this means the following: – On Linux hosts, VBoxAuth.so authenticates users against the host’s PAM system. – On Windows hosts, VBoxAuth.dll authenticates users against the host’s WinLo- gon system. – On Mac OS X hosts, VBoxAuth.dylib authenticates users against the host’s di- rectory service. In other words, the external method by default performs authentication with the user accounts that exist on the host system. Any user with valid authentication credentials is accepted. For example, the username does not have to correspond to the user running the VM. 2. An additional library called VBoxAuthSimple performs authentication against creden- tials configured in the “extradata” section of a virtual machine’s XML settings file. This is probably the simplest way to get authentication that does not depend on a running and supported guest. The following steps are required: a) Enable VBoxAuthSimple with the following command: VBoxManage setproperty vrdeauthlibrary "VBoxAuthSimple" b) To enable the library for a particular VM, you must switch authentication to ex- ternal, as follows: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeauthtype external Replace with the VM name or UUID. c) You then need to configure users and passwords by writing items into the ma- chine’s extradata. Since the XML machine settings file, into whose extradata section the password needs to be written, is a plain text file, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses hashes to encrypt passwords. The following command must be used: VBoxManage setextradata "VM name" "VBoxAuthSimple/users/" Replace with the VM name or UUID, with the user name who should be allowed to log in and with the encrypted password. As an example, to obtain the hash value for the password secret, you can use the following command: VBoxManage internalcommands passwordhash "secret" This command will generate output similar to the following: 2bb80d537b1da3e38bd30361aa855686bde0eacd7162fef6a25fe97bf527a25b You then use VBoxManage setextradata to store this value in the machine’s extradata section. As a combined example, to set the password for the user john and the machine My VM to secret, use this command:, 7 Remote Virtual Machines VBoxManage setextradata "My VM" "VBoxAuthSimple/users/john" 2bb80d537b1da3e38bd30361aa855686bde0eacd7162fef6a25fe97bf527a25b • The guest authentication method performs authentication with a special component that comes with the Guest Additions. As a result, authentication is not performed on the host, but with the guest user accounts. This method is currently still in testing and not yet supported. In addition to the methods described above, you can replace the default external authenti- cation module with any other module. For this, Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a well-defined interface that enables you to write your own authentication module. This is described in detail in the Oracle VM VirtualBox Software Development Kit (SDK) reference. See chapter 11, Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces, page 274. 7.1.6 RDP Encryption RDP features data stream encryption, which is based on the RC4 symmetric cipher, with keys up to 128-bit. The RC4 keys are replaced at regular intervals, every 4096 packets. RDP provides the following different authentication methods: • RDP4 authentication was used historically. With RDP4, the RDP client does not perform any checks in order to verify the identity of the server it connects to. Since user credentials can be obtained using a man in the middle (MITM) attack, RDP4 authentication is insecure and should generally not be used. • RDP5.1 authentication employs a server certificate for which the client possesses the public key. This way it is guaranteed that the server possess the corresponding private key. How- ever, as this hard-coded private key became public some years ago, RDP5.1 authentication is also insecure. • RDP5.2 authentication uses Enhanced RDP Security, which means that an external security protocol is used to secure the connection. RDP4 and RDP5.1 use Standard RDP Security. The VRDP server supports Enhanced RDP Security with TLS protocol and, as a part of TLS handshake, sends the server certificate to the client. The Security/Method VRDE property sets the desired security method, which is used for a connection. Valid values are as follows: – Negotiate. Both Enhanced (TLS) and Standard RDP Security connections are al- lowed. The security method is negotiated with the client. This is the default setting. – RDP. Only Standard RDP Security is accepted. – TLS. Only Enhanced RDP Security is accepted. The client must support TLS. The OpenSSL library version determines which versions of TLS are supported. The Oracle VM VirtualBox clients include at least Version 1.1.0 of the OpenSSL library. This library supports TLS versions 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2. Some clients might include newer versions of the OpenSSL library and thus support additional TLS versions. For example, the following command enables a client to use either Standard or Enhanced RDP Security connection: vboxmanage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeproperty "Security/Method=negotiate" If the Security/Method property is set to either Negotiate or TLS, the TLS protocol will be automatically used by the server, if the client supports TLS. However, in order to use TLS the server must possess the Server Certificate, the Server Private Key and the Certifi- cate Authority (CA) Certificate. The following example shows how to generate a server certificate., 7 Remote Virtual Machines 1. Create a CA self signed certificate. openssl req -new -x509 -days 365 -extensions v3_ca \ -keyout ca_key_private.pem -out ca_cert.pem 2. Generate a server private key and a request for signing. openssl genrsa -out server_key_private.pem openssl req -new -key server_key_private.pem -out server_req.pem 3. Generate the server certificate. openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server_req.pem \ -CA ca_cert.pem -CAkey ca_key_private.pem -set_serial 01 -out server_cert.pem The server must be configured to access the required files. For example: vboxmanage modifyvm "VM name" \ -vrdeproperty "Security/CACertificate=path/ca_cert.pem" vboxmanage modifyvm "VM name" \ -vrdeproperty "Security/ServerCertificate=path/server_cert.pem" vboxmanage modifyvm "VM name" \ -vrdeproperty "Security/ServerPrivateKey=path/server_key_private.pem" As the client that connects to the server determines what type of encryption will be used, with rdesktop, the Linux RDP viewer, use the -4 or -5 options. 7.1.7 Multiple Connections to the VRDP Server The VRDP server of Oracle VM VirtualBox supports multiple simultaneous connections to the same running VM from different clients. All connected clients see the same screen output and share a mouse pointer and keyboard focus. This is similar to several people using the same computer at the same time, taking turns at the keyboard. The following command enables multiple connection mode: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdemulticon on 7.1.8 Multiple Remote Monitors To access two or more remote VM displays you have to enable the VRDP multiconnection mode. See chapter 7.1.7, Multiple Connections to the VRDP Server, page 115. The RDP client can select the virtual monitor number to connect to using the domain login parameter (-d). If the parameter ends with @ followed by a number, Oracle VM VirtualBox interprets this number as the screen index. The primary guest screen is selected with @1, the first secondary screen is @2, and so on. The Microsoft RDP6 client does not let you specify a separate domain name. Instead, enter domain\username in the Username field. For example, @2\name. name must be supplied, and must be the name used to log in if the VRDP server is set up to require credentials. If it is not, you may use any text as the username. 7.1.9 VRDP Video Redirection The VRDP server can redirect video streams from the guest to the RDP client. Video frames are compressed using the JPEG algorithm allowing a higher compression ratio than standard RDP bitmap compression methods. It is possible to increase the compression ratio by lowering the video quality., 7 Remote Virtual Machines The VRDP server automatically detects video streams in a guest as frequently updated rectan- gular areas. As a result, this method works with any guest operating system without having to install additional software in the guest. In particular, the Guest Additions are not required. On the client side, however, currently only the Windows 7 Remote Desktop Connection client supports this feature. If a client does not support video redirection, the VRDP server falls back to regular bitmap updates. The following command enables video redirection: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdevideochannel on The quality of the video is defined as a value from 10 to 100 percent, representing a JPEG com- pression level, where lower numbers mean lower quality but higher compression. The quality can be changed using the following command: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdevideochannelquality 75 7.1.10 VRDP Customization With Oracle VM VirtualBox it is possible to disable display output, mouse and keyboard input, audio, remote USB, or clipboard individually in the VRDP server. The following commands change the corresponding server settings: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeproperty Client/DisableDisplay=1 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeproperty Client/DisableInput=1 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeproperty Client/DisableUSB=1 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeproperty Client/DisableAudio=1 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeproperty Client/DisableClipboard=1 VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeproperty Client/DisableUpstreamAudio=1 To reenable a feature, use a similar command without the trailing 1. For example: VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" -vrdeproperty Client/DisableDisplay= 7.2 Teleporting Oracle VM VirtualBox supports teleporting. Teleporting is moving a virtual machine over a net- work from one Oracle VM VirtualBox host to another, while the virtual machine is running. This works regardless of the host operating system that is running on the hosts. You can teleport virtual machines between Oracle Solaris and Mac hosts, for example. Teleporting requires that a machine be currently running on one host, which is called the source. The host to which the virtual machine will be teleported is called the target. The machine on the target is then configured to wait for the source to contact the target. The machine’s running state will then be transferred from the source to the target with minimal downtime. Teleporting happens over any TCP/IP network. The source and the target only need to agree on a TCP/IP port which is specified in the teleporting settings. At this time, there are a few prerequisites for this to work, as follows: • On the target host, you must configure a virtual machine in Oracle VM VirtualBox with exactly the same hardware settings as the machine on the source that you want to teleport. This does not apply to settings which are merely descriptive, such as the VM name, but ob- viously for teleporting to work, the target machine must have the same amount of memory and other hardware settings. Otherwise teleporting will fail with an error message. • The two virtual machines on the source and the target must share the same storage, hard disks as well as floppy disks and CD/DVD images. This means that they either use the same iSCSI targets or that the storage resides somewhere on the network and both hosts have access to it using NFS or SMB/CIFS. This also means that neither the source nor the target machine can have any snapshots., 7 Remote Virtual Machines To configure teleporting, perform the following steps: 1. On the target host, configure the virtual machine to wait for a teleport request to arrive when it is started, instead of actually attempting to start the machine. This is done with the following VBoxManage command: VBoxManage modifyvm -teleporter on -teleporterport where is the name of the virtual machine on the target host and is a TCP/IP port number to be used on both the source and the target hosts. For example, use 6000. See chapter 8.8.6, Teleporting Settings, page 144. 2. Start the VM on the target host. Instead of running, the VM shows a progress dialog, indicating that it is waiting for a teleport request to arrive. 3. Start the VM on the source host as usual. When it is running and you want it to be tele- ported, issue the following command on the source host: VBoxManage controlvm teleport -host -port where is the name of the virtual machine on the source host, which is the machine that is currently running. is the host or IP name of the target host on which the machine is waiting for the teleport request, and must be the same number as specified in the command on the target host. See chapter 8.14, VBoxManage controlvm, page 150. For testing, you can also teleport machines on the same host. In that case, use localhost as the hostname on both the source and the target host. Note: In rare cases, if the CPUs of the source and the target are very different, teleport- ing can fail with an error message, or the target may hang. This may happen especially if the VM is running application software that is highly optimized to run on a particular CPU without correctly checking that certain CPU features are actually present. Ora- cle VM VirtualBox filters what CPU capabilities are presented to the guest operating system. Advanced users can attempt to restrict these virtual CPU capabilities with the VBoxManage modifyvm -cpuid command. See chapter 8.8.6, Teleporting Settings, page 144., 8 VBoxManage 8.1 Introduction As briefly mentioned in chapter 1.17, Alternative Front-Ends, page 28, VBoxManage is the command-line interface to Oracle VM VirtualBox. With it, you can completely control Oracle VM VirtualBox from the command line of your host operating system. VBoxManage supports all the features that the graphical user interface gives you access to, but it supports a lot more than that. It exposes all the features of the virtualization engine, even those that cannot be accessed from the GUI. You will need to use the command line if you want to do the following: • Use a different user interface than the main GUI such as the VBoxHeadless server. • Control some of the more advanced and experimental configuration settings for a VM. There are two main things to keep in mind when using VBoxManage. First, VBoxManage must always be used with a specific subcommand, such as list or createvm or startvm. All the subcommands that VBoxManage supports are described in detail in chapter 8, VBoxManage, page 118. Second, most of these subcommands require that you specify a particular virtual machine after the subcommand. There are two ways you can do this: • You can specify the VM name, as it is shown in the Oracle VM VirtualBox GUI. Note that if that name contains spaces, then you must enclose the entire name in double quotes. This is always required with command line arguments that contain spaces. For example: VBoxManage startvm "Windows XP" • You can specify the UUID, which is the internal unique identifier that Oracle VM VirtualBox uses to refer to the virtual machine. Assuming that the VM called “Windows XP” has the UUID shown below, the following command has the same effect as the previous example: VBoxManage startvm 670e746d-abea-4ba6-ad02-2a3b043810a5 You can enter VBoxManage list vms to have all currently registered VMs listed with all their settings, including their respective names and UUIDs. Some typical examples of how to control Oracle VM VirtualBox from the command line are listed below: • To create a new virtual machine from the command line and immediately register it with Oracle VM VirtualBox, use VBoxManage createvm with the -register option, as follows: $ VBoxManage createvm -name "SUSE 10.2" -register VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version (C) 2005-2018 Oracle Corporation All rights reserved. Virtual machine ’SUSE 10.2’ is created. UUID: c89fc351-8ec6-4f02-a048-57f4d25288e5 Settings file: ’/home/username/.config/VirtualBox/Machines/SUSE 10.2/SUSE 10.2.xml’, 8 VBoxManage As can be seen from the above output, a new virtual machine has been created with a new UUID and a new XML settings file. For more details, see chapter 8.7, VBoxManage createvm, page 132. • To show the configuration of a particular VM, use VBoxManage showvminfo. See chapter 8.5, VBoxManage showvminfo, page 131 for details and an example. • To change settings while a VM is powered off, use VBoxManage modifyvm. For example: VBoxManage modifyvm "Windows XP" -memory 512 See also chapter 8.8, VBoxManage modifyvm, page 133. • To change the storage configuration, such as to add a storage controller and then a virtual disk, use VBoxManage storagectl and VBoxManage storageattach. See chapter 8.20, VBoxManage storagectl, page 162 and chapter 8.19, VBoxManage storageattach, page 158. • To control VM operation, use one of the following: – To start a VM that is currently powered off, use VBoxManage startvm. See chapter 8.13, VBoxManage startvm, page 149. – To pause or save a VM that is currently running or change some of its settings, use VBoxManage controlvm. See chapter 8.14, VBoxManage controlvm, page 150. 8.2 Commands Overview When running VBoxManage without parameters or when supplying an invalid command line, the following command syntax list is shown. Note that the output will be slightly different depending on the host platform. If in doubt, check the output of VBoxManage for the commands available on your particular host. Usage: VBoxManage  General Options: [-v|-version] print version number and exit [-q|-nologo] suppress the logo [-settingspw ] provide the settings password [-settingspwfile ] provide a file containing the settings password [@] load arguments from the given response file (bourne style) Commands: list [-long|-l] [-sorted|-s] vms|runningvms|ostypes|hostdvds|hostfloppies| intnets|bridgedifs|hostonlyifs|natnets|dhcpservers| hostinfo|hostcpuids|hddbackends|hdds|dvds|floppies| usbhost|usbfilters|systemproperties|extpacks| groups|webcams|screenshotformats|cloudproviders| cloudprofiles showvminfo [-details] [-machinereadable] showvminfo -log registervm unregistervm [-delete], 8 VBoxManage createvm -name [-groups , ...] [-ostype ] [-register] [-basefolder ] [-uuid ] [-default] modifyvm [-name ] [-groups , ...] [-description ] [-ostype ] [-iconfile ] [-memory ] [-pagefusion on|off] [-vram ] [-acpi on|off] [-pciattach 03:04.0] [-pciattach 03:04.0@02:01.0] [-pcidetach 03:04.0] [-ioapic on|off] [-hpet on|off] [-triplefaultreset on|off] [-apic on|off] [-x2apic on|off] [-paravirtprovider none|default|legacy|minimal| hyperv|kvm] [-paravirtdebug [, ...]] [-hwvirtex on|off] [-nestedpaging on|off] [-largepages on|off] [-vtxvpid on|off] [-vtxux on|off] [-pae on|off] [-longmode on|off] [-ibpb-on-vm-exit on|off] [-ibpb-on-vm-entry on|off] [-spec-ctrl on|off] [-nested-hw-virt on|off] [-cpu-profile "host|Intel 80[86|286|386]"] [-cpuid-portability-level <0..3> [-cpuid-set ] [-cpuid-remove ] [-cpuidremoveall] [-hardwareuuid ] [-cpus ] [-cpuhotplug on|off] [-plugcpu ] [-unplugcpu ] [-cpuexecutioncap <1-100>] [-rtcuseutc on|off] [-graphicscontroller none|vboxvga|vmsvga|vboxsvga] [-monitorcount ] [-accelerate3d on|off] [-accelerate2dvideo on|off] [-firmware bios|efi|efi32|efi64] [-chipset ich9|piix3] [-bioslogofadein on|off] [-bioslogofadeout on|off] [-bioslogodisplaytime ] [-bioslogoimagepath ] [-biosbootmenu disabled|menuonly|messageandmenu] [-biosapic disabled|apic|x2apic] [-biossystemtimeoffset ] [-biospxedebug on|off], 8 VBoxManage [-boot<1-4> none|floppy|dvd|disk|net>] [-nic<1-N> none|null|nat|bridged|intnet|hostonly| generic|natnetwork] [-nictype<1-N> Am79C970A|Am79C973| 82540EM|82543GC|82545EM| virtio] [-cableconnected<1-N> on|off] [-nictrace<1-N> on|off] [-nictracefile<1-N> ] [-nicproperty<1-N> name=[value]] [-nicspeed<1-N> ] [-nicbootprio<1-N> ] [-nicpromisc<1-N> deny|allow-vms|allow-all] [-nicbandwidthgroup<1-N> none|] [-bridgeadapter<1-N> none|] [-hostonlyadapter<1-N> none|] [-intnet<1-N> ] [-nat-network<1-N> ] [-nicgenericdrv<1-N> [-natnet<1-N> |default] [-natsettings<1-N> ,, ,, ] [-natpf<1-N> ,tcp|udp,, ,,] [-natpf<1-N> delete ] [-nattftpprefix<1-N> ] [-nattftpfile<1-N> ] [-nattftpserver<1-N> ] [-natbindip<1-N> [-natdnspassdomain<1-N> on|off] [-natdnsproxy<1-N> on|off] [-natdnshostresolver<1-N> on|off] [-nataliasmode<1-N> default|[log],[proxyonly], [sameports]] [-macaddress<1-N> auto|] [-mouse ps2|usb|usbtablet|usbmultitouch] [-keyboard ps2|usb [-uart<1-N> off| ] [-uartmode<1-N> disconnected| server | client | tcpserver | tcpclient | file | ] [-uarttype<1-N> 16450|16550A|16750 [-lpt<1-N> off| ] [-lptmode<1-N> ] [-guestmemoryballoon ] [-audio none|null|dsound|oss|alsa|pulse| oss|pulse|coreaudio] [-audioin on|off] [-audioout on|off] [-audiocontroller ac97|hda|sb16] [-audiocodec stac9700|ad1980|stac9221|sb16] [-clipboard disabled|hosttoguest|guesttohost| bidirectional] [-draganddrop disabled|hosttoguest] [-vrde on|off] [-vrdeextpack default| [-vrdeproperty ] [-vrdeport ] [-vrdeaddress ] [-vrdeauthtype null|external|guest] [-vrdeauthlibrary default| [-vrdemulticon on|off], 8 VBoxManage [-vrdereusecon on|off] [-vrdevideochannel on|off] [-vrdevideochannelquality ] [-usbohci on|off] [-usbehci on|off] [-usbxhci on|off] [-usbrename ] [-snapshotfolder default|] [-teleporter on|off] [-teleporterport ] [-teleporteraddress [-teleporterpassword ] [-teleporterpasswordfile |stdin] [-tracing-enabled on|off] [-tracing-config ] [-tracing-allow-vm-access on|off] [-usbcardreader on|off] [-autostart-enabled on|off] [-autostart-delay ] [-recording on|off] [-recording screens all| [ ...]] [-recording filename ] [-recording videores ] [-recording videorate ] [-recording videofps ] [-recording maxtime
] [-recording maxfilesize ] [-recording opts [, ...]] [-defaultfrontend default|] clonevm [-snapshot |] [-mode machine|machineandchildren|all] [-options link|keepallmacs|keepnatmacs| keepdisknames|keephwuuids] [-name ] [-groups , ...] [-basefolder ] [-uuid ] [-register] movevm -type basic [-folder ] import [-dry-run|-n] [-options keepallmacs|keepnatmacs|importtovdi] [more options] (run with -n to have options displayed for a particular OVF) export -output|-o . [-legacy09|-ovf09|-ovf10|-ovf20|-opc10] [-manifest] [-iso] [-options manifest|iso|nomacs|nomacsbutnat] [-vsys ] [-vmname ] [-product ] [-producturl ] [-vendor ] [-vendorurl ] [-version ] [-description ] [-eula ] [-eulafile ], 8 VBoxManage [-cloud ] [-vmname ] [-cloudprofile ] [-cloudshape ] [-clouddomain ] [-clouddisksize ] [-cloudbucket ] [-cloudocivcn ] [-cloudocisubnet ] [-cloudkeepobject ] [-cloudlaunchinstance ] [-cloudpublicip ] startvm ... [-type gui|sdl|headless|separate] [-E|-putenv [=]] controlvm pause|resume|reset|poweroff|savestate| acpipowerbutton|acpisleepbutton| keyboardputscancode [ ...]| keyboardputstring [ ...]| keyboardputfile | setlinkstate<1-N> on|off | nic<1-N> null|nat|bridged|intnet|hostonly|generic| natnetwork  | nictrace<1-N> on|off | nictracefile<1-N> | nicproperty<1-N> name=[value] | nicpromisc<1-N> deny|allow-vms|allow-all | natpf<1-N> ,tcp|udp,, ,, | natpf<1-N> delete | guestmemoryballoon | usbattach | [-capturefile ] | usbdetach