With Virtualbox, several virtual test PCs can be installed in parallel. The free-to-use program works quickly and has a clear control center.
Install Virtualbox by downloading and running the setup file. Click “Next” in the Welcome window.
You leave the settings in the “Custom Setup” window unchanged. If necessary, change the suggested target path for Virtualbox on the hard disk by clicking on “Browse”. Then double-click “Next” and decide whether Virtualbox should create desktop and quick-start links for you.
The following question “Proceed with installation now?” Will answer you by clicking on “Yes”. Note that the installation wizard will temporarily interrupt your network connection to set up your own Virtualbox network drivers. Click on “Install” and finish the setup by clicking on “Finish”.
If the check mark is set to “Start Oracle VM VirtualBox after Installation”
Virtualbox: Tips for use
If you want to find out where a virtual machine has been stored on the hard disk Virtualbox, right-click on the virtual PC and select “Show in Explorer”. A folder window appears, and you can, for example, check how much disk space the host computer is using on the drive.
To move virtual PCs to a different folder, proceed as follows: In the main window of Virtualbox, click on “File -> Global settings” and then “General” on the right behind “Preset path for VMs”. Click on “Change”, select the new storage folder and confirm with “OK”. To easily copy text between your Windows PC and the test computer, turn on the shared clipboard of Virtualbox. For this, the virtual extensions of Virtualbox must be installed. Then, on the left of the main window of Virtualbox, select your test PC and go to “Change”. Under “General”, move the “Advanced” tab to the right. In the Common Clipboard, set the Bidirectional option, to copy in both directions, and confirm with “OK”. Note that the shared clipboard does not allow files to be exchanged. There are shared folders in Virtualbox.
2. Create a virtual PC
In the main window of Virtualbox, create a virtual machine. Determine how much memory you have and how much the virtual disk should be. Then click “New”. A wizard will open to guide you through the creation process. Go to “Next” and enter a name for your new virtual machine in the next window.
In the next step, select the desired operating system in the two pop-up boxes below. After clicking “Next” you determine how much memory the virtual PC should have.
For WindowsXP, Vista and some Linux distributions is 1 GB RAM, for Windows 7, 8 and 10, at least 2 GB is recommended.
If you allocate too much memory to the guest system in relation to the main computer, your real computer starts to outsource data from the remaining RAM that is too tight, and the PC performance drops.
The virtual machine still needs a hard disk. The “Create hard disk” option is the default. Click on “Generate” and then accept the “VDI (VirtualBox DiskImage)” disk type as well as the “dynamically allocated” folder. Confirm with “Next”.
The next step is to take the suggested name for the virtual disk. The size is preset for Windows 10 to 32 GB. Move the slider to the left or right to reduce or enlarge the size of the disk as needed – or type the desired value in the right field. Now click on “Create”.
The wizard is closed and the new virtual machine is created.
3. Set up drives
Before you install the desired operating system, you should adjust the configuration of the newly created computer. First, set up a virtual CD / DVD drive. To do this, select your virtual PC on the left side of the main window and click “Mass storage” on the right under “Details”.
If the operating system is to be installed from a DVD or CD, select the CD icon in the list under “Mass storage” and enter the host drive letter of your real DVD / CD drive in the right pane by clicking on the CD icon which is the Windows installation DVD.
If you want to install the operating system for the virtual PC via an ISO file, go to this website . Learn how Microsoft provides the latest ISO files for a 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 10 system, and how to download them to your PC. Once done, right-click the CD icon in Virtualbox, and then click Select Optical Media File.
Now, change to the directory containing the previously loaded ISO file of Windows 10 and select the image.
It is now loaded as a drive.
Virtualbox settings: Customize preferences
For example, in Virtualbox settings, you can change the destination path for new virtual machines, or choose a different host key than the default. Go to “File -> Global Settings”. Under General, you can customize the two default folders for virtual disks and the configuration files of your virtual PCs. To select a different folder, click the arrow at the end of the input field, and then click Change. In the following window, select the new directory. In the “Input” category, the right Ctrl key is left to exit the guest PC window. To select another key, click in the field next to “Host key combination” and select the desired key.
Important: The checkmark next to “Auto-capture mode for keyboard” should be set so that all the keyboard inputs are redirected to the virtual PC when a Virtualbox window is active.
4. Network settings
Under “Network”, you define how your virtual machine will access the Internet and access internal network resources. You can equip a virtual machine with up to five virtual network cards. There are different operating modes, the default is “NAT”: In the Network Address Translation mode, the virtual machine uses the IP address of your Windows PC. The guest computer has access to the network and to the internet via an internal IP address. However, the virtual machine is not accessible from the outside. In the “NAT network”, the functionality of a router is the same. Direct access from outside the network to the client systems is prevented, but virtual machines can communicate with each other and to the outside. The NAT service is connected to an internal network. It is created automatically by Virtualbox when it is required. In the operating mode “network bridge”, the virtual machine as well as your Windows PC is connected via its own IP address. For other devices in the network, the guest system is therefore visible as a stand-alone computer. The guest receives an IP address from the DHCP server in the network. In host-only adapter mode, the virtual PC can access the main computer, but the guest does not have access to the rest of the network. The guest receives an IP address from the DHCP server in the network. In host-only adapter mode, the virtual PC can access the main computer, but the guest does not have access to the rest of the network. The guest receives an IP address from the DHCP server in the network. In host-only adapter mode, the virtual PC can access the main computer, but the guest does not have access to the rest of the network.
5. Install Windows
To get started with the Windows 10 setup, simply click on the green icon in the Virtualbox console to start the virtual machine – the ISO file of Windows 10 is already included in section 3. If not, you can still integrate the Windows 10 ISO file even after the virtual machine is started. Click on “Devices -> Optical Drives -> Select image” in the menu bar above the still black PC window and select the ISO file from Windows 10. Then restart the virtual machine by clicking on “Machine -> Reset -> Reset”.
The Windows 10 logo appears and the operating system installation begins. It does not differ from the usual procedure on a real PC. Select the custom setup and install Windows on the virtual disk. Copying the data to the virtual drive and setting up Windows 10 requires up to 30 minutes depending on the speed of your computer. During this time, you can work with other programs on your Windows PC.
6. Establish gate extensions
In order for an operating system installed under Virtualbox to be optimally suited to virtualization, a few drivers and add-ons are required: the gaster extensions. You install a special graphics and Maustreiber in the guest system. The graphics resolution and response time of the virtual PC are thus improved noticeably. To install the gaster extensions, the virtual PC must be started. In the window of your Windows 10 test computer, go to the “Devices” menu and select “Insert grid extensions …”. If the setup does not start automatically, run it manually in Windows Explorer. Now follow the instructions with clicks on “Next” and close the setup. After a Windows reboot, you can adjust the screen resolution to your liking.
7. Add shared folders to the guest
Virtualbox provides shared folders for data exchange between your Windows PC and the test computer. Turn off the virtual PC, select it in the Virtualbox console and click on “Change”. In the Settings window, click Shared Folders on the left, then click the blue icon with the plus sign to the far right. In the following window, click on the down arrow after “Folder Path”, then on “Change” and select a directory on the hard disk or SSD of your Windows PC, which is used to run the data exchange with the virtual machine. You can now customize the suggested name for the shared folder.
If you want to enable write-protection for the shared folder, simply check the option “Read-only” – the virtual machine can not change any data. Enable “Automatically Embed”. Close the window with “OK” and “OK”. Start the test PC with a double click. Open the explorer in Windows 10, click Network on the left, then double-click VBOXSVR in the right pane under Computer. The newly created data exchange folder appears – a double-click opens it, with a right-click, it can be integrated as a “network drive”.
8. Security Points
An advantage of a virtual PC is to freeze the current system state as an image and to store it in the form of a backup point. With Virtualbox, you can create as many backup points as you can easily return later.
In the main window of Virtualbox, on the left, select the virtual test PC for which you want to create a backup point. Then, in the right pane, move the Backup Points tab forward. In the toolbar at the top, click the camera icon “Create Backup Point”. Enter a meaningful name for the backup point. In order to be able to distinguish the snapshots later, a longer note is recommended in the “Description” field. Confirm with OK”.
Restoring a memory point is easy: Right-click on the desired entry, such as “Backup Point 1”. In the context menu, select Restore Backup Point. Each memory location consumes a lot of disk space on the hard disk or SSD of the main PC. The occasional deletion of all unnecessary backup points is therefore sensible. Select the desired entry in the list and click the “Delete Backup Point” icon.
Now the selected snapshot is removed and the occupied space on the hard disk is released again.
Extensions: Important extras for virtual machines
The guest additions of Virtualbox improve the integration between host and guest systems. With the included graphics card driver it is possible to leave the window of the virtual PC with the mouse without having to use the preset host key. The screen resolution for the virtual PC is expanded to a maximum of 64,000 x 64,000 pixels in 32 bit color depth; thereby also enabling multi-plate operation. In addition, there is the “seamless window mode”, the common folders for the data exchange between your main computer and the guest system as well as support for Open-GL.