Oracle® VM VirtualBox®

User Manual

Oracle and/or its affiliates


Table of Contents

Preface
1. First Steps
1.1. Why is Virtualization Useful?
1.2. Some Terminology
1.3. Features Overview
1.4. Supported Host Operating Systems
1.4.1. Host CPU Requirements
1.5. Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs
1.6. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox
1.7. VirtualBox Manager
1.7.1. The Machine List
1.7.2. The Details Pane
1.7.3. VirtualBox Manager Tools
1.7.4. Help Viewer
1.7.5. About VirtualBox Manager Wizards
1.8. Creating Your First Virtual Machine
1.8.1. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Name and Operating System
1.8.2. (Optional) Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Unattended Guest OS Install
1.8.3. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Hardware
1.8.4. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Virtual Hard Disk
1.8.5. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Summary
1.8.6. Some Examples of Unattended Installation
1.9. Running Your Virtual Machine
1.9.1. Starting a New VM for the First Time
1.9.2. Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse
1.9.3. Typing Special Characters
1.9.4. Changing Removable Media
1.9.5. Resizing the Machine's Window
1.9.6. Saving the State of the Machine
1.10. Using VM Groups
1.11. Snapshots
1.11.1. Taking, Restoring, and Deleting Snapshots
1.11.2. Snapshot Contents
1.12. Virtual Machine Configuration
1.13. Removing and Moving Virtual Machines
1.14. Cloning Virtual Machines
1.15. Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines
1.15.1. About the OVF Format
1.15.2. Importing an Appliance in OVF Format
1.15.3. Exporting an Appliance in OVF Format
1.16. Integrating with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.1. Preparing for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Integration
1.16.2. Creating an API Signing Key Pair
1.16.3. Uploading the Public Key to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.4. Creating a Cloud Profile
1.16.5. Using the Cloud Profile Manager
1.16.6. Using Oracle VM VirtualBox With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.7. Using Cloud Virtual Machines
1.16.8. Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.9. Importing an Instance from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.10. Using a Cloud Network
1.16.11. Using VBoxManage Commands With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.17. Preferences
1.18. Alternative Front-Ends
1.19. Soft Keyboard
1.19.1. Using the Soft Keyboard
1.19.2. Creating a Custom Keyboard Layout
1.20. Monitoring of Virtual Machines
1.20.1. VM Activity Overview
1.20.2. Session Information Dialog
1.21. The Log Viewer
2. Installation Details
2.1. Installing on Windows Hosts
2.1.1. Prerequisites
2.1.2. Performing the Installation
2.1.3. Uninstallation
2.1.4. Unattended Installation
2.1.5. Public Properties
2.2. Installing on macOS Hosts
2.2.1. Performing the Installation
2.2.2. Uninstallation
2.2.3. Unattended Installation
2.3. Installing on Linux Hosts
2.3.1. Prerequisites
2.3.2. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Kernel Modules
2.3.3. Performing the Installation
2.3.4. The vboxusers Group
2.3.5. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux
2.4. Installing on Oracle Solaris Hosts
2.4.1. Performing the Installation
2.4.2. The vboxuser Group
2.4.3. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Oracle Solaris
2.4.4. Uninstallation
2.4.5. Unattended Installation
2.4.6. Configuring a Zone for Running Oracle VM VirtualBox
2.5. Installing an Extension Pack
2.5.1. The Extension Pack Manager
3. Configuring Virtual Machines
3.1. Supported Guest Operating Systems
3.1.1. Mac OS X Guests
3.1.2. 64-bit Guests
3.2. Unattended Guest Installation
3.2.1. Using VBoxManage Commands for Unattended Guest Installation
3.3. Emulated Hardware
3.4. General Settings
3.4.1. Basic Tab
3.4.2. Advanced Tab
3.4.3. Description Tab
3.4.4. Disk Encryption Tab
3.5. System Settings
3.5.1. Motherboard Tab
3.5.2. Processor Tab
3.5.3. Acceleration Tab
3.6. Display Settings
3.6.1. Screen Tab
3.6.2. Remote Display Tab
3.6.3. Recording Tab
3.7. Storage Settings
3.8. Audio Settings
3.9. Network Settings
3.10. Serial Ports
3.11. USB Support
3.11.1. USB Settings
3.11.2. Implementation Notes for Windows and Linux Hosts
3.12. Shared Folders
3.13. User Interface
3.14. Alternative Firmware (EFI)
3.14.1. Video Modes in EFI
3.14.2. Specifying Boot Arguments
4. Guest Additions
4.1. Introduction to Guest Additions
4.2. Installing and Maintaining Guest Additions
4.2.1. Guest Additions for Windows
4.2.2. Guest Additions for Linux
4.2.3. Guest Additions for Oracle Solaris
4.2.4. Guest Additions for OS/2
4.3. Shared Folders
4.3.1. Manual Mounting
4.3.2. Automatic Mounting
4.4. Drag and Drop
4.4.1. Supported Formats
4.4.2. Known Limitations
4.5. Hardware-Accelerated Graphics
4.5.1. Hardware 3D Acceleration (OpenGL and Direct3D 8/9)
4.5.2. Hardware 2D Video Acceleration for Windows Guests
4.6. Seamless Windows
4.7. Guest Properties
4.7.1. Using Guest Properties to Wait on VM Events
4.8. Guest Control File Manager
4.8.1. Using the Guest Control File Manager
4.9. Guest Control of Applications
4.10. Memory Overcommitment
4.10.1. Memory Ballooning
4.10.2. Page Fusion
4.11. Controlling Virtual Monitor Topology
4.11.1. X11/Wayland Desktop Environments
5. Virtual Storage
5.1. Hard Disk Controllers
5.2. Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD)
5.3. The Virtual Media Manager
5.3.1. Creating a Virtual Hard Disk Image
5.3.2. Creating a Virtual Optical Disk Image
5.3.3. Creating a Virtual Floppy Disk Image
5.4. Special Image Write Modes
5.5. Differencing Images
5.6. Cloning Disk Images
5.7. Host Input/Output Caching
5.8. Limiting Bandwidth for Disk Images
5.9. CD/DVD Support
5.10. iSCSI Servers
5.11. vboximg-mount: A Utility for FUSE Mounting a Virtual Disk Image
5.11.1. Viewing Detailed Information About a Virtual Disk Image
5.11.2. Mounting a Virtual Disk Image
6. Virtual Networking
6.1. Virtual Networking Hardware
6.2. Introduction to Networking Modes
6.3. Network Address Translation (NAT)
6.3.1. Configuring Port Forwarding with NAT
6.3.2. PXE Booting with NAT
6.3.3. NAT Limitations
6.4. Network Address Translation Service
6.5. Bridged Networking
6.6. Internal Networking
6.7. Host-Only Networking
6.8. UDP Tunnel Networking
6.9. VDE Networking
6.10. Cloud Networks
6.11. Network Manager
6.11.1. Host-Only Networks Tab
6.11.2. NAT Networks Tab
6.11.3. Cloud Networks Tab
6.12. Limiting Bandwidth for Network Input/Output
6.13. Improving Network Performance
7. Remote Virtual Machines
7.1. Remote Display (VRDP Support)
7.1.1. Common Third-Party RDP Viewers
7.1.2. VBoxHeadless, the Remote Desktop Server
7.1.3. Step by Step: Creating a Virtual Machine on a Headless Server
7.1.4. Remote USB
7.1.5. RDP Authentication
7.1.6. RDP Encryption
7.1.7. Multiple Connections to the VRDP Server
7.1.8. Multiple Remote Monitors
7.1.9. VRDP Video Redirection
7.1.10. VRDP Customization
7.2. Teleporting
7.3. VBoxHeadless
8. VBoxManage
8.1. Introduction
8.2. Commands Overview
8.3. General Options
8.4. VBoxManage
8.5. VBoxManage list
8.6. VBoxManage showvminfo
8.7. VBoxManage registervm
8.8. VBoxManage unregistervm
8.9. VBoxManage createvm
8.10. VBoxManage modifyvm
8.11. VBoxManage clonevm
8.12. VBoxManage movevm
8.13. VBoxManage encryptvm
8.14. VBoxManage cloud
8.15. VBoxManage cloudprofile
8.16. VBoxManage import
8.17. VBoxManage export
8.18. VBoxManage signova
8.19. VBoxManage startvm
8.20. VBoxManage controlvm
8.21. VBoxManage unattended
8.22. VBoxManage discardstate
8.23. VBoxManage adoptstate
8.24. VBoxManage snapshot
8.25. VBoxManage closemedium
8.26. VBoxManage storageattach
8.27. VBoxManage storagectl
8.28. VBoxManage bandwidthctl
8.29. VBoxManage showmediuminfo
8.30. VBoxManage createmedium
8.31. VBoxManage modifymedium
8.32. VBoxManage clonemedium
8.33. VBoxManage mediumproperty
8.34. VBoxManage encryptmedium
8.35. VBoxManage checkmediumpwd
8.36. VBoxManage convertfromraw
8.37. VBoxManage mediumio
8.38. VBoxManage setextradata
8.39. VBoxManage getextradata
8.40. VBoxManage setproperty
8.41. VBoxManage usbfilter
8.42. VBoxManage sharedfolder
8.43. VBoxManage guestproperty
8.44. VBoxManage guestcontrol
8.45. VBoxManage debugvm
8.46. VBoxManage metrics
8.47. VBoxManage natnetwork
8.48. VBoxManage hostonlyif
8.49. VBoxManage hostonlynet
8.50. VBoxManage dhcpserver
8.51. VBoxManage usbdevsource
8.52. VBoxManage extpack
8.53. VBoxManage updatecheck
8.54. VBoxManage modifynvram
8.55. vboximg-mount
9. Advanced Topics
9.1. Automated Guest Logins
9.1.1. Automated Windows Guest Logins
9.1.2. Automated Linux and UNIX Guest Logins
9.2. Advanced Configuration for Windows Guests
9.2.1. Automated Windows System Preparation
9.3. Advanced Configuration for Linux and Oracle Solaris Guests
9.3.1. Manual Setup of Selected Guest Services on Linux
9.3.2. Guest Graphics and Mouse Driver Setup in Depth
9.4. CPU Hot-Plugging
9.5. Webcam Passthrough
9.5.1. Using a Host Webcam in the Guest
9.5.2. Windows Hosts
9.5.3. macOS Hosts
9.5.4. Linux and Oracle Solaris Hosts
9.6. Advanced Display Configuration
9.6.1. Custom VESA Resolutions
9.6.2. Configuring the Maximum Resolution of Guests When Using the Graphical Frontend
9.7. Advanced Storage Configuration
9.7.1. Using a Raw Host Hard Disk From a Guest
9.7.2. Configuring the Hard Disk Vendor Product Data (VPD)
9.7.3. Access iSCSI Targets Using Internal Networking
9.8. Fine Tuning the Oracle VM VirtualBox NAT Engine
9.8.1. Configuring the Address of a NAT Network Interface
9.8.2. Configuring the Boot Server (Next Server) of a NAT Network Interface
9.8.3. Tuning TCP/IP Buffers for NAT
9.8.4. Binding NAT Sockets to a Specific Interface
9.8.5. Enabling DNS Proxy in NAT Mode
9.8.6. Using the Host's Resolver as a DNS Proxy in NAT Mode
9.8.7. Configuring Aliasing of the NAT Engine
9.9. Configuring the BIOS DMI Information
9.10. Configuring Custom ACPI Tables
9.11. Fine Tuning Timers and Time Synchronization
9.11.1. Configuring the Guest Time Stamp Counter (TSC) to Reflect Guest Execution
9.11.2. Accelerate or Slow Down the Guest Clock
9.11.3. Tuning the Guest Additions Time Synchronization Parameters
9.11.4. Disabling the Guest Additions Time Synchronization
9.12. Installing the Alternate Bridged Networking Driver on Oracle Solaris 11 Hosts
9.13. Oracle VM VirtualBox VNIC Templates for VLANs on Oracle Solaris 11 Hosts
9.14. Configuring Multiple Host-Only Network Interfaces on Oracle Solaris Hosts
9.15. Configuring the Oracle VM VirtualBox CoreDumper on Oracle Solaris Hosts
9.16. Oracle VM VirtualBox and Oracle Solaris Kernel Zones
9.17. Locking Down VirtualBox Manager
9.17.1. Customizing VirtualBox Manager
9.17.2. VM Selector Customization
9.17.3. Configure VM Selector Menu Entries
9.17.4. Configure VM Window Menu Entries
9.17.5. Configure VM Window Status Bar Entries
9.17.6. Configure VM Window Visual Modes
9.17.7. Host Key Customization
9.17.8. Action when Terminating the VM
9.17.9. Default Action when Terminating the VM
9.17.10. Action for Handling a Guru Meditation
9.17.11. Configuring Automatic Mouse Capturing
9.17.12. Requesting Legacy Full-Screen Mode
9.17.13. Removing Certain Modes of Networking From the GUI
9.18. Starting the Oracle VM VirtualBox Web Service Automatically
9.18.1. Linux: Starting the Web Service With init
9.18.2. Oracle Solaris: Starting the Web Service With SMF
9.18.3. macOS: Starting the Web Service With launchd
9.19. Oracle VM VirtualBox Watchdog
9.19.1. Memory Ballooning Control
9.19.2. Host Isolation Detection
9.19.3. More Information
9.19.4. Linux: Starting the Watchdog Service With init
9.19.5. Oracle Solaris: Starting the Watchdog Service With SMF
9.20. Other Extension Packs
9.21. Starting Virtual Machines During System Boot
9.21.1. Linux: Starting the Autostart Service With init
9.21.2. Oracle Solaris: Starting the Autostart Service With SMF
9.21.3. macOS: Starting the Autostart Service With launchd
9.21.4. Windows: Starting the Autostart Service
9.22. Encryption of VMs
9.22.1. Limitations of VM Encryption
9.22.2. Encrypting a VM
9.22.3. Opening the Encrypted VM
9.22.4. Decrypting Encrypted VMs
9.23. Oracle VM VirtualBox Expert Storage Management
9.24. Handling of Host Power Management Events
9.25. Passing Through SSE4.1/SSE4.2 Instructions
9.26. Support for Keyboard Indicator Synchronization
9.27. Capturing USB Traffic for Selected Devices
9.28. Configuring the Heartbeat Service
9.29. Encryption of Disk Images
9.29.1. Limitations of Disk Encryption
9.29.2. Encrypting Disk Images
9.29.3. Starting a VM with Encrypted Images
9.29.4. Decrypting Encrypted Images
9.30. Paravirtualized Debugging
9.30.1. Hyper-V Debug Options
9.31. PC Speaker Passthrough
9.32. Accessing USB devices Exposed Over the Network with USB/IP
9.32.1. Setting up USB/IP Support on a Linux System
9.32.2. Security Considerations
9.33. Using Hyper-V with Oracle VM VirtualBox
9.34. Nested Virtualization
9.35. VBoxSVC running in Windows Session 0
9.35.1. Known Issues
9.36. VISO file format / RTIsoMaker
10. Technical Background
10.1. Where Oracle VM VirtualBox Stores its Files
10.1.1. The Machine Folder
10.1.2. Global Settings
10.1.3. Summary of Configuration Data Locations
10.1.4. Oracle VM VirtualBox XML Files
10.2. Oracle VM VirtualBox Executables and Components
10.3. Hardware Virtualization
10.4. Details About Hardware Virtualization
10.5. Paravirtualization Providers
10.6. Nested Paging and VPIDs
11. Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces
12. Troubleshooting
12.1. Procedures and Tools
12.1.1. Categorizing and Isolating Problems
12.1.2. Collecting Debugging Information
12.1.3. Using the VBoxBugReport Command to Collect Debug Information Automatically
12.1.4. The Built-In VM Debugger
12.1.5. VM Core Format
12.2. General Troubleshooting
12.2.1. Guest Shows IDE/SATA Errors for File-Based Images on Slow Host File System
12.2.2. Responding to Guest IDE/SATA Flush Requests
12.2.3. Performance Variation with Frequency Boosting
12.2.4. Frequency Scaling Effect on CPU Usage
12.2.5. Inaccurate Windows CPU Usage Reporting
12.2.6. Poor Performance Caused by Host Power Management
12.2.7. GUI: 2D Video Acceleration Option is Grayed Out
12.3. Windows Guests
12.3.1. No USB 3.0 Support in Windows 7 Guests
12.3.2. Windows Bluescreens After Changing VM Configuration
12.3.3. Windows 0x101 Bluescreens with SMP Enabled (IPI Timeout)
12.3.4. Windows 2000 Installation Failures
12.3.5. How to Record Bluescreen Information from Windows Guests
12.3.6. No Networking in Windows Vista Guests
12.3.7. Windows Guests may Cause a High CPU Load
12.3.8. Long Delays When Accessing Shared Folders
12.3.9. USB Tablet Coordinates Wrong in Windows 98 Guests
12.3.10. Windows Guests are Removed From an Active Directory Domain After Restoring a Snapshot
12.3.11. Windows 3.x Limited to 64 MB RAM
12.4. Linux and X11 Guests
12.4.1. Linux Guests May Cause a High CPU load
12.4.2. Buggy Linux 2.6 Kernel Versions
12.4.3. Shared Clipboard, Auto-Resizing, and Seamless Desktop in X11 Guests
12.5. Oracle Solaris Guests
12.5.1. Certain Oracle Solaris 10 Releases May Take a Long Time to Boot with SMP
12.6. Windows Hosts
12.6.1. VBoxSVC Out-of-Process COM Server Issues
12.6.2. CD and DVD Changes Not Recognized
12.6.3. Sluggish Response When Using Microsoft RDP Client
12.6.4. Running an iSCSI Initiator and Target on a Single System
12.6.5. Bridged Networking Adapters Missing
12.6.6. Host-Only Networking Adapters Cannot be Created
12.7. Linux Hosts
12.7.1. Linux Kernel Module Refuses to Load
12.7.2. Linux Host CD/DVD or Floppy Disk Drive Not Found
12.7.3. Strange Guest IDE Error Messages When Writing to CD or DVD
12.7.4. VBoxSVC IPC Issues
12.7.5. USB Not Working
12.7.6. PAX/grsec Kernels
12.7.7. Linux Kernel vmalloc Pool Exhausted
12.8. Oracle Solaris Hosts
12.8.1. Cannot Start VM, Not Enough Contiguous Memory
13. Security Guide
13.1. General Security Principles
13.2. Secure Installation and Configuration
13.2.1. Installation Overview
13.2.2. Post Installation Configuration
13.3. Security Features
13.3.1. The Security Model
13.3.2. Secure Configuration of Virtual Machines
13.3.3. Configuring and Using Authentication
13.3.4. Potentially Insecure Operations
13.3.5. Encryption
13.4. Security Recommendations
13.4.1. CVE-2018-3646
13.4.2. CVE-2018-12126, CVE-2018-12127, CVE-2018-12130, CVE-2019-11091
14. Known Limitations
14.1. Experimental Features
14.2. Known Issues
15. Change Log
15.1. Version 7.0.2 (2022-10-20)
15.2. Version 7.0.0 (2022-10-10)
15.3. Change Logs for Legacy Versions
A. Third-Party Materials and Licenses
A.1. Third-Party Materials
A.2. Third-Party Licenses
A.2.1. GNU General Public License (GPL)
A.2.2. GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL)
A.2.3. Mozilla Public License (MPL)
A.2.4. MIT License
A.2.5. X Consortium License (X11) (variant 1)
A.2.6. X Consortium License (X11) (variant 2)
A.2.7. zlib License
A.2.8. Apache License v2
A.2.9. OpenSSL License
A.2.10. Slirp License
A.2.11. liblzf License
A.2.12. libpng License
A.2.13. lwIP License
A.2.14. libxml License
A.2.15. gSOAP Public License Version 1.3a
A.2.16. curl License
A.2.17. libgd License
A.2.18. BSD License from Intel
A.2.19. IJG (Independent JPEG Group) License
A.2.20. libjpeg-turbo Modified (3-clause) BSD License
A.2.21. FreeBSD License
A.2.22. NetBSD License
A.2.23. VPX License
A.2.24. Vorbis License
A.2.25. curl License
A.2.26. DocBook XML DTD License
A.2.27. DocBook XSL Stylesheets License
A.2.28. Intel ACPI Component Architecture (ACPICA) License
A.2.29. Khronos License
A.2.30. SGI Free Software License B
A.2.31. Boost Software License
A.2.32. Default Mesa 3D Graphics Library License
A.2.33. Microsoft Software License
A.2.34. Python License
A.2.35. License for Berkeley SoftFloat Release 3e
A.2.36. BSD 3-Clause License for Glslang
A.2.37. BSD 2-Clause License for Glslang
A.2.38. GNU General Public License (GPL) License with Bison Exception for Glslang
A.2.39. WiX Toolset License
A.2.40. XFree86 License (variant 1)
A.2.41. XFree86 License (variant 2)
A.2.42. Cereal License
A.2.43. Keith Packard License
A.2.44. X Direct Rendering Infrastructure (DRI) 2 Extension License
A.2.45. Network Computing Devices and DEC License
A.2.46. MIT Open Group Variant License
A.2.47. Digital Equipment Corporation License (variant 1)
A.2.48. Digital Equipment Corporation License (variant 2)
A.2.49. Digital Equipment Corporation License (variant 3)
A.2.50. Digital Equipment Corporation and QuarterDeck Office Systems License
A.2.51. Hewlett-Packard License (variant 1)
A.2.52. Hewlett-Packard License (variant 2)
A.2.53. Hewlett-Packard License (variant 3)
A.2.54. Hewlett-Packard License (variant 4)
A.2.55. Silicon Graphics License
A.2.56. X Resize and Rotate Extension (RandR) License
A.2.57. SuSE License
A.2.58. Network Computing Devices (NCD) License (variant 1)
A.2.59. Network Computing Devices (NCD) License (variant 2)
A.2.60. Network Computing Devices (NCD) License (variant 3)
A.2.61. Digital Equipment Corporation and Olivetti Research Limited License
A.2.62. X Consortium, DEC, Intergraph, Silicon Graphics, and Hewlett-Packard License
A.2.63. Sun Microsystems License
A.2.64. X libpciaccess Library License
A.2.65. X libxshmfence License
A.2.66. X xf86-input-mouse driver License
A.2.67. Kazutaka YOKOTA License
A.2.68. Conectiva License
A.2.69. Red Hat and SuSE License
A.2.70. Red Hat License
A.2.71. X Consortium and Red Hat License
A.2.72. Precision Insight License
A.2.73. VA Linux and IBM License
A.2.74. IBM License
A.2.75. Metro Link License (variant 1)
A.2.76. Metro Link License (variant 2)
A.2.77. Metro Link License (variant 3)
A.2.78. NVIDIA License
A.2.79. Vrije Universiteit License
A.2.80. Concurrent Computer Corporation License
A.2.81. Nokia License
A.2.82. Adobe License
A.2.83. University of California License (variant 1)
A.2.84. University of California License (variant 2)
A.2.85. OMRON Corporation and Data General Corporation License
A.2.86. X11 Legacy License (variant 1)
A.2.87. X11 Legacy License (variant 2)
A.2.88. X11 Legacy License (variant 3)
A.2.89. X11 Legacy License (variant 4)
A.2.90. X11 Legacy License (variant 5)
A.2.91. X11 Legacy License (variant 6)
A.2.92. X11 Legacy License (variant 7)
A.2.93. X11 Legacy License (variant 8)
A.2.94. X11 Legacy License (variant 9)
A.2.95. X11 Legacy License (variant 10)
A.2.96. X11 Legacy License (variant 11)
A.2.97. X11 Legacy License (variant 12)
A.2.98. X11 Legacy License (variant 13)
A.2.99. X11 Legacy License (variant 14)
A.2.100. Davor Matic License
A.2.101. Harold L Hunt II License
A.2.102. Thomas Roell License
A.2.103. Thomas Roell and David Wexelblat License
A.2.104. Thomas Roell and SGCS (Snitily Graphics Consulting Services) License
A.2.105. Alan Hourihane License
A.2.106. Kaleb S. Keithley License
A.2.107. Matthieu Herrb License
A.2.108. Egbert Eich License
A.2.109. David Wexelblat License
A.2.110. Orest Zborowski and David Wexelblat License
A.2.111. Orest Zborowski and David Dawes License
A.2.112. Frederic Lepied License
A.2.113. Rich Murphey and David Wexelblat License
A.2.114. Rich Murphey and David Dawes License
A.2.115. Anders Carlsson License
A.2.116. Eric Anholt License
A.2.117. Todd C. Miller License
A.2.118. Philip Blundell License
A.2.119. Marc Aurele La France License
A.2.120. J. Kean Johnston License
A.2.121. Jakub Jelinek License
A.2.122. UCHIYAMA Yasushi License
A.2.123. OpenedHand Ltd License
A.2.124. Oracle License
A.2.125. NVIDIA License for Glslang
A.2.126. The Khronos Group Inc. License for Glslang
A.2.127. The Khronos Group Inc. License for the EGL Registry Repository
A.2.128. The IBM Corporation License for the libtpms library
B. Oracle VM VirtualBox Privacy Information
Glossary

List of Figures

1.1. Windows Server 2016 Virtual Machine, Displayed on a macOS Host
1.2. VirtualBox Manager, Showing Welcome Screen After Initial Startup
1.3. VirtualBox Manager Window, After Creating Virtual Machines
1.4. VirtualBox Manager Details Pane, Including Toolbar
1.5. Global Tools Menu
1.6. Machine Tools Menu
1.7. Creating a Virtual Machine: Name and Operating System
1.8. Creating a Virtual Machine: Unattended Guest OS Installation
1.9. Creating a Virtual Machine: Hardware
1.10. Creating a New Virtual Machine: Virtual Hard Disk
1.11. Host Key Setting on the Virtual Machine Taskbar
1.12. Closing Down a Virtual Machine
1.13. Groups of Virtual Machines
1.14. Snapshots Tool, Showing Snapshot Properties
1.15. Snapshots List For a Virtual Machine
1.16. Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: New Machine Name and Path
1.17. Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: Clone Type
1.18. Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: Snapshots
1.19. Import Virtual Appliance Wizard: Appliance Settings
1.20. Upload Public Key Dialog in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console
1.21. The Cloud Profile Manager
1.22. Cloud VMs, Shown in VirtualBox Manager
1.23. OCI Group, Containing Cloud VMs
1.24. Create Cloud Virtual Machine Wizard
1.25. Add Cloud Virtual Machine Wizard
1.26. Export Virtual Appliance Wizard: Format Settings
1.27. Import Cloud Instance Wizard: Appliance Settings
1.28. Soft Keyboard in a Guest Virtual Machine
1.29. VM Activity Overview Tool
1.30. Session Information Dialog, Showing VM Activity Tab
1.31. Log Viewer Tool, Showing System Events
3.1. Storage Settings for a Virtual Machine
4.1. Drag and Drop Menu Options
4.2. Seamless Windows on a Host Desktop
4.3. Guest Control File Manager
5.1. The Virtual Media Manager, Showing Hard Disk Images
5.2. Create Virtual Hard Disk Wizard
5.3. Differencing Images, Shown in Virtual Media Manager

List of Tables

3.1. Guest Operating Systems With Full Support
3.2. Legacy Guest Operating Systems With Limited Support
6.1. Overview of Networking Modes
9.1. Host Key Customization
9.2. Web Service Configuration Parameters
9.3. Oracle VM VirtualBox Watchdog Configuration Parameters
9.4. PC Speaker Configuration Options
10.1. Configuration File Locations
A.1. Mesa Component Licenses
A.2. Python releases

Preface

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.

Audience

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.

Related Documents

The documentation for this product is available at:

https://docs.oracle.com/en/virtualization/virtualbox/index.html

Conventions

The following text conventions are used in this document:

  • boldface: Boldface type indicates graphical user interface elements associated with an action, or terms defined in text or the glossary.

  • italic: Italic type indicates book titles, emphasis, or placeholder variables for which you supply particular values.

  • monospace: Monospace type indicates commands within a paragraph, URLs, code in examples, text that appears on the screen, or text that you enter.

Documentation Accessibility

For information about Oracle's commitment to accessibility, visit the Oracle Accessibility Program website at https://www.oracle.com/corporate/accessibility/.

For information about the accessibility of the Oracle Help Center, see the Oracle Accessibility Conformance Report at https://www.oracle.com/corporate/accessibility/templates/t2-11535.html.

Access to Oracle Support

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.

Diversity and Inclusion

Oracle is fully committed to diversity and inclusion. Oracle respects and values having a diverse workforce that increases thought leadership and innovation. As part of our initiative to build a more inclusive culture that positively impacts our employees, customers, and partners, we are working to remove insensitive terms from our products and documentation. We are also mindful of the necessity to maintain compatibility with our customers' existing technologies and the need to ensure continuity of service as Oracle's offerings and industry standards evolve. Because of these technical constraints, our effort to remove insensitive terms is ongoing and will take time and external cooperation.

Chapter 1. First Steps

Table of Contents

1.1. Why is Virtualization Useful?
1.2. Some Terminology
1.3. Features Overview
1.4. Supported Host Operating Systems
1.4.1. Host CPU Requirements
1.5. Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs
1.6. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox
1.7. VirtualBox Manager
1.7.1. The Machine List
1.7.2. The Details Pane
1.7.3. VirtualBox Manager Tools
1.7.4. Help Viewer
1.7.5. About VirtualBox Manager Wizards
1.8. Creating Your First Virtual Machine
1.8.1. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Name and Operating System
1.8.2. (Optional) Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Unattended Guest OS Install
1.8.3. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Hardware
1.8.4. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Virtual Hard Disk
1.8.5. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Summary
1.8.6. Some Examples of Unattended Installation
1.9. Running Your Virtual Machine
1.9.1. Starting a New VM for the First Time
1.9.2. Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse
1.9.3. Typing Special Characters
1.9.4. Changing Removable Media
1.9.5. Resizing the Machine's Window
1.9.6. Saving the State of the Machine
1.10. Using VM Groups
1.11. Snapshots
1.11.1. Taking, Restoring, and Deleting Snapshots
1.11.2. Snapshot Contents
1.12. Virtual Machine Configuration
1.13. Removing and Moving Virtual Machines
1.14. Cloning Virtual Machines
1.15. Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines
1.15.1. About the OVF Format
1.15.2. Importing an Appliance in OVF Format
1.15.3. Exporting an Appliance in OVF Format
1.16. Integrating with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.1. Preparing for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Integration
1.16.2. Creating an API Signing Key Pair
1.16.3. Uploading the Public Key to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.4. Creating a Cloud Profile
1.16.5. Using the Cloud Profile Manager
1.16.6. Using Oracle VM VirtualBox With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.7. Using Cloud Virtual Machines
1.16.8. Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.9. Importing an Instance from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.16.10. Using a Cloud Network
1.16.11. Using VBoxManage Commands With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure
1.17. Preferences
1.18. Alternative Front-Ends
1.19. Soft Keyboard
1.19.1. Using the Soft Keyboard
1.19.2. Creating a Custom Keyboard Layout
1.20. Monitoring of Virtual Machines
1.20.1. VM Activity Overview
1.20.2. Session Information Dialog
1.21. The Log Viewer

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, macOS, Linux, or Oracle Solaris operating systems (OSes). Secondly, it extends the capabilities of your existing computer so that it can run multiple OSes, inside multiple virtual machines, at the same time. As an example, you can run Windows and Linux on your Mac, run Windows Server 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 an Apple Mac computer, is running Windows Server 2016 in a virtual machine window.

Figure 1.1. Windows Server 2016 Virtual Machine, Displayed on a macOS Host

Windows Server 2016 Virtual Machine, Displayed on a macOS Host

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 Section 1.3, “Features Overview”. For existing Oracle VM VirtualBox users who just want to find out what is new in this release, see the Chapter 15, Change Log.

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 OS at a time. This way, you can run software written for one OS 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 OS, you can install an old OS such as DOS or OS/2 even if your real computer's hardware is no longer supported by that OS.

  • 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.

    Using virtual machines enables you to build and test a multi-node networked service, for example. Issues with networking, operating system, and software configuration can be investigated easily.

    In addition to 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 problems 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 electricity 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 partially 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 documentation, it helps to acquaint oneself with a bit of crucial terminology, especially the following terms:

  • Host operating system (host OS). This is the OS of the physical computer on which Oracle VM VirtualBox was installed. There are versions of Oracle VM VirtualBox for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Oracle Solaris hosts. See Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

    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 OS that is running inside the virtual machine. Theoretically, Oracle VM VirtualBox can run any x86 OS such as DOS, Windows, OS/2, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD. But to achieve near-native performance of the guest code on your machine, we had to go through a lot of optimizations that are specific to certain OSes. So while your favorite OS may run as a guest, we officially support and optimize for a select few, which include the most common OSes.

    See Section 3.1, “Supported Guest Operating Systems”.

  • Virtual machine (VM). This is the special environment that Oracle VM VirtualBox creates for your guest OS while it is running. In other words, you run your guest OS in a VM. Normally, a VM is shown as a window on your computer's desktop. Depending on which of the various frontends of Oracle VM VirtualBox you use, the VM might be shown in full screen mode or remotely on another computer.

    Internally, Oracle VM VirtualBox treats a VM as a set of parameters that specify its behavior. Some parameters describe hardware settings, such as the amount of memory and number of CPUs assigned. Other parameters describe the state information, such as whether the VM is running or saved.

    You can view these VM settings in VirtualBox Manager, in the Settings window, and by running the VBoxManage command. See Chapter 8, VBoxManage.

  • 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.

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 64-bit host operating systems. See Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

    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 runs directly on the hardware, Oracle VM VirtualBox requires an existing OS 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 OS. For example, you can create a virtual machine on Windows and then run it on Linux.

    In addition, virtual machines can easily be imported and exported using the Open Virtualization Format (OVF), an industry standard created for this purpose. You can even import OVFs that were created with a different virtualization software. See Section 1.15, “Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines”.

    For users of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure the functionality extends to exporting and importing virtual machines to and from the cloud. This simplifies development of applications and deployment to the production environment. See Section 1.16.8, “Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”.

  • Guest Additions: shared folders, seamless windows, 3D virtualization. The Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions are software packages which can be installed inside of supported guest systems to improve their performance and to provide additional integration and communication with the host system. After installing the Guest Additions, a virtual machine will support automatic adjustment of video resolutions, seamless windows, accelerated 3D graphics and more. See Chapter 4, Guest Additions.

    In particular, Guest Additions provide for shared folders, which let you access files on the host system from within a guest machine. See Section 4.3, “Shared Folders”.

  • Comprehensive hardware support. Among other features, 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 Section 3.11.1, “USB Settings”.

    • Hardware compatibility. Oracle VM VirtualBox virtualizes a vast array of virtual devices, 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 computer systems. This enables easy cloning of disk images from real machines and importing 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 enables easy cloning of disk images from real machines 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 OSes 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 resolutions 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 machine 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 Section 5.10, “iSCSI Servers”.

    • 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 Section 1.11, “Snapshots”. 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.

  • Clean architecture and unprecedented modularity. Oracle VM VirtualBox has an extremely 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 Section 1.18, “Alternative Front-Ends”.

    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.

  • 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 OSes 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 Section 7.1, “Remote Display (VRDP Support)”.

    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 Section 7.1.5, “RDP Authentication”.

    • 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 an Oracle VM VirtualBox RDP server. See Section 7.1.4, “Remote USB”.

1.4. Supported Host Operating Systems

Currently, Oracle VM VirtualBox runs on the following host OSes:

  • Windows hosts (64-bit):

    • Windows 8.1

    • Windows 10

    • Windows 11 21H2

    • Windows Server 2012

    • Windows Server 2012 R2

    • Windows Server 2016

    • Windows Server 2019

    • Windows Server 2022

  • macOS hosts (64-bit):

    • 10.15 (Catalina)

    • 11 (Big Sur)

    • 12 (Monterey)

    Intel hardware is required. See also Chapter 14, Known Limitations.

    An installer package is available for macOS/Arm64, for systems using an Apple silicon CPU. With this package, you can run some guest operating systems for Intel x86/x64 CPUs in an emulation.

    The macOS/Arm64 installer package for Apple silicon platform is available as a Developer Preview release. This package represents a work in progress project and the performance is very modest.

    Note

    Developer Preview is a public release for developers, which provides early access to unsupported software release and features.

  • Linux hosts (64-bit). Includes the following:

    • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, 20.04 LTS and 22.04

    • Debian GNU/Linux 10 ("Buster") and 11 ("Bullseye")

    • Oracle Linux 7, 8 and 9

    • CentOS/Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, 8 and 9

    • Fedora 35 and 36

    • Gentoo Linux

    • SUSE Linux Enterprise server 12 and 15

    • openSUSE Leap 15.3

    It should be possible to use Oracle VM VirtualBox on most systems based on Linux kernel 2.6, 3.x, 4.x or 5.x using either the Oracle VM VirtualBox installer or by doing a manual installation. See Section 2.3, “Installing on Linux Hosts”. However, the formally tested and supported Linux distributions are those for which we offer a dedicated package.

    Note that Linux 2.4-based host OSes are no longer supported.

  • Oracle Solaris hosts (64-bit only). The following versions are supported with the restrictions listed in Chapter 14, Known Limitations:

    • Oracle Solaris 11.4

Note that any feature which is marked as experimental is not supported. Feedback and suggestions about such features are welcome.

1.4.1. Host CPU Requirements

SSE2 (Streaming SIMD Extensions 2) support is required for host CPUs.

1.5. Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs

Oracle VM VirtualBox comes in many different packages, and installation depends on your host OS. 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 for details about the various installation methods.

Oracle VM VirtualBox is split into the following components:

1.6. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox

After installation, you can start Oracle VM VirtualBox as follows:

  • Windows hosts. In the Programs menu, click on the item in the VirtualBox group. On some Windows platforms, you can also enter VirtualBox in the search box of the Start menu.

  • macOS hosts. In the Finder, double-click on the VirtualBox item in the Applications folder. You may want to drag this item onto your Dock.

  • Linux or Oracle Solaris hosts. 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, the VirtualBox Manager interface is shown. See Section 1.7, “VirtualBox Manager”.

1.7. VirtualBox Manager

VirtualBox Manager is the user interface for Oracle VM VirtualBox. You can use VirtualBox Manager to create, configure, and manage your virtual machines.

This section describes the main features of the VirtualBox Manager user interface. Subsequent sections and chapters describe how to use VirtualBox Manager to perform tasks in Oracle VM VirtualBox.

When you start Oracle VM VirtualBox, the VirtualBox Manager window is displayed.

Figure 1.2, “VirtualBox Manager, Showing Welcome Screen After Initial Startup” shows VirtualBox Manager the first time you start Oracle VM VirtualBox, before you have created any virtual machines.

Figure 1.2. VirtualBox Manager, Showing Welcome Screen After Initial Startup

VirtualBox Manager, Showing Welcome Screen After Initial Startup

Figure 1.3, “VirtualBox Manager Window, After Creating Virtual Machines” shows how VirtualBox Manager might look after you have created some virtual machines.

Figure 1.3. VirtualBox Manager Window, After Creating Virtual Machines

VirtualBox Manager Window, After Creating Virtual Machines

The main components of the VirtualBox Manager window are as follows:

  • The machine list. The left pane of the VirtualBox Manager window lists all your virtual machines. If you have not yet created any virtual machines, this list is empty. See Section 1.7.1, “The Machine List”.

  • The Details pane. The pane on the right displays the properties of the currently selected virtual machine. If you do not have any machines yet, the pane displays a welcome message.

    The toolbar buttons on the Details pane can be used to create and work with virtual machines. See Section 1.7.2, “The Details Pane”.

  • Help Viewer. A window that displays context-sensitive help topics for VirtualBox Manager tasks. See Section 1.7.4, “Help Viewer”.

1.7.1. The Machine List

The list of virtual machines in the left pane is called the machine list.

The following methods can be used to control and configure virtual machines in the machine list:

1.7.2. The Details Pane

The Details pane shows configuration information for a virtual machine that is selected in the machine list. The pane also includes a toolbar for performing tasks.

Figure 1.4. VirtualBox Manager Details Pane, Including Toolbar

VirtualBox Manager Details Pane, Including Toolbar

The Details pane includes the following:

VirtualBox Manager Toolbar

A toolbar at the top of the Details pane contains buttons that enable you to configure the selected virtual machine, or to create a new virtual machine.

The toolbar includes the following buttons:

  • New. Creates a new virtual machine, and adds it to the machine list.

  • Add. Adds an existing virtual machine to the machine list.

  • Settings. Displays the Settings window for the virtual machine, enabling you to make configuration changes.

  • Discard. For a running virtual machine, discards the saved state for the virtual machine and closes it down.

  • Show/Start. For a running virtual machine, Show displays the virtual machine window. For a stopped virtual machine, Start displays options for powering up the virtual machine.

Settings

A summary of settings is shown for the virtual machine.

You can change some virtual machine settings, by clicking on the setting in the Details pane.

Note

If a virtual machine is running, some settings cannot be altered. You must stop the virtual machine first in order to change the setting.

Virtual machine settings can also be changed using the Settings button on the VirtualBox Manager toolbar.

The virtual machine settings on the Details pane are organized in sections that correspond to those used in the Settings window. See Chapter 3, Configuring Virtual Machines.

Click the arrow icon to hide or show each section.

Preview Window

The virtual machine display is shown in a small window.

You can use the Preview window to check if your virtual machine has finished booting up.

Click the arrow icon to hide or show the Preview window.

Notification Center

Notification messages may be shown in a sliding panel on the right of the Details pane, called the Notification Center. Click the warning triangle to show the notification messages.

Most system messages that do not require user interaction are displayed in the Notification Center, including task failure alerts.

The progress of some tasks can be observed and stopped using the Notification Center.

1.7.3. VirtualBox Manager Tools

VirtualBox Manager provides two types of user tools, to enable you to perform common tasks easily.

Global Tools

In the left pane of the VirtualBox Manager window, click the Menu icon in the Tools banner located above the machine list. The Global Tools menu is displayed.

Figure 1.5. Global Tools Menu

Global Tools Menu

A drop-down list enables you to select from the following global tools:

The Pin icon is used to keep the Tools banner visible as you scroll down the entries in the machine list.

Machine Tools

In the machine list in the left pane of the VirtualBox Manager window, select a virtual machine.

Click the Menu icon to the right of the virtual machine name. The Machine Tools menu is displayed.

Figure 1.6. Machine Tools Menu

Machine Tools Menu

A drop-down list enables you to select from the following machine tools:

1.7.4. Help Viewer

The Help Viewer is a window that displays context-sensitive help to assist you in completing common VirtualBox Manager tasks. You can display the Help Viewer in the following ways:

  • In a VirtualBox Manager wizard or dialog, click Help to display the relevant help topic.

  • In VirtualBox Manager or from a guest VM, do either of the following:

    • Select the Help, Contents menu option.

    • Press the F1 button.

      The keyboard shortcut used to access the Help Viewer can be configured in the Preferences window.

The Help Viewer has the following features:

  • Navigation tools. The left hand pane contains the following navigation tools:

    • Contents. Displays the help topic location in the Oracle VM VirtualBox documentation.

    • Search. Enables you to search the documentation for help topics.

    • Bookmarks. Enables you to bookmark useful help topics.

  • Tabbed browsing. Help topics that you have visited are displayed in tabs in the main window pane.

  • Zoomable topics. Zoom controls enable you to enlarge help topic details.

  • Printing. Help topics can be printed to PDF file or to a local printer.

1.7.5. About VirtualBox Manager Wizards

VirtualBox Manager includes wizards that enable you to complete tasks easily. Examples of such tasks are when you create a new virtual machine or use the cloud integration features of Oracle VM VirtualBox.

To display a help topic for the wizard, click the Help button.

Some wizards can be displayed in either of the following modes:

  • Guided mode. This is the default display mode. Wizards are shown in the conventional manner, using a series of pages with descriptions to guide the user through the steps for a task.

  • Expert mode. This display mode is designed for more advanced users of Oracle VM VirtualBox. All settings are displayed on a single page, enabling quicker completion of tasks.

Click the button at the bottom of the wizard window to switch between Guided mode and Expert mode.

1.8. Creating Your First Virtual Machine

Click New in the VirtualBox Manager window. The Create Virtual Machine wizard is shown, to guide you through the required steps for setting up a new virtual machine (VM).

The Create Virtual Machine wizard pages are described in the following sections.

1.8.1. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Name and Operating System

Figure 1.7. Creating a Virtual Machine: Name and Operating System

Creating a Virtual Machine: Name and Operating System

Use this page to specify a name and operating system (OS) for the virtual machine and to change the storage location used for VMs.

You can also choose to disable the unattended guest operating system install feature. See also Section 1.8.2, “(Optional) Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Unattended Guest OS Install”.

The following fields are available on this wizard page:

  • Name. A name for the new VM. The name you enter is shown in the machine list of VirtualBox Manager and is also used for the virtual machine's files on disk.

    Be sure to assign each VM an informative name that describes the OS and software running on the VM. For example, a name such as Windows 10 with Visio.

  • Folder. The location where VMs are stored on your computer, called the machine folder. The default folder location is shown.

    Ensure that the folder location has enough free space, especially if you intend to use the snapshots feature. See also Section 10.1.1, “The Machine Folder”.

  • ISO Image. Select an ISO image file. The image file can be used to install an OS on the new virtual machine or it can be attached to a DVD drive on the new virtual machine.

  • Type and Version. These fields are used to select the OS that you want to install on the new virtual machine.

    The supported OSes are grouped into types. If you want to install something very unusual that is not listed, select the Other type. Depending on your selection, Oracle VM VirtualBox will enable or disable certain VM settings that your guest OS may require. This is particularly important for 64-bit guests. See Section 3.1.2, “64-bit Guests”. It is therefore recommended to always set this field to the correct value.

    If an ISO image is selected and Oracle VM VirtualBox detects the operating system for the ISO, the Type and Version fields are populated automatically and are disabled.

  • Skip Unattended Installation. Disables unattended guest OS installation, even if an ISO image is selected that supports unattended installation. In that case, the selected ISO image is mounted automatically on the DVD drive of the new virtual machine and user interaction is required to complete the OS installation.

    The unattended installation step in the wizard is skipped.

    Note

    This option is disabled if you do not select an installation medium in the ISO Image field.

Click Next to go to the next wizard page.

1.8.2. (Optional) Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Unattended Guest OS Install

Unattended guest OS installation enables you to install the OS on a virtual machine automatically.

Note

This page is optional. It is not displayed if you have selected the Skip Unattended Installation option on the initial wizard page.

Use this page to set up the required parameters for unattended guest OS installation and to configure automatic installation of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions. See also Section 1.8.6, “Some Examples of Unattended Installation” for some typical scenarios when using automated installation.

Figure 1.8. Creating a Virtual Machine: Unattended Guest OS Installation

Creating a Virtual Machine: Unattended Guest OS Installation

The following fields are available on this wizard page:

  • Username and Password. Enter the credentials for a default user on the guest OS.

  • Guest Additions. Enables automatic installation of the Guest Additions, following installation of the guest OS. Use the drop-down list to select the location of the ISO image file for the Guest Additions.

  • Additional Options. The following options enable you to perform extra configuration of the guest OS:

    • Product Key. For Windows guests only. Enter the product key required for Windows installation.

    • Hostname. Host name for the guest. By default, this is the same as the VM name.

    • Domain Name. Domain name for the guest.

    • Install in Background. Enable headless mode for the VM, where a graphical user interface is not shown.

Click Next to go to the next wizard page.

1.8.3. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Hardware

Use this page to configure hardware settings for the virtual machine.

Figure 1.9. Creating a Virtual Machine: Hardware

Creating a Virtual Machine: Hardware

The following fields are available on this wizard page:

  • Base Memory. Select the amount of RAM that Oracle VM VirtualBox should allocate every time the virtual machine is started. The amount of memory selected here will be taken away from your host machine and presented to the guest OS, which will report this size as the virtual machines installed RAM.

    Caution

    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 4 GB of RAM and you enter 2048 MB as the amount of RAM for a particular virtual machine, you will only have 2 GB left for all the other software on your host while the VM is running. 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 guest OS may require at least 1 or 2 GB of memory to install and boot up. For best performance, more memory than that may be required.

    Always ensure that the host OS has enough RAM remaining. If insufficient RAM remains, the system might excessively swap memory to the hard disk, which effectively brings the host system to a standstill.

    As with other Create Virtual Machine wizard settings, you can change this setting later, after you have created the VM.

  • Processor(s). Select the number of virtual processors to assign to the VM.

    It is not advised to assign more than half of the total processor threads from the host machine.

  • Enable EFI. Enables Extensible Firware Interface (EFI) booting for the guest OS.

Click Next to go to the next wizard page.

1.8.4. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Virtual Hard Disk

Use this page to specify a virtual hard disk for the virtual machine.

There are many ways in which Oracle VM VirtualBox can provide hard disk space to a VM, see Chapter 5, Virtual Storage. The most common way is to use a large image file on your physical hard disk, whose contents Oracle VM VirtualBox presents to your VM as if it were a complete hard disk. This file then represents an entire hard disk, so you can even copy it to another host and use it with another Oracle VM VirtualBox installation.

Figure 1.10. Creating a New Virtual Machine: Virtual Hard Disk

Creating a New Virtual Machine: Virtual Hard Disk

The following fields are available on this wizard page:

  • Create a Virtual Hard Disk Now. Creates a new empty virtual hard disk image, located in the VM's machine folder.

    Enter the following settings:

    • Disk Size. Use the slider to select a maximum size for the hard disk in the new VM.

    • Pre-Allocate Full Size. This setting determines the type of image file used for the disk image. Select this setting to use a fixed-size file for the disk image. Deselect this setting to use a dynamically allocated file for the disk image.

      The different types of image file behave as follows:

      • Dynamically allocated file. This type of image file only grows in size when the guest actually stores data on its virtual hard disk. Therefore, this file is small initially. As the drive is filled with data, the file grows to the specified size.

      • Fixed-size file. This type of image file immediately occupies the file specified, even if only a fraction of that 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 more details about the differences, see Section 5.2, “Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD)”.

  • Use an Existing Hard Disk File. Enables you to select an existing disk image file to use with the new VM.

    The drop-down list presented in the window lists all disk images which are known 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 Hard Disk Selector window that is displayed, click Add to select a disk image file on your host disk.

  • Do Not Add a Virtual Hard Disk. The new VM is created without a hard disk.

To prevent your physical hard disk on the host OS from filling up, Oracle VM VirtualBox limits the size of the image file. But the image file must be large enough to hold the contents of the guest OS and the applications you want to install. For a 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 Section 8.31, “VBoxManage modifymedium”.

Note

You can skip attaching a virtual hard disk file to the new virtual machine you are creating. But you will then need to attach an hard disk later on, in order to install a guest operating system.

After having selected or created your image file, click Next to go to the next wizard page.

1.8.5. Create Virtual Machine Wizard: Summary

This page displays a summary of the configuration for the virtual machine.

If you are not happy with any of the settings, use the Back button to return to the corresponding page and modify the setting.

Click Finish to create your new virtual machine. The virtual machine is displayed in the machine list on the left side of the VirtualBox Manager window, with the name that you entered on the first page of the wizard.

1.8.6. Some Examples of Unattended Installation

To configure unattended installation, you typically just need to specify an ISO image in the Create Virtual Machine wizard. Oracle VM VirtualBox then detects the OS type and the unattended installation process is done automatically when the wizard is completed. However, in some situations the installation may need be completed manually.

The following list describes some common scenarios for unattended installation:

  • OS type is detected automatically. The following outcomes are possible:

    • If unattended installation is supported for the selected ISO, the guest OS is installed automatically. No user input is required.

    • If unattended installation is not supported for the selected ISO, the ISO image is inserted automatically into the DVD drive of the new VM. The guest OS installation must then be completed manually.

  • OS type is not detected automatically. You must configure Type and Version settings in the wizard.

    The ISO image is inserted automatically into the DVD drive of the new VM. The guest OS installation must then be completed manually.

  • Unattended Installation is disabled. Users can disable unattended installation, by selecting the Skip Unattended Installation check box on the initial wizard page.

    The ISO image is inserted automatically into the DVD drive of the new VM. The guest OS installation must then be completed manually.

See also Section 3.2, “Unattended Guest Installation” for details of how to perform unattended installation from the command line.

1.9. Running Your Virtual Machine

To start a virtual machine, you have the following options:

  • Double-click on the VM's entry in the machine list in VirtualBox Manager.

  • Select the VM's entry in the machine list in VirtualBox Manager, and click Start in the toolbar the top of the window.

  • Go to the VirtualBox VMs folder in your system user's home directory. Find the subdirectory 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 Figure 1.1, “Windows Server 2016 Virtual Machine, Displayed on a macOS Host”.

In general, you can use the virtual machine as you would use a real computer. The following topics describe a few points to note when running a VM.

1.9.1. Starting a New VM for the First Time

When you start a VM for the first time the OS installation process is started automatically, using the ISO image file specified in the Create Virtual Machine wizard.

Follow the onscreen instructions to install your OS.

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 OS. If you are running a modern guest OS that can handle such devices, mouse support may work out of the box without the mouse being captured as described below. See Section 3.5.1, “Motherboard Tab”.

Otherwise, if the virtual machine detects only standard PS/2 mouse and keyboard devices, since the OS 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 OS and before you install the Guest Additions, described in Chapter 4, Guest Additions, 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 OS, 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 using the Preferences window. See Section 1.17, “Preferences”. The current setting for the Host key is always displayed at the bottom right of your VM window.

Figure 1.11. Host Key Setting on the Virtual Machine Taskbar

Host Key Setting on the Virtual Machine Taskbar

This means the following:

  • Your keyboard is owned by the VM if the VM window on your host desktop has the keyboard focus. If you have many windows open in your guest OS, 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 such as the GNOME desktop Locate Pointer feature.

  • 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 necessarily owned by the VM yet.

    To release ownership of your mouse by the VM, press the Host key.

As this behavior is inconvenient, Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a set of tools and device drivers for guest systems called the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions. These tools make VM keyboard and mouse operations much more seamless. Most importantly, the Guest Additions suppress the second "guest" mouse pointer and make your host mouse pointer work directly in the guest. See Chapter 4, Guest Additions.

1.9.3. Typing Special Characters

Some OSes expect certain key combinations to initiate certain procedures. The key combinations that you type into a VM might target the host OS, the Oracle VM VirtualBox software, or the guest OS. The recipient of these keypresses depends on a number of factors, including the key combination itself.

  • Host OSes reserve certain key combinations for themselves. For example, you cannot use the Ctrl+Alt+Delete combination to reboot the guest OS in your VM, because this key combination is reserved by the host OS. Even though both Windows and Linux OSes can intercept this key combination, the host OS is rebooted automatically.

    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 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 OS and therefore always switch terminals on the host.

    If, instead, you want to send these key combinations to the guest OS 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 Insert Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. However, the latter setting affects only Linux guests or Oracle Solaris guests.

      This menu also includes an option for inserting the Host key combination.

    • Use special key combinations with the Host key, which is normally the right Control key. Oracle VM VirtualBox then translates the following key combinations for the VM:

      • Host key + Del sends Ctrl+Alt+Del to reboot the guest OS.

      • Host key + Backspace sends Ctrl+Alt+Backspace to restart the graphical user interface of a Linux or Oracle Solaris guest.

      • Host key + Function key. For example, use this key combination to simulate Ctrl+Alt+Fx to switch between 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.

  • A soft keyboard can be used to input key combinations in the guest. See Section 1.19, “Soft Keyboard”.

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 drive.

The settings are the same as those available for the VM in the Settings window of VirtualBox Manager. But as the Settings window is disabled while the VM is in the Running or Saved state, the Devices menu saves you from having to shut down and restart the VM every time you want to change media.

Using the Devices menu, you can attach the host drive to the guest or select a floppy or DVD image, as described in Section 3.7, “Storage Settings”.

The Devices menu also includes an option for creating a virtual ISO (VISO) from selected files on the host.

1.9.5. Resizing the Machine's Window

You can resize the VM's window while that VM is running. When you do, the window is scaled as follows:

  • If you have scaled 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 OS in it.

    To enable scaled mode, press Host key + C, or select Scaled Mode from the View menu in the VM window. To leave scaled mode, press Host key + C again.

    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 for additional remarks.

  • If you have the Guest Additions installed and they support automatic resizing, the Guest Additions will automatically adjust the screen resolution of the guest OS. 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.

  • 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.

Figure 1.12. Closing Down a Virtual Machine

Closing Down a Virtual Machine

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 machine 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. 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.

    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 OS 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 Section 1.11, “Snapshots”, you can use this option to quickly restore the current snapshot of the virtual machine. In that case, powering off the machine will discard the current state and any changes made since the previous 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 are groups of VMs that you can create as and when required. You can manage and perform functions on them collectively, as well as individually.

The following figure shows VM groups displayed in VirtualBox Manager.

Figure 1.13. Groups of Virtual Machines

Groups of Virtual Machines

The following features are available for groups:

  • Create a group using VirtualBox Manager. Do one of the following:

    • Drag a VM on top of another VM.

    • Select multiple VMs and select Group from the right-click menu.

  • 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 "vm01" --groups "/TestGroup"

      This command creates a group TestGroup and attaches the VM vm01 to that group.

    • Detach a VM from the group, and delete the group if empty. For example:

      VBoxManage modifyvm "vm01" --groups ""

      This command detaches all groups from the VM vm01 and deletes the empty group.

  • Create multiple groups. For example:

    VBoxManage modifyvm "vm01" --groups "/TestGroup,/TestGroup2"

    This command creates the groups TestGroup and TestGroup2, if they do not exist, and attaches the VM vm01 to both of them.

  • Create nested groups, having a group hierarchy. For example:

    VBoxManage modifyvm "vm01" --groups "/TestGroup/TestGroup2"

    This command attaches the VM vm01 to the subgroup TestGroup2 of the TestGroup group.

  • Use VirtualBox Manager menu options to control and manage all the VMs in a group. For example: Start, Pause, Reset, Close (save state, send shutdown signal, poweroff), Discard Saved State, Show in Explorer, 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.

To see the snapshots of a virtual machine, click on the machine name in VirtualBox Manager. In the machine tools menu for the VM, click Snapshots. The Snapshots tool is displayed.

Figure 1.14. Snapshots Tool, Showing Snapshot Properties

Snapshots Tool, Showing Snapshot Properties

If you select multiple VMs in the machine list, all snapshots are listed for each VM.

Until you take a snapshot of the virtual machine, the list of snapshots will be empty, except for the Current State item. This item represents the current point in the lifetime of the virtual machine.

The Snapshots window includes a toolbar, enabling you to perform the following snapshot operations:

  • Take. Takes a snapshot of the selected VM. See Section 1.11.1, “Taking, Restoring, and Deleting Snapshots”.

  • Delete. Removes a snapshot from the list of snapshots. See Section 1.11.1, “Taking, Restoring, and Deleting Snapshots”.

  • Restore. Restores the VM state to be the same as the selected snapshot. See Section 1.11.1, “Taking, Restoring, and Deleting Snapshots”.

  • Properties. Displays the properties for the selected snapshot. The Attributes tab is used to specify a Name and Description for the snapshot. The Information tab shows VM settings for the snapshot.

  • Clone. Displays the Clone Virtual Machine wizard. This enables you to create a clone of the VM, based on the selected snapshot.

  • Settings. Available for the Current State snapshot only. Displays the Settings window for the VM, enabling you to make configuration changes.

  • Discard. For a running VM, discards the saved state for the VM and closes it down.

  • Start. Start the VM. This operation is available for the Current State item.

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 running:

      Select Take Snapshot from the Machine menu in the VM window.

      The VM is paused while the snapshot is being created. After snapshot creation, the VM continues to run as normal.

    • If your VM is in either the Saved or the Powered Off state, as displayed next to the VM name in the machine list:

      Display the Snapshots window and do one of the following:

      • Click Take in the Snapshots window toolbar.

      • Right-click on the Current State item in the list and select Take.

    A dialog 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 description in the Snapshot 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 are displayed in sequence, and that each subsequent snapshot is derived from an earlier one.

    Figure 1.15. Snapshots List For a Virtual Machine

    Snapshots List For a Virtual Machine

    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 Section 1.11.2, “Snapshot Contents” for details on what is stored in a snapshot.

  2. Restore a snapshot. In the Snapshots window, select the snapshot you have taken and click Restore in the toolbar. 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 Section 5.4, “Special Image Write Modes”.

    To avoid losing the current state when restoring a snapshot, you can create a new snapshot before the restore operation.

    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.

  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, select the snapshot name in the Snapshots window and click Delete in the toolbar. Snapshots can be deleted even while a machine is running.

    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:

  • The snapshot contains a complete copy of the VM settings, including the hardware configuration, 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 configure disks to behave differently with snapshots, see Section 5.4, “Special Image Write Modes”. In technical terms, 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. 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 Section 5.5, “Differencing Images”.

    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 VM and will therefore occupy considerable disk space.

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 Settings displays a window, where you can configure many of the properties of the selected VM. But be careful when changing VM settings. It is possible to change all VM settings after installing a guest OS, but certain changes might prevent a guest OS 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 window enables you to change fundamental characteristics of the virtual machine that is created for your guest OS. For example, the guest OS may not perform well if 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. Even more parameters are available when using the VBoxManage command line interface. See Chapter 8, VBoxManage.

1.13. Removing and Moving Virtual Machines

You can remove a VM from Oracle VM VirtualBox or move the VM and its associated files, such as disk images, to another location on the host.

  • Removing a VM. To remove a VM, right-click on the VM in the VirtualBox Manager machine list and select Remove.

    The confirmation dialog enables you to specify whether to only remove the VM from the list of machines or to remove the files associated with the VM.

    Note that the Remove menu item is disabled while a VM is running.

  • Moving a VM. To move a VM to a new location on the host, right-click on the VM in the VirtualBox Manager's machine list and select Move.

    The file dialog prompts you to specify a new location for the VM.

    When you move a VM, Oracle VM VirtualBox configuration files are updated automatically to use the new location on the host.

    Note that the Move menu item is disabled while a VM is running.

    You can also use the VBoxManage movevm command to move a VM. See Section 8.12, “VBoxManage movevm”.

For information about removing or moving a disk image file from Oracle VM VirtualBox, see Section 5.3, “The Virtual Media Manager”.

1.14. Cloning Virtual Machines

You can create a full copy or a linked copy of an existing VM. This copy is called a clone. You might use a cloned VM to experiment with a VM configuration, to test different guest OS levels, or to back up a VM.

The Clone Virtual Machine wizard guides you through the cloning process.

You can start the Clone Virtual Machine wizard in one of the following ways:

  • Click the VM name in the machine list and then select Clone from the Machine menu.

  • Click Clone in the Snapshots window for the selected VM.

Note

The Clone menu item is disabled while a virtual machine is running.

The New Machine Name and Path page is displayed.

Figure 1.16. Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: New Machine Name and Path

Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: New Machine Name and Path

The following clone options are available:

  • Name: A name for the cloned machine.

  • Path: Choose a location for the cloned virtual machine, otherwise Oracle VM VirtualBox uses the default machines folder.

  • MAC Address Policy: Specifies whether to retain network card MAC addresses when cloning the VM.

    For example, the Generate New MAC Addresses For All Network Adapters value assigns a new MAC address to each network card during cloning. This is the default setting. This is the best option when both the source VM and the cloned VM must operate on the same network. Other values enable you to retain the existing MAC addresses in the cloned VM.

  • Keep Disk Names: Retains the disk image names when cloning the VM.

  • Keep Hardware UUIDs: Retains the hardware universally unique identifiers (UUIDs) when cloning the VM.

Click Next. The Clone Type page is displayed.

Figure 1.17. Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: Clone Type

Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: Clone Type

The Clone Type option specifies whether to create a clone that is linked to the source VM or to create a fully independent clone:

  • Full Clone: Copies all dependent disk images to the new VM folder. A full clone can operate fully without the source VM.

  • Linked Clone: Creates new differencing disk images based on the source VM disk images. If you select the current state of the source VM as the clone point, Oracle VM VirtualBox creates a new snapshot.

(Optional) Click Next. The Snapshots page is displayed.

Note

The Snapshots page is only displayed for machines that have snapshots and the selected clone type is Full Clone.

Figure 1.18. Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: Snapshots

Clone Virtual Machine Wizard: Snapshots

You use this page to select which parts of the snapshot tree to include in the clone. The available options are as follows:

  • Current Machine State: Clones the current state of the VM. Snapshots are not included.

  • Everything: Clones the current machine state and all its snapshots.

Click Finish to start the clone operation.

The duration of the clone operation depends on the size and number of attached disk images. In addition, the clone operation saves all the differencing disk images of a snapshot.

You can also use the VBoxManage clonevm command to clone a VM. See Section 8.11, “VBoxManage clonevm”.

1.15. Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines

Oracle VM VirtualBox can import and export virtual machines in the following formats:

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 VirtualBox Manager or the command-line interface.

Using OVF enables packaging of virtual appliances. These are disk images, together with configuration settings that can be distributed easily. This way one can offer complete ready-to-use software packages, including OSes 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.

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 Section 5.2, “Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD)”. 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

The following steps show how to import an appliance in OVF format.

  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 OS.

    The Appliance Settings page of the Import Virtual Appliance wizard is shown.

    Figure 1.19. Import Virtual Appliance Wizard: Appliance Settings

    Import Virtual Appliance Wizard: Appliance Settings
  2. The Appliance Settings page shows the VMs described in the OVF or OVA file and enables you to change the VM settings.

    By default, membership of VM groups is preserved on import for VMs that were initially exported from Oracle VM VirtualBox. You can change this behavior by using the Primary Group setting for the VM.

    The following global settings apply to all of the VMs that you import:

    • Base Folder: Specifies the directory on the host in which to store the imported VMs.

      If an appliance has multiple VMs, you can specify a different directory for each VM by editing the Base Folder setting for the VM.

    • MAC Address Policy: Reinitializes the MAC addresses of network cards in your VMs prior to import, by default. You can override the default behavior and preserve the MAC addresses on import.

    • Import Hard Drives as VDI: Imports hard drives in the VDI format rather than in the default VMDK format.

  3. Click Finish to import the appliance.

    Oracle VM VirtualBox copies the disk images and creates local VMs with the settings described on the Appliance Settings page. The imported VMs are shown in the list of VMs in VirtualBox Manager.

    Because disk images are large, the VMDK images that are included with virtual appliances are shipped in a compressed format that cannot be used directly by VMs. So, the images are first unpacked and copied, which might take several minutes.

You can use the VBoxManage import command to import an appliance. See Section 8.16, “VBoxManage import”.

1.15.3. Exporting an Appliance in OVF Format

The following steps show how to export an appliance in OVF format.

  1. Select File, Export Appliance to display the Export Virtual Appliance wizard.

    On the initial Virtual Machines page, you can combine several VMs into an OVF appliance.

    Select one or more VMs to export, and click Next.

  2. The Format Settings page enables you to configure the following settings:

    • Format: Selects the Open Virtualization Format value for the output files.

      The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure value exports the appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. See Section 1.16.8, “Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”.

    • File: Selects the location in which to store the exported files.

    • MAC Address Policy: Specifies whether to retain or reassign 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 show the Appliance Settings page.

    You can edit settings for the virtual appliance. For example, you can change the name of the virtual appliance or add product information, such as vendor details or license text.

    Double-click the appropriate field to change its value.

  4. Click Finish to begin the export process. Note that this operation might take several minutes.

You can use the VBoxManage export command to export an appliance. See Section 8.17, “VBoxManage export”.

1.16. Integrating with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

This section describes how to use the features of Oracle VM VirtualBox to integrate with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Integrating with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure involves the following steps:

1.16.1. Preparing for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Integration

Perform the following configuration steps before using Oracle VM VirtualBox to integrate with your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure account.

  1. Install the Extension Pack. Cloud integration features are only available when you install the Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Pack. See Section 1.5, “Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs”.

  2. Create a key pair. Generate an API signing key pair that is used for API requests to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. See Section 1.16.2, “Creating an API Signing Key Pair”.

    Upload the public key of the key pair from your client device to the cloud service. See Section 1.16.3, “Uploading the Public Key to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”.

  3. Create a cloud profile. The cloud profile contains resource identifiers for your cloud account, such as your user OCID, and details of your key pair. See Section 1.16.4, “Creating a Cloud Profile”.

1.16.2. Creating an API Signing Key Pair

To use the cloud integration features of Oracle VM VirtualBox, you must generate an API signing key pair that is used for API requests to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Your API requests are signed with your private key, and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure uses the public key to verify the authenticity of the request. You must upload the public key to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console.

Note

This key pair is not the same SSH key that you use to access compute instances on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

  1. (Optional) Create a .oci directory to store the key pair.

    $ mkdir ~/.oci

    The key pair is usually installed in the .oci folder in your home directory. For example, ~/.oci on a Linux system.

  2. Generate the private key.

    Use the openssl command.

    • To generate a private key with a passphrase:

      $ openssl genrsa -out ~/.oci/oci_api_key.pem -aes128 2048 
    • To generate a private key without a passphrase:

      $ openssl genrsa -out ~/.oci/oci_api_key.pem 2048
  3. Change permissions for the private key.

    $ chmod 600 ~/.oci/oci_api_key.pem

    Generate the public key.

    $ openssl rsa -pubout -in ~/.oci/oci_api_key.pem -out ~/.oci/oci_api_key_public.pem

1.16.3. Uploading the Public Key to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Use the following steps to upload your public key to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

  1. Log in to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console.

  2. Display the User Settings page.

    Click Profile, User Settings.

  3. Display your current API signing keys.

    Click Resources, API Keys.

  4. Upload the public key.

    Click Add Public Key.

    The Add Public Key dialog is displayed.

    Figure 1.20. Upload Public Key Dialog in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console

    Upload Public Key Dialog in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console

    Select one of the following options:

    • Choose Public Key File. This option enables you to browse to the public key file on your local hard disk.

    • Paste Public Keys. This option enables you to paste the contents of the public key file into the window in the dialog box.

    Click Add to upload the public key.

1.16.4. Creating a Cloud Profile

Oracle VM VirtualBox uses a cloud profile to connect to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. A cloud profile is a text file that contains details of your key files and Oracle Cloud Identifier (OCID) resource identifiers for your cloud account, such as the following:

  • Fingerprint of the public key. To obtain the fingerprint, you can use the openssl command:

    $ openssl rsa -pubout -outform DER -in ~/.oci/oci_api_key.pem | openssl md5 -c
  • Location of the private key on the client device. Specify the full path to the private key.

  • (Optional) Passphrase for the private key. This is only required if the key is encrypted.

  • Region. Shown on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console. Click Administration, Tenancy Details.

  • Tenancy OCID. Shown on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console. Click Administration, Tenancy Details.

    A link enables you to copy the Tenancy OCID.

  • Compartment OCID. Shown on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console. Click Identity, Compartments.

    A link enables you to copy the Compartment OCID.

  • User OCID. Shown on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console. Click Profile, User Settings.

    A link enables you to copy the User OCID.

You can create a cloud profile in the following ways:

  • Automatically, by using the Cloud Profile Manager. See Section 1.16.5, “Using the Cloud Profile Manager”.

    The Cloud Profile Manager is a VirtualBox Manager tool that enables you to create, edit, and manage cloud profiles for your cloud service accounts.

  • Automatically, by using the VBoxManage cloudprofile command. See Section 8.15, “VBoxManage cloudprofile”.

  • Manually, by creating an oci_config file in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global configuration 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 automatically uses the config file if no cloud profile file is present in your global configuration directory. Alternatively, you can import this file manually into the Cloud Profile Manager.

1.16.5. Using the Cloud Profile Manager

This section describes how to use the Cloud Profile Manager to create a cloud profile.

To open the Cloud Profile Manager click File, Cloud Profile Manager in VirtualBox Manager.

Figure 1.21. The Cloud Profile Manager

The Cloud Profile Manager

You can use the Cloud Profile Manager in the following ways:

  • To create a new cloud profile automatically

  • To create a cloud profile by importing settings from your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure configuration file.

Perform the following steps to create a new cloud profile automatically, using the Cloud Profile Manager:

  1. Click the Add icon and specify a Name for the profile.

  2. Click Properties and specify the following property values for the profile:

    • Compartment OCID

    • Fingerprint of the public key

    • Location of the private key on the client device

    • Region OCID

    • Tenancy OCID

    • User OCID

    Some of these are settings for your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure account, which you can view from the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console.

  3. (Optional) If you are using the cloud profile to connect to cloud virtual machines, select the Show VMs check box.

    This creates a new subgroup of the OCI group in VirtualBox Manager. See Section 1.16.7.1, “About the OCI VM Group”.

  4. Click Apply to save your changes.

    The cloud profile settings are saved to the oci_config file in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global settings directory.

Perform the following steps to import an existing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure configuration file into the Cloud Profile Manager:

  1. Ensure that a config file is present in your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure configuration directory. For example, this is $HOME/.oci/config on a Linux host.

  2. Click the Import icon to open a dialog that prompts you to import cloud profiles from external files.

    Warning

    This action overwrites any cloud profiles that are in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global settings directory.

  3. Click Import.

    Your cloud profile settings are saved to the oci_config file in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global settings directory.

  4. Click Properties to show the cloud profile settings.

    Double-click on the appropriate field to change the value.

  5. Click Apply to save your changes.

1.16.6. Using Oracle VM VirtualBox With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

This section describes how you can use Oracle VM VirtualBox with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to do the following tasks:

1.16.7. Using Cloud Virtual Machines

A cloud virtual machine (cloud VM) is a type of VM that represents an instance on a cloud service. Cloud VMs are shown in the machine list in VirtualBox Manager, in the same way as local VMs are.

By using cloud VMs you can create, manage, and control your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instances from VirtualBox Manager.

Note

Cloud VMs do not install, export, or import instances to the Oracle VM VirtualBox host. All operations are done remotely on the cloud service.

Figure 1.22. Cloud VMs, Shown in VirtualBox Manager

Cloud VMs, Shown in VirtualBox Manager

Cloud VMs can be used to do the following tasks in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure:

1.16.7.1. About the OCI VM Group

All cloud VMs are shown in the machine list in VirtualBox Manager, in a special VM group called OCI.

Cloud VMs are further grouped according to the cloud profile used to connect to them. The cloud profile identifies the user and compartment for the cloud VM and includes details of the key pair used to connect to cloud instances. See Section 1.16.4, “Creating a Cloud Profile”.

Figure 1.23. OCI Group, Containing Cloud VMs

OCI Group, Containing Cloud VMs

All cloud profiles registered with Oracle VM VirtualBox are listed automatically in the OCI group.

To enable or disable listing of cloud VMs in VirtualBox Manager for a specific cloud profile, do the following:

Display the Cloud Profile Manager and select or deselect the List VMs check box for each cloud profile.

1.16.7.2. Creating a New Cloud VM

When you create a new cloud VM, a new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance is created and associated with the cloud VM.

Perform the following steps to create a new cloud VM:

  1. Click on a cloud profile in the OCI group.

    The cloud VMs for the selected cloud profile are displayed.

  2. Select Group, New Machine.

    The Create Cloud Virtual Machine wizard is displayed.

    Figure 1.24. Create Cloud Virtual Machine Wizard

    Create Cloud Virtual Machine Wizard
  3. On the initial page, configure the following settings for the new cloud VM:

    • Location: The cloud service provider that will host the new instance. Select Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    • Profile: The cloud profile used to connect to the new instance. Select from the available cloud profiles.

    • Source: The image that the new instance is based on. Choose from the available images and boot volumes.

  4. Click Next to display the Cloud Virtual Machine Settings page.

    You can use this page to change the default settings for the new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance, such as the display name, shape, and networking configuration.

    To add an SSH key to the instance, click the SSH Authorised Keys field and paste the public key into the displayed dialog.

  5. Click Finish to create a new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance using the selected image or boot volume. The new instance is started automatically.

    The new cloud VM is shown in the OCI group in VirtualBox Manager.

1.16.7.3. Adding a Cloud VM

When you add a cloud VM, an existing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance is associated with the cloud VM. You can only add one cloud VM for each instance.

Perform the following steps to add a cloud VM:

  1. Click on a cloud profile in the OCI group.

    The cloud VMs for the selected cloud profile are displayed.

  2. Select Group, Add Machine.

    The Add Cloud Virtual Machine wizard is displayed.

    Figure 1.25. Add Cloud Virtual Machine Wizard

    Add Cloud Virtual Machine Wizard
  3. Configure the following settings:

    • Source: The cloud service provider that hosts the instance used for the cloud VM. Select Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    • Profile: The cloud profile used to connect to the running instance. Select from the available cloud profiles.

    • Instances: The instance to use for the cloud VM. Choose from the available instances on your cloud service.

  4. Click Finish to add a cloud VM based on the selected instance.

    A cloud VM with the same name as the instance is added to the OCI group in VirtualBox Manager.

  5. (Optional) To change the display name for the instance, click Settings and edit the Display Name field.

    The cloud VM name in VirtualBox Manager is updated automatically.

1.16.7.4. Changing Settings for a Cloud VM

Select the cloud VM in VirtualBox Manager and click Settings.

  • For a new cloud VM, you can change many settings for the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance, such as the display name, shape, and disk size.

  • When you add a cloud VM based on an existing Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance you can only change the display name.

1.16.7.5. Controlling a Cloud VM

You can use VirtualBox Manager to control a cloud VM as follows:

  • Start. Use the Start button in the VirtualBox Manager toolbar.

  • Stop. Right-click on the cloud VM name, to display the Close menu. Options to shut down and power off the cloud VM are available.

  • Terminate. Use the Terminate button in the VirtualBox Manager toolbar.

    Caution

    This action deletes the instance from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

When you control a cloud VM in VirtualBox Manager the machine list is updated automatically with the current instance state, such as Stopped or Running.

When you control an instance using the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure console, VirtualBox Manager updates the status for the corresponding cloud VM automatically.

1.16.7.6. Removing a Cloud VM

You can use VirtualBox Manager to remove a cloud VM as follows:

Right-click on the cloud VM name and select Remove.

  • Click Remove Only to remove the cloud VM from the machine list in VirtualBox Manager.

  • Click Delete Everything to remove the cloud VM from VirtualBox Manager and also to delete the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance and any associated boot volumes.

1.16.7.7. Creating an Instance Console Connection for a Cloud VM

To create a instance console connection, the cloud VM must be in Running state.

  1. Right-click on the cloud VM name and select Console, Create Connection.

  2. The Public Key dialog is displayed. Paste the public key used for the instance connection into the dialog and click OK.

    By default, either the first entry in your SSH keys folder or the public key used for your previous instance console connection is used.

  3. Click Connect to connect to the instance. An instance console is displayed automatically on the host.

  4. (Optional) Click Show Log to display log messages for the instance console connection.

See the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure documentation for details about how you can use an instance console connection to troubleshoot instance problems.

1.16.8. Exporting an Appliance to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle VM VirtualBox supports the export of VMs to an Oracle Cloud Infrastructure service. The exported VM is stored on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as a custom Linux image. You can configure whether a cloud instance is created and started after the export process has completed.

Note

Before you export a VM to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, you must prepare the VM as described in Section 1.16.8.1, “Preparing a VM for Export to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”.

Use the following steps to export a VM to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure:

  1. Select File, Export Appliance to open the Export Virtual Appliance wizard.

    Select a VM to export and click Next to display the Format Settings page.

  2. From the Format drop-down list, select Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    In the Profile drop-down list, select the cloud profile used for your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure account.

    Figure 1.26. Export Virtual Appliance Wizard: Format Settings

    Export Virtual Appliance Wizard: Format Settings

    In the Machine Creation field, select an option to configure settings for the cloud instance created when you export to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The options enable you to do one of the following:

    • Configure settings for the cloud instance after you have finished exporting the VM.

    • Configure settings for the cloud instance before you start to export the VM.

    • Do not create a cloud instance when you export the VM.

    Click Next to make an API request to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure service and open the Appliance Settings page.

  3. (Optional) Edit storage settings used for the exported virtual machine in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. You can change the following settings:

    • The name of the bucket used to store the exported files.

    • Whether to store the custom image in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    • The display name for the custom image in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    • The launch mode for the custom image.

      Paravirtualized mode gives improved performance and should be suitable for most Oracle VM VirtualBox VMs.

      Emulated mode is suitable for legacy OS images.

    Click Finish to continue.

  4. (Optional) Depending on the selection in the Machine Creation field, the Appliance Settings page may be displayed before or after export. This screen enables you to configure settings for the cloud instance, such as Shape and Disk Size.

    Click Finish. The VM is exported to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    Depending on the Machine Creation setting, a cloud instance may be started after upload to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is completed.

  5. Monitor the export process by using the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console.

You can also use the VBoxManage export command to export a VM to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. See Section 8.17.2.2, “Export a Virtual Machine to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure”.

1.16.8.1. Preparing a VM for Export to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure provides the option to import a custom Linux image. Before an Oracle VM VirtualBox image can be exported to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, the custom image needs to be prepared to ensure that instances launched from the custom image can boot correctly and that network connections will work. This section provides advice on how to prepare a Linux image for export from Oracle VM VirtualBox.

The following list shows some tasks to consider when preparing an Oracle Linux VM for export:

  • Use DHCP for network addresses. Configure the VM to use a DHCP server to allocate network addresses, rather than using a static IP address. The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance will then be allocated an IP address automatically.

  • Do not specify a MAC address. The network interface configuration for the VM must not specify the MAC address.

    Remove the HWADDR setting from the /etc/sysconfig/ifcfg-devicename network script.

  • Disable persistent network device naming rules. This means that the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance will use the same network device names as the VM.

    1. Change the GRUB kernel parameters.

      Add net.ifnames=0 and biosdevname=0 as kernel parameter values to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX variable.

    2. Update the GRUB configuration.

      # grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
    3. Disable any udev rules for network device naming.

      For example, if an automated udev rule exists for net-persistence:

      # cd /etc/udev/rules.d
      # rm -f 70-persistent-net.rules
      # ln -s /dev/null /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules
  • Enable the serial console. This enables you to troubleshoot the instance when it is running on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    1. Edit the /etc/default/grub file, as follows:

      • Remove the resume setting from the kernel parameters. This setting slows down boot time significantly.

      • Replace GRUB_TERMINAL="gfxterm" with GRUB_TERMINAL="console serial". This configures use of the serial console instead of a graphical terminal.

      • Add GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --unit=0 --speed=115200". This configures the serial connection.

      • Add console=tty0 console=ttyS0,115200 to the GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX variable. This adds the serial console to the Linux kernel boot parameters.

    2. Regenerate the GRUB configuration.

      # grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
    3. To verify the changes, reboot the machine and run the dmesg command to look for the updated kernel parameters.

      # dmesg |grep console=ttyS0
  • Enable paravirtualized device support. You do this by adding the virtio drivers to the initrd for the VM.

    1. This procedure works only on machines with a Linux kernel of version 3.4 or later. Check that the VM is running a supported kernel:

      # uname -a
    2. Use the dracut tool to rebuild initrd. Add the qemu module, as follows:

      # dracut –-logfile /var/log/Dracut.log --force --add qemu
    3. Verify that the virtio drivers are now present in initrd.

       # lsinitrd |grep virtio

For more information about importing a custom Linux image into Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, see also:

https://docs.cloud.oracle.com/iaas/Content/Compute/Tasks/importingcustomimagelinux.htm

1.16.9. Importing an Instance from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Perform the following steps to import a cloud instance from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure into Oracle VM VirtualBox:

  1. Select File, Import Appliance to open the Import Virtual Appliance wizard.

    In the Source drop-down list, select Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    In the Profile drop-down list, select the cloud profile for your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure account.

    Choose the required cloud instance from the list in the Machines field.

    Click Next to make an API request to the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure service and display the Appliance Settings page.

  2. (Optional) Edit settings for the new local virtual machine.

    For example, you can edit the VM name and description.

    Figure 1.27. Import Cloud Instance Wizard: Appliance Settings

    Import Cloud Instance Wizard: Appliance Settings

    Click Finish to import the instance from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

  3. Monitor the import process by using the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Console.

You can also use the VBoxManage import command to import an instance from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. See Section 8.16.2.3, “Cloud Import Options”.

Importing an Instance: Overview of Events

The following describes the sequence of events when you import an instance from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

  • A custom image is created from the boot volume of the instance.

  • The custom image is exported to an Oracle Cloud Infrastructure object and is stored using Object Storage in the bucket specified by the user.

  • The Oracle Cloud Infrastructure object is downloaded to the local host. The object is a TAR archive which contains a boot volume of the instance in QCOW2 format and a JSON file containing metadata related to the instance.

  • The boot volume of the instance is extracted from the archive and a new VMDK image is created by converting the boot volume into the VMDK format. The VMDK image is registered with Oracle VM VirtualBox.

  • A new VM is created using the VMDK image for the cloud instance.

    By default, the new VM is not started after import from Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

  • The downloaded TAR archive is deleted after a successful import.

1.16.10. Using a Cloud Network

A cloud network is a type of network that can be used for connections from a local VM to a remote Oracle Cloud Infrastructure cloud instance.

To create and use a cloud network, do the following:

  1. Set up a virtual cloud network on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

    The following steps create and configure a virtual cloud network (VCN) on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. The VCN is used to tunnel network traffic across the cloud.

    1. Ensure that you have a cloud profile for connecting to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. See Section 1.16.4, “Creating a Cloud Profile”.

    2. Run the following VBoxManage cloud command:

      VBoxManage cloud --provider="OCI" --profile="vbox-oci" network setup

      where vbox-oci is the name of your cloud profile.

      Other options are available for the VBoxManage cloud network setup command, to enable you to configure details for the VCN. For example, you can configure the operating system used for the cloud gateway instance and the IP address range used by the tunneling network. See Section 8.14, “VBoxManage cloud”.

      For best results, use an Oracle Linux 7 instance for the cloud gateway. This is the default option.

  2. Register the new cloud network with Oracle VM VirtualBox.

    Use the Cloud Networks tab in the Network Manager tool. See Section 6.11.3, “Cloud Networks Tab”.

  3. Add cloud network adaptors to the local VMs that will use the cloud network. See Section 6.10, “Cloud Networks”.

1.16.11. Using VBoxManage Commands With Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

This section includes some examples of how VBoxManage commands can be used to integrate with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and perform common cloud operations.

Creating a Cloud Profile

To create a cloud profile called vbox-oci:

VBoxManage cloudprofile --provider "OCI" --profile="vbox-oci" add \
--clouduser="ocid1.user.oc1..."  --keyfile="/home/username/.oci/oci_api_key.pem" \
--tenancy="ocid1.tenancy.oc1..."  --compartment="ocid1.compartment.oc1..."  --region="us-ashburn-1"

The new cloud profile is added to the oci_config file in your Oracle VM VirtualBox global configuration directory. For example, this is $HOME/.VirtualBox/oci_config on a Windows host.

Listing Cloud Instances

To list the instances in your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure compartment:

VBoxManage cloud --provider="OCI" --profile="vbox-oci" list instances

Exporting an Oracle VM VirtualBox VM to the Cloud

To export a VM called myVM and create a cloud instance called myVM_Cloud:

VBoxManage export myVM --output OCI:// --cloud 0 --vmname myVM_Cloud \
--cloudprofile "vbox-oci" --cloudbucket myBucket \
--cloudshape VM.Standard2.1 --clouddomain US-ASHBURN-AD-1 --clouddisksize 50  \
--cloudocivcn ocid1.vcn.oc1... --cloudocisubnet ocid1.subnet.oc1... \
--cloudkeepobject true --cloudlaunchinstance true --cloudpublicip true
      

Importing a Cloud Instance Into Oracle VM VirtualBox

To import a cloud instance and create an Oracle VM VirtualBox VM called oci_Import:

VBoxManage import OCI:// --cloud --vmname oci_Import --memory 4000
--cpus 3 --ostype FreeBSD_64 --cloudprofile "vbox-oci"
--cloudinstanceid ocid1.instance.oc1... --cloudbucket myBucket
  

Creating a New Cloud Instance From a Custom Image

To create a new cloud instance from a custom image on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure:

VBoxManage cloud --provider="OCI" --profile="vbox-oci" instance create \
--domain-name="oraclecloud.com" --image-id="ocid1.image.oc1..." --display-name="myInstance" \
--shape="VM.Standard2.1" --subnet="ocid1.subnet.oc1..."

Terminating a Cloud Instance

To terminate an instance in your compartment on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure:

VBoxManage cloud --provider="OCI" --profile="vbox-oci" instance terminate \
--id="ocid1.instance.oc1..." 

For more details about the available commands for cloud operations, see Section 8.14, “VBoxManage cloud”.

1.17. Preferences

The Preferences window offers a selection of settings, which apply to all virtual machines of the current user.

To display the Preferences window, do either of the following:

  • Select File, Preferences.

  • Click Preferences on the Welcome screen in VirtualBox Manager.

The following settings are available:

  • General. Enables you to specify the default folder or directory for VM files, and the VRDP Authentication Library.

  • Input. Enables you to specify keyboard shortcuts, such as the Host key. This is the key that toggles whether the cursor is in the focus of the VM or the Host OS windows, see Section 1.9.2, “Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse”. The Host key is also used to trigger certain VM actions, see Section 1.9.3, “Typing Special Characters”.

  • Update. Enables you to specify various settings for Automatic Updates.

  • Language. Enables you to specify the language used for menus, labels, and text in VirtualBox Manager.

  • Display. Enables you to specify the screen resolution, and its width and height. A default scale factor can be specified for all guest screens.

  • Proxy. Enables you to configure an HTTP Proxy Server.

  • Interface. Enables you to select a color theme for the VirtualBox Manager user interface.

    Note

    This setting is only available on Windows host platforms.

1.18. Alternative Front-Ends

As briefly mentioned in Section 1.3, “Features Overview”, 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 aspect of Oracle VM VirtualBox. See Chapter 8, VBoxManage.

  • 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 Section 7.1.2, “VBoxHeadless, the Remote Desktop Server”.

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.

1.19. Soft Keyboard

Oracle VM VirtualBox provides a soft keyboard that enables you to input keyboard characters on the guest. A soft keyboard is an on-screen keyboard that can be used as an alternative to a physical keyboard. See Section 1.19.1, “Using the Soft Keyboard” for details of how to use the soft keyboard.

Caution

For best results, ensure that the keyboard layout configured on the guest OS matches the keyboard layout used by the soft keyboard. Oracle VM VirtualBox does not do this automatically.

Figure 1.28. Soft Keyboard in a Guest Virtual Machine

Soft Keyboard in a Guest Virtual Machine

The soft keyboard can be used in the following scenarios:

  • When the physical keyboard on the host is not the same as the keyboard layout configured on the guest. For example, if the guest is configured to use an international keyboard, but the host keyboard is US English.

  • To send special key combinations to the guest. Note that some common key combinations are also available in the Input, Keyboard menu of the guest VM window. See Section 1.9.3, “Typing Special Characters”.

  • For guests in kiosk mode, where a physical keyboard is not present.

  • When using nested virtualization, the soft keyboard provides a method of sending key presses to a guest.

By default, the soft keyboard includes some common international keyboard layouts. You can copy and modify these to meet your own requirements. See Section 1.19.2, “Creating a Custom Keyboard Layout”.

1.19.1. Using the Soft Keyboard

  1. Display the soft keyboard.

    In the guest VM window, select Input, Keyboard, Soft Keyboard.

  2. Select the required keyboard layout.

    The name of the current keyboard layout is displayed in the toolbar of the soft keyboard window. This is the previous keyboard layout that was used.

    Click the Layout List icon in the toolbar of the soft keyboard window. The Layout List window is displayed.

    Select the required keyboard layout from the entries in the Layout List window.

    The keyboard display graphic is updated to show the available input keys.

  3. Use the soft keyboard to enter keyboard characters on the guest.

    • Modifier keys such as Shift, Ctrl, and Alt are available on the soft keyboard. Click once to select the modifier key, click twice to lock the modifier key.

      The Reset the Keyboard and Release All Keys icon can be used to release all pressed modifier keys, both on the host and the guest.

    • To change the look of the soft keyboard, click the Settings icon in the toolbar. You can change colors used in the keyboard graphic, and can hide or show sections of the keyboard, such as the NumPad or multimedia keys.

1.19.2. Creating a Custom Keyboard Layout

You can use one of the supplied default keyboard layouts as the starting point to create a custom keyboard layout.

Note

To permananently save a custom keyboard layout, you must save it to a file. Otherwise, any changes you make are discarded when you close down the Soft Keyboard window.

Custom keyboard layouts that you save are stored as an XML file on the host, in the keyboardLayouts folder in the global configuration data directory. For example, in $HOME/.config/VirtualBox/keyboardLayouts on a Linux host.

  1. Display the Layout List.

    Click the Layout List icon in the toolbar of the soft keyboard window.

  2. Make a copy of an existing keyboard layout.

    Highlight the required layout and click the Copy the Selected Layout icon.

    A new layout entry with a name suffix of -Copy is created.

  3. Edit the new keyboard layout.

    Highlight the new layout in the Layout List and click the Edit the Selected Layout icon.

    Enter a new name for the layout.

    Edit keys in the new layout. Click on the key that you want to edit and enter new key captions in the Captions fields.

    The keyboard graphic is updated with the new captions.

  4. (Optional) Save the layout to a file. This means that your custom keyboard layout will be available for future use.

    Highlight the new layout in the Layout List and click the Save the Selected Layout into File icon.

    Any custom layouts that you create can later be removed from the Layout List, by highlighting and clicking the Delete the Selected Layout icon.

1.20. Monitoring of Virtual Machines

VirtualBox Manager includes the following tools for viewing runtime information and changing the configuration of virtual machines.

1.20.1. VM Activity Overview

The VM Activity Overview tool displays several performance metrics for all running virtual machines and for the host system. This provides an overview of system resources used by individual virtual machines and the host system.

To display the VM Activity Overview tool, do the following:

Go to the global Tools menu and click Activities. The VM Activity Overview window is shown.

Figure 1.29. VM Activity Overview Tool

VM Activity Overview Tool

To show metrics for all virtual machines, including those that are not running, right-click on the list of virtual machines and select List All Virtual Machines.

To configure the set of metrics to be shown, click Columns in the toolbar. You can then sort the list of virtual machines by a particular metric.

To see more performance information for a virtual machine, select the VM name and click VM Activity in the toolbar. The VM Activity tab of the Session Information dialog is shown, see Section 1.20.2, “Session Information Dialog”.

1.20.2. Session Information Dialog

The Session Information dialog includes multiple tabs which show important configuration and runtime information for the guest system. The tabs of the dialog are as follows:

  • Configuration Details. Displays the system configuration of the virtual machine in a tabular format. The displayed information includes details such as storage configuration and audio settings.

  • Runtime Information. Displays runtime information for the guest session in a tabular format similar to the Configuration Details tab.

  • VM Activity. Includes several time series charts which monitor guest resource usage including CPU, RAM, Disk I/O, and Network. Note that the RAM chart requires the Guest Additions to be running on the guest system. The VM Activity tab can also be accessed directly from the VM Activity Overview tool. See Section 1.20.1, “VM Activity Overview”.

  • Guest Control. Details of processes used by the Guest Control File Manager. See Section 4.8, “Guest Control File Manager”.

To display the Session Information dialog, select Machine, Session Information in the guest VM.

Figure 1.30. Session Information Dialog, Showing VM Activity Tab

Session Information Dialog, Showing VM Activity Tab

1.21. The Log Viewer

Every time you start up a VM, Oracle VM VirtualBox creates a log file that records system configuration and events. The Log Viewer is a VirtualBox Manager tool that enables you to view and analyze system logs.

Figure 1.31. Log Viewer Tool, Showing System Events

Log Viewer Tool, Showing System Events

To display the Log Viewer, do either of the following:

  • Click the VM name in the machine list and select Logs from the machine tools menu.

  • In the guest VM, select Machine, Show Log.

Log messages for the VM are displayed in tabs in the Log Viewer window. See Section 12.1.2, “Collecting Debugging Information” for details of the various log files generated by Oracle VM VirtualBox.

If you select multiple VMs in the machine list, logs are listed for each VM.

The toolbar of the Log Viewer includes the following options:

  • Save: Exports the contents of the selected log file to a text file. Specify the destination filename and location in the displayed dialog.

  • Find: Searches for a text string in the log file.

  • Filter: Uses filter terms to display specific types of log messages. Common log message terms used by Oracle VM VirtualBox, such as Audio and NAT, are included by default. Select one or more terms from the drop-down list. To add your own filter term, enter the text string in the text box field.

  • Bookmark: Saves the location of a log message, enabling you to find it quickly. To create a bookmark, either click on the line number, or select some text and then click Bookmark.

  • Options: Configures the text display used in the log message window.

  • Refresh: Refreshes the log file you are currently viewing. Only log messages in the current tab are updated.

  • Reload: Refreshes all log files. Log messages in every tab are updated.

  • Settings: Displays the Settings window for the VM, enabling you to make configuration changes.

  • Discard: For a running VM, discards the saved state for the VM and closes it down.

  • Show/Start: For a running VM, Show displays the VM window. For a stopped VM, Start displays options for powering up the VM.

Chapter 2. Installation Details

As installation of Oracle VM VirtualBox varies depending on your host operating system, the following sections provide installation instructions for Windows, macOS, 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 Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

In addition, Windows Installer must be present on your system. This should be the case for all supported Windows platforms.

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.

  • By entering the following command:

    VirtualBox-<version>-<revision>-Win.exe -extract

    This will extract the installer into a temporary directory, along with the .MSI file. Run the following command to perform the installation:

    msiexec /i VirtualBox-<version>-<revision>-Win.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. For this to work, an already working Windows Python installation on the system is required.

    See, for example: http://www.python.org/download/windows/.

    Note

    Python version at least 2.6 is required. 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 an 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 file. This will install Oracle VM VirtualBox only for the current user.

VirtualBox.exe -msiparams ALLUSERS=2
msiexec /i VirtualBox-<version>-Win.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

For example, to only install USB support along with the main binaries, run either of the following commands:

VirtualBox.exe -msiparams ADDLOCAL=VBoxApplication,VBoxUSB
msiexec /i VirtualBox-<version>-Win.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 the default for most supported Windows hosts. For some legacy Windows versions, the installer will automatically select the NDIS5 driver and this cannot be changed.

You can force an install of the legacy NDIS5 host network filter driver by specifying 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-<version>-Win;.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-<version>-Win.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.

  • 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 macOS Hosts

2.2.1. Performing the Installation

For macOS hosts, Oracle VM VirtualBox ships in a dmg disk image file. Perform the following steps to install on a macOS 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 displayed in that window.

  3. This starts the installer, which enables you to select where to install Oracle VM VirtualBox.

  4. An Oracle VM VirtualBox icon is added to 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 Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

You may need to install the following packages on your Linux system before starting the installation. 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.

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 Kernel Modules

In order to run other operating systems in virtual machines alongside your main operating system, Oracle VM VirtualBox needs to integrate very tightly with your system. To do this it installs a driver module called vboxdrv into the system kernel. The kernel is the part of the operating system which controls your processor and physical hardware. Without this kernel module, you can still use VirtualBox Manager to configure virtual machines, but they will not start.

Network drivers called vboxnetflt and vboxnetadp are also installed. They 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 Oracle VM VirtualBox install process creates the modules on the system where they will be used. This means that you may need to install some software packages from the distribution which are needed for the build process. Required packages may include the following:

  • GNU compiler (GCC)

  • GNU Make (make)

  • Kernel header files

Also ensure that all system updates have been installed and that your system is running the most up-to-date kernel for the distribution.

Note

The running kernel and the kernel header files must be updated to matching versions.

The following list includes some details of the required files for some common distributions. Start by finding the version name of your kernel, using the command uname -r in a terminal. The list assumes that you have not changed too much from the original installation, in particular that you have not installed a different kernel type.

  • 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, Red Hat, 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 Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel or "default" or "desktop" for the standard 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 some SUSE and openSUSE Linux versions, you may need to 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

2.3.2.1. Kernel Modules and UEFI Secure Boot

If you are running on a system using UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Secure Boot, you may need to sign the following kernel modules before you can load them:

  • vboxdrv

  • vboxnetadp

  • vboxnetflt

  • vboxpci

See your system documentation for details of the kernel module signing process.

2.3.3. Performing the Installation

Oracle VM VirtualBox is available in a number of package formats native to various common Linux distributions. See Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”. In addition, there is an alternative generic installer (.run) which you can use on supported Linux distributions.

2.3.3.1. Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox from a Debian or Ubuntu Package

Download the appropriate package for your distribution. The following example assumes that you are installing to a 64-bit Ubuntu Xenial system. Use dpkg to install the Debian package,as follows:

sudo dpkg -i virtualbox-version-number_Ubuntu_xenial_amd64.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 Section 2.3.2, “The Oracle VM VirtualBox Kernel Modules”. 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 Section 12.7.1, “Linux Kernel Module Refuses to Load” 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 Section 2.3.5, “Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux”.

2.3.3.2. 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 parameter. 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 OS user management tools or run the following command as root:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers username

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.

2.3.3.3. Performing a Manual Installation

If you cannot use the shell script installer described in Section 2.3.3.2, “Using the Alternative Generic Installer (VirtualBox.run)”, 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 appropriate 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 initialization 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

2.3.3.4. 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.

2.3.3.5. 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 installation. See Section 2.3.3.7, “Automatic Installation Options”.

2.3.3.6. Automatic Installation of RPM Packages

The RPM format does not provide a configuration system comparable to the debconf system. See Section 2.3.3.7, “Automatic Installation Options” for how to set some common installation options provided by Oracle VM VirtualBox.

2.3.3.7. 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 prevented 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

2.3.4. 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 either by using the desktop user and group tools, or with the following command:

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers username

2.3.5. Starting Oracle VM VirtualBox on Linux

The easiest way to start an 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-<username>-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 Section 1.4, “Supported Host Operating Systems”.

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 Section 2.4.4, “Uninstallation” 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 version of Oracle VM VirtualBox. The installation must be performed as root and from the global zone. This is because 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.

To start installation, run the following commands:

gunzip -cd VirtualBox-version-number-SunOS.tar.gz | tar xvf -

The Oracle VM VirtualBox kernel package is integrated into the main package. Install the Oracle VM VirtualBox package as follows:

pkgadd -d VirtualBox-version-number-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 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 Section 2.4.6, “Configuring a Zone for Running Oracle VM VirtualBox”.

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 either by using the desktop user and group tools or by running the following command as root:

usermod -G vboxuser username

Note that adding an active user to the vboxuser group will require the user to log out and then log 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 an 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.

2.4.5. Unattended Installation

To perform a non-interactive installation of Oracle VM VirtualBox there is a response file named autoresponse. The installer uses this for responses to inputs, rather than prompting the user.

Extract the tar.gz package as described in Section 2.4.1, “Performing the Installation”. Then open a root terminal session and run the following command:

pkgadd -d VirtualBox-version-number-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

2.4.6. 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.

Use zonecfg 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

On Oracle Solaris 11 or later, you may also add a device for /dev/vboxusbmon, similar to that shown above.

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.

2.5. Installing an Extension Pack

Extension packs provide extra functionality to the Oracle VM VirtualBox base package, such as extended USB device support and cloud integration features. See Section 1.5, “Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs”.

To install an Oracle VM VirtualBox extension pack, do the following:

  1. Double-click on the extension package file name.

    Oracle VM VirtualBox extension packs have a .vbox-extpack file name extension.

  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the extension pack.

You can also use the Extension Pack Manager tool to install an extension pack. See Section 2.5.1, “The Extension Pack Manager”.

2.5.1. The Extension Pack Manager

Extension packs can be installed and managed using the Extension Pack Manager tool in VirtualBox Manager.

The Extension Pack Manager lists the extension packs that are currently installed on the host, and enables you to install and uninstall extension packs.

To display the Extension Pack Manager, go to the global Tools menu and click Extensions. The Extension Pack Manager is shown.

To install an extension pack using the Extension Pack Manager, click Install and select an extension package file. The extension pack is installed on the host and listed in Extension Pack Manager.

To uninstall an extension pack with the Extension Pack Manager, do the following:

  1. Select the extension pack in the Extension Pack Manager window and click Uninstall.

  2. Click Remove in the prompt dialog.

    The extension pack is uninstalled from the host and removed from the Extension Pack Manager.

Alternatively, you can use the VBoxManage command line to install and manage Oracle VM VirtualBox extension packs. See Section 8.52, “VBoxManage extpack”.

Chapter 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.

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 guest operating systems (OSes) of any kind.

The following guest OS platforms are supported:

Table 3.1. Guest Operating Systems With Full Support

Operating System

Comments

Windows 11 (64-bit)

Insider preview builds are not supported

Windows 10 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Insider preview builds are not supported

Windows 8 and 8.1 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Server 2019 (64-bit)

Windows Server 2016 (64-bit)

Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 (64-bit)

Solaris 11 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Solaris 10 8/11 Update 10 and later (32-bit and 64-bit)

Oracle Linux 8 (64-bit)

Includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, CentOS 8

Oracle Linux 7 (64-bit)

Includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, CentOS 7

Oracle Linux 6 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, CentOS 6

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) (32-bit and 64-bit)

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) (64-bit)

Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) (64-bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 (64-bit)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 (64-bit)

Table 3.2. Legacy Guest Operating Systems With Limited Support

Operating System

Comments

Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Vista SP2 and later (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows XP (32-bit)

Windows Vista (32-bit)

Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Windows Server 2003 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Oracle Linux 5 (32-bit and 64-bit)

Includes Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, CentOS 5

Ubuntu 14.04.5 LTS (Trusty Tahr) (32-bit and 64-bit)

OS/2 Warp 4.5

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:

  • Mac OS X is commercial, licensed software and contains both license and technical restrictions 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.

3.1.2. 64-bit Guests

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 Section 3.5.1, “Motherboard Tab”. 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 Section 6.1, “Virtual Networking Hardware”.

If you use the Create VM wizard of VirtualBox Manager, Oracle VM VirtualBox automatically uses the correct settings for each selected 64-bit OS type. See Section 1.8, “Creating Your First Virtual Machine”.

3.2. Unattended Guest Installation

Oracle VM VirtualBox can install a guest OS automatically. You only need to provide the installation medium and a few other parameters, such as the name of the default user.

You can perform an unattended guest installation in the following ways:

  • Use the Create Virtual Machine wizard. An optional step in the wizard enables you to configure unattended installation. You can specify the default user credentials for the guest OS and also whether to install the Guest Additions automatically. See Section 1.8, “Creating Your First Virtual Machine”.

    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.

  • Use the VBoxManage commands. Section 3.2.1, “Using VBoxManage Commands for Unattended Guest Installation” describes how to perform an unattended guest installation for an Oracle Linux guest.

When you first start a VM that has been configured for unattended installation, the guest OS installation is performed automatically.

The installation operation changes the boot device order to boot the virtual hard disk first and then the virtual DVD drive. If the virtual hard disk is empty prior to the automatic installation, the VM boots from the virtual DVD drive and begins the installation.

If the virtual hard disk contains a bootable OS, the installation operation exits. In this case, change the boot device order manually by pressing F12 during the BIOS splash screen.

3.2.1. Using VBoxManage Commands for Unattended Guest Installation

The following example shows how to perform an unattended guest installation for an Oracle Linux VM. 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 OS.

  1. Create the virtual machine.

    # VM="ol7-autoinstall"
    # VBoxManage list ostypes
    # VBoxManage createvm --name $VM --ostype "Oracle_64" --register

    Note the following:

    • The $VM variable represents the name of the VM.

    • The VBoxManage list ostypes command lists the guest OSes supported by Oracle VM VirtualBox, including the name used for each OS 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.

    • 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

    The previous commands do the following:

    • Create a 32768 MB virtual hard disk.

    • Create a SATA storage controller and attach the virtual hard disk.

    • Create an IDE storage controller for a virtual DVD drive and attach an Oracle Linux installation ISO.

  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

    The previous commands do the following:

    • Enable I/O APIC for the motherboard of the VM.

    • Configure the boot device order for the VM.

    • Allocate 8192 MB of RAM and 128 MB of video RAM to the VM.

  4. Perform an unattended install of the OS.

    # VBoxManage unattended install $VM \
    --iso=/u01/Software/OL/OracleLinux-R7-U6-Server-x86_64-dvd.iso \
    --user=login --full-user-name=name --password password \
    --install-additions --time-zone=CET

    The previous command does the following:

    • Specifies an Oracle Linux ISO as the installation ISO.

    • Specifies a login name, full name, and login password for a default user on the guest OS.

      Note that the specified password is also used for the root user account on the guest.

    • Installs the Guest Additions on the VM.

    • Sets the time zone for the guest OS to Central European Time (CET).

  5. Start the virtual machine.

    This step completes the unattended installation process.

    # VBoxManage startvm $VM --type headless

    The VM starts in headless mode, which means that the VirtualBox Manager window does not open.

  6. (Optional) Update the guest OS to use the latest Oracle Linux packages.

    On the guest VM, run the following command:

    # yum update

3.3. Emulated Hardware

Oracle VM VirtualBox virtualizes nearly all hardware of the host. Depending on a VM's configuration, the guest will see the following virtual hardware:

  • Input devices. Oracle VM VirtualBox can emulate a standard PS/2 keyboard and mouse. These devices are supported by most guest OSes.

    In addition, Oracle VM VirtualBox can provide virtual USB input devices to avoid having to capture mouse and keyboard, as described in Section 1.9.2, “Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse”.

  • Graphics. The default Oracle VM VirtualBox graphics device for Windows guests is an SVGA device. For Linux guests, the default graphics device emulates a VMware SVGA graphics device. See Section 3.6.1, “Screen Tab”.

    For legacy guest OSes, a VGA-compatible graphics device is available.

  • Storage. Oracle VM VirtualBox emulates the most common types of hard disk controllers. See Section 5.1, “Hard Disk Controllers”. Whereas supporting only one of these controllers would be enough for Oracle VM VirtualBox by itself, this multitude of storage adapters is required for compatibility with other hypervisors. Windows is very selective about its boot devices, and migrating VMs between hypervisors is very difficult or impossible if the storage controllers are different.

  • Networking. See Section 6.1, “Virtual Networking Hardware”.

  • USB. Oracle VM VirtualBox emulates these types of USB host controllers: xHCI, EHCI, and OHCI. While xHCI handles all USB transfer speeds, some legacy guest OSes may not support xHCI. Note that for some legacy Windows guests, third party drivers must be installed for xHCI support.

    Legacy guest OSes typically support OHCI and EHCI. These 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. Instead they communicate with a virtual USB layer which abstracts the USB protocol and enables the use of remote USB devices.

  • Audio. See Section 3.8, “Audio Settings”.

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 of the the VM, as shown in the list of VMs in the main VirtualBox Manager window. Using this name, Oracle VM VirtualBox also saves the VM's configuration files. If you change the name, Oracle VM VirtualBox renames these files as well. As a result, you can only use characters which are allowed for file names on your host OS.

    Note that internally, Oracle VM VirtualBox uses unique identifiers (UUIDs) to identify virtual machines. You can display these using the VBoxManage commands.

  • Type: The type of the guest OS for the VM. This is the same setting that is specified in the New Virtual Machine wizard. See Section 1.8, “Creating Your First Virtual Machine”.

    Whereas the default settings of a newly created VM depend on the selected OS type, changing the type later has no effect on VM settings. This value is purely informational and decorative.

  • Version: The version of the guest OS for the VM. This is the same setting that is specified in the New Virtual Machine wizard. See Section 1.8, “Creating Your First Virtual Machine”.

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 Section 10.1, “Where Oracle VM VirtualBox Stores its Files”. With this setting, you can specify any other folder for each VM.

  • Shared Clipboard: You can select here whether the clipboard of the guest OS 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.

    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 drag and drop modes for a VM enable restricting of 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 Section 4.4, “Drag and Drop”.

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.

Note

All files related to the virtual machine except disk images are stored unencrypted. To encrypt these files, use the VBoxManage encryptvm command as described in Section 9.22, “Encryption of VMs”.

3.5. System Settings

The System category groups various settings that are related to the basic hardware that is presented 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 OS, 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 Section 1.8, “Creating Your First Virtual Machine”.

    Generally, it is possible to change the memory size after installing the guest OS. But you must not reduce the memory to an amount where the OS would no longer boot.

  • Boot Order: Determines the order in which the guest OS 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 mechanism. This needs to be configured in detail on the command line. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

  • Chipset: You can select which chipset will be presented to the virtual machine. PIIX3 is the default chipset for most guests. For some guest OSes such as Mac OS X, the PIIX3 chipset is not well supported. As a result, Oracle VM VirtualBox supports an emulation of the ICH9 chipset, which supports PCI express, three PCI buses, PCI-to-PCI bridges and Message Signaled Interrupts (MSI). This enables modern OSes 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, compared to a maximum of eight network adapters with PIIX3. Note that ICH9 support is experimental and not recommended for guest OSes which do not require it.

  • TPM: Enables support for a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) security processor. Choose from the supported TPM versions.

  • Pointing Device: The default virtual pointing device for some guest OSes 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. Another setting is USB Multi-Touch Tablet, which is suitable for guests running Windows 8 or later.

    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" the mouse in the guest as described in Section 1.9.2, “Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse”. This makes using the VM less tedious even if Guest Additions are not installed.

  • Enable I/O APIC: Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controllers (APICs) are an x86 hardware feature that have replaced Programmable Interrupt Controllers (PICs). With an I/O APIC, OSes can use more than 16 interrupt requests (IRQs) and therefore avoid IRQ sharing for improved reliability.

    Note

    Enabling the I/O APIC is required, especially for 64-bit Windows guest OSes. 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 OSes 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 OSes 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.

  • 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 OSes, which typically expect the hardware clock to be set to UTC.

  • Enable EFI: Enables Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), which replaces the legacy BIOS and may be useful for certain advanced use cases. See Section 3.14, “Alternative Firmware (EFI)”.

  • Enable Secure Boot: Enables Secure Boot, to provide a secure environment for starting the guest OS.

In addition, you can turn off the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) which Oracle VM VirtualBox presents to the guest OS by default.

ACPI is the current industry standard to allow OSes to recognize hardware, configure motherboards and other devices and manage power. As most computers contain this feature and Windows and Linux support ACPI, it is also enabled by default in Oracle VM VirtualBox. ACPI can only be turned off using the command line. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

Warning

All Windows OSes install different 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.

  • Processor(s): Sets the number of virtual CPU cores the guest OSes 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 physically. 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.

    PAE stands for Physical Address Extension. Normally, if enabled and supported by the OS, 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 OSes, such as Ubuntu Server, require PAE support from the CPU and cannot be run in a virtual machine without it.

  • Enable Nested VT-x/AMD-V: Enables nested virtualization, with passthrough of hardware virtualization functions to the guest VM.

With virtual machines running modern server OSes, Oracle VM VirtualBox also supports CPU hot-plugging. For details, see Section 9.4, “CPU Hot-Plugging”.

3.5.3. Acceleration Tab

On this tab, you can configure Oracle VM VirtualBox to use hardware virtualization extensions that your host CPU supports.

In most cases, the default settings on the Acceleration tab will work well. Oracle VM VirtualBox selects sensible defaults, depending on the OS that you selected when you created the virtual machine. In certain situations, however, you may want to change the preconfigured defaults.

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.

    VirtualBox Manager 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 virtual monitor to a virtual machine. If a guest OS 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.

  • 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 Preferences window.

  • Graphics Controller: Specifies the graphics adapter type used by the guest VM. Note that you must install the Guest Additions on the guest VM to specify the VBoxSVGA or VMSVGA graphics controller. The following options are available:

    • VBoxSVGA: The default graphics controller for new VMs that use Windows 7 or later.

      This graphics controller improves performance and 3D support when compared to the legacy VBoxVGA option.

    • VBoxVGA: Use this graphics controller for legacy guest OSes. This is the default graphics controller for Windows versions before Windows 7 and for Oracle Solaris.

      3D acceleration is not supported for this graphics controller.

    • VMSVGA: Use this graphics controller to emulate a VMware SVGA graphics device. This is the default graphics controller for Linux guests.

    • None: Does not emulate a graphics adapter type.

  • Enable 3D Acceleration: If a virtual machine has Guest Additions installed, you can select here whether the guest should support accelerated 3D graphics. See Section 4.5.1, “Hardware 3D Acceleration (OpenGL and Direct3D 8/9)”.

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 Section 7.1, “Remote Display (VRDP Support)”.

  • Enable Server: Select this check box and configure settings for the remote display connection.

3.6.3. Recording Tab

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 Recording: Select this check box and select a Recording Mode option.

  • Recording 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 Recording 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.

  • Video 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 computer, so-called storage controllers connect physical disk drives to the rest of the computer. Similarly, Oracle VM VirtualBox presents virtual storage controllers to a virtual machine. 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 for a full description of the available storage settings in Oracle VM VirtualBox.

If you have used the Create Virtual Machine wizard to create a machine, you will normally see something like the following:

Figure 3.1. Storage Settings for a Virtual Machine

Storage Settings for a Virtual Machine

Depending on the guest OS 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 device 0 on the secondary channel 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 OS type when you created the VM. Since older OSes do not support SATA without additional drivers, Oracle VM VirtualBox will make sure that no such devices are present initially. See Section 5.1, “Hard Disk Controllers”.

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 connected 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:

  • To add another virtual hard disk, or a CD/DVD or floppy drive, select the storage controller to which it should be added (such as IDE, SATA, SCSI, SAS, floppy controller) and then click the Add Disk button below the tree. You can then either select Optical Drive or 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.

    A dialog is displayed, enabling you to select an existing disk image file or to create a new disk image file. Depending on the type of disk image, the dialog is called Hard Disk Selector, Optical Disk Selector, or Floppy Disk Selector.

    See Section 5.2, “Disk Image Files (VDI, VMDK, VHD, HDD)” for information on the image file types that are supported by Oracle VM VirtualBox.

    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 OS from an ISO file that you have obtained from the Internet. For example, most Linux distributions are available in this way.

    Depending on the type of disk image, you can set the following Attributes for the disk image in the right part of the Storage settings page:

    • The device slot of the controller that the virtual disk is connected to. IDE controllers have four slots: primary device 0, primary device 1, secondary device 0, and secondary device 1. By contrast, SATA and SCSI controllers offer you up to 30 slots for attaching virtual devices.

    • Solid-state Drive presents a virtual disk to the guest as a solid-state device.

    • Hot-pluggable presents a virtual disk to the guest as a hot-pluggable device.

    • For virtual CD/DVD drives, you can select Live CD/DVD. This means that the virtual optical disk is not removed from when the guest system ejects it.

  • 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 window 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:

  • Host Audio Driver: The audio driver that Oracle VM VirtualBox uses on the host.

    The Default option is enabled by default for all new VMs. This option selects the best audio driver for the host platform automatically. This enables you to move VMs between different platforms without having to change the audio driver.

    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 VirtualBox Manager. Additional network cards can be configured using the VBoxManage command.

Many networking options are available. See Chapter 6, Virtual Networking 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 OS sees a standard 16550A compatible 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 OS.

You can use either the Settings tabs or the VBoxManage command to set up virtual serial ports. For the latter, see Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm” for information on the --uart, --uart-mode and --uart-type options.

You can configure up to four virtual serial ports per virtual machine. For each device, you must set the following:

  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).

  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 OS, 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\name where name should identify the virtual machine but may be freely chosen.

      • On a Mac OS, 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: 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 specify 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.

      • 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 OS with a virtual 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.

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 Section 7.1.4, “Remote USB”.

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.

  • 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 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 identification 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 respective 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. System reboots are not necessary after installing the driver. Also, you do not need to replug devices for Oracle VM VirtualBox to claim them.

On supported 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 vboxusers system group. In order to be able to access USB from guest systems, make sure that you are a member of this group.

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 Section 4.3, “Shared Folders”.

3.13. User Interface

The User Interface section enables you to change certain aspects of the user interface of the selected VM.

  • Menu Bar: This widget enables you to disable a complete menu, by clicking on the menu name to deselect it. Menu entries can be disabled, by deselecting the check box next to the entry. On Windows and Linux hosts, the complete menu bar can be disabled by deselecting the check box on the right.

  • 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 machine'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 the Show in Full Screen/Seamless setting.

    The Show at Top of Screen setting enables you to show the toolbar at the top of the screen, instead of showing it at the bottom.

    The Mini Toolbar is not available on macOS hosts.

  • Status Bar: This widget enables you to disable and reorder icons on the status bar. Deselect the check box of an icon to disable it, or rearrange icons by dragging and dropping the icon. To disable the complete status bar deselect the check box on the left.

3.14. Alternative Firmware (EFI)

Oracle VM VirtualBox includes experimental support for the Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI), which is an industry standard intended to 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 window. See Section 3.5.1, “Motherboard Tab”. 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

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 applications, 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 OSes, 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

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

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 Section 9.6.1, “Custom VESA Resolutions”. 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 method, 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 <value>

Chapter 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 Section 1.2, “Some Terminology”, 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 Section 3.1, “Supported Guest Operating Systems” 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 provided 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 Section 1.9.2, “Capturing and Releasing Keyboard and Mouse”, 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 physical 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 the guest actually has a network. See Section 4.3, “Shared Folders”.

  • Better video support. While the virtual graphics card which Oracle VM VirtualBox emulates 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 Section 1.9.5, “Resizing the Machine's Window”.

    If the Guest Additions are installed, 3D graphics and 2D video for guest applications can be accelerated. See Section 4.5, “Hardware-Accelerated Graphics”.

  • 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 Section 4.6, “Seamless Windows”.

  • Generic host/guest communication channels. The Guest Additions enable you to control 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 Section 4.7, “Guest Properties”.

    Additionally, applications can be started in a guest from the host. See Section 4.9, “Guest Control of Applications”.

  • 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 Section 9.11.3, “Tuning the Guest Additions Time Synchronization Parameters” 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 Section 3.4, “General Settings”.

  • Automated logins. Also called credentials passing. See Section 9.1, “Automated Guest Logins”.

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 communicates 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 Section 4.7, “Guest Properties”.

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)

  • 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

4.2.1.1. 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 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 Optical Drives from the Devices menu in the virtual machine's menu bar and then Choose/Create a Disk Image. This displays the Virtual Media Manager, described in Section 5.3, “The Virtual Media Manager”.

  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 macOS 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 the Add button. This mounts the ISO file and presents it to your Windows guest as a CD-ROM.

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.

4.2.1.2. Updating the Windows Guest Additions

Windows Guest Additions can be updated by running the installation program again. This replaces the previous Additions drivers with updated versions.

Alternatively, you can also open the Windows Device Manager and select Update Driver... for the following devices:

  • Oracle VM VirtualBox Graphics Adapter

  • 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.

4.2.1.3. Unattended Installation of the Windows Guest Additions

You can configure unattended installation of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions when you create a new VM using the Create Virtual Machine wizard. Select the Guest Additions check box on the Unattended Guest OS Install page of the wizard.

Guest Additions are installed automatically, following completion of the guest OS installation.

Installing Code Signing Certificates

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 legacy 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 parameter to the install launcher:

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 Windows 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 /?

4.2.1.4. 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 running one, such as 64-bit files on a 32-bit system, you must use the appropriate platform installer. 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

  • Red Hat 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 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.

4.2.2.1. 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 Section 4.2.1.1, “Installing the Windows Guest Additions”. 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 Section 2.3.2, “The Oracle VM VirtualBox Kernel Modules”, 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 Section 4.2.1.1, “Installing the Windows Guest Additions”.

  3. Change to the directory where your CD-ROM drive is mounted and run the following command as root:

    sh ./VBoxLinuxAdditions.run

4.2.2.2. Unattended Installation of the Linux Guest Additions

You can configure unattended installation of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions when you create a new VM using the Create Virtual Machine wizard. Select the Guest Additions check box on the Unattended Guest OS Install page of the wizard.

Guest Additions are installed automatically, following completion of the guest OS installation.

4.2.2.3. 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 Section 9.3.2, “Guest Graphics and Mouse Driver Setup in Depth”.

Starting from Oracle VM VirtualBox 7, Linux guest screen resize functionality for guests running VMSVGA graphics configuration has been changed. Since then, this functionality consists of a standalone daemon called VBoxDRMClient and its Desktop Environment helper counterpart.

VBoxDRMClient runs as a root process and is a bridge between the host and the guest's vmwgfx driver. This means that VBoxDRMClient listens to screen resize hints from the host and forwards them to the vmwgfx driver. This enables guest screen resize functionality to be available before the user has performed a graphical login.

In order to perform Desktop Environment specific actions, such as setting the primary screen in a multimonitor setup, a Desktop Environment helper is used. Once the user has performed a graphical login operation, the helper daemon starts with user session scope and attempts to connect to VBoxDRMClient using an IPC connection. When VBoxDRMClient has received a corresponding command from the host, it is forwarded to the helper daemon over IPC and the action is then performed.

By default, VBoxDRMClient allows any process to connect to its IPC socket. This can be restricted by using the following steps:

  1. The Guest Additions Linux installer creates a vboxdrmipc user group. A corresponding user needs to be added to this group.

  2. You must set the DRMIpcRestricted guest property, as follows:

    VBoxManage guestproperty set "VM name" /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/DRMIpcRestricted 1 \
    --flags RDONLYGUEST

    It is important to set only the RDONLYGUEST flag for the property, so that it cannot be changed from inside the guest.

Note

Both steps are required. If one of them is missing, all processes will have access to the IPC socket.

Restricted mode can be disabled by unsetting the guest property, as follows:

VBoxManage guestproperty unset "VM name" /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/DRMIpcRestricted

4.2.2.4. 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.

4.2.2.5. 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-version/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.

4.2.3.1. 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 Section 4.2.1.1, “Installing the Windows Guest Additions”.

    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 command as root:

    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.

4.2.3.2. Unattended Installation of the Oracle Solaris Guest Additions

You can configure unattended installation of the Oracle VM VirtualBox Guest Additions when you create a new VM using the Create Virtual Machine wizard. Select the Guest Additions check box on the Unattended Guest OS Install page of the wizard.

Guest Additions are installed automatically, following completion of the guest OS installation.

4.2.3.3. 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

4.2.3.4. 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 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 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 window.

  • From the command line, you can create shared folders using VBoxManage, as follows:

    VBoxManage sharedfolder add "VM name" --name "sharename" --hostpath "C:\test"

    See Section 8.42, “VBoxManage sharedfolder”.

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 check box in 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 check box 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 macOS, 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/sharename 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 Explorer. 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   defaults  0   0
  • In a Oracle Solaris guest, use the following command:

    mount -F vboxfs [-o OPTIONS] sharename mountpoint

    Replace sharename, use a lowercase string, with the share name specified with VBoxManage or VirtualBox Manager. 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 automatic 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.

  • 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 the more generic /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/SharedFolders/MountPrefix can be used to override the automatic mount directory and prefix. See Section 4.7, “Guest Properties”.

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 version of the 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 systems, 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 destination specifies where the data from the source should go to. Transferring data from the source to the destination 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 destination. However, when transferring data from the guest OS to the host, the guest OS this time became the source and the host is the destination.

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 command.

Figure 4.1. Drag and Drop Menu Options

Drag and Drop Menu Options

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. 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 destination operating system, which receives 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 windows.

  • Files: From file managers such as Windows Explorer, Nautilus, and Finder.

  • Directories: For directories, the same formats apply as for files.

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 Control) 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.

On Linux hosts and guests, programs can query for drag and drop data while the drag operation is still in progress. For example, on LXDE using the PCManFM file manager. This currently is not supported. As a workaround, a different file manager, such as Nautilus, can be used instead.

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 Windows, 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:

  • It is only available for certain Windows, Linux, and Oracle Solaris guests. In particular:

    • 3D acceleration with Windows guests requires Windows 2000 or later. 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.

  • 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 for details.

  • Because 3D support is still experimental at this time, it is disabled by default and must be manually enabled in the VM settings. See Section 3.6, “Display Settings”.

    Note

    Untrusted guest systems should not be allowed to use the 3D acceleration features of Oracle VM VirtualBox, 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.

To enable Aero theme support, the Oracle VM VirtualBox WDDM video driver must be installed, which is available with the Guest Additions installation. The WDDM driver is not installed by default for Vista and Windows 7 guests 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 on Windows. See your Windows platform documentation for details of how to enable the Aero theme.

Technically, Oracle VM VirtualBox implements 3D acceleration by installing an additional hardware 3D driver inside the 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. The host then 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 macOS 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:

  • Only available for Windows guests, running Windows XP or later.

  • Guest Additions must be installed.

  • Because 2D support is still experimental at this time, it is disabled by default and must be manually enabled in the VM settings. See Section 3.6, “Display Settings”.

Technically, Oracle VM VirtualBox implements this by exposing video overlay DirectDraw capabilities 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.

  • Supported Linux or Oracle Solaris guests running the X Window System.

After seamless windows are enabled, Oracle VM VirtualBox suppresses the display of the desktop background of your guest, allowing you to run the windows of your guest operating system seamlessly next to the windows of your host.

Figure 4.2. Seamless Windows on a Host Desktop

Seamless Windows on a Host Desktop

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 directions.

To accomplish this, Oracle VM VirtualBox establishes a private communication channel between 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 predefined 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 service 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.

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 Section 8.43, “VBoxManage guestproperty”. 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 version-number
Copyright (C) 2005-2022 Oracle and/or its affiliates

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: version-number,
    timestamp: 1229098279479515000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxControl.exe, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279651731000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxHook.dll, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279804835000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxDisp.dll, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279880611000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxMRXNP.dll, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279882618000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxService.exe, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279883195000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxTray.exe, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279885027000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxGuest.sys, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279886838000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxMouse.sys, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279890600000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxSF.sys, value: version-numberr40720,
    timestamp: 1229098279893056000, flags:
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/Components/VBoxVideo.sys, value: version-numberr40720,
    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"
VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version version-number
Copyright (C) 2005-2022 Oracle and/or its affiliates

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. 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 version-number
Copyright (C) 2005-2022 Oracle and/or its affiliates

Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Release, value: 2.6.28-18-generic,
    timestamp: 1265813265835667000, flags: <NULL>
Name: /VirtualBox/GuestInfo/OS/Version, value: #59-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jan 28 01:23:03 UTC 2010,
    timestamp: 1265813265836305000, flags: <NULL>
      ...

For more complex needs, you can use the Oracle VM VirtualBox programming interfaces. See Chapter 11, Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Interfaces.

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 provide support to create new folders and to rename or delete files.

This feature is useful when the VM window of a guest is not visible. For example, when the guest is running in headless mode.

Note

To use the Guest Control File Manager, the guest must be running. For powered-off guests, it is disabled automatically.

Figure 4.3. Guest Control File Manager

Guest Control File Manager

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. Open the Guest Control File Manager. Do either of the following:

    • In the guest VM, select Machine, File Manager.

    • In VirtualBox Manager, click on the machine name. Click File Manager in the machine tools menu for the VM.

    The left pane shows the files on the host system.

  2. Create a guest session.

    At the bottom of the Guest Control File Manager, enter authentication credentials for a user on the guest system.

    Click Create Session.

    The contents of the guest VM file system appears in the right pane of the Guest Control File Manager.

  3. Transfer files between the guest and the host system by using the move and copy file transfer icons.

    You can copy and move files from the guest to the host system or from the host system to the guest.

  4. Close the Guest Control File Manager.

    Click Close to end the guest session.

4.9. Guest Control of Applications

The Guest Additions enable starting of applications inside a guest VM from the host system. This feature can be used to automate deployment of software within the guest.

For this to work, the application needs to be installed on 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.

The Guest Additions for Windows allow for automatic updating. This applies for already installed Guest Additions versions. 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 Section 8.44, “VBoxManage guestcontrol”.

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 macOS hosts.

  • Memory ballooning does not work well with large pages enabled. To turn off large pages support for a VM, run VBoxManage modifyvm vmname --large-pages 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 machine 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 Section 8.20, “VBoxManage controlvm”.

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" --guest-memory-balloon 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 Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

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 macOS 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. 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 products, 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 Additions 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 eliminate, 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" --page-fusion on

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 Section 8.46, “VBoxManage metrics” 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. See Section 13.3.4, “Potentially Insecure Operations”.

4.11. Controlling Virtual Monitor Topology

4.11.1. X11/Wayland Desktop Environments

The Guest Additions provide services for controlling the guest system's monitor topology. Monitor topology means the resolution of each virtual monitor and its state (disabled/enabled). The resolution of a virtual monitor can be modified from the host side either by resizing the window that hosts the virtual monitor, by using the View menu or the VBoxManage controlvm vmname setscreenlayout command. On guest operating systems with X11/Wayland desktops this is put into effect by either of the following two services:

        VBoxClient --vmsvga
        VBoxDRMClient
      

The following are some details about guest screen resolution control functionality:

  • On X11/Wayland desktops the resizing service is started during desktop session initialization, that is desktop login. On X11 desktops VBoxClient --vmsvga handles screen topology through the RandR extension. On Wayland clients VBoxDRMClient is used. The decision is made automatically at each desktop session start.

  • On 32-bit guest operating systems VBoxDRMClient is always used, in order to work around bugs.

  • Since the monitor topology control services are initialized during the desktop session start, it is impossible to control the monitor resolution of display managers such as GDM or LightDM. This default behavior can be changed by setting the guest property /VirtualBox/GuestAdd/DRMResize of the virtual machine to any value. See Section 4.7, “Guest Properties” for details of how to update guest properties. When this guest property is set then VBoxDRMClient is started during the guest OS boot and stays active all the time, for both the display manager login screen and the desktop session.

4.11.1.1. Known Limitations

VBoxDRMClient is not able to handle arbitrary guest monitor topologies. Specifically, disabling a guest monitor that is not the last one invalidates the monitor topology due to limitations in the vmwgfx.ko Linux kernel module. For example, when the guest is configured to have four monitors it is not recommended to disable the second or third monitor.

Chapter 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:

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

In a computing device, hard disks and CD/DVD drives are connected to a device called a hard disk controller, which drives hard disk operation and data transfers. Oracle VM VirtualBox can emulate the most common types of hard disk controllers typically found in computing devices: IDE, SATA (AHCI), SCSI, SAS, USB-based, NVMe and virtio-scsi 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, called device 0 and device 1, to a controller. Typical PCs had two connectors for such cables. As a result, support for up to four IDE devices was most common: primary device 0, primary device 1, secondary device 0, and secondary device 1.

    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, device 0 on the secondary channel, is preconfigured to be the virtual machine's virtual CD/DVD drive. However, you can change the default setting.

    Even if your guest OS 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 OS in that machine may expect a particular controller type and crash if it is not found.

    After you have created a new virtual machine with the New Virtual Machine wizard in VirtualBox Manager, 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 more recent standard than IDE. 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 OS, 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 OSes that do not have device support for AHCI. In particular, there is no support for AHCI in Windows versions before Windows Vista. Legacy Windows versions such as Windows XP, even with SP3 installed, 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 window.

    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 OS, do the following. Go to the Storage page of the machine's Settings window, 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 Section 8.27, “VBoxManage storagectl”.

  • SCSI is another established industry standard, standing for Small Computer System Interface. SCSI is as a generic interface for data transfer between all kinds of devices, including storage devices. SCSI is still used for connecting some 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 optionally supports LSI Logic and BusLogic SCSI controllers, to each of which up to fifteen virtual hard disks can be attached.

    To enable a SCSI controller, on the Storage page of a virtual machine's Settings window, 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 OSes 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.

  • Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) is another bus standard which uses the SCSI command set. As opposed to SCSI physical devices, serial cables are used instead of parallel cables. This 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 255 devices can be connected to the SAS controller.

    Warning

    As with SATA, the SAS controller will only be seen by OSes 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 OSes support these devices and ship generic drivers making third-party drivers superfluous. In particular, legacy OSes 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 standard for connecting non volatile memory (NVM) directly over PCI Express to lift the bandwidth limitation of the previously used SATA protocol for solid-state devices. Unlike other standards the command set is very simple in order to achieve maximum throughput and is not compatible with ATA or SCSI. OSes 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.

  • Virtual I/O Device SCSI is a standard to connect virtual storage devices like hard disks or optical drives to a VM. Recent Linux and Windows versions support these devices, but Windows needs additional drivers. Currently virtio-scsi controller support is experimental.

    Warning

    The virtio-scsi controller will only be seen by OSes with device support for it. In particular, there is no built-in support in Windows. So Windows will not see such disks unless you install additional drivers.

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 OS.

  • 15 slots attached to the SCSI controller, if enabled and supported by the guest OS.

  • Up to 255 slots attached to the SAS controller, if enabled and supported by the guest OS.

  • Eight slots attached to the virtual USB controller, if enabled and supported by the guest OS.

  • Up to 255 slots attached to the NVMe controller, if enabled and supported by the guest OS.

  • Up to 256 slots attached to the virtio-scsi controller, if enabled and supported by the guest OS.

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 OS 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 Section 8.31, “VBoxManage modifymedium”.

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 supported. 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 Section 1.8, “Creating Your First Virtual Machine”, 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 allocated 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.

5.3. 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 legacy Oracle VM VirtualBox versions.

The known media can be viewed and changed using the Virtual Media Manager tool, which you access by clicking Media on the global Tools menu in VirtualBox Manager.

Figure 5.1. The Virtual Media Manager, Showing Hard Disk Images

The Virtual Media Manager, Showing Hard Disk Images

The known media are conveniently grouped in separate tabs for the supported formats. These formats are:

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 known media.

  • Create a new disk image.

  • Copy an image to create another one.

    For virtual hard disks, you can specify one of the following target types: VDI, VHD, or VMDK.

  • Move an image to another location.

    A file dialog prompts you for the new image file location.

    When you use the Virtual Media Manager to move a disk image, Oracle VM VirtualBox updates all related configuration files automatically.

    Note

    Always use the Virtual Media Manager or the VBoxManage modifymedium command to move a disk image.

    If you use a file management feature of the host OS to move a disk image to a new location, run the VBoxManage modifymedium --setlocation command to configure the new path of the disk image on the host file system. This command updates the Oracle VM VirtualBox configuration automatically.

  • Remove an image from the known media. You can optionally delete the image file when removing the image.

  • Release an image to detach it from a VM. This action only applies if the image is currently attached to a VM as a virtual hard disk.

  • Clear all inaccessible disk images from the list. The disk images are released from the VMs they are attached to and removed from the known media.

    Note

    This option is for optical disks and floppy disks only.

  • Search for an image by name or UUID.

  • View and edit the Properties of a disk image.

    Available properties include the following:

    • Type: Specifies the snapshot behavior of the disk. See Section 5.4, “Special Image Write Modes”.

    • Location: Specifies the location of the disk image file on the host system. You can use a file dialog to browse for the disk image location.

    • Description: Specifies a short description of the disk image.

    • Size: Specifies the size of the disk image. You can use the slider to increase or decrease the disk image size.

    • Information: Specifies detailed information about the disk image.

  • Refresh the property values of the selected disk image.

To perform these actions, highlight the medium in the Virtual Media Manager and then do one of the following:

  • Click an icon in the Virtual Media Manager toolbar.

  • Right-click the medium and select an option.

Use the Storage page in a VM's Settings window to create a new disk image. By default, disk images are stored in the VM's folder.

You can copy hard disk image files to other host systems and then import them in to VMs from the host system. However, some Windows guest OSes may require that you configure the new VM 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 VM, Oracle VM VirtualBox issues an error because Oracle VM VirtualBox assigns a universally unique identifier (UUID) to each disk image to ensure that it is only used one time. See Section 5.6, “Cloning Disk Images”. Also, if you want to copy a VM to another system, use the Oracle VM VirtualBox import and export features. See Section 1.15, “Importing and Exporting Virtual Machines”.

5.3.1. Creating a Virtual Hard Disk Image

Use the Create Virtual Hard Disk wizard to create a hard disk image.

  1. Display the Hard Disks tab in Virtual Media Manager and click Create.

    The Create Virtual Hard Disk wizard is shown.

    Figure 5.2. Create Virtual Hard Disk Wizard

    Create Virtual Hard Disk Wizard
  2. On the Virtual Hard Disk File Type page, select a file type for the new virtual hard disk image.

    Click Next.

  3. On the Storage on Physical Hard Disk page, select whether the size of the virtual hard disk file is dynamically allocated or is of fixed size.

    Click Next.

  4. On the File Location and Size page, configure the location of the virtual hard disk file and use the slider to set the size limit for the virtual hard disk.

    Click Finish to create the virtual hard disk file.

    The virtual hard disk image is created in the specified location and added to the Hard Disks tab in Virtual Media Manager.

5.3.2. Creating a Virtual Optical Disk Image

Use the VISO Creator tool to create a virtual optical disk image. This enables you to create a virtual ISO from selected files on the host.

  1. Display the Optical Disks tab in Virtual Media Manager and click Create.

    The VISO Creator tool is shown.

  2. Create the virtual ISO file.

    1. Configure the name of the ISO file.

      Click Configuration and enter a name in the Viso Name field.

    2. Add files to your virtual ISO.

      In the Host File System pane, select files to copy from the host system to the virtual ISO.

      Click Add Items To VISO. The files are displayed in the VISO Content pane.

      The following file operations are also available:

      • To create folders on the virtual ISO, click Create New Directory.

      • To remove files from the virtual ISO, select files in the VISO Content pane and click Remove Items From VISO.

      • To remove all files from the virtual ISO, click Reset the VISO Content.

  3. Create the virtual ISO image.

    Click Create.

    A virtual ISO file with the specified name and content is created.

5.3.3. Creating a Virtual Floppy Disk Image

Use the Floppy Disk Creator tool to create a floppy disk image.

  1. Display the Floppy Disks tab in Virtual Media Manager and click Create.

    The Floppy Disk Creator tool is shown.

  2. Configure the following settings:

    • File Path: The name and location of the floppy disk image.

    • Size: Select from the list of supported floppy disk sizes.

    • Format Disk as FAT 12: This is the default format used for most floppy disks. For an unformatted disk, do not select this option.

  3. Create the floppy disk image file.

    Click Create.

    The floppy disk image is created in the specified location and added to the Floppy Disks tab in Virtual Media Manager.

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 irrespective 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 modifymedium. See Section 8.31, “VBoxManage modifymedium”. Alternatively, use VBoxManage storageattach to attach the image to a VM and specify the --mtype argument. See Section 8.26, “VBoxManage storageattach”.

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 Section 1.11, “Snapshots”, 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 Section 5.5, “Differencing Images”.

    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 filesystems 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.

    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 operations 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 modifymedium. See Section 8.31, “VBoxManage modifymedium”.

  • 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 respect to snapshots.

Assume you have installed your guest OS 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 OS 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.

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.

Figure 5.3. Differencing Images, Shown in Virtual Media Manager

Differencing Images, Shown in 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.

    If you restore a snapshot, and want to go back to the exact machine state that was stored in the snapshot, the following happens:

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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 image 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 differencing 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 OS setup. However, you should only make copies of virtual disk images using the utility supplied with Oracle VM VirtualBox. See Section 8.32, “VBoxManage clonemedium”. This is because Oracle VM VirtualBox assigns a 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 the VBoxManage clonevm command and import that instead.

Note that 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 the following:

scsi-SATA_VBOX_HARDDISK_VB5cfdb1e2-c251e503

The ID for the copied image can be determined as follows:

hdparm -i /dev/sda

5.7. Host Input/Output Caching

Oracle VM VirtualBox can optionally disable the I/O caching that the host OS 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 OS 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 Section 5.10, “iSCSI Servers”.

While buffering is a useful default setting for virtualizing a few machines on a desktop computer, 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 OSes 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 <controllername> --hostiocache off

See Section 8.27, “VBoxManage storagectl”.

For the above reasons, Oracle VM VirtualBox 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.

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 bandwidth 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 OS. 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 VirtualBox Manager 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 configuration tools such as the Windows Device Manager, is always VBOX CD-ROM, irrespective of the current configuration of the virtual drive. This is to prevent hardware detection from being triggered in the guest OS every time the configuration 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

  • Playing encrypted DVDs

To enable host drive passthrough you can use the --passthrough option of the VBoxManage storageattach command. See Section 8.26, “VBoxManage storageattach”.

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 OS 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 Section 8.26, “VBoxManage storageattach”.

5.11. vboximg-mount: A Utility for FUSE Mounting a Virtual Disk Image

vboximg-mount is a command line utility for Mac OS and Linux hosts that provides raw access to an Oracle VM VirtualBox virtual disk image on the host system. Use this utility to mount, view, and optionally modify the disk image contents.

The utility is based on Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE) technology and uses the VirtualBox runtime engine. Ensure that Oracle VM VirtualBox is running on the host system.

Note

When using vboximg-mount, ensure that the following conditions apply:

  • The disk image is not being used by any other systems, such as by guest VMs.

  • No VMs are running on the host system.

Raw access using FUSE is preferred over direct loopback mounting of virtual disk images, because it is snapshot aware. It can selectively merge disk differencing images in an exposed virtual hard disk, providing historical or up-to-date representations of the virtual disk contents.

vboximg-mount enables you to view information about registered VMs, their attached disk media, and any snapshots. Also, you can view partition information for a disk image.

The vboximg-mount command includes experimental read-only access to file systems inside a VM disk image. This feature enables you to extract some files from the disk image without starting the VM and without requiring third-party file system drivers on the host system. FAT, NTFS, ext2, ext3, and ext4 file systems are supported.

Use the --help option to view information about the vboximg-mount command usage. The complete command reference is described in Section 8.55, “vboximg-mount”.

When vboximg-mount mounts an Oracle VM VirtualBox disk image, it creates a one level deep file system at a mount point that you specify. The file system includes a device node that represents the synthesized disk image as a readable or readable-writeable bytestream. This bytestream can be mounted either by using the host OS or by using other FUSE-based file systems.

5.11.1. Viewing Detailed Information About a Virtual Disk Image

The following examples show how to use the vboximg-mount command to view information about virtual disk images.

The following command outputs detailed information about all registered VMs and associated snapshots:

$ vboximg-mount --list --verbose

    ------------------------------------------------------
    VM Name:   "macOS High Sierra 10.13"
    UUID:      3887d96d-831c-4187-a55a-567c504ff0e1
    Location:  /Volumes/work/vm_guests/macOS High Sierra 10.13/macOS High Sierra 10.13.vbox
       -----------------------
       HDD base:   "macOS High Sierra 10.13.vdi"
       UUID:       f9ea7173-6869-4aa9-b487-68023a655980
       Location:   /Volumes/work/vm_guests/macOS High Sierra 10.13/macOS High Sierra 10.13.vdi

         Diff 1:
              UUID:       98c2bac9-cf37-443d-a935-4e879b70166d
              Location:   /Volumes/work/vm_guests/macOS High Sierra 10.13/
              Snapshots/{98c2bac9-cf37-443d-a935-4e879b70166d}.vdi
         Diff 2:
              UUID:       f401f381-7377-40b3-948e-3c61241b1a42
              Location:   /Volumes/work/vm_guests/macOS High Sierra 10.13/
              Snapshots/{f401f381-7377-40b3-948e-3c61241b1a42}.vdi
       -----------------------
       HDD base:   "simple_fixed_disk.vdi"
       UUID:       ffba4d7e-1277-489d-8173-22ca7660773d
       Location:   /Volumes/work/vm_guests/macOS High Sierra 10.13/simple_fixed_disk.vdi

         Diff 1:
              UUID:       aecab681-0d2d-468b-8682-93f79dc97a48
              Location:   /Volumes/work/vm_guests/macOS High Sierra 10.13/
              Snapshots/{aecab681-0d2d-468b-8682-93f79dc97a48}.vdi
         Diff 2:
              UUID:       70d6b34d-8422-47fa-8521-3b6929a1971c
              Location:   /Volumes/work/vm_guests/macOS High Sierra 10.13/
              Snapshots/{70d6b34d-8422-47fa-8521-3b6929a1971c}.vdi
      ------------------------------------------------------
      VM Name:   "debian"
      UUID:      5365ab5f-470d-44c0-9863-dad532ee5905
      Location:  /Volumes/work/vm_guests/debian/debian.vbox
         -----------------------
         HDD base:   "debian.vdi"
         UUID:       96d2e92e-0d4e-46ab-a0f1-008fdbf997e7
         Location:   /Volumes/work/vm_guests/debian/ol7.vdi

            Diff 1:
                UUID:       f9cc866a-9166-42e9-a503-bbfe9b7312e8
                Location:   /Volumes/work/vm_guests/debian/Snapshots/
                {f9cc866a-9166-42e9-a503-bbfe9b7312e8}.vdi

The following command outputs partition information about the specified disk image:

$ vboximg-mount --image=f9ea7173-6869-4aa9-b487-68023a655980 --list

    Virtual disk image:

       Path: /Volumes/work/vm_guests/macOS High Sierra 10.13/macOS High Sierra 10.13.vdi
       UUID: f9ea7173-6869-4aa9-b487-68023a655980

      #     Start  Sectors     Size       Offset  Type
      1        40  409599    199.9M        20480  EFI System
      2    409640  67453071   32.1G    209735680  Hierarchical File System Plus (HFS+)
      3  67862712  1269535   107.8M  34745708544  Apple Boot (Recovery HD)

5.11.2. Mounting a Virtual Disk Image

The following steps show how to use the vboximg-mount command to mount a partition of a virtual disk image on the host OS.

  1. Create a mount point on the host OS. For example:

    $ mkdir macos_sysdisk
  2. Show partition information about the virtual disk image.

    $ vboximg-mount --image=uuid --list

    where uuid is the UUID of the disk image.

  3. Use vboximg-mount to perform a FUSE mount of a partition on the virtual disk image. For example:

    $ vboximg-mount --image=uuid -p 2 macos_sysdisk

    where uuid is the UUID for the disk image.

    In this example, partition 2 is mounted on the macos_sysdisk mount point. The mount includes all snapshots for the disk image.

  4. Use the host OS to mount the vhdd device node. The FUSE-mounted device node represents the virtual disk image.

    $ ls macos_sysdisk
       macOS High Sierra 10.13.vdi  vhdd
    $ sudo mount macos_sysdisk/vhdd /mnt

Chapter 6. Virtual Networking

As mentioned in Section 3.9, “Network Settings”, 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 window in VirtualBox Manager. You can configure all eight network cards on the command line using VBoxManage modifyvm. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

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:

  • 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 Section 6.3.3, “NAT Limitations”.

  • NAT Network. A NAT network is a type of internal network that allows outbound connections. See Section 6.4, “Network Address Translation Service”.

  • Bridged networking. This is for more advanced networking needs, such as network simulations 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 network 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.

  • Cloud networking. This can be used to connect a local VM to a subnet on a remote cloud service.

  • 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 directly, easily, and transparently, over an existing network infrastructure.

    • VDE (Virtual Distributed Ethernet) networking: Used to connect to a Virtual Distributed 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.

The following table provides an overview of the most important networking modes.

Table 6.1. Overview of Networking Modes

Mode

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 Internet 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 Section 6.3.1, “Configuring Port Forwarding with NAT”.

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 operating 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.

Note

Even though the NAT engine separates the VM from the host, the VM has access to the host's loopback interface and the network services running on it. The host's loopback interface is accessible as IP address 10.0.2.2. This access to the host's loopback interface can be extremely useful in some cases, for example when running a web application under development in the VM and the database server on the loopback interface on the host.

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 Section 9.8, “Fine Tuning the Oracle VM VirtualBox NAT Engine”.

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 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 Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

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" --nat-pf1 "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 --nat-pf 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 Section 8.20, “VBoxManage controlvm”.

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.

6.3.3. 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 traceroute, rely on the ICMP protocol for sending and receiving messages. Oracle VM VirtualBox ICMP support has some limitations, meaning ping should work but 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 macOS, 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, grouping 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

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

NAT networks can also be created, deleted, and configured using the Network Manager tool in VirtualBox Manager. Click File, Tools, Network Manager. See Section 6.11, “Network Manager”.

Note

Even though the NAT service separates the VM from the host, the VM has access to the host's loopback interface and the network services running on it. The host's loopback interface is accessible as IP address 10.0.2.2 (assuming the default configuration, in other configurations it's the respective address in the configured IPv4 or IPv6 network range). This access to the host's loopback interface can be extremely useful in some cases, for example when running a web application under development in the VM and the database server on the loopback interface on the host.

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 networking, 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 Network 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 interfaces 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.

Note

Bridging to a wireless interface is done differently from bridging to a wired interface, 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 outgoing 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 Ethernet 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:

  • macOS 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 networking. 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 Crossbow 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 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 window in VirtualBox Manager. In the Network category of the Settings window, select Internal Network 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<x> intnet

    Optionally, you can specify a network name with the command:

    VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" --intnet<x> "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 participating 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 Section 8.50, “VBoxManage dhcpserver”.

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 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.

Note

Hosts running recent macOS versions do not support host-only adapters. These adapters are replaced by host-only networks, which define a network mask and an IP address range, where the host network interface receives the lowest address in the range.

The host network interface gets added and removed dynamically by the operating system, whenever a host-only network is used by virtual machines.

On macOS hosts, choose the Host-Only Network option when configuring a network adapter. The Host-Only Adapter option is provided for legacy support.

Host-only networking is particularly useful for preconfigured virtual appliances, where multiple 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 enable a host-only network interface for a virtual machine, do either of the following:

  • Go to the Network page in the virtual machine's Settings dialog and select an Adapter tab. Ensure that the Enable Network Adapter check box is selected and choose Host-Only Adapter for the Attached To field.

  • On the command line, use VBoxManage modifyvm vmname --nicx hostonly. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

For host-only networking, as with internal networking, you may find the DHCP server useful that is built into Oracle VM VirtualBox. This is enabled by default and manages the IP addresses in the host-only network. Without the DHCP server you would need to configure all IP addresses statically.

  • In VirtualBox Manager you can configure the DHCP server by choosing File, Tools, Network Manager. The Network Manager window lists all host-only networks which are presently in use. Select the network name and then use the DHCP Server tab to configure DHCP server settings. See Section 6.11, “Network Manager”.

  • Alternatively, you can use the VBoxManage dhcpserver command. See Section 8.50, “VBoxManage dhcpserver”.

Note

On Linux and macOS hosts the number of host-only interfaces is limited to 128. There is no such limit for Oracle Solaris and Windows hosts.

On Linux, macOS and Solaris Oracle VM VirtualBox will only allow IP addresses in 192.168.56.0/21 range to be assigned to host-only adapters. For IPv6 only link-local addresses are allowed. If other ranges are desired, they can be enabled by creating /etc/vbox/networks.conf and specifying allowed ranges there. For example, to allow 10.0.0.0/8 and 192.168.0.0/16 IPv4 ranges as well as 2001::/64 range put the following lines into /etc/vbox/networks.conf:

      * 10.0.0.0/8 192.168.0.0/16
      * 2001::/64
      

Lines starting with the hash # are ignored. The following example allows any addresses, effectively disabling range control:

      * 0.0.0.0/0 ::/0
      

If the file exists, but no ranges are specified in it, no addresses will be assigned to host-only adapters. The following example effectively disables all ranges:

      # No addresses are allowed for host-only adapters
      

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<x> generic
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" --nic-generic-drv<x> UDPTunnel
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" --nic-property<x> dest=10.0.0.2
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" --nic-property<x> sport=10001
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 01 on host 1" --nic-property<x> dport=10002
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" --nic<y> generic
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" --nic-generic-drv<y> UDPTunnel
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" --nic-property<y> dest=10.0.0.1
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" --nic-property<y> sport=10002
        VBoxManage modifyvm "VM 02 on host 2" --nic-property<y> 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 protocol, 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<x> generic
    VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" --nic-generic-drv<x> VDE

    To connect to an automatically allocated switch port:

    VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" --nic-property<x> network=/tmp/switch1

    To connect to a specific switch port n:

    VBoxManage modifyvm "VM name" --nic-property<x> network=/tmp/switch1[<n>]

    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 <VLAN>
    vde$ port/setvlan <port> <VLAN>

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 accompanying the software. See also http://wiki.virtualsquare.org.

6.10. Cloud Networks

Cloud networks can be used for connections from a local VM to a subnet on a remote Oracle Cloud Infrastructure instance. See Section 6.11.3, “Cloud Networks Tab” for details of how to create and configure a cloud network using the Network Manager tool in VirtualBox Manager.

To enable a cloud network interface for a virtual machine, do either of the following:

  • Go to the Network page in the virtual machine's Settings dialog and select an Adapter tab. Ensure that the Enable Network Adapter check box is selected and choose Cloud Network for the Attached To field.

  • On the command line, use VBoxManage modifyvm vmname --nicx cloud. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

6.11. Network Manager

The Network Manager tool in VirtualBox Manager enables you to create, delete, and configure the following types of networks used by Oracle VM VirtualBox:

To display the Network Manager, go to the global Tools menu and click Network.

6.11.1. Host-Only Networks Tab

The Host-Only Networks tab in Network Manager lists all host-only networks that are currently in use.

  • Click Create to add a new host-only network to the list.

  • Click Remove to remove a host-only network from the list.

  • Click Properties to show or hide settings for the selected host-only network.

To configure a host-only network, select the network name in the Name field and do the following:

  • Use the Adapter tab to configure the network adapter for the host-only network.

  • Use the DHCP Server tab to configure settings for the DHCP server used by the host-only network. The DHCP server is built into Oracle VM VirtualBox and manages IP addresses for the network automatically.

6.11.2. NAT Networks Tab

The NAT Networks tab in Network Manager lists all NAT networks that are currently in use.

  • Click Create to add a new NAT network to the list.

  • Click Remove to remove a NAT network from the list.

  • Click Properties to show or hide settings for the selected NAT network.

To configure a NAT network, select the network name in the Name field and do the following:

  • Use the General Options tab to configure the network settings used by the NAT network. For example, the network address and mask of the NAT service interface.

  • Use the Port Forwarding tab to configure port forwarding rules used by the NAT network.

6.11.3. Cloud Networks Tab

The Cloud Networks tab in Network Manager lists all cloud networks that are currently in use.

  • Click Create to add a new cloud network to the list.

  • Click Remove to remove a cloud network from the list.

  • Click Properties to show or hide settings for the selected cloud network.

To configure a cloud network, select the network name in the Name field and specify the following:

  • Name: The name used for the cloud network.

  • Provider: The cloud service provider, such as Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

  • Profile: The cloud profile used to connect to the cloud network.

  • ID: The OCID for the cloud tunneling network. Click the Network icon to view the subnets on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure that are available for tunneling traffic.

    See Section 1.16.10, “Using a Cloud Network” for details of how you can use the VBoxManage cloud command to create and configure a virtual cloud network (VCN) on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

6.12. Limiting Bandwidth for Network Input/Output

Oracle VM VirtualBox supports limiting of the maximum bandwidth used for network transmission. 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

6.13. 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 information.

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:

  • Whenever possible use the virtio network adapter. Otherwise, use one of the Intel PRO/1000 adapters.

  • Use a Bridged attachment instead of NAT.

  • 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.

  • 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 Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

    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.

Chapter 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 Section 1.5, “Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs”.

Oracle provides support for the VirtualBox Remote Display Protocol (VRDP) in such an Oracle VM VirtualBox extension package.

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 from VirtualBox Manager in the Display settings, see Section 3.6, “Display Settings”, 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 --vrde-port 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 --vrde-port 5000,5010-5012 configures the server to bind to one of the ports 5000, 5010, 5011, or 5012. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

The actual port used by a running VM can be either queried with the VBoxManage showvminfo command or seen in VirtualBox Manager on the Runtime tab of the Session Information dialog, which is accessible from the Machine menu of the VM window.

Oracle VM VirtualBox supports IPv6. 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 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, Accessories, Remote Desktop Connection. If you use the Run dialog, you can enter options directly. For example:

    mstsc 1.2.3.4:3389

    Replace 1.2.3.4 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 address 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.

    With rdesktop, use a command line such as the following:

    $ rdesktop -a 16 -N 1.2.3.4:3389

    Replace 1.2.3.4 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.

  • You can use the Remmina remote desktop client 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://1.2.3.4:3389

    Replace 1.2.3.4 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.

7.1.2. VBoxHeadless, the Remote Desktop Server

While any VM started from VirtualBox Manager is capable of running virtual machines remotely, it is not convenient to have to run the full 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 optionally deliver VRDP data. This front-end has no dependencies on the X Window system on Linux and Oracle Solaris hosts.

Note

In legacy releases of Oracle VM VirtualBox, the headless server was called VBoxVRDP. For backwards compatibility, the Oracle VM VirtualBox installation still includes an executable with that name.

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 uuid|vmname

    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. The full documentation of the command is in Section 7.3, “VBoxHeadless”.

  • Start VBoxHeadless from VirtualBox Manager, 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 uuid|vmname --vrde on

To disable the VRDP server:

VBoxHeadless --startvm uuid|vmname --vrde off

To have the VRDP server enabled depending on the VM configuration, as for other front-ends:

VBoxHeadless --startvm uuid|vmname --vrde config

This command is the same as the following:

VBoxHeadless --startvm uuid|vmname

If you start the VM with VBoxManage startvm then the configuration settings of the VM are always used.

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 Section 7.1, “Remote Display (VRDP Support)”. The procedures assume a Linux server is used.

  • An ISO file accessible from the server, containing the installation data for the guest operating 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 Section 7.1.1, “Common Third-Party RDP Viewers” 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"
  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 Section 7.1.1, “Common Third-Party RDP Viewers” 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 Section 3.11.1, “USB Settings”. 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. Some versions of uttsc, a client tailored for the use with Sun Ray thin clients, support accessing remote USB devices. RDP clients for other platforms will be provided in future Oracle VM VirtualBox versions.

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 command with the --vrde-auth-type option. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”. 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 WinLogon system.

      • On macOS hosts, VBoxAuth.dylib authenticates users against the host's directory 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 credentials 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:

      1. Enable VBoxAuthSimple with the following command:

        VBoxManage setproperty vrdeauthlibrary "VBoxAuthSimple"
      2. To enable the library for a particular VM, you must switch authentication to external, as follows:

        VBoxManage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-auth-type external

        Replace VM-name with the VM name or UUID.

      3. You then need to configure users and passwords by writing items into the machine'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/user" hash

        Replace VM-name with the VM name or UUID, user with the user name who should be allowed to log in and hash with the encrypted password. The following command example obtains the hash value for the password secret:

        $ VBoxManage internalcommands passwordhash "secret"
        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:

        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 authentication 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.

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:

  • RDP 4 authentication was used historically. With RDP 4, 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.

  • RDP 5.1 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. However, as this hard-coded private key became public some years ago, RDP 5.1 authentication is also insecure.

  • RDP 5.2 or later authentication uses Enhanced RDP Security, which means that an external security protocol is used to secure the connection. RDP 4 and RDP 5.1 use Standard RDP Security. The VRDP server supports Enhanced RDP Security with TLS protocol and, as a part of the 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 allowed. 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 version of OpenSSL used by Oracle VM VirtualBox supports TLS versions 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3.

    For example, the following command enables a client to use either Standard or Enhanced RDP Security connection:

    vboxmanage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-property "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 Certificate Authority (CA) Certificate. The following example shows how to generate a server certificate.

    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 \
      --vrde-property "Security/CACertificate=path/ca_cert.pem"
    vboxmanage modifyvm VM-name \
      --vrde-property "Security/ServerCertificate=path/server_cert.pem"
    vboxmanage modifyvm VM-name \
      --vrde-property "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 --vrde-multi-con on

7.1.8. Multiple Remote Monitors

To access two or more remote VM displays you have to enable the VRDP multiconnection mode. See Section 7.1.7, “Multiple Connections to the VRDP Server”.

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 RDP 6 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.

The VRDP server automatically detects video streams in a guest as frequently updated rectangular 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 --vrde-video-channel on

The quality of the video is defined as a value from 10 to 100 percent, representing a JPEG compression level, where lower numbers mean lower quality but higher compression. The quality can be changed using the following command:

VBoxManage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-video-channel-quality 75

7.1.10. VRDP Customization

You can 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 --vrde-property Client/DisableDisplay=1
$ VBoxManage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-property Client/DisableInput=1
$ VBoxManage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-property Client/DisableUSB=1
$ VBoxManage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-property Client/DisableAudio=1
$ VBoxManage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-property Client/DisableClipboard=1
$ VBoxManage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-property Client/DisableUpstreamAudio=1

To reenable a feature, use a similar command without the trailing 1. For example:

$ VBoxManage modifyvm VM-name --vrde-property Client/DisableDisplay=

7.2. Teleporting

Oracle VM VirtualBox supports teleporting. Teleporting is moving a virtual machine over a network 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 macOS 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 obviously 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.

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 targetvmname --teleporter on --teleporter-port port

    targetvmname is the name of the virtual machine on the target host and port is a TCP/IP port number to be used on both the source and the target hosts. For example, use 6000. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

  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 teleported, issue the following command on the source host:

    VBoxManage controlvm sourcevmname teleport --host targethost --port port

    where sourcevmname is the name of the virtual machine on the source host, which is the machine that is currently running. targethost is the host or IP name of the target host on which the machine is waiting for the teleport request, and port must be the same number as specified in the command on the target host. See Section 8.20, “VBoxManage controlvm”.

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, teleporting 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. Oracle 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-portability-level command. See Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

7.3. VBoxHeadless

Oracle VM VirtualBox remote desktop server.

Synopsis

VBoxHeadless [--startvm= [ uuid | vmname ]] [--vrde= on | off | config ] [--vrdeproperty=prop-name=[prop-value]] [--settingspw=[password]] [--settingspwfile=password-file] [--start-paused=vmname] [--capture] [--width=width] [--height=height] [--bitrate=bit-rate] [--filename=filename]

Description

The VBoxHeadless command is an alternate front end that enables you to remotely manage virtual machines (VMs). The front end is a CLI rather than the VirtualBox Manager graphical user interface (GUI).

For information about using this command, see Section 7.1.2, “VBoxHeadless, the Remote Desktop Server”.

Command Options

--startvm=uuid | vmname

Specifies the Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) or name of the VM to start.

Use the VBoxManage list vms command to obtain VM information.

The short versions of this option are -s and -startvm.

--vrde=on | off | config

Specifies how to use the VRDP server. The default value is config. Valid values are as follows:

  • on enables the VRDP server.

    VBoxHeadless --startvm=vmname --vrde=on
  • off disables the VRDP server.

    VBoxHeadless --startvm=vmname --vrde=off
  • config enables the VRDP server depending on the VM configuration.

    VBoxHeadless --startvm=vmname --vrde=config

The short version of this option is -v.

--vrdeproperty=prop-name=prop-value

Specifies a value for one of the following properties:

  • The TCP/Ports property value is a comma-separated list of ports to which the VRDE server can bind. Use a hyphen (-) between two port numbers to specify a range of ports.

  • The TCP/Address property value is the interface IP address to which to bind the VRDE server.

--settingspw=[password]

Specifies a settings password to access encrypted settings. If you do not specify the password on the command line, VBoxHeadless prompts you for the password.

--settingspwfile=password-file

Specifies the file that contains the settings password.

--start-paused=vmname

Starts the specified VM in the paused state.

--capture

Records the VM screen output to a file. In addition to this option, you must use the --filename option to specify the name of the file.

--width=width

Specifies the frame width of the recording in pixels. This option is associated with the --capture option.

--height=height

Specifies the frame height of the recording in pixels. This option is associated with the --capture option.

--bitrate=bit-rate

Specifies the bit rate of the recording in kilobits per second. This option is associated with the --capture option.

--filename=filename

Specifies the name of the file in which to store the recording. The codec used is based on the file extension that you choose. You must specify this option if you use the --capture option.

Examples

The following command starts the ol7u4 VM:

$ VBoxHeadless --startvm "ol7u4"

The following command starts the ol7u6 VM in the Paused state.

$ VBoxHeadless --startvm "ol7u6" --start-paused

The following command starts the ol7u6 VM and records the session. The recording is saved to the ol7u6-recording WebM file.

$ VBoxHeadless --startvm "ol7u6" --capture --filename ol7u6-recording.webm

Chapter 8. VBoxManage

8.1. Introduction

As briefly mentioned in Section 1.18, “Alternative Front-Ends”, 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.

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 version-number
    Copyright (C) 2005-2022 Oracle and/or its affiliates
    
    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'

    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 Section 8.9, “VBoxManage createvm”.

  • To show the configuration of a particular VM, use VBoxManage showvminfo. See Section 8.6, “VBoxManage showvminfo” 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 Section 8.10, “VBoxManage modifyvm”.

  • To change the storage configuration, such as to add a storage controller and then a virtual disk, use VBoxManage storagectl and VBoxManage storageattach. See Section 8.27, “VBoxManage storagectl” and Section 8.26, “VBoxManage storageattach”.

  • To control VM operation, use one of the following:

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.

VBoxManage [ -V | --version ] [--dump-build-type] [ -q | --nologo ] [--settingspw=password] [--settingspwfile=pw-file] [@response-file] [[help]subcommand]

VBoxManage list [--long] [--sorted] [ bridgedifs | cloudnets | cloudprofiles | cloudproviders | cpu-profiles | dhcpservers | dvds | extpacks | floppies | groups | hddbackends | hdds | hostcpuids | hostdrives | hostdvds | hostfloppies | hostinfo | hostonlyifs | hostonlynets | intnets | natnets | ostypes | runningvms | screenshotformats | systemproperties | usbfilters | usbhost | vms | webcams ]

VBoxManage showvminfo < uuid | vmname > [--details] [--machinereadable] [--password-id] [--password]

VBoxManage showvminfo < uuid | vmname > <--log=index> [--password-id id] [--password file|-]

VBoxManage registervm <filename> --password file

VBoxManage unregistervm < uuid | vmname > [--delete]

VBoxManage createvm <--name=name> [--basefolder=basefolder] [--default] [--group=group-ID,...] [--ostype=ostype] [--register] [--uuid=uuid] [--cipher cipher] [--password-id password-id] [--password file]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--name=name] [--groups= group [,group...] ] [--description=description] [--os-type=OS-type] [--icon-file=filename] [--memory=size-in-MB] [--page-fusion= on | off ] [--vram=size-in-MB] [--acpi= on | off ] [--ioapic= on | off ] [--hardware-uuid=UUID] [--cpus=CPU-count] [--cpu-hotplug= on | off ] [--plug-cpu=CPU-ID] [--unplug-cpu=CPU-ID] [--cpu-execution-cap=number] [--pae= on | off ] [--long-mode= on | off ] [--ibpb-on-vm-exit= on | off ] [--ibpb-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--spec-ctrl= on | off ] [--l1d-flush-on-sched= on | off ] [--l1d-flush-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--mds-clear-on-sched= on | off ] [--mds-clear-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--cpu-profile= host | Intel 8086 | Intel 80286 | Intel 80386 ] [--hpet= on | off ] [--hwvirtex= on | off ] [--triple-fault-reset= on | off ] [--apic= on | off ] [--x2apic= on | off ] [--paravirt-provider= none | default | legacy | minimal | hyperv | kvm ] [--paravirt-debug= key=value [,key=value...] ] [--nested-paging= on | off ] [--large-pages= on | off ] [--vtx-vpid= on | off ] [--vtx-ux= on | off ] [--nested-hw-virt= on | off ] [--virt-vmsave-vmload= on | off ] [--accelerate-3d= on | off ] [--accelerate-2d-video= on | off ] [--chipset= ich9 | piix3 ] [--iommu= none | automatic | amd | intel ] [--tpm-type= none | 1.2 | 2.0 | host | swtpm ] [--tpm-location= location ] [--bios-logo-fade-in= on | off ] [--bios-logo-fade-out= on | off ] [--bios-logo-display-time=msec] [--bios-logo-image-path=pathname] [--bios-boot-menu= disabled | menuonly | messageandmenu ] [--bios-apic= disabled | apic | x2apic ] [--bios-system-time-offset=msec] [--bios-pxe-debug= on | off ] [--system-uuid-le= on | off ] [--bootX= none | floppy | dvd | disk | net ] [--rtc-use-utc= on | off ] [--graphicscontroller= none | vboxvga | vmsvga | vboxsvga ] [--snapshot-folder= default | pathname ] [--firmware= bios | efi | efi32 | efi64 ] [--guest-memory-balloon=size-in-MB] [--default-frontend= default | name ] [--vm-process-priority= default | flat | low | normal | high ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--nicN= none | null | nat | bridged | intnet | hostonly | hostonlynet | generic | natnetwork | cloud ] [--nic-typeN= Am79C970A | Am79C973 | 82540EM | 82543GC | 82545EM | virtio ] [--cable-connectedN= on | off ] [--nic-traceN= on | off ] [--nic-trace-fileN=filename] [--nic-propertyN=name= [value]] [--nic-speedN=kbps] [--nic-boot-prioN=priority] [--nic-promiscN= deny | allow-vms | allow-all ] [--nic-bandwidth-groupN= none | name ] [--bridge-adapterN= none | device-name ] [--cloud-networkN=network-name] [--host-only-adapterN= none | device-name ] [--host-only-netN=network-name] [--intnetN=network-name] [--nat-networkN=network-name] [--nic-generic-drvN=driver-name] [--mac-addressN= auto | MAC-address ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--nat-netN= network | default ] [--nat-pfN= [rule-name],tcp | udp,[host-IP],hostport,[guest-IP],guestport ] [--nat-pfN=delete=rule-name] [--nat-tftp-prefixN=prefix] [--nat-tftp-fileN=filename] [--nat-tftp-serverN=IP-address] [--nat-bind-ipN=IP-address] [--nat-dns-pass-domainN= on | off ] [--nat-dns-proxyN= on | off ] [--nat-dns-host-resolverN= on | off ] [--nat-localhostreachableN= on | off ] [--nat-settingsN=[mtu],[socksnd],[sockrcv],[tcpsnd],[tcprcv]] [--nat-alias-modeN= default | [log],[proxyonly],[sameports] ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--mouse= ps2 | usb | usbtablet | usbmultitouch | usbmtscreenpluspad ] [--keyboard= ps2 | usb ] [--uartN= off | IO-baseIRQ ] [--uart-modeN= disconnected | server pipe | client pipe | tcpserver port | tcpclient hostname:port | file filename | device-name ] [--uart-typeN= 16450 | 16550A | 16750 ] [--lpt-modeN=device-name] [--lptN= off | IO-baseIRQ ] [--audio= none | default | null | dsound | was | oss | alsa | pulse | coreaudio ] [--audio-controller= ac97 | hda | sb16 ] [--audio-codec= stac9700 | ad1980 | stac9221 | sb16 ] [--audio-in= on | off ] [--audio-out= on | off ] [--clipboard-mode= disabled | hosttoguest | guesttohost | bidirectional ] [--drag-and-drop= disabled | hosttoguest | guesttohost | bidirectional ] [--monitor-count=number] [--usb-ehci= on | off ] [--usb-ohci= on | off ] [--usb-xhci= on | off ] [--usb-rename=old-namenew-name]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--recording= on | off ] [--recording-screens= all | none | screen-ID[,screen-ID...] ] [--recording-file=filename] [--recording-max-size=MB] [--recording-max-time=msec] [--recording-opts= key=value[,key=value...] ] [--recording-video-fps=fps] [--recording-video-rate=rate] [--recording-video-res=widthheight]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--vrde= on | off ] [--vrde-property=property-name= [property-value]] [--vrde-extpack= default | name ] [--vrde-port=port] [--vrde-address=hostip] [--vrde-auth-type= null | external | guest ] [--vrde-auth-library= default | name ] [--vrde-multi-con= on | off ] [--vrde-reuse-con= on | off ] [--vrde-video-channel= on | off ] [--vrde-video-channel-quality=percent]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--teleporter= on | off ] [--teleporter-port=port] [--teleporter-address= address | empty ] [--teleporter-password=password] [--teleporter-password-file= filename | stdin ] [--cpuid-portability-level=level] [--cpuid-set=leaf [:subleaf]eax ebx ecx edx] [--cpuid-remove=leaf [:subleaf]] [--cpuid-remove-all]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--tracing-enabled= on | off ] [--tracing-config=string] [--tracing-allow-vm-access= on | off ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--usb-card-reader= on | off ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--autostart-enabled= on | off ] [--autostart-delay=seconds]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--guest-debug-provider= none | native | gdb | kd ] [--guest-debug-io-provider= none | tcp | udp | ipc ] [--guest-debug-address= IP-Address | path ] [--guest-debug-port=port]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--pci-attach=host-PCI-address [@guest-PCI-bus-address]] [--pci-detach=host-PCI-address]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--testing-enabled= on | off ] [--testing-mmio= on | off ] [--testing-cfg-dwordidx=value]

VBoxManage clonevm <vmname|uuid> [--basefolder=basefolder] [--groups=group,...] [ --mode=machine | --mode=machinechildren | --mode=all ] [--name=name] [--options=option,...] [--register] [--snapshot=snapshot-name] [--uuid=uuid]

VBoxManage movevm < uuid | vmname > [--type=basic] [--folder=folder-name]

VBoxManage encryptvm < uuid | vmname > setencryption --old-password file --cipher cipher-identifier --new-password file --new-password-id password-identifier --force

VBoxManage encryptvm < uuid | vmname > checkpassword <file>

VBoxManage encryptvm < uuid | vmname > addpassword --password file --password-id password-identifier

VBoxManage encryptvm < uuid | vmname > removepassword <password-identifier>

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
list instances [--state=string] [--compartment-id=string]

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
list images <--compartment-id=string> [--state=string]

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
instance create <--domain-name=name> <<--image-id=id> | <--boot-volume-id=id>> <--display-name=name> <--shape=type> <--subnet=id> [--boot-disk-size=size in GB] [--publicip=true/false] [--privateip=IP address] [--public-ssh-key=key string...] [--launch-mode=NATIVE/EMULATED/PARAVIRTUALIZED] [--cloud-init-script-path=path to a script]

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
instance info <--id=unique id>

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
instance terminate <--id=unique id>

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
instance start <--id=unique id>

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
instance pause <--id=unique id>

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
image create <--display-name=name> [--bucket-name=name] [--object-name=name] [--instance-id=unique id]

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
image info <--id=unique id>

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
image delete <--id=unique id>

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
image import <--id=unique id> [--bucket-name=name] [--object-name=name]

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
image export <--id=unique id> <--display-name=name> [--bucket-name=name] [--object-name=name]

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
network setup [--gateway-os-name=string] [--gateway-os-version=string] [--gateway-shape=string] [--tunnel-network-name=string] [--tunnel-network-range=string] [--proxy=string] [--compartment-id=string]

VBoxManage cloud <--provider=name> <--profile=name>
network create <--name=string> <--network-id=string> [ --enable | --disable ]

VBoxManage cloud network update <--name=string> [--network-id=string] [ --enable | --disable ]

VBoxManage cloud network delete <--name=string>

VBoxManage cloud network info <--name=string>

VBoxManage cloudprofile <--provider=name> <--profile=name> add [--clouduser=unique id] [--fingerprint=MD5 string] [--keyfile=path] [--passphrase=string] [--tenancy=unique id] [--compartment=unique id] [--region=string]

VBoxManage cloudprofile <--provider=name> <--profile=name> update [--clouduser=unique id] [--fingerprint=MD5 string] [--keyfile=path] [--passphrase=string] [--tenancy=unique id] [--compartment=unique id] [--region=string]

VBoxManage cloudprofile <--provider=name> <--profile=name> delete

VBoxManage cloudprofile <--provider=name> <--profile=name> show

VBoxManage import < ovfname | ovaname > [--dry-run] [--options= keepallmacs | keepnatmacs | importtovdi ] [--vsys=n] [--ostype=ostype] [--vmname=name] [--settingsfile=file] [--basefolder=folder] [--group=group] [--memory=MB] [--cpus=n] [--description=text] [--eula= show | accept ] [--unit=n] [--ignore] [--scsitype= BusLogic | LsiLogic ] [--disk=path] [--controller=index] [--port=n]

VBoxManage import OCI:// --cloud [--ostype=ostype] [--vmname=name] [--basefolder=folder] [--memory=MB] [--cpus=n] [--description=text] <--cloudprofile=profile> <--cloudinstanceid=id> [--cloudbucket=bucket]

VBoxManage export <machines> <--output=name> [ --legacy09 | --ovf09 | --ovf10 | --ovf20 ] [--manifest] [--options= manifest | iso | nomacs | nomacsbutnat ... ] [--vsys=virtual-system-number] [--description=description-info] [--eula=license-text] [--eulafile=filename] [--product=product-name] [--producturl=product-URL] [--vendor=vendor-name] [--vendorurl=vendor-URL] [--version=version-info] [--vmname=vmname]

VBoxManage export <machine> <--output=cloud-service-provider> [--opc10] [--vmname=vmname] [--cloud=virtual-system-number] [--cloudprofile=cloud-profile-name] [--cloudshape=cloud-shape-name] [--clouddomain=cloud-domain] [--clouddisksize=disk-size-in-GB] [--cloudbucket=bucket-name] [--cloudocivcn=OCI-VCN-ID] [--cloudocisubnet=OCI-subnet-ID] [--cloudkeepobject= true | false ] [--cloudlaunchinstance= true | false ] [--cloudlaunchmode= EMULATED | PARAVIRTUALIZED ] [--cloudpublicip= true | false ]

VBoxManage signova <ova> <--certificate=file> <--private-key=file> [ --private-key-password-file=password-file | --private-key-password=password ] [--digest-type=type] [ --pkcs7 | --no-pkcs7 ] [--intermediate-cert=file] [--force] [--verbose] [--quiet] [--dry-run]

VBoxManage startvm < uuid | vmname ...> [--putenv=name[=value]] [--type= [ gui | headless | sdl | separate ]] --password file --password-id password identifier

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > pause

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > resume

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > reset

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > poweroff

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > savestate

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > acpipowerbutton

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > acpisleepbutton

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > reboot

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > shutdown [--force]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > keyboardputscancode <hex> [hex...]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > keyboardputstring <string> [string...]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > keyboardputfile <filename>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > setlinkstateN < on | off >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > nicN < null | nat | bridged | intnet | hostonly | generic | natnetwork > [device-name]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > nictraceN < on | off >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > nictracefileN <filename>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > nicpropertyN <prop-name=prop-value>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > nicpromiscN < deny | allow-vms | allow-all >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > natpfN < [rulename] ,tcp | udp, [host-IP], hostport, [guest-IP], guestport >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > natpfN delete <rulename>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > guestmemoryballoon <balloon-size>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > usbattach < uuid | address > [--capturefile=filename]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > usbdetach < uuid | address >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > audioin < on | off >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > audioout < on | off >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > clipboard mode < disabled | hosttoguest | guesttohost | bidirectional >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > clipboard filetransfers < on | off >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > draganddrop < disabled | hosttoguest | guesttohost | bidirectional >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > vrde < on | off >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > vrdeport <port>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > vrdeproperty <prop-name=prop-value>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > vrdevideochannelquality <percentage>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > setvideomodehint <xres> <yres> <bpp> [[display] [ enabled:yes | no | [x-origin y-origin]]]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > setscreenlayout <display> < on | primary x-origin y-origin x-resolution y-resolution bpp | off >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > screenshotpng <filename> [display]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > recording < on | off >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > recording screens < all | none | screen-ID[,screen-ID...] >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > recording filename <filename>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > recording videores <widthxheight>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > recording videorate <rate>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > recording videofps <fps>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > recording maxtime <sec>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > recording maxfilesize <MB>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > setcredentials <username> --passwordfile= < filename | password > <domain-name> --allowlocallogon= < yes | no >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > teleport <--host=host-name> <--port=port-name> [--maxdowntime=msec] [ --passwordfile=filename | --password=password ]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > plugcpu <ID>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > unplugcpu <ID>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > cpuexecutioncap <num>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > vm-process-priority < default | flat | low | normal | high >

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > webcam attach [pathname [settings]]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > webcam detach [pathname]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > webcam list

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > addencpassword <ID> < password-file | - > [--removeonsuspend= yes | no ]

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > removeencpassword <ID>

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > removeallencpasswords

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > changeuartmodeN disconnected | server pipe-name | client pipe-name | tcpserver port | tcpclient hostname:port | file filename | device-name

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > autostart-enabledN on | off

VBoxManage controlvm < uuid | vmname > autostart-delayseconds

VBoxManage unattended detect <--iso=install-iso> [--machine-readable]

VBoxManage unattended install <uuid|vmname> <--iso=install-iso> [--user=login] [--password=password] [--password-file=file] [--full-user-name=name] [--key=product-key] [--install-additions] [--no-install-additions] [--additions-iso=add-iso] [--install-txs] [--no-install-txs] [--validation-kit-iso=testing-iso] [--locale=ll_CC] [--country=CC] [--time-zone=tz] [--hostname=fqdn] [--package-selection-adjustment=keyword] [--dry-run] [--auxiliary-base-path=path] [--image-index=number] [--script-template=file] [--post-install-template=file] [--post-install-command=command] [--extra-install-kernel-parameters=params] [--language=lang] [--start-vm=session-type]

VBoxManage discardstate < uuid | vmname >

VBoxManage adoptstate < uuid | vmname > <state-filename>

VBoxManage snapshot <uuid|vmname>

VBoxManage snapshot <uuid|vmname> take <snapshot-name> [--description=description] [--live] [--uniquename Number,Timestamp,Space,Force]

VBoxManage snapshot <uuid|vmname> delete <snapshot-name>

VBoxManage snapshot <uuid|vmname> restore <snapshot-name>

VBoxManage snapshot <uuid|vmname> restorecurrent

VBoxManage snapshot <uuid|vmname> edit < snapshot-name | --current > [--description=description] [--name=new-name]

VBoxManage snapshot <uuid|vmname> list [[--details] | [--machinereadable]]

VBoxManage snapshot <uuid|vmname> showvminfo <snapshot-name>

VBoxManage closemedium [ disk | dvd | floppy ] < uuid | filename > [--delete]

VBoxManage storageattach < uuid | vmname > <--storagectl=name> [--bandwidthgroup= name | none ] [--comment=text] [--device=number] [--discard= on | off ] [--encodedlun=lun] [--forceunmount] [--hotpluggable= on | off ] [--initiator=initiator] [--intnet] [--lun=lun] [--medium= none | emptydrive | additions | uuid | filename | host:drive | iscsi ] [--mtype= normal | writethrough | immutable | shareable | readonly | multiattach ] [--nonrotational= on | off ] [--passthrough= on | off ] [--passwordfile=file] [--password=password] [--port=number] [--server= name | ip ] [--setparentuuid=uuid] [--setuuid=uuid] [--target=target] [--tempeject= on | off ] [--tport=port] [--type= dvddrive | fdd | hdd ] [--username=username]

VBoxManage storagectl < uuid | vmname > <--name=controller-name> [--add= floppy | ide | pcie | sas | sata | scsi | usb ] [--controller= BusLogic | I82078 | ICH6 | IntelAhci | LSILogic | LSILogicSAS | NVMe | PIIX3 | PIIX4 | USB | VirtIO ] [--bootable= on | off ] [--hostiocache= on | off ] [--portcount=count] [--remove] [--rename=new-controller-name]

VBoxManage bandwidthctl < uuid | vmname > add <bandwidth-group-name> <--limit=bandwidth-limit[k|m|g|K|M|G]> <--type=disk|network>

VBoxManage bandwidthctl < uuid | vmname > list [--machinereadable]

VBoxManage bandwidthctl < uuid | vmname > remove <bandwidth-group-name>

VBoxManage bandwidthctl < uuid | vmname > set <bandwidth-group-name> <--limit=bandwidth-limit[k|m|g|K|M|G]>

VBoxManage showmediuminfo [ disk | dvd | floppy ] < uuid | filename >

VBoxManage createmedium [ disk | dvd | floppy ] <--filename=filename> [ --size=megabytes | --sizebyte=bytes ] [--diffparent= UUID | filename ] [--format= VDI | VMDK | VHD ] [--variant Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX,Formatted,RawDisk] --property name=value... --property-file name=/path/to/file/with/value...

VBoxManage modifymedium [ disk | dvd | floppy ] < uuid | filename > [--autoreset=on | off] [--compact] [--description=description] [--move=pathname] [--property=name=[value]] [--resize=megabytes | --resizebyte=bytes] [--setlocation=pathname] [--type=normal | writethrough | immutable | shareable | readonly | multiattach]

VBoxManage clonemedium < uuid | source-medium > < uuid | target-medium > [ disk | dvd | floppy ] [--existing] [--format= VDI | VMDK | VHD | RAW | other ] [--variant=Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]

VBoxManage mediumproperty [ disk | dvd | floppy ] set < uuid | filename > <property-name> <property-value>

VBoxManage mediumproperty [ disk | dvd | floppy ] get < uuid | filename > <property-name>

VBoxManage mediumproperty [ disk | dvd | floppy ] delete < uuid | filename > <property-name>

VBoxManage encryptmedium < uuid | filename > [--cipher=cipher-ID] [--newpassword=password] [--newpasswordid=password-ID] [--oldpassword=password]

VBoxManage checkmediumpwd < uuid | filename > <password-file>

VBoxManage convertfromraw <inputfile> <outputfile> [--format= VDI | VMDK | VHD ] [--uuid=uuid] [--variant=Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]

VBoxManage convertfromraw stdin <outputfile> [--format= VDI | VMDK | VHD ] [--uuid=uuid] [--variant=Standard,Fixed,Split2G,Stream,ESX]

VBoxManage mediumio < --disk=uuid|filename | --dvd=uuid|filename | --floppy=uuid|filename > [--password-file=-|filename] formatfat [--quick]

VBoxManage mediumio < --disk=uuid|filename | --dvd=uuid|filename | --floppy=uuid|filename > [--password-file=-|filename] cat [--hex] [--offset=byte-offset] [--size=bytes] [--output=-|filename]

VBoxManage mediumio < --disk=uuid|filename | --dvd=uuid|filename | --floppy=uuid|filename > [--password-file=-|filename] stream [--format=image-format] [--variant=image-variant] [--output=-|filename]

VBoxManage setextradata < global | uuid | vmname > <keyword> [value]

VBoxManage getextradata < global | uuid | vmname > <keyword> | [enumerate]

VBoxManage setproperty <property-name> <property-value>

VBoxManage usbfilter add <index,0-N> <--target= < uuid | vmname | global >> <--name=string> <--action=ignore | hold> [--active=yes | no] [--vendorid=XXXX] [--productid=XXXX] [--revision=IIFF] [--manufacturer=string] [--product=string] [--remote=yes | no] [--serialnumber=string] [--maskedinterfaces=XXXXXXXX]

VBoxManage usbfilter modify <index,0-N> <--target= < uuid | vmname | global >> [--name=string] [--action=ignore | hold] [--active=yes | no] [--vendorid=XXXX | ""] [--productid=XXXX | ""] [--revision=IIFF | ""] [--manufacturer=string | ""] [--product=string | ""] [--remote=yes | no] [--serialnumber=string | ""] [--maskedinterfaces=XXXXXXXX]

VBoxManage usbfilter remove <index,0-N> <--target= < uuid | vmname | global >>

VBoxManage sharedfolder add < uuid | vmname > <--name=name> <--hostpath=hostpath> [--readonly] [--transient] [--automount] [--auto-mount-point=path]

VBoxManage sharedfolder remove < uuid | vmname > <--name=name> [--transient]

VBoxManage guestproperty get < uuid | vmname > <property-name> [--verbose]

VBoxManage guestproperty enumerate < uuid | vmname > [--no-timestamp] [--no-flags] [--relative] [--old-format] [patterns...]

VBoxManage guestproperty set < uuid | vmname > <property-name> [property-value [--flags=flags]]

VBoxManage guestproperty unset < uuid | vmname > <property-name>

VBoxManage guestproperty wait < uuid | vmname > <patterns> [--timeout=msec] [--fail-on-timeout]

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > run [--domain=domainname] [--dos2unix] [--exe=filename] [--ignore-orphaned-processes] [ --no-wait-stderr | --wait-stderr ] [ --no-wait-stdout | --wait-stdout ] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--profile] [--putenv=var-name=[value]] [--quiet] [--timeout=msec] [--unix2dos] [--unquoted-args] [--username=username] [--verbose] <-- program/arg0 [argument...]>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > start [--domain=domainname] [--exe=filename] [--ignore-orphaned-processes] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--profile] [--putenv=var-name=[value]] [--quiet] [--timeout=msec] [--unquoted-args] [--username=username] [--verbose] <-- program/arg0 [argument...]>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > copyfrom [--domain=domainname] [--follow] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--recursive] [--username=username] [--verbose] <guest-source0> guest-source1 [...] <host-destination>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > copyfrom [--domain=domainname] [--follow] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--recursive] [--target-directory=host-destination-dir] [--username=username] [--verbose] <guest-source0> guest-source1 [...]

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > copyto [--domain=domainname] [--follow] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--recursive] [--username=username] [--verbose] <host-source0> host-source1 [...] <guest-destination>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > copyto [--domain=domainname] [--follow] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--recursive] [--target-directory=guest-destination-dir] [--username=username] [--verbose] <host-source0> host-source1 [...]

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > mkdir [--domain=domainname] [--mode=mode] [--parents] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--username=username] [--verbose] <guest-directory...>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > rmdir [--domain=domainname] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--recursive] [--username=username] [--verbose] <guest-directory...>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > rm [--domain=domainname] [--force] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--username=username] [--verbose] <guest-directory...>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > mv [--domain=domainname] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--username=username] [--verbose] <source...> <destination-directory>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > mktemp [--domain=domainname] [--mode=mode] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--secure] [--tmpdir=directory-name] [--username=username] [--verbose] <template-name>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > stat [--domain=domainname] [ --passwordfile=password-file | --password=password ] [--quiet] [--username=username] [--verbose] <filename>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > list < all | files | processes | sessions > [--quiet] [--verbose]

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > closeprocess [ --session-id=ID | --session-name=name-or-pattern ] [--quiet] [--verbose] <PID...>

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > closesession [ --all | --session-id=ID | --session-name=name-or-pattern ] [--quiet] [--verbose]

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > updatega [--quiet] [--verbose] [--source=guest-additions.ISO] [--wait-start] [-- [argument...]]

VBoxManage guestcontrol < uuid | vmname > watch [--quiet] [--verbose]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> dumpvmcore [--filename=name]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> info <item> [args...]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> injectnmi

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> log [[--release] | [--debug]] [group-settings...]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> logdest [[--release] | [--debug]] [destinations...]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> logflags [[--release] | [--debug]] [flags...]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> osdetect

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> osinfo

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> osdmesg [--lines=lines]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> getregisters [--cpu=id] [reg-set.reg-name...]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> setregisters [--cpu=id] [reg-set.reg-name=value...]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> show [[--human-readable] | [--sh-export] | [--sh-eval] | [--cmd-set]] [settings-item...]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> stack [--cpu=id]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> statistics [--reset] [--descriptions] [--pattern=pattern]

VBoxManage debugvm <uuid|vmname> guestsample [--filename=filename] [--sample-interval-us=interval] [--sample-time-us=time]

VBoxManage metrics collect [--detach] [--list] [--period=seconds] [--samples=count] [ * | host | vmname [metric-list] ]

VBoxManage metrics disable [--list] [ * | host | vmname [metric-list] ]

VBoxManage metrics enable [--list] [ * | host | vmname [metric-list] ]

VBoxManage metrics list [ * | host | vmname [metric-list] ]

VBoxManage metrics query [ * | host | vmname [metric-list] ]

VBoxManage metrics setup [--list] [--period seconds] [--samples count] [ * | host | vmname [metric-list] ]

VBoxManage natnetwork add [ --disable | --enable ] <--netname=name> <--network=network> [--dhcp=on|off] [--ipv6=on|off] [--loopback-4=rule] [--loopback-6=rule] [--port-forward-4=rule] [--port-forward-6=rule]

VBoxManage natnetwork list [filter-pattern]

VBoxManage natnetwork modify [--dhcp=on|off] [ --disable | --enable ] <--netname=name> <--network=network> [--ipv6=on|off] [--loopback-4=rule] [--loopback-6=rule] [--port-forward-4=rule] [--port-forward-6=rule]

VBoxManage natnetwork remove <--netname=name>

VBoxManage natnetwork start <--netname=name>

VBoxManage natnetwork stop <--netname=name>

VBoxManage hostonlyif ipconfig <ifname> [ --dhcp | --ip=IPv4-address [--netmask=IPv4-netmask] | --ipv6=IPv6-address [--netmasklengthv6=length] ]

VBoxManage hostonlyif create

VBoxManage hostonlyif remove <ifname>

VBoxManage hostonlynet add <--name=netname> [--id=netid] <--netmask=mask> <--lower-ip=address> <--upper-ip=address> [ --enable | --disable ]

VBoxManage hostonlynet modify < --name=netname | --id=netid > [--lower-ip=address] [--upper-ip=address] [--netmask=mask] [ --enable | --disable ]

VBoxManage hostonlynet remove < --name=netname | --id=netid >

VBoxManage dhcpserver add < --network=netname | --interface=ifname > <--server-ip=address> <--netmask=mask> <--lower-ip=address> <--upper-ip=address> < --enable | --disable >
[[--global] | [--set-opt=dhcp-opt-no value...] | [--set-opt-hex=dhcp-opt-no hexstring...] | [--force-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--supress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--min-lease-time=seconds] | [--default-lease-time=seconds] | [--max-lease-time=seconds]...]
[<--group=name> | [--set-opt=dhcp-opt-no value...] | [--set-opt-hex=dhcp-opt-no hexstring...] | [--force-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--supress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--incl-mac=address...] | [--excl-mac=address...] | [--incl-mac-wild=pattern...] | [--excl-mac-wild=pattern...] | [--incl-vendor=string...] | [--excl-vendor=string...] | [--incl-vendor-wild=pattern...] | [--excl-vendor-wild=pattern...] | [--incl-user=string...] | [--excl-user=string...] | [--incl-user-wild=pattern...] | [--excl-user-wild=pattern...] | [--min-lease-time=seconds] | [--default-lease-time=seconds] | [--max-lease-time=seconds]...]
[<--vm=name|uuid> | [--nic=1-N] | [--set-opt=dhcp-opt-no value...] | [--set-opt-hex=dhcp-opt-no hexstring...] | [--force-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--supress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--min-lease-time=seconds] | [--default-lease-time=seconds] | [--max-lease-time=seconds] | [--fixed-address=address]...]
[<--mac-address=address> | [--set-opt=dhcp-opt-no value...] | [--set-opt-hex=dhcp-opt-no hexstring...] | [--force-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--supress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--min-lease-time=seconds] | [--default-lease-time=seconds] | [--max-lease-time=seconds] | [--fixed-address=address]...]

VBoxManage dhcpserver modify < --network=netname | --interface=ifname > [--server-ip=address] [--lower-ip=address] [--upper-ip=address] [--netmask=mask] [ --enable | --disable ]
[[--global] | [--del-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--set-opt=dhcp-opt-no value...] | [--set-opt-hex=dhcp-opt-no hexstring...] | [--force-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--unforce-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--supress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--unsupress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--min-lease-time=seconds] | [--default-lease-time=seconds] | [--max-lease-time=seconds] | [--remove-config]...]
[<--group=name> | [--set-opt=dhcp-opt-no value...] | [--set-opt-hex=dhcp-opt-no hexstring...] | [--force-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--unforce-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--supress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--unsupress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--del-mac=address...] | [--incl-mac=address...] | [--excl-mac=address...] | [--del-mac-wild=pattern...] | [--incl-mac-wild=pattern...] | [--excl-mac-wild=pattern...] | [--del-vendor=string...] | [--incl-vendor=string...] | [--excl-vendor=string...] | [--del-vendor-wild=pattern...] | [--incl-vendor-wild=pattern...] | [--excl-vendor-wild=pattern...] | [--del-user=string...] | [--incl-user=string...] | [--excl-user=string...] | [--del-user-wild=pattern...] | [--incl-user-wild=pattern...] | [--excl-user-wild=pattern...] | [--zap-conditions] | [--min-lease-time=seconds] | [--default-lease-time=seconds] | [--max-lease-time=seconds] | [--remove-config]...]
[<--vm=name|uuid> | [--nic=1-N] | [--del-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--set-opt=dhcp-opt-no value...] | [--set-opt-hex=dhcp-opt-no hexstring...] | [--force-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--unforce-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--supress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--unsupress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--min-lease-time=seconds] | [--default-lease-time=seconds] | [--max-lease-time=seconds] | [--fixed-address=address] | [--remove-config]...]
[<--mac-address=address> | [--del-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--set-opt=dhcp-opt-no value...] | [--set-opt-hex=dhcp-opt-no hexstring...] | [--force-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--unforce-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--supress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--unsupress-opt=dhcp-opt-no...] | [--min-lease-time=seconds] | [--default-lease-time=seconds] | [--max-lease-time=seconds] | [--fixed-address=address] | [--remove-config]...]

VBoxManage dhcpserver remove < --network=netname | --interface=ifname >

VBoxManage dhcpserver start < --network=netname | --interface=ifname >

VBoxManage dhcpserver restart < --network=netname | --interface=ifname >

VBoxManage dhcpserver stop < --network=netname | --interface=ifname >

VBoxManage dhcpserver findlease < --network=netname | --interface=ifname > <--mac-address=mac>

VBoxManage usbdevsource add <source-name> <--backend=backend> <--address=address>

VBoxManage usbdevsource remove <source-name>

VBoxManage extpack install [--replace] [--accept-license=sha256] <tarball>

VBoxManage extpack uninstall [--force] <name>

VBoxManage extpack cleanup

VBoxManage updatecheck perform [--machine-readable]

VBoxManage updatecheck list [--machine-readable]

VBoxManage updatecheck modify [ --disable | --enable ] [--channel=stable | withbetas | all] [--frequency=days]

VBoxManage modifynvram <uuid|vmname> inituefivarstore

VBoxManage modifynvram <uuid|vmname> enrollmssignatures

VBoxManage modifynvram <uuid|vmname> enrollorclpk

VBoxManage modifynvram <uuid|vmname> enrollpk [--platform-key=filename] [--owner-uuid=uuid]

VBoxManage modifynvram <uuid|vmname> listvars

VBoxManage modifynvram <uuid|vmname> queryvar [--name=name] [--filename=filename]

VBoxManage modifynvram <uuid|vmname> deletevar [--name=name] [--owner-uuid=uuid]

VBoxManage modifynvram <uuid|vmname> changevar [--name=name] [--filename=filename]

Each time VBoxManage is invoked, only one command can be executed. However, a command might support several subcommands which then can be invoked in one single call. The following sections provide detailed reference information on the different commands.

8.3. General Options

  • -v|--version: Show the version of this tool and exit.

  • --nologo: Suppress the output of the logo information. This option is useful for scripts.

  • --settingspw: Specifiy a settings password.

  • --settingspwfile: Specify a file containing the settings password.

The settings password is used for certain settings which need to be stored in encrypted form for security reasons. At the moment, the only encrypted setting is the iSCSI initiator secret, see Section 8.26, “VBoxManage storageattach”. As long as no settings password is specified, this information is stored in plain text. After using the --settingspw|--settingspwfile option once, it must be always used. Otherwise, the encrypted setting cannot be unencrypted.

8.4. VBoxManage

Oracle VM VirtualBox command-line interface.

Synopsis

VBoxManage [ -V | --version ] [--dump-build-type] [ -q | --nologo ] [--settingspw=password] [--settingspwfile=pw-file] [@response-file] [[help]subcommand]

Description

The VBoxManage command is the command-line interface (CLI) for the Oracle VM VirtualBox software. The CLI supports all the features that are available with the Oracle VM VirtualBox graphical user interface (GUI). In addition, you can use the VBoxManage command to manage the features of the virtualization engine that cannot be managed by the GUI.

Each time you invoke the VBoxManage command, only one command is executed. Note that some VBoxManage subcommands invoke several subcommands.

Run the VBoxManage command from the command line of the host operating system (OS) to control Oracle VM VirtualBox software.

The VBoxManage command is stored in the following locations on the host system:

  • Linux: /usr/bin/VBoxManage

  • Mac OS X: /Applications/VirtualBox.app/Contents/MacOS/VBoxManage

  • Oracle Solaris: /opt/VirtualBox/bin/VBoxManage

  • Windows: C:\Program Files\Oracle\VirtualBox\VBoxManage.exe

In addition to managing virtual machines (VMs) with this CLI or the GUI, you can use the VBoxHeadless CLI to manage VMs remotely.

The VBoxManage command performs particular tasks by using subcommands, such as list, createvm, and startvm. See the associated information for each VBoxManage subcommand.

If required, specify the VM by its name or by its Universally Unique Identifier (UUID).

Use the VBoxManage list vms command to obtain information about all currently registered VMs, including the VM names and associated UUIDs.

Note that you must enclose the entire VM name in double quotes if it contains spaces.

General Options

--nologo

Suppresses the output of the logo information, which is useful for scripts.

The short version of this option is -q.

--settingspw=[password]

Specifies the settings password. You can optionally specify the password as an argument to this option. If you do not specify the password in this way, the VBoxManage command prompts you for the password.

The settings password is a security feature that encrypts stored settings, which are stored as plain text by default.

You cannot unencrypt encrypted settings. So, if the settings are encrypted, you must continue to specify the --settingspw or --settingspwfile option.

Only the iSCSI secret is encrypted at this time.

--settingspwfile=pw-filename

Specifies the file that contains the settings password.

--version

Shows version information about the VBoxManage command.

The short version of this option is -V.

@response-file

Loads arguments from the specified Bourne shell response file.

subcommand

Specifies one of the VBoxManage subcommands, such as controlvm, createvm, list, modifyvm, showvminfo, startvm, storageattach, and storagectl.

Each subcommand is described in its own command topic, some of which are shown in See Also sections.

Examples

The following command creates a virtual machine called Win8 and registers it with Oracle VM VirtualBox by using the --register option.

$ VBoxManage createvm --name "Win8" --register
Virtual machine 'Win8' is created.
UUID: UUID-string
Settings file: '/home/username/VirtualBox VMs/Win8/Win8.vbox'

The command output shows that the Win8 VM is assigned a UUID and an XML machine settings file.

You can use the VBoxManage showvminfo command to view the configuration information of a VM.

The following example uses the VBoxManage modifyvm command to change the amount of memory for the Windows XP VM to be 1024 megabytes:

$ VBoxManage modifyvm "Windows XP" --memory 1024

Note that you can use the VBoxManage modifyvm command even when the VM is powered off.

You can use the VBoxManage storagectl command or the VBoxManage storageattach command to modify the storage configuration for a VM. For example, to create a SATA storage controller called sata01 and add it to the ol7 VM:

$ VBoxManage storagectl ol7 --name "sata01" --add sata

Use the VBoxManage startvm command to start a VM that is currently powered off. For example, to start the win7 VM:

$ VBoxManage startvm win7

Use the VBoxManage controlvm command to pause or save a VM that is currently running. You can also use this command to modify settings for the VM. For example, to enable audio input for the ol6u9 VM.

$ VBoxManage controlvm ol6u9 audioin on

8.5. VBoxManage list

View system information and VM configuration details.

Synopsis

VBoxManage list [--long] [--sorted] [ bridgedifs | cloudnets | cloudprofiles | cloudproviders | cpu-profiles | dhcpservers | dvds | extpacks | floppies | groups | hddbackends | hdds | hostcpuids | hostdrives | hostdvds | hostfloppies | hostinfo | hostonlyifs | hostonlynets | intnets | natnets | ostypes | runningvms | screenshotformats | systemproperties | usbfilters | usbhost | vms | webcams ]

Description

The VBoxManage list subcommands enable you to obtain information about the Oracle VM VirtualBox software, the VMs and associated services that you create.

Common Options

--long

Shows detailed information about each information entry if available. The short form of this option is -l.

--sorted

Sorts the list of information entries alphabetically. The short form of this option is -s.

List the Bridged Network Interfaces on the Host System

VBoxManage list bridgedifs

The VBoxManage list bridgedifs command lists the bridged network interfaces that are currently available on the host system. The output shows detailed configuration information about each interface. See Chapter 6, Virtual Networking.

List the Cloud Network Interfaces

VBoxManage list cloudnets

The VBoxManage list cloudnets command lists the cloud network interfaces that have been configured. A cloud network interface provides connectivity between local VMs and a cloud network.

List the Cloud Profiles

VBoxManage list cloudprofiles

The VBoxManage list cloudprofiles command lists the cloud profiles that have been configured. A cloud profile contains settings for a cloud service account.

List the Cloud Providers

VBoxManage list cloudproviders

The VBoxManage list cloudproviders command lists the cloud providers that are supported by Oracle VM VirtualBox. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is an example of a cloud provider.

List the known CPU Profiles

VBoxManage list cpu-profiles

The VBoxManage list cpu-profiles command lists the CPU profiles that are known by Oracle VM VirtualBox.

List the DHCP Servers on the Host System

VBoxManage list dhcpservers

The VBoxManage list dhcpservers command lists the DHCP servers that are currently available on the host system. The output shows detailed configuration information about each DHCP server. See Chapter 6, Virtual Networking.

List the DVD Virtual Disk Images

VBoxManage list dvds

The VBoxManage list dvds command shows information about the DVD virtual disk images that are currently in use by the Oracle VM VirtualBox software. For each image, the output shows all the settings, the UUIDs associated with the image by Oracle VM VirtualBox, and all files associated with the image.

This command performs the same function as the Virtual Media Manager. See Section 5.3, “The Virtual Media Manager”.

List the Installed Oracle VM VirtualBox Extension Packs

VBoxManage list extpacks

The VBoxManage list extpacks command shows all Oracle VM VirtualBox extension packs that are currently installed. See Section 1.5, “Installing Oracle VM VirtualBox and Extension Packs” and Section 8.52, “VBoxManage extpack”.

List the Floppy Disk Virtual Disk Images

VBoxManage list floppies

The VBoxManage list floppies command shows information about the floppy disk images that are currently in use by the Oracle VM VirtualBox software. For each image, the output shows all the settings, the UUIDs associated with the image by Oracle VM VirtualBox, and all files associated with the image.

This command performs the same function as the Virtual Media Manager. See Section 5.3, “The Virtual Media Manager”.

List the Virtual Machine Groups

VBoxManage list groups

The VBoxManage list groups command shows all VM groups. See Section 1.10, “Using VM Groups”.

List the Virtual Disk Backends

VBoxManage list hddbackends

The VBoxManage list hddbackends command lists all known virtual disk backends of the Oracle VM VirtualBox software. For each such format, such as VDI, VMDK, or RAW, this command lists the backend's capabilities and configuration.

List the Hard Disk Virtual Disk Images

VBoxManage list hdds

The VBoxManage list hdds command shows information about the hard disk virtual disk images that are currently in use by the Oracle VM VirtualBox software. For each image, the output shows all the settings, the UUIDs associated with the image by Oracle VM VirtualBox, and all files associated with the image.

This command performs the same function as the Virtual Media Manager. See Section 5.3, “The Virtual Media Manager”.

List the CPUID Information for the Host System CPUs

VBoxManage list hostcpuids

The VBoxManage list hostcpuids command lists CPUID information for each CPU on the host system. Use this information to perform a more fine grained analyis of the host system's virtualization capabilities.

List the Storage Drives on the Host System

VBoxManage list hostdrives

The VBoxManage list hostdrives command lists the disk drives on the host system potentially useful for creating a VMDK raw disk image. Each entry includes the name used to reference them from within Oracle VM VirtualBox.

List the DVD Drives on the Host System

VBoxManage list hostdvds

The VBoxManage list hostdvds command lists the DVD drives on the host system. Each DVD entry includes the name used to access them from within Oracle VM VirtualBox.

List the Floppy Disk Drives on the Host System

VBoxManage list hostfloppies

The VBoxManage list hostfloppies command lists the floppy disk drives on the host system. Each floppy disk entry includes the name used to access them from within Oracle VM VirtualBox.

List Information About the Host System

VBoxManage list hostinfo

The VBoxManage list hostinfo command shows information about the host system. The output includes information about the CPUs, memory, and the OS version.

List the Host-Only Network Interfaces on the Host System

VBoxManage list hostonlyifs

The VBoxManage list hostonlyifs command lists the host-only network interfaces that are currently available on the host system. The output shows detailed configuration information about each interface. See Chapter 6, Virtual Networking.

List Host-Only Networks

VBoxManage list hostonlynets

The VBoxManage list hostonlynets command lists the host-only networks that have been configured. A host-only network provides connectivity between the host and local VMs. See Chapter 6, Virtual Networking.

List Internal Networks

VBoxManage list intnets

The VBoxManage list intnets command shows information about the internal networks. See Chapter 6, Virtual Networking.

List the NAT Network Interfaces on the Host System

VBoxManage list natnets

The VBoxManage list natnets command lists the NAT network interfaces that are currently available on the host system. See Chapter 6, Virtual Networking.

List the Guest Operating Systems

VBoxManage list ostypes

The VBoxManage list ostypes command lists all guest operating systems (OSes) that are known to Oracle VM VirtualBox. Each OS entry includes an identifier, a description, a family identifier, a family description, and whether the OS has 64-bit support.

You can use these identifiers with the VBoxManage modifyvm command.

List the Running Virtual Machines

VBoxManage list runningvms

The VBoxManage list runningvms command lists all virtual machines (VMs) that are currently running. By default this displays a compact list that shows the name and UUID of each VM.

List the Available Screen Shot Formats

VBoxManage list screenshotformats

The VBoxManage list screenshotformats command shows the list of available screen shot formats.

List System Properties

VBoxManage list systemproperties

The VBoxManage list systemproperties command shows a large collection of global Oracle VM VirtualBox settings and limits, such as minimum and maximum guest RAM, virtual hard disk size, folder settings, and the current authentication library in use.

List the Registered Global USB Filters

VBoxManage list usbfilters

The VBoxManage list usbfilters command lists all global USB filters registered with Oracle VM VirtualBox and displays the filter parameters. Global USB filters are for devices which are accessible to all virtual machines.

List the USB Devices on the Host System

VBoxManage list usbhost

The VBoxManage list usbhost command shows information about the USB devices that are attached to the host system. The output includes information that you can use to construct USB filters and indicates whether the device is currently in use by the host system.

List Virtual Machines

VBoxManage list vms

The VBoxManage list vms command lists all virtual machines (VMs) that are currently registered with Oracle VM VirtualBox. By default this command displays a compact list that shows the name and UUID of each VM.

List the Webcams Attached to a Running Virtual Machine

VBoxManage list webcams

The VBoxManage list webcams command shows the list of webcams that are attached to the running VM.

The output is a list of absolute paths or aliases that are used to attach the webcams to the VM by using the VBoxManage webcam attach command.

Examples

The following command lists the VM groups configured for Oracle VM VirtualBox.

$ VBoxManage list groups
"/Linux-VMs"
"/Windows-VMs"

The following command lists the VMs that are currently running.

$ VBoxManage list runningvms
"ol7" {ol7-UUID}
"win8" {win8-UUID}

8.6. VBoxManage showvminfo

Show configuration information or log file contents for a virtual machine.

Synopsis

VBoxManage showvminfo < uuid | vmname > [--details] [--machinereadable] [--password-id] [--password]

VBoxManage showvminfo < uuid | vmname > <--log=index> [--password-id id] [--password file|-]

Description

The VBoxManage showvminfo command outputs configuration information or log file contents for a specified virtual machine (VM).

Viewing Virtual Machine Information

VBoxManage showvminfo < uuid | vmname > [--details] [--machinereadable] [--password-id] [--password]

The VBoxManage showvminfo command outputs information about the specified VM in a detailed format or in a machine-readable format.

The VBoxManage showvminfo command shows the same information for the specified VM in the same format as the VBoxManage list vms --long command.

--details

Includes detailed information about the VM.

--machinereadable

Specifies that the VM information be in a machine-readable format.

--password-id id

Specifies password id of the VM if it is encrypted.

--password file|-

Specifies password of the VM if it is encrypted. Either specify the absolute pathname of a password file on the host operating system, or - to prompt you for the password.

Viewing Virtual Machine Log Contents

VBoxManage showvminfo < uuid | vmname > <--log=index> [--password-id id] [--password file|-]

The VBoxManage showvminfo --log command outputs the contents of one of the specified VM's log files.

--log=index

Specifies a numerical index that identifies the log file.

The index value starts at 0, which indicates the VBox.log file. An index value of 1 indicates the VBoxHardening.log file. Index values starting at 2 indicate other log files, such as the VBox.log.1 file.

--password-id id

Specifies password id of the VM if it is encrypted.

--password file|-

Specifies password of the VM if it is encrypted. Either specify the absolute pathname of a password file on the host operating system, or - to prompt you for the password.

Examples

The following example shows typical output for this command:

$ VBoxManage showvminfo "Windows 10"
VirtualBox Command Line Management Interface Version version-number
Copyright (C) 2005-2022 Oracle and/or its affiliates

Name:            Windows 10
Groups:          /
Guest OS:        Windows 10 (64-bit)
UUID:            1bf3464d-57c6-4d49-92a9-a5cc3816b7e7
Config file:     /home/username/VirtualBox VMs/Windows 10/Windows 10.vbox
Snapshot folder: /home/username/VirtualBox VMs/Windows 10/Snapshots
Log folder:      /home/username/VirtualBox VMs/Windows 10/Logs
Hardware UUID:   1bf3464d-57c6-4d49-92a9-a5cc3816b7e7
Memory size:     2048MB
Page Fusion:     off
VRAM size:       12MB
CPU exec cap:    100%
...

The following example shows the information output in a machine-readable format, which shows the entries as a property=value string:

$ VBoxManage showvminfo "Windows 10" --machinereadable
...
groups="/"
ostype="Windows 10 (64-bit)"
UUID="1bf3464d-57c6-4d49-92a9-a5cc3816b7e7"
...

The following example shows the contents of the VBox.log log file:

$ VBoxManage showvminfo "Windows 10" --log 0
00:00:02.895106 VirtualBox VM 6.0.0_RC1 r127378 linux.amd64 (Dec 10 2018 17:16:06) release log
00:00:02.895109 Log opened 2018-12-14T14:31:44.088259000Z
00:00:02.895111 Build Type: release
00:00:02.895115 OS Product: Linux
00:00:02.895117 OS Release: 4.1.12-61.1.22.el7uek.x86_64
00:00:02.895119 OS Version: #2 SMP Fri Dec 2 09:28:44 PST 2016
...

8.7. VBoxManage registervm

Register a virtual machine.

Synopsis

VBoxManage registervm <filename> --password file

Description

The VBoxManage registervm command enables you to create a virtual machine (VM) by importing an XML machine configuration file into Oracle VM VirtualBox. The VM cannot have the same UUID as a VM that is already registered in Oracle VM VirtualBox. Ensure that the XML machine configuration file is in the machines folder prior to registration.

Note

When you use the VBoxManage createvm command to create a VM, you can specify the --register option to register the VM.

filename

Specifies the XML machine configuration file. This file has the .vbox file extension.

--password

Use the --password to supply the encryption password of the VM. Either specify the absolute pathname of a password file on the host operating system, or - to prompt you for the password on the command line.

Examples

The following command registers a VM called vm2. The XML machine configuration file for the VM is located in the default machines folder.

$ VBoxManage registervm "/home/user/VirtualBox VMs/vm2/vm2.vbox"

8.8. VBoxManage unregistervm

Unregister a virtual machine.

Synopsis

VBoxManage unregistervm < uuid | vmname > [--delete]

Description

The VBoxManage unregistervm command unregisters a virtual machine (VM).

uuid|vmname

Specifies the name or Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) of the VM.

--delete

Deletes the following files related to the VM automatically:

  • All hard disk image files, including differencing files.

  • All saved state files that the machine created, including one for each snapshot.

  • XML VM machine definition file and its backups.

  • VM log files.

  • The empty directory associated with the unregistered VM.

Examples

The following command unregisters a VM called vm2.

$ VBoxManage unregistervm vm2

The following command unregisters a VM called vm3. All files associated with the VM are deleted.

$ VBoxManage unregistervm vm3 --delete
%...10%...20%...30%...40%...50%...60%...70%...80%...90%...100%

8.9. VBoxManage createvm

Create a new virtual machine.

Synopsis

VBoxManage createvm <--name=name> [--basefolder=basefolder] [--default] [--group=group-ID,...] [--ostype=ostype] [--register] [--uuid=uuid] [--cipher cipher] [--password-id password-id] [--password file]

Description

The VBoxManage createvm command creates a new XML virtual machine (VM) definition file.

You must specify the name of the VM by using --name name. This name is used by default as the name of the settings file that has the .vbox extension and the machine folder, which is a subfolder of the $HOME/VirtualBox VMs directory.

The actual file name may not correspond directly to the VM name if it violates the host OS file name requirements (such as using the path separator or other reserved characters, they will be substituted with a placeholder). If you later rename the VM, the file and folder names will be updated to match the new name automatically.

Command Options

In addition to specifying the name or UUID of the VM, which is required, you can specify any of the following options:

--basefolder=basefolder

Specifies the name of the folder in which to save the machine configuration file for the new VM.

Note that the names of the file and the folder do not change if you rename the VM.

--default

Applies a default hardware configuration for the specified guest OS. By default, the VM is created with minimal hardware.

--group=group-ID,...

Assigns the VM to the specified groups. If you specify more than one group, separate each group name with a comma.

Note that each group is identified by a group ID that starts with a slash character (/) so that groups can be nested. By default, a VM is always assigned membership to the / group.

--ostype=ostype

Specifies the guest OS to run in the VM. Run the VBoxManage list ostypes command to see the available OS types.

--register

Registers the VM with your Oracle VM VirtualBox installation. By default, the VBoxManage createvm command creates only the XML configuration for the VM but does not register the VM. If you do not register the VM at creation, you can run the VBoxManage registervm command after you create the VM.

--uuid=uuid

Specifies the Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) of the VM. Ensure that this UUID is unique within the Oracle VM VirtualBox namespace of the host or of its VM group memberships if you decide to register the VM. By default, Oracle VM VirtualBox provides the UUID.

--cipher cipher

Specifies the cipher to use for encryption. Valid values are AES-128 or AES-256.

This option enables you to set up encryption on VM.

--password-id password-id

Specifies a new password identifier that is used for correct identification when supplying multiple passwords for the VM.

This option enables you to set up encryption on VM.

--password file

Use the --password to supply the encryption password of the VM. Either specify the absolute pathname of a password file on the host operating system, or - to prompt you for the password on the command line.

This option enables you to set up encryption on VM.

Examples

The following command creates a VM called vm2 where you plan to run a 64-bit version of Oracle Linux.

$ VBoxManage createvm --name "vm2" --ostype "Oracle_64"

The following command creates and registers a VM called vm3.

$ VBoxManage createvm --name "vm3" --register

8.10. VBoxManage modifyvm

Change settings for a virtual machine that is stopped.

Synopsis

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--name=name] [--groups= group [,group...] ] [--description=description] [--os-type=OS-type] [--icon-file=filename] [--memory=size-in-MB] [--page-fusion= on | off ] [--vram=size-in-MB] [--acpi= on | off ] [--ioapic= on | off ] [--hardware-uuid=UUID] [--cpus=CPU-count] [--cpu-hotplug= on | off ] [--plug-cpu=CPU-ID] [--unplug-cpu=CPU-ID] [--cpu-execution-cap=number] [--pae= on | off ] [--long-mode= on | off ] [--ibpb-on-vm-exit= on | off ] [--ibpb-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--spec-ctrl= on | off ] [--l1d-flush-on-sched= on | off ] [--l1d-flush-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--mds-clear-on-sched= on | off ] [--mds-clear-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--cpu-profile= host | Intel 8086 | Intel 80286 | Intel 80386 ] [--hpet= on | off ] [--hwvirtex= on | off ] [--triple-fault-reset= on | off ] [--apic= on | off ] [--x2apic= on | off ] [--paravirt-provider= none | default | legacy | minimal | hyperv | kvm ] [--paravirt-debug= key=value [,key=value...] ] [--nested-paging= on | off ] [--large-pages= on | off ] [--vtx-vpid= on | off ] [--vtx-ux= on | off ] [--nested-hw-virt= on | off ] [--virt-vmsave-vmload= on | off ] [--accelerate-3d= on | off ] [--accelerate-2d-video= on | off ] [--chipset= ich9 | piix3 ] [--iommu= none | automatic | amd | intel ] [--tpm-type= none | 1.2 | 2.0 | host | swtpm ] [--tpm-location= location ] [--bios-logo-fade-in= on | off ] [--bios-logo-fade-out= on | off ] [--bios-logo-display-time=msec] [--bios-logo-image-path=pathname] [--bios-boot-menu= disabled | menuonly | messageandmenu ] [--bios-apic= disabled | apic | x2apic ] [--bios-system-time-offset=msec] [--bios-pxe-debug= on | off ] [--system-uuid-le= on | off ] [--bootX= none | floppy | dvd | disk | net ] [--rtc-use-utc= on | off ] [--graphicscontroller= none | vboxvga | vmsvga | vboxsvga ] [--snapshot-folder= default | pathname ] [--firmware= bios | efi | efi32 | efi64 ] [--guest-memory-balloon=size-in-MB] [--default-frontend= default | name ] [--vm-process-priority= default | flat | low | normal | high ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--nicN= none | null | nat | bridged | intnet | hostonly | hostonlynet | generic | natnetwork | cloud ] [--nic-typeN= Am79C970A | Am79C973 | 82540EM | 82543GC | 82545EM | virtio ] [--cable-connectedN= on | off ] [--nic-traceN= on | off ] [--nic-trace-fileN=filename] [--nic-propertyN=name= [value]] [--nic-speedN=kbps] [--nic-boot-prioN=priority] [--nic-promiscN= deny | allow-vms | allow-all ] [--nic-bandwidth-groupN= none | name ] [--bridge-adapterN= none | device-name ] [--cloud-networkN=network-name] [--host-only-adapterN= none | device-name ] [--host-only-netN=network-name] [--intnetN=network-name] [--nat-networkN=network-name] [--nic-generic-drvN=driver-name] [--mac-addressN= auto | MAC-address ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--nat-netN= network | default ] [--nat-pfN= [rule-name],tcp | udp,[host-IP],hostport,[guest-IP],guestport ] [--nat-pfN=delete=rule-name] [--nat-tftp-prefixN=prefix] [--nat-tftp-fileN=filename] [--nat-tftp-serverN=IP-address] [--nat-bind-ipN=IP-address] [--nat-dns-pass-domainN= on | off ] [--nat-dns-proxyN= on | off ] [--nat-dns-host-resolverN= on | off ] [--nat-localhostreachableN= on | off ] [--nat-settingsN=[mtu],[socksnd],[sockrcv],[tcpsnd],[tcprcv]] [--nat-alias-modeN= default | [log],[proxyonly],[sameports] ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--mouse= ps2 | usb | usbtablet | usbmultitouch | usbmtscreenpluspad ] [--keyboard= ps2 | usb ] [--uartN= off | IO-baseIRQ ] [--uart-modeN= disconnected | server pipe | client pipe | tcpserver port | tcpclient hostname:port | file filename | device-name ] [--uart-typeN= 16450 | 16550A | 16750 ] [--lpt-modeN=device-name] [--lptN= off | IO-baseIRQ ] [--audio= none | default | null | dsound | was | oss | alsa | pulse | coreaudio ] [--audio-controller= ac97 | hda | sb16 ] [--audio-codec= stac9700 | ad1980 | stac9221 | sb16 ] [--audio-in= on | off ] [--audio-out= on | off ] [--clipboard-mode= disabled | hosttoguest | guesttohost | bidirectional ] [--drag-and-drop= disabled | hosttoguest | guesttohost | bidirectional ] [--monitor-count=number] [--usb-ehci= on | off ] [--usb-ohci= on | off ] [--usb-xhci= on | off ] [--usb-rename=old-namenew-name]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--recording= on | off ] [--recording-screens= all | none | screen-ID[,screen-ID...] ] [--recording-file=filename] [--recording-max-size=MB] [--recording-max-time=msec] [--recording-opts= key=value[,key=value...] ] [--recording-video-fps=fps] [--recording-video-rate=rate] [--recording-video-res=widthheight]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--vrde= on | off ] [--vrde-property=property-name= [property-value]] [--vrde-extpack= default | name ] [--vrde-port=port] [--vrde-address=hostip] [--vrde-auth-type= null | external | guest ] [--vrde-auth-library= default | name ] [--vrde-multi-con= on | off ] [--vrde-reuse-con= on | off ] [--vrde-video-channel= on | off ] [--vrde-video-channel-quality=percent]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--teleporter= on | off ] [--teleporter-port=port] [--teleporter-address= address | empty ] [--teleporter-password=password] [--teleporter-password-file= filename | stdin ] [--cpuid-portability-level=level] [--cpuid-set=leaf [:subleaf]eax ebx ecx edx] [--cpuid-remove=leaf [:subleaf]] [--cpuid-remove-all]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--tracing-enabled= on | off ] [--tracing-config=string] [--tracing-allow-vm-access= on | off ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--usb-card-reader= on | off ]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--autostart-enabled= on | off ] [--autostart-delay=seconds]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--guest-debug-provider= none | native | gdb | kd ] [--guest-debug-io-provider= none | tcp | udp | ipc ] [--guest-debug-address= IP-Address | path ] [--guest-debug-port=port]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--pci-attach=host-PCI-address [@guest-PCI-bus-address]] [--pci-detach=host-PCI-address]

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--testing-enabled= on | off ] [--testing-mmio= on | off ] [--testing-cfg-dwordidx=value]

Description

The VBoxManage modifyvm command enables you to change the properties of a registered virtual machine (VM) that is not running.

Most of these properties correspond to the VM settings that are shown in each VM's Settings dialog in the VirtualBox Manager. See Chapter 3, Configuring Virtual Machines. However, some settings can only be viewed and managed with the VBoxManage command.

You can use the VBoxManage modifyvm command to change VM settings only when the VM is powered off. The VM cannot be running or in saved state when you use this command.

You can use the VBoxManage controlvm command to dynamically change some VM machine settings while the VM is running. See Section 8.20, “VBoxManage controlvm”.

General Settings

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--name=name] [--groups= group [,group...] ] [--description=description] [--os-type=OS-type] [--icon-file=filename] [--memory=size-in-MB] [--page-fusion= on | off ] [--vram=size-in-MB] [--acpi= on | off ] [--ioapic= on | off ] [--hardware-uuid=UUID] [--cpus=CPU-count] [--cpu-hotplug= on | off ] [--plug-cpu=CPU-ID] [--unplug-cpu=CPU-ID] [--cpu-execution-cap=number] [--pae= on | off ] [--long-mode= on | off ] [--ibpb-on-vm-exit= on | off ] [--ibpb-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--spec-ctrl= on | off ] [--l1d-flush-on-sched= on | off ] [--l1d-flush-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--mds-clear-on-sched= on | off ] [--mds-clear-on-vm-entry= on | off ] [--cpu-profile= host | Intel 8086 | Intel 80286 | Intel 80386 ] [--hpet= on | off ] [--hwvirtex= on | off ] [--triple-fault-reset= on | off ] [--apic= on | off ] [--x2apic= on | off ] [--paravirt-provider= none | default | legacy | minimal | hyperv | kvm ] [--paravirt-debug= key=value [,key=value...] ] [--nested-paging= on | off ] [--large-pages= on | off ] [--vtx-vpid= on | off ] [--vtx-ux= on | off ] [--nested-hw-virt= on | off ] [--virt-vmsave-vmload= on | off ] [--accelerate-3d= on | off ] [--accelerate-2d-video= on | off ] [--chipset= ich9 | piix3 ] [--iommu= none | automatic | amd | intel ] [--tpm-type= none | 1.2 | 2.0 | host | swtpm ] [--tpm-location= location ] [--bios-logo-fade-in= on | off ] [--bios-logo-fade-out= on | off ] [--bios-logo-display-time=msec] [--bios-logo-image-path=pathname] [--bios-boot-menu= disabled | menuonly | messageandmenu ] [--bios-apic= disabled | apic | x2apic ] [--bios-system-time-offset=msec] [--bios-pxe-debug= on | off ] [--system-uuid-le= on | off ] [--bootX= none | floppy | dvd | disk | net ] [--rtc-use-utc= on | off ] [--graphicscontroller= none | vboxvga | vmsvga | vboxsvga ] [--snapshot-folder= default | pathname ] [--firmware= bios | efi | efi32 | efi64 ] [--guest-memory-balloon=size-in-MB] [--default-frontend= default | name ] [--vm-process-priority= default | flat | low | normal | high ]

The following options enable you to modify general information about your VM.

The VBoxManage modifyvm command supports the following options:

--name=vmname

Changes the name of the VM and its related internal VM files. See Section 8.9, “VBoxManage createvm”.

--groups=group

Changes the group membership of a VM. Group names always begin with a slash character (/) and can be nested. By default, VMs are members of the / group. A VM can be member of multiple groups, but its primary group determines the directory structure where the internal VM files are placed by default.

--description=desc

Changes the optional VM description. Use a description to record details about the VM in a meaningful way. The GUI interprets HTML markup while the VBoxManage modifyvm command enables you include arbitrary strings that can contain multiple lines.

--os-type=OS-type

Specifies the guest operating system (OS) information for the VM. Use the VBoxManage list ostypes command to view the OS type identifiers.

--icon-file=filename

Specifies the path to the VM icon file in PNG format on the host system. The icon is shown in the VM manager UI and when running the VM with UI.

--memory=size

Specifies the amount of host system RAM to allocate to the VM. The size is in MB. See Section 1.8, “Creating Your First Virtual Machine”.

--page-fusion=on | off

Enables or disables the Page Fusion feature, which is disabled by default. Use the Page Fusion feature to minimize the memory duplication between VMs that have similar configurations and that run on the same host system. See Section 4.10.2, “Page Fusion”.

--vram=size

Specifies the amount of RAM to allocate to the virtual graphics card. See Section 3.6, “Display Settings”.

--acpi=on | off

Determines whether the VM has ACPI support. See Section 3.5.1, “Motherboard Tab”.

--ioapic=on | off

Determines whether the VM has I/O APIC support. See Section 3.5.1, “Motherboard Tab”.

--hardware-uuid=uuid

Specifies the Universally Unique Identifier (UUID) to present to the guest VM in memory tables (DMI/SMBIOS), hardware, and VM properties. By default this hardware UUID is the same as the VM UUID. Cloning a VM and the teleporting feature automatically preserve the hardware UUID value. Likewise for Virtual Appliance export and import, but only if both operations are done by Oracle VM VirtualBox.

--cpus=CPU-count

Specifies the number of virtual CPUs to assign to the VM. See Section 3.5.2, “Processor Tab”.

If CPU hot-plugging is enabled, this option specifies the maximum number of virtual CPUs that can be plugged into the VMs.

--cpu-hotplug=on | off

Enables or disables CPU hot-plugging. When enabled, you can dynamically add virtual CPUs to a VM or remove virtual CPUs from a VM. See Section 9.4, “CPU Hot-Plugging”.

--plug-cpu=CPU-ID

Adds a virtual CPU to the VM. CPU-ID is the index of the virtual CPU to add. A valid index value is a number from 0 to the maximum number of CPUs that you configured by using the --cpus option.

Only use this option if CPU hot-plugging is enabled.

--unplug-cpu=CPU-ID

Removes a virtual CPU from the VM. CPU-ID is the index of the virtual CPU to remove. A valid index value is a number from 1 to the maximum number of CPUs that you configured by using the --cpus option.

Only use this option if CPU hot-plugging is enabled.

Note that you cannot remove CPU 0.

--cpuexectioncap=percentage

Specifies how much CPU time a virtual CPU can use. A valid value is from 1 to 100. A value of 50 indicates that a single virtual CPU can use up to 50% of a single host CPU.

Use this feature with caution, it can have unexpected results including timekeeping problems and lower performance than specified. If you want to limit the resource usage of a VM it is more reliable to pick an appropriate number of VCPUs.

--pae=on | off

Enables or disables physical address extension (PAE). See Section 3.5.2, “Processor Tab”.

--long-mode=on | off

Enables or disables long mode. See Section 3.5.2, “Processor Tab”.

--ibpb-on-vm-exit=on | off

Enables use of Indirect Branch Prediction Barrier (IBPB) on every VM exit.

--ibpb-on-vm-entry=on | off

Enables use of Indirect Branch Prediction Barrier (IBPB) on every VM entry.

--spec-ctrl=on | off

Enables or disables the exposure of speculation control interfaces to the guest VM. These interfaces must be available on the host system.

Depending on the host CPU and the workload, enabling speculation control might significantly reduce performance.

--l1d-flush-on-sched=on | off

Enables or disables level 1 data cache flushing when a thread is scheduled to execute guest code. See Section 13.4.1, “CVE-2018-3646”.

--l1d-flush-on-vm-entry=on | off

Enables or disables level 1 data cache flushing on every VM entry. See Section 13.4.1, “CVE-2018-3646”.

--mds-clear-on-sched=on | off

Enables CPU buffer clearing when a thread is scheduled to execute guest code. See Section 13.4.2, “CVE-2018-12126, CVE-2018-12127, CVE-2018-12130, CVE-2019-11091”.

--mds-clear-on-vm-entry=on | off

Enables CPU buffer clearing on every VM entry. See Section 13.4.2, “CVE-2018-12126, CVE-2018-12127, CVE-2018-12130, CVE-2019-11091”.

--cpu-profile=host | Intel 8086 | Intel 80286 | Intel 80386

Specifies the profile to use for guest CPU emulation. Specify a value that is based on the host system CPU (host) or one of the following older Intel micro-architectures: 8086, 80286, or 80386.

--hpet=on | off

Enables or disables a High Precision Event Timer (HPET) that can replace a legacy system timer. This feature is disabled by default. Note HPET is supported on Windows versions starting with Vista.

--hwvirtex=on | off

Enables or disables the use of hardware virtualization extensions in the processor of the host system. Such extensions are Intel VT-x or AMD-V. See Section 10.3, “Hardware Virtualization”.

--triple-fault-reset=on | off

Enables or disables the resetting of the guest VM instead of triggering a Guru Meditation. Some guest VMs raise a triple fault to reset the CPU, so sometimes resetting the guest VM is the best outcome. This option only applies to guests that do not use symmetric multiprocessing (SMP).

--apic=on | off

Enables or disables APIC. With APIC, OSes can use more than 16 interrupt requests (IRQs) to avoid IRQ sharing and to improve reliability. APIC is enabled by default. See Section 3.5.1, “Motherboard Tab”.

--x2apic=on | off

Enables or disables the CPU x2APIC feature. CPU x2APIC enables an OS to run more efficiently on high core count configurations and to optimize interrupt distribution in virtualized environments. This feature is enabled by default.

Disable this feature when the OS that runs on a host system or a guest VM is incompatible with CPU x2APIC.

--paravirt-provider=none | default | legacy | minimal | hyperv | kvm

Specifies one of the following paravirtualization interfaces to provide to the guest OS:

  • none does not expose any paravirtualization interface.

  • default selects the appropriate interface based on the guest OS type when starting the VM. This is the default value used when creating new VMs.

  • legacy selects a paravirtual interface for VMs that were created by older Oracle VM VirtualBox versions.

  • minimal is required for Mac OS X guest VMs.

  • kvm is recommended for Linux guest VMs. See Section 10.5, “Paravirtualization Providers”.

  • hyperv is recommended for Windows guest VMs. See Section 10.5, “Paravirtualization Providers”.

--paravirt-debug=property=value

Specifies debugging properties that are specific to the paravirtualization provider configured for the specified VM. See Section 9.30, “Paravirtualized Debugging”.

--nested-paging=on | off

Enables or disables the nested paging feature in the processor of the host system. This option is available only when hardware virtualization is enabled. See Section 10.3, “Hardware Virtualization” and Section 13.4.1, “CVE-2018-3646”.

--large-pages=on | off

Enables or disables the hypervisor's use of large pages, which can improve performance by up to 5%. The use of large pages reduces TLB use and overhead. This option is available only when both hardware virtualization and nested paging are enabled.

--vtx-vpid=on | off

Enables or disables the use of the tagged TLB (VPID) feature in the processor of your host system. See Section 10.3, “Hardware Virtualization”. This option is available only when hardware virtualization is enabled on Intel VT-x.

--vtx-ux=on | off

Enables or disables the use of unrestricted guest mode for executing the guest VM. This option is available only when hardware virtualization is enabled on Intel VT-x.

--nested-hw-virt=on | off

Enables or disables nested virtualization. Enabling makes hardware virtualization features available to the VM. See Section 9.34, “Nested Virtualization”.

--virt-vmsave-vmload=on | off

If hardware virtualization is enabled and the host has an AMD CPU, this setting enables or disables the use of the virtualized vmsave/vmload host feature while executing the VM. It is enabled by default. It is recommended to leave it enabled as it has a drastic impact on performance while executing nested VMs when using the nested hardware virtualization feature. Section 9.34, “Nested Virtualization”.

--accelerated3d=on | off

Enables or disables hardware 3D acceleration for the graphics adapter variants which support it. This option has an effect only when the Guest Additions are installed. See Section 4.5.1, “Hardware 3D Acceleration (OpenGL and Direct3D 8/9)”.

--accelerated2dvideo=on | off

Enables or disables 2D video acceleration for the graphics adapter variants which support it. This option has an effect only when the Guest Additions are installed. See Section 4.5.2, “Hardware 2D Video Acceleration for Windows Guests”.

--chipset=piix3 | ich9

Specify the Intel chipset for Oracle VM VirtualBox to emulate. The default value is the Intel PIIX3 chipset (piix3).

Change this value only if you need to relax some of the chipset constraints. See Section 3.5.1, “Motherboard Tab”.

--iommu=none | automatic | amd | intel

Specifies the IOMMU type for Oracle VM VirtualBox to emulate. Both Intel and AMD IOMMU emulation currently require the use of the Intel ICH9 chipset (see --chipset option).

Valid values are as follows:

  • none – No IOMMU is present and is the default value.

  • automatic – An IOMMU is present but its type is automatically chosen to match the host CPU vendor when the VM is powered on.

  • amd – An AMD IOMMU is present.

  • intel – An Intel IOMMU is present.

--tpm-type=none | 1.2 | 2.0 | host | swtpm

Specifies the TPM type for Oracle VM VirtualBox to emulate.

Valid values are as follows:

  • none – No TPM is present and is the default value.

  • 1.2 – A TPM conforming to the TCG specification version 1.2 is present.

  • 2.0 – A TPM conforming to the TCG specification version 2.0 is present.

  • host – The host TPM is passed through to the guest. May not be available on all supported host platforms.

  • swtpm – The VM connects to an external TPM emulation compliant to swtpm. Requires to set the TPM location to connect to (see --tpm-location option).

--bios-logo-fade-in=on | off

Specifies whether the BIOS logo fades in on VM startup. By default, an Oracle VM VirtualBox logo is shown.

--bios-logo-fade-out=on | off

Specifies whether the BIOS logo fades out on VM startup.

--bios-logo-display-time=msec

Specifies the amount of time in milliseconds that the BIOS logo is visible.

--bios-logo-image-path=pathname

Replaces the existing BIOS logo with a different image. The replacement image must be an uncompressed 16, 256 or 16M color bitmap file (BMP) that does not contain color space information (Windows 3.0 format). Also ensure that the image is no larger than 640 X 480 pixels.

--bios-boot-menu=disabled | menuonly | messageandmenu

Specifies whether the BIOS permits you to select a temporary boot device. Valid values are:

  • disabled outputs the alternate boot device message and permits you to select a temporary boot device by pressing F12.

  • menuonly suppresses the alternate boot device message, but permits you to select a temporary boot device by pressing F12.

  • messageandmenu suppresses the alternate boot device message and prevents you from selecting a temporary boot device by pressing F12.

--bios-apic=x2apic | apic | disabled

Specifies the APIC level of the firmware. Valid values are: x2apic, apic, and disabled. When the value is disabled, neither the apic nor the x2apic version of the firmware is used.

Note that if you specify the x2apic value and x2APIC is unsupported by the virtual CPU, the APIC level downgrades to apic, if supported. Otherwise, the APIC level downgrades to disabled. Similarly, if you specify the apic value and APIC is unsupported by the virtual CPU, the APIC level downgrades to disabled.

--bios-system-time-offset=msec

Specifies the time offset in milliseconds of the guest VM relative to the time on the host system. If the offset value is positive, the guest VM time runs ahead of the time on the host system.

--bios-pxe-debug=on | off

Enables or disables additional debugging output when using the Intel PXE boot ROM. The debug output is written to the release log file. See Section 12.1.2, “Collecting Debugging Information”.

--system-uuid-le=on | off

Enables or disables representing the system UUID in little endian form. The default value is on for new VMs. For old VMs the setting is off to keep the content of the DMI/SMBIOS table unchanged, which can be important for Windows license activation.

--bootN=none | floppy | dvd | disk | net

Enables you to specify the boot device order for the VM by assigning one of the device types to each of the four boot device slots that are represented by N in the option name.

A value of 1 for N represents the first boot device slot, and so on.

The device types are floppy for floppy disks, dvd for DVDs or CDs, disk for hard disks, and net for a network device. A value of none indicates that no boot device is associated with the specified slot.

--rtc-use-utc=on | off

Specifies whether the real-time clock (RTC) uses coordinated universal time (UTC). See Section 3.5.1, “Motherboard Tab”.

--graphicscontroller=none | vboxvga | vmsvga | vboxsvga

Specifies the graphics controller type to use. See Section 3.6.1, “Screen Tab”.

--snapshot-folder=default | pathname

Specifies the name of the VM's snapshot storage folder. If you specify default, the folder name is Snapshots/ in the machine folder.

--firmware=bios | efi | efi32 | efi64

Specifies the firmware used to boot the VM. Valid values are: bios, efi, efi32, or efi64. Use EFI values with care.

By default, BIOS firmware is used.

--guest-memory-balloon=size

Specifies the size of the guest memory balloon. The guest memory balloon is the memory allocated by the Guest Additions from the guest OS and returned to the hypervisor for use by other VMs. Specify size in megabytes. The default value is 0 megabytes. See Section 4.10.1, “Memory Ballooning”.

--default-frontend=default | name

Specifies the default frontend to use when starting the specified VM. If you specify default, the VM is shown in a window on the user's desktop. See Section 8.19, “VBoxManage startvm”.

--vm-process-priority=default | flat | low | normal | high

Specifies the priority scheme of the VM process to use when starting the specified VM and while the VM runs.

The following valid values are:

  • default – Default process priority determined by the OS.

  • flat – Assumes a scheduling policy which puts the process at the default priority and with all threads at the same priority.

  • low – Assumes a scheduling policy which puts the process mostly below the default priority of the host OS.

  • normal – Assume a scheduling policy which shares the CPU resources fairly with other processes running with the default priority of the host OS.

  • high – Assumes a scheduling policy which puts the task above the default priority of the host OS. This policy might easily cause other tasks in the system to starve.

Networking Settings

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--nicN= none | null | nat | bridged | intnet | hostonly | hostonlynet | generic | natnetwork | cloud ] [--nic-typeN= Am79C970A | Am79C973 | 82540EM | 82543GC | 82545EM | virtio ] [--cable-connectedN= on | off ] [--nic-traceN= on | off ] [--nic-trace-fileN=filename] [--nic-propertyN=name= [value]] [--nic-speedN=kbps] [--nic-boot-prioN=priority] [--nic-promiscN= deny | allow-vms | allow-all ] [--nic-bandwidth-groupN= none | name ] [--bridge-adapterN= none | device-name ] [--cloud-networkN=network-name] [--host-only-adapterN= none | device-name ] [--host-only-netN=network-name] [--intnetN=network-name] [--nat-networkN=network-name] [--nic-generic-drvN=driver-name] [--mac-addressN= auto | MAC-address ]

The following options enable you to modify networking on your VM. With all these options, N is an integer greater than zero that represents the particular virtual network adapter to configure.

--nicN=none | null | nat | natnetwork | bridged | intnet | hostonly | generic

Configures the network type used by each virtual network card in the VM.

The following valid values correspond to the modes described in Section 6.2, “Introduction to Networking Modes”:

  • none – No networking present

  • null – Not connected to the host system

  • nat – Use network address translation (NAT)

  • natnetwork – Use a NAT network

  • bridged – Use bridged networking

  • intnet – Use internal networking

  • hostonly – Use host-only networking

  • generic – Access rarely used sub-modes

--nic-typeN=Am79C970A | Am79C973 | 82540EM | 82543GC | 82545EM | virtio

Identifies the type of networking hardware that Oracle VM VirtualBox presents to the guest VM for the specified virtual network card. See Section 6.1, “Virtual Networking Hardware”.

Valid values are as follows:

  • Am79C970A represents the AMD PCNet PCI II.

  • Am79C973 represents the AMD PCNet FAST III, which is the default value.

  • 82540EM represents the Intel PRO/1000 MT Desktop.

  • 82543GC represents the Intel PRO/1000 T Server.

  • 82545EM represents the Intel PRO/1000 MT Server.

  • virtio represents a paravirtualized network adapter.

--cable-connectedN=on | off

Temporarily disconnects a virtual network interface, as if you pull a network cable from a physical network card. You might use this option to reset certain software components in the VM.

--nic-traceN=on | off

Enables or disables network tracing for the specified virtual network card.

--nic-trace-fileN=filename

Specifies the absolute path of the file in which to write trace log information. Use this option if network tracing is enabled.

--nic-propertyN=name=value

Enables you to set property values and pass them to rarely used network backends. To use this option, you must also use the --nic-generic-drv option.

These properties are specific to the backend engine and differ between the UDP Tunnel and the VDE backend drivers. For property examples, see Section 6.8, “UDP Tunnel Networking”.

--nic-speedN=kbps

Specifies the throughput rate in kilobits per second for rarely used networking sub-modes such as VDE network and UDP Tunnel. Use this option only if you used the --nic option to enable generic networking for the specified virtual network card.

--nic-boot-prioN=priority

Assigns a priority to each NIC that determines the order in which that NIC is used to perform a PXE network boot. The priority value is an integer in the range from 0 to 4. Priority 0, which is the default value, is the lowest priority. Priority 1 is the highest priority, and priorities 3 and 4 are lower.

This option has an effect only when using the Intel PXE boot ROM.

--nic-promiscN=deny | allow-vms | allow-all

Enables you to specify whether to deny or allow promiscuous mode for the specified VM virtual network card. This option is relevant only for bridged networking. Valid values are as follows:

  • deny hides any traffic that is not intended for the VM. This is the default value.

  • allow-vms hides all host traffic from the VM, but allows the VM to see traffic to and from other VMs.

  • allow-all allows the VM to see all traffic.

--nic-bandwidth-groupN=none | name

Adds or removes a bandwidth group assignment to the specified virtual network interface. Valid values are as follows:

  • none removes any current bandwidth group assignment from the specified virtual network interface.

  • name adds a bandwidth group assignment to the specified virtual network interface.

See Section 6.12, “Limiting Bandwidth for Network Input/Output”.

--bridge-adapterN=none | device-name

Specifies the host interface to use for the specified virtual network interface. See Section 6.5, “Bridged Networking”. Use this option only if you used the --nic option to enable bridged networking for the specified virtual network card.

--host-only-adapterN=none | device-name

Specifies which host-only networking interface to use for the specified virtual network interface. See Section 6.7, “Host-Only Networking”. Use this option only if you used the --nic option to enable host-only networking for the specified virtual network card.

--intnetN=network-name

Specifies the name of the internal network. See Section 6.6, “Internal Networking”. Use this option only if you used the --nic option to enable internal networking for the specified virtual network card.

--nat-networkN=network-name

Specifies the name of the NAT network to which this adapter is connected. Use this option only if the networking type is natnetwork, not nat.

--nic-generic-drvN=backend-driver

Enables you to access rarely used networking sub-modes, such as VDE networks and UDP Tunnel. Use this option only if you used the --nic option to enable generic networking for a virtual network card.

--mac-addressN=auto | MAC-address

Specifies the MAC address of the specified network adapter on the VM. By default, Oracle VM VirtualBox assigns a random MAC address to each network adapter at VM creation.

NAT Networking Settings

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--nat-netN= network | default ] [--nat-pfN= [rule-name],tcp | udp,[host-IP],hostport,[guest-IP],guestport ] [--nat-pfN=delete=rule-name] [--nat-tftp-prefixN=prefix] [--nat-tftp-fileN=filename] [--nat-tftp-serverN=IP-address] [--nat-bind-ipN=IP-address] [--nat-dns-pass-domainN= on | off ] [--nat-dns-proxyN= on | off ] [--nat-dns-host-resolverN= on | off ] [--nat-localhostreachableN= on | off ] [--nat-settingsN=[mtu],[socksnd],[sockrcv],[tcpsnd],[tcprcv]] [--nat-alias-modeN= default | [log],[proxyonly],[sameports] ]

The following options use N to specify the particular virtual network adapter to modify.

--nat-netN=default | network

Specifies the IP address range to use for this network. See Section 9.8, “Fine Tuning the Oracle VM VirtualBox NAT Engine”. Use this option only if the networking type is nat, not natnetwork.

--nat-pfN=[name],tcp | udp,[host-IP],hostport,[guest-IP],guestport

Specifies the NAT port-forwarding rule to use. See Section 6.3.1, “Configuring Port Forwarding with NAT”.

--nat-pfN=delete name

Specifies the NAT port-forwarding rule to delete. See Section 6.3.1, “Configuring Port Forwarding with NAT”.

--nat-tftp-prefixN=prefix

Specifies a prefix to use for the built-in TFTP server. For example, you might use a prefix to indicate where the boot file is located. See Section 6.3.2, “PXE Booting with NAT” and Section 9.8.2, “Configuring the Boot Server (Next Server) of a NAT Network Interface”.

--nat-tftp-fileN=boot-file

Specifies the name of the TFT boot file. See Section 9.8.2, “Configuring the Boot Server (Next Server) of a NAT Network Interface”.

--nat-tftp-serverN=tftp-server

Specifies the address of the TFTP server from which to boot. See Section 9.8.2, “Configuring the Boot Server (Next Server) of a NAT Network Interface”.

--nat-bind-ipN=IP-address

Specifies an alternate IP address to which the NAT engine binds. See Section 9.8.3, “Tuning TCP/IP Buffers for NAT”. By default, Oracle VM VirtualBox's NAT engine routes TCP/IP packets through the default interface assigned by the host's TCP/IP stack.

--nat-dns-pass-domainN=on | off

Specifies whether the built-in DHCP server passes the domain name for network name resolution.

--nat-dns-proxyN=on | off

Specifies whether the NAT engine is the proxy for all guest DNS requests to the host system's DNS servers. See Section 9.8.5, “Enabling DNS Proxy in NAT Mode”.

--nat-dns-host-resolverN=on | off

Specifies whether the NAT engine uses the host system's resolver mechanisms to handle DNS requests. See Section 9.8.5, “Enabling DNS Proxy in NAT Mode”.

--nat-localhostreachableN=on | off

Specifies whether the NAT engine allows traffic from the guest directed to 10.0.2.2 to pass to the host's loopback interface, i.e. localhost or 127.0.0.1.

--nat-settingsN=[mtu],[socksnd],[sockrcv],[tcpsnd],[tcprcv]

Specifies values for tuning NAT performance. See Section 9.8.3, “Tuning TCP/IP Buffers for NAT”.

--nat-alias-modeN=default | [log],[proxyonly],[sameports]

Specifies the behavior of the NAT engine core as follows:

  • log enables logging

  • proxyonly switches off aliasing mode and makes NAT transparent

  • sameports enforces that the NAT engine sends packets through the same port on which they originated

  • default disables all aliasing modes

For more information, see Section 9.8.7, “Configuring Aliasing of the NAT Engine”.

Other Hardware Settings

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--mouse= ps2 | usb | usbtablet | usbmultitouch | usbmtscreenpluspad ] [--keyboard= ps2 | usb ] [--uartN= off | IO-baseIRQ ] [--uart-modeN= disconnected | server pipe | client pipe | tcpserver port | tcpclient hostname:port | file filename | device-name ] [--uart-typeN= 16450 | 16550A | 16750 ] [--lpt-modeN=device-name] [--lptN= off | IO-baseIRQ ] [--audio= none | default | null | dsound | was | oss | alsa | pulse | coreaudio ] [--audio-controller= ac97 | hda | sb16 ] [--audio-codec= stac9700 | ad1980 | stac9221 | sb16 ] [--audio-in= on | off ] [--audio-out= on | off ] [--clipboard-mode= disabled | hosttoguest | guesttohost | bidirectional ] [--drag-and-drop= disabled | hosttoguest | guesttohost | bidirectional ] [--monitor-count=number] [--usb-ehci= on | off ] [--usb-ohci= on | off ] [--usb-xhci= on | off ] [--usb-rename=old-namenew-name]

The following options enable you to configure other hardware, such as the serial port, monitor, audio device, USB ports, and the clipboard, and drag-and-drop features.

--mouse=ps2 | usb | usbtablet | usbmultitouch | usbmtscreenpluspad

Specifies the mode of the mouse to use in the VM. Valid values are: ps2, usb, usbtablet, usbmultitouch and usbmtscreenpluspad.

--keyboard=ps2 | usb

Specifies the mode of the keyboard to use in the VM. Valid values are: ps2 and usb.

--uartN=off | I/O-baseIRQ

Configures virtual serial ports for the VM. N represents the serial port to modify. Valid values are off to disable the port or an I/O base address and IRQ. For information about the traditional COM port I/O base address and IRQ values, see Section 3.10, “Serial Ports”.

--uart-modeN=mode

Specifies how Oracle VM VirtualBox connects the specified virtual serial port to the host system that runs the VM. See Section 3.10, “Serial Ports”.

Ensure that you first configure the virtual serial port by using the --uartN option.

Specify one of the following connection modes for each port:

  • disconnected indicates that even though the serial port is shown to the guest VM, it is not connected. This state is like a physical COM port without a cable attached.

  • serverpipe-name creates the specified named pipe or local domain socket on the host system and connects the virtual serial device to it.

    On a Windows host system, pipe-name is a named pipe that has a name that uses the following form: \\.\pipe\pipe-name.

    On a Linux host system, pipe-name is a local domain socket.

  • clientpipe-name connects the virtual serial device to the specified named pipe or local domain socket.

    Note that the named pipe or local domain socket must already exist.

  • tcpserverport creates a TCP socket with the specified TCP port on the host system and connects the virtual serial device to it.

    For UNIX-like systems, use ports over 1024 for non-root users.

  • tcpclienthostname:port connects the virtual serial device to the TCP socket.

    Note that the TCP socket must already exist.

  • filefilename redirects the serial port output to the specified raw file. Ensure that filename is the absolute path of the file on the host system.

  • device-name: specifies the device name of a physical hardware serial port on the specified host system to which the virtual serial port connects.

    Use this mode to connect a physical serial port to a VM.

    On a Windows host system, the device name is a COM port such as COM1. On a Linux host system, the device name is similar to /dev/ttyS0.

--uart-typeN=UART-type

Configures the UART type for the specified virtual serial port (N). Valid values are 16450, 16550A, and 16750. The default value is 16550A.

--lpt-modeN=device-name

Specifies the device name of the parallel port to use.

For a Windows host system, use a device name such as lpt1. For a Linux host system, use a device name such as /dev/lp0.

--lptN=I/O-baseIRQ

Specifies the I/O base address and IRQ of the parallel port.

You can view the I/O base address and IRQ that the VM uses for the parallel port in the Device Manager.

--audio=type

Specifies whether the VM has audio support, and if so, which type. Valid audio type values are: none, default, null, dsound, was, oss, alsa, pulse, and coreaudio.

Note that the audio types are dependent on the host operating system. Use the VBoxManage modifyvm command usage output to determine the supported audio types for your host system.

--audio-controller=controller-type

Specifies the audio controller to be used with the VM. Valid audio controller type values are: ac97, hda, and sb16.

--audio-codec=codec-type

Specifies the audio codec to be used with the VM. Valid audio codec type values are: stac9700, ad1980, stac9221, and sb16.

--audio-in=on|off

Specifies whether to enable or disable audio capture from the host system.

--audio-out=on|off

Specifies whether to enable or disable audio playback from the guest VM.

--clipboard-mode=value

Specifies how to share the guest VM or host system OS's clipboard with the host system or guest VM, respectively. Valid values are: disabled, hosttoguest, guesttohost, and bidirectional. See Section 3.4, “General Settings”.

The clipboard feature is available only if you have the Guest Additions be installed in the VM.

--drag-and-drop=value

Specifies how to use the drag and drop feature between the host system and the VM. Valid values are: disabled, hosttoguest, guesttohost, and bidirectional. See Section 4.4, “Drag and Drop”.

The drag and drop feature is available only if you have the Guest Additions be installed in the VM.

--monitor-count=count

Enables you to configure multiple monitors. See Section 3.6, “Display Settings”.

--usb-ohci=on | off

Enables or disables the VM's virtual USB 1.1 controller. See Section 3.11.1, “USB Settings”.

--usb-ehci=on | off

Enables or disables the VM's virtual USB 2.0 controller. See Section 3.11.1, “USB Settings”.

--usb-xhci=on | off

Enables or disables the VM's virtual USB 3.0 controller. This is the most efficient option if the VM supports it. See Section 3.11.1, “USB Settings”.

--usb-rename=old-namenew-name

Rename's the VM's virtual USB controller from old-name to new-name.

Recording Settings

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--recording= on | off ] [--recording-screens= all | none | screen-ID[,screen-ID...] ] [--recording-file=filename] [--recording-max-size=MB] [--recording-max-time=msec] [--recording-opts= key=value[,key=value...] ] [--recording-video-fps=fps] [--recording-video-rate=rate] [--recording-video-res=widthheight]

The following options enable you to modify settings for video recording, audio recording, or both.

--recording=on | off

Enables or disables the recording of a VM session into a WebM or VP8 file. When set to on, recording begins when the VM session starts.

--recording-screens=all | none | screen-ID[,screen-ID...

Enables you to specify the VM screens to record. The recording for each screen is output to its own file. Valid values are: all, which records all screens, none, which records no screens, or one or more specified screens.

--recording-file=filename

Specifies the name of the file in which to save the recording.

--recording-max-size=MB

Specifies the maximum size of the recorded video file in megabytes. When the file reaches the specified size, recording stops. If the value is 0, recording continues until you manually stop recording.

--recording-max-time=seconds

Specifies the maximum amount of time to record in seconds. When the specified time elapses, recording stops. If the value is 0, recording continues until you manually stop recording.

--recording-opts=keyword=value

Specifies additional video-recording properties as a comma-separated property keyword-value list. For example, foo=bar,a=b.

Only use this option if you are an advanced user. For information about keywords, see the Oracle VM VirtualBox Programming Guide and Reference.

--recording-video-fps=fps

Specifies the maximum number of video frames per second (FPS) to record. The recording ignores any frames that have a higher frequency. When you increase the FPS, fewer frames are ignored but the recording and the size of the recording file increases.

--recording-video-rate=bit-rate

Specifies the bit rate of the video in kilobits per second. When you increase the bit rate, the recording appearance improves and the size of the recording file increases.

--recording-video-res=widthxheight

Specifies the video resolution (width and height) of the recorded video in pixels.

Remote Machine Settings

VBoxManage modifyvm < uuid | vmname > [--vrde= on | off ] [--vrde-property=property-name= [property-value]] [--vrde-extpack= default | name ] [--vrde-port=port] [--vrde-address=hostip] [--vrde-auth-type= null | external | guest ] [--vrde-auth-library= default | name ] [--vrde-multi-con= on | off ] [--vrde-reuse-con= on | off ] [--vrde-video-channel= on | off ] [--vrde-video-channel-quality=percent]

The following options enable you to modify the VirtualBox Remote Desktop Extension (VRDE) behavior.

--vrde=on | off

Enables or disables the VRDE server.

--vrde-property=TCP/Ports=port

port is the port or port range to which the VRDE server binds. The default or 0 value uses port 3389, which is the standard RDP port.

Also see the --vrde-port option description.

--vrde-property=TCP/Address=IP-address

IP-address is the IP address of the host network interface to which the VRDE server binds. When specified, the server accepts connections only on the host network interface at that IP address.

Also see the --vrde-address option description.

--vrde-property=VideoChannel/Enabled=value

Specifies whether the VRDP video channel is on or off. 1 means on and 0 means off. See Section 7.1.9, “VRDP Video Redirection”.

--vrde-property=Quality=value

Specifies a value between 10% and 100%, inclusive, that represents the JPEG compression level on the VRDE server video channel. A lower value produces lower JPEG quality but higher compression. See Section 7.1.9, “VRDP Video Redirection”.

--vrde-property=DownscaleProtection=value

Enables or disables the video downscale protection feature. Valid values are 1 to enable the feature and 0 to disable the feature.

When this feature is enabled, Oracle VM VirtualBox determines whether to display the video:

  • When the video size equals the size of the shadow buffer, the video is considered to be full screen and is displayed.

  • When the video size is between full screen and the downscale threshold, the video is not displayed. Such a video might be an application window, which is unreadable when downscaled.

When this feature is disabled, an attempt is always made to display a video.

--vrde-property=Client/DisableDisplay=1

Disables the display VRDE server feature.

To reenable a feature, assign an empty value. For example, to reenable the display feature, specify the VBoxManage modifyvm --vrde-property=Client/DisableDisplay= command. See Section 7.1.10, “VRDP Customization”.

--vrde-property=DisableInput=1

Disables the input VRDE server feature.