VirtualBox - Understand and configure the settings of your virtual machines under VirtualBox

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Once you have created a virtual machine with VirtualBox, you will be able to modify many settings including :

  • add virtual hard disks
  • manage the virtual network adapters of it
  • add shared folders
  • and more
  1. General
  2. System
  3. Display
  4. Storage
  5. Audio
  6. Network
  7. Serial Ports
  8. USB
  9. Shared Folders
  10. User Interface

1. General

In the Basic tab, you will be able to :

  • rename your virtual machine
  • change the type and version of the operating system installed on it

In the "Advanced" tab, you can choose the folder where snapshots will be stored.

But also :

  • enable or disable the clipboard sharing between the host machine and the virtual machines (in one or both directions).
  • enable or disable drag and drop between the host machine and the virtual machine. This allows you to easily copy files from the physical machine to the virtual machine (and vice versa).

In the "Description" tab, you can enter notes if you wish.

In the "Encryption" tab, you can enable the encryption of the virtual machine and use a password to reuse it.
In this case, the virtual hard disk will be encrypted to protect the data it contains.

2. System

In the "Motherboard" tab, you will find interesting informations.
Indeed, you will be able to :

  • change the amount of RAM allocated to your virtual machine.
  • change the boot order. (The "Network" option is primarily used to boot your VM through a PXE server.)
  • change the chipset. Note that the ICH9 chipset emulation is experimental and is only useful for virtual machines with Mac OS X as guest OS.
  • enable or disable EFI (for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10, for example)
  • use an internal clock in UTC or not. Enabling this option is only useful for Unix systems.
  • and more.

In the "Processor" tab, you will be able to :

  • allocate 1 or more processor cores to this virtual machine
  • allocate 100% of your physical PC's resources or only a portion
  • enable the PAE/NX (Physical Address Extension) to use more than 4 GB of RAM with a 32-bit OS (x86)

In the "Acceleration" tab, you will be able to :

  • choose the type of virtualization to use
  • enable the "Intel VT-x/AMD-V" hardware virtualization to virtualize a virtualization server such as VMware ESXi or Citrix XenServer, for example.
  • enable nested paging to improve the performance of your virtual machine if your processor supports nested paging (AMD-V) or the EPT - Extended Page Table (Intel VT-x).

3. Display

In the "Screen" tab of the "Display" section, you will be able to :

  • enable or disable 2D and 3D accelerations (which is especially necessary to enable the Windows 7 aero interface)
  • allocate more or less video memory to your virtual machine (if you enable 2D and 3D, you will need at least 128 MB)
  • choose the number of screens to support in the virtual machine

In the "Remote Desktop" tab, you will be able to activate the desktop remotely using the VRDP protocol (VirtualBox RDP).
With this feature, you will be able to remotely access the desktop of a VirtualBox machine.

Unlike VMware Workstation, which no longer supports this, VirtualBox still allows you to record the screen (as well as the audio output) of a virtual machine.
Which is rather handy for making small video tutorials, ...