Saturday, May 24, 2008

VirtualBox on the Mac

Finally someone has released a free virtual machine (VM) for the Mac! The company is none other than Sun. The software is called VirtualBox, and the current version that I'm using is v1.6. VirtualBox for the Mac works only on an Intel Mac though.

To create a VM for Windows XP Home, just do the following:
  • Create a New Virtual Disk
  • Choose a name, and OS Type (Note that you can install many different flavors of Windows, Linux, etc)
  • Choose a Base Memory size. This will be the "physical memory" your Windows will be allocated, and this amount of memory will be locked from your real physical memory when you're running your VM. I chose 512MB
  • Create a New Boot Harddisk. This would be your virtual harddisk. I recommend using a fixed size image for performance. You will need at the very least 10GB for a fresh installation with SP3 installed (respectable speed).
  • Finish the VM Wizard.
  • Insert your Windows XP CD
  • Start the VM you have just created.
  • Install your Windows XP in the VM
  • Once the installation is complete, go to the Menu Bar on top, and click on Devices > Install Guest Additions. This will install the VM device drivers for your Windows. Note that you should always install this.
  • Patch up to SP3 (Yes, SP3 works in VirtualBox).
  • Install your anti-virus, firewall, etc.

Few tips to note
  • It is recommended to enable ACPI, VT-x/AMD-V and PAE/NX in the VM settings. VT-x/AMD-V is especially important because this will make use of the virtualization power of your Intel chip (faster).
  • At any point of time, you can just "Hibernate" by closing the Window, and saving the Machine state. When you re-launch the VM, it will return back to the state before you closed the Window.
  • To save a copy of your VM before you install any software, you can also go to the menu bar, and go to Machine > Take Snapshot. This is for you to recover your VM in-case the software you've installed crashed your VM. :)
  • To re-size your VM, just drag the window. It will automatically re-adjust the resolution as you drag it. One can also always go to Full-Screen mode. It took me some time to figure this out. Apparently you cannot resize the resolution from the Display settings in Windows. The only way I know is to drag the window.

Below is the screenshot of my VM. :)

VM Screenshot

This is the first release for the Mac, and there are some features that are not yet enabled. However, this is more than enough for any casual user.

That's all to it. Now when I need to use Internet Explorer, I just need to launch VirtualBox to quickly view the application/Internet website. :)


nithin said...

The screen does not resize for me on MAC.
Any idea on how do resize.

chantc said...

Have you tried dragging the window to resize it?

adil said...

Changing the resolution of the screen (running via virtualbox on my mac) did it for me.

ps. Nice blog chantc! :)>

adil said...

To add to my previous comment: Go to "Devices -> Install Guest Additions...", install the guest additions and all should begin to work!

Visit Rhinestic's Knick Knacks @ Etsy for handmade goods and supplies!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...